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Petroleum Geoscience MSc


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Year of entry 2017
Course Length 1 year full time
2 years part time
Department Earth Sciences »

The hydrocarbon industry is one of our most important sectors, helping to cater for needs as diverse as domestic energy, transportation and plastics manufacturing. Our flexible MSc in Petroleum Geoscience provides you with the ideal training for a career in the hydrocarbon industry and related sectors. 

Our teaching on Petroleum Geoscience at Royal Holloway, University of London is informed by leading research and links to the international oil industry, meaning that you’ll benefit from the most relevant, up-to-date learning. The programme lets you select from a range of course modules to tailor your learning to your own preferences and ambitions.  

You’ll study in the renowned Department of Earth Sciences, which is consistently ranked among the UK’s top 10 (The Complete University Guide and The Guardian 2016) – contributing towards our leading research culture with your own Independent Research Project. You’ll become a part of a vibrant international graduate community, and make use of our extensive range of modern facilities as you work towards a rewarding future career. 

Our Petroleum Geoscience MSc has run since 1985, and has become recognised as one of the world’s premier training centres for the hydrocarbon industry. We’ve established excellent industry links, and have helped over 600 graduates from 32 countries progress into rewarding careers. Study Petroleum Geoscience at Royal Holloway and you’ll graduate with excellent employment prospects in a well-paid sector with job opportunities across the globe.

  • Benefit from a pioneering research culture, with 94% of Department of Earth Sciences research ranked world-leading or internationally excellent – no.2 in the UK. (REF 2014)
  • Graduate with a Masters degree from a department consistently ranked among the UK’s top 10 (The Complete University Guide and The Guardian 2016).
  • Study a programme internationally recognised as one of the industry’s best.
  • Graduate with excellent employability prospects in the UK and overseas.

Core modules

Tectonics and Lithosphere Dynamics

Geophysical Analysis

Structural Analysis

Petroleum Systems

Independent Project

Sedimentology and Stratigraphy

Reservoir Geoscience

Advanced Structural Analysis (only for Tectonics)

Regional Tectonic Analysis

The taught course units are assessed by a combination of written exams and coursework. Each of the six units comprises 10% of the total assessment for the MSc course. The remaining 40% of the assessment comes from the Independent Research Project.

Entry criteria:

UK upper second class degree (2:1), or equivalent, in a relevant subject such as Geology or Geophysics. Candidates meeting the minimum entry requirement of a UK lower second-class degree (2:2), or equivalent, will still be considered – provided that they can demonstrate significant industry experience and/or additional relevant training.

Candidates with a UK upper second-class degree (2:1), or equivalent, in related subjects, such as Physics, Physical Geography or Oceanography will also be considered, provided that their degree contains significant components relevant to Geology, or they have significant industry experience and/or additional relevant training.

English language requirements:

IELTS 6.5 overall and a minimum of 5.5 in all other subscores. For equivalencies, please see here


If you require Royal Holloway to sponsor your study in the UK, your IELTS must be a UK government-approved Secure English Language Test (SELT)

International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below




Students from overseas should visit the International pages for information on the entry requirements from their country and further information on English language requirements. Royal Holloway offers a Pre-Master’s Diploma for International Students and English language pre-sessional courses, allowing students the opportunity to develop their study skills and English language before starting their postgraduate degree.

 Additional information:

  • You will also be required to submit a copy of your C.V. as part of your application.
  • We hold two Open Days during January and February which prospective applicants are invited to attend. Eligible UK and EU applicants will also be interviewed for studentships at these events. If you are unable to attend an Open Day, telephone interviews or alternative visits can be arranged.

A successful applicant will usually have the following qualities:

  • A strong academic background
  • An enthusiasm for Petroleum Geoscience, illustrated by work experience, involvement in relevant student projects, membership of professional societies and attendance at relevant conferences and meetings.
  • Relevant work experience is useful, but not essential.

Petroleum Geoscience at Royal Holloway, University of London was first established in 1985, giving us ample time to build valuable links with the international oil industry. We’re now recognised worldwide as one of the hydrocarbon industry’s premier training facilities, having helped more than 600 graduates from 32 countries progress into rewarding careers in the Earth Sciences. 

This flexible Masters programme will equip you with a range of skills and knowledge necessary to achieve a fulfilling career in a sector with many well-paid career opportunities in the UK and abroad. There is huge demand for well qualified petroleum geoscientists, and as we’re considered world leaders in the field, you’ll graduate as a highly desirable candidate for employers in a variety of sectors. 

  • Jobs fairs, skills workshops and visits from industry representatives provide students with excellent career opportunities.
  • 90% of graduates in work or further education within six months of graduating.
  • Graduate with a desirable Masters degree from a recognised world-leader in the hydrocarbon industry.

Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: £8,300

Overseas students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: £18,500

Overseas tuition fee per year 2016/17** £18,300

Other essential costs***: £1,000 (fieldwork)

Find out more about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.

*The tuition fees given above apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis.  Students studying part-time are charged a pro-rata tuition fee and information is available from the Royal Holloway Student Fees Office on Student-Fees@rhul.ac.uk. All fees are likely to rise annually in line with inflation but no more than 5 per cent per year.

For further information, please see Royal Holloway’s Terms & Conditions.

** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.

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