Postgraduate Courses in Geology

By Kevin Branigan - Last update


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A professional qualification in geology provides students with a wide skill set, which can lead to a number of specialisations, or be utilised in a range of careers. Geology is the prime science requirement for all Oil, Gas and mining-related roles.

Postgraduate Courses in Geology Trends

For statistical purposes, geology is bundled into the overall heading of physical sciences. In Ireland in 2015-2016, just over 400 people enrolled in physical science courses (including Geology). Physical sciences were the 4 th most popular field of postgraduate study in Ireland in 2015-2016.

Studying Postgraduate Courses in Geology for Professional Reasons

Studying geology for career purposes opens up three of the largest sectors for job seekers, these are:

  • Oil – either offshore or onshore drilling.
  • Gas – both offshore and onshore gas extraction.
  • Mining – across all types, geology is a major science requirement for all forms of mining.
    Furthermore, geology is a solid base for building a career in ecological conservation.

Research Subjects for Postgraduate Courses in Geology

The actual research subjects on offer, and the thesis they will lead to, will always be driven by the actual course curriculum. Typical examples of research subjects available would be:

  • Geochemistry – the chemical composition of the earth, and how geology is affected by the interaction of this chemical makeup.
  • Hydrogeology – how the sea and land-based water table affects the geology of the planet.
  • Applied geophysics – how natural geological events can be controlled or engineered to have specific effects.

Areas of Specialisation for Postgraduate Courses in Geology

When studying for a postgraduate qualification in geology, many people choose to focus on one specific specialisation. Examples of specializations which would have associated postgraduate courses are:

  • Tectonic, volcanic, and surface processes – the interaction of tectonic plates and the earth’s crust, and the volcanic effect.
  • Planetary science and astrobiology – the study of the geological makeup of planetary bodies and other stellar bodies such as comets and asteroids.
  • Paleoclimate and environmental change – how the geology of the earth affects climate.
  • Environmental geochemistry and biogeochemistry – the study of how geology can affect an environment, thus leading to change in localised chemical makeup.

Job Roles Which Completing Postgraduate Courses in Geology Will Open Up

Studying for a professional postgraduate qualification in geology opens up a wide range of potential jobs. Eventual job roles which could be suitable for geology students are, but is not restricted to:

  • Engineering geologist – advising on the geological impact of civil and commercial engineering projects.
  • Geochemist – analysis and research related to the chemistry of geology.
  • Geophysicist/field seismologist – study the effects of a tectonic shift, and predicting the volcanic effect.
  • Geoscientist – pure laboratory research and development related to geology.
  • Hydrogeologist – dealing with the ocean and mainland water table as either pure research or as a commercial consultant.
  • Wellsite geologist – specialising in the evaluation and monitoring of the geology around an oil or gas well.

Geology is also a useful qualification in many less scientific job roles. For example:

  • Surveyor – measuring and evaluating land.
  • Structural engineer – where an understanding of geology helps in the planning of large construction projects.
  • Civic engineer – working on large construction projects such as dams, bridges and tunnels. A knowledge of geology is vital in these job roles. These are just some of the additional jobs that you could work towards once you receive a postgraduate in geology. There are many more.

In Conclusion

Geology is a subject which opens up many job options, especially those in heavy construction, oil, gas and mining. Furthermore, geology is an important aspect of many conservation roles. A postgraduate in geology forms a firm basis for any of these career choices. Or as a jump-off point for further specialisation.


Kevin Branigan

Postgraduate Courses in Law
Postgraduate Courses in Journalism


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