Geoscience MSc

London, Bloomsbury

This MSc is a uniquely broad and flexible programme that suits students' aspirations, background and experience. UCL Earth Sciences has strengths in geophysics, geochemistry, palaeobiology, mineral physics, geodynamics, geohazards, climate science, environmental geosciences and policy, and other areas. Students choose from a wide range of optional modules from within the department and more widely across UCL, building an MSc tailored to their interests.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2022/23)
Overseas tuition fees (2022/23)
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2022
Applications accepted
All applicants: 18 Oct 2021 – 30 Jun 2022

Applications closed


Application closes at 17:00 GMT.

Entry requirements

A minimum of a lower second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Good

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

The programme aims to integrate theoretical studies with essential practical skills in the Earth sciences, both in the field and in the laboratory. Students develop the ability to work on group projects, prepare written reports, acquire oral skills and gain training in the methods of scientific research.

Who this course is for

The MSc in Geosciences is aimed at students who have studied Earth sciences, physical geography, or fundamental sciences such as physics, chemistry, biology etc. at undergraduate level. The programme is broad and modular, including a small number of compulsory modules and a larger number of options. By selecting particular options, and also choosing the topic of the research dissertation, the student is able to tailor the MSc program to their specific needs and aspirations. The programme is suitable for students with a background in geology, geophysics, physical geography or a relevant discipline who want to prepare for research in the Earth sciences and for entry into a PhD programme.

What this course will give you

UCL Earth Sciences is engaged in world-class research into the processes at work on and within the Earth and planets.

Graduate students benefit from our lively and welcoming environment and world-class facilities, which include the UK's only NASA Regional Planetary Image Facility and access to the University of London Observatory in north London. The department is based in the Kathleen Lonsdale Building, which reopened in 2018 following a £27.5 million refurbishment.

The department also hosts the UCL Hazard Research Centre, Europe's leading multidisciplinary hazard research centre, and engages in extensive collaborative work with the Royal Institution and the Natural History Museum.

The foundation of your career


The MSc in Geosciences has a very successful track record in terms of postgraduate employment at professional level. Based on the past few years, approximately one third of our graduates achieve employment in an Earth sciences related industry, approximately one third obtain PhD positions within the Earth sciences or related fields, and approximately one third go of our graduates find employment outside Earth Sciences across a wide range of professions including management, the financial sector, scientific journalism, and teaching.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, and laboratory and fieldwork exercises. Student performance is assessed through coursework, written assignments, unseen written examination and the dissertation.



The MSc can be taken full-time over one year or part-time over two years. During the course of the programme the student must achieve 180 credits;120 of these credits come from the taught component and are usually achieved by taking eight 15 credit modules. Three of these modules are normally compulsory and include a course on research methods that provide analytical, statistical and computing skills; a research proposal, which involves a literature review and feasibility study in preparation for the research dissertation: and the Earth and Planetary Systems Science module, which involves seminars, journal club-style presentations etc., which enable students to practice their presentation skills while at the same time providing them with information on the latest developments in a series of ‘hot topics’ within the geosciences.

The other five modules are selected from a range of options offered by the Department of Earth Sciences. Such options include courses on geochemistry, geophysics, palaeoceanography, palaeoclimatology, palaeobiology, seismology, volcanology, and several others. Moreover, up to two 15 credit modules may be selected from other departments at UCL, such as Geography, Anthropology, Astronomy, Physics, Maths, Chemistry, Biology, and so on. The remaining 60 credits required for the MSc come from the research dissertation. This is a substantial piece of research that is supervised by one or more members of staff in this department. Students can find a project either by selecting one from a publicised list, or they may also develop their own project ideas in collaboration with a potential supervisor. The research project starts at the beginning of Term 2 (January), and the bulk of the research itself takes place after the exams in May.

For the full-time version of the MSc, a typical course of study would involve: arriving at UCL in late September for induction and commencement of courses; taking approximately four modules during Term 1; taking another four modules during Term 2, including the research proposal; taking the exams relating to the taught components in May; after receiving feedback on the research proposal from supervisors and other markers, students then carry out and write up there research project from June to August; research dissertations are submitted in early September.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MSc in Geoscience.


Crustal Dynamics, Mountain Building and Basin Analysis is a fieldwork only module (to Spain) without a classroom element. The field trip to Germany is mandatory. Students are expected to pay for travel to and from the field area and any additional subsistence. Accommodation and subsistence is provided.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: Applying for Graduate Study at UCL

The Applying to UCL for graduate study session took place in December 2021. The session, covered by our Graduate Admissions and Student Recruitment teams, provides helpful information about the process of applying for graduate study, as well as offering an insight into what we consider to be a competitive application.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: Funding your studies

The Funding your studies session took place in December 2021. The session, covered by our Funding and Student Recruitment teams, provides information and guidance about the various scholarships and funding opportunities for graduate study at UCL.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2022/23) £12,900 £6,450
Tuition fees (2022/23) £38,000 £19,000

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website:

Additional costs

There is a compulsory field trip to Germany. Students are expected to pay for travel to the field area (flight, train and also taxi or bus fees to arrive at airports and accommodation) and essential subsistence. Estimated travel costs are £140.

Field clothing and equipment is required and will need to be purchased if the student does not already possess these, this includes; waterproof jacket, suitable walking boots, notebook, pencils, compass clinometer, handlens, hardhat. Estimate cost £135.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

Please refer to the UCL Scholarships website for available funding.

The Dennis Curry Scholarship is open to applications from UK nationals, who have applied to study MSc Geoscience, and who are not already receiving full financial support from any other awards. For more information please visit:

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

Brown Family Bursary

Now Closed for 2022/23
Value: £15,000 (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: UK

Next steps

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Geoscience at graduate level
  • why you want to study Geoscience at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your academic background meets the demands of this programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes in any application cycle.

Got questions? Get in touch

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