Geochemistry (MSc) 2020 entry
The MSc in Geochemistry at St Andrews provides students with specialist knowledge and skills in geochemistry and modern geochemical methods, transferrable to a wide variety of geoscience and environmental science careers, as well as preparing students for PhD research. The course involves hands-on laboratory and field sampling training, and experience with state-of-the-art equipment.
Postgraduate, leading to a Master of Science (MSc)
- Start date: 7 September 2020
- End date: 30 September 2021
Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.
One year full time or two years part time (part-time study is not available for students who require a visa to study in the UK)
- A good 2.1 Honours undergraduate degree in a subject-related area. If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements.
- English language proficiency. See English language tests and qualifications.
The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.
UK and EU: £9,450
Wednesday 12 August 2020. Applicants should apply as early as possible due to limited spaces, and to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.
- CV or résumé
- personal statement
- two original signed academic references
- academic transcripts and degree certificates
- evidence of English language proficiency (required if English is not your first language).
For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.
The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2019–2020 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2020 entry.
There are seven compulsory modules:
- Advanced Geochemistry: trains students in the advanced techniques and methodologies used to address fundamental and applied questions related to the Earth system and the cycling of natural materials between fluid and solid phases.
- Statistics and Analytical Sciences: provides students with a strong background in statistics and methods of data analysis used in Earth Sciences.
- Earth's Greatest Hits: reviews current 'hot topic' research about how our planet has evolved and some of the major changes in its chemistry, biosphere and climate.
- Geochemistry: covers the origin and distribution of the elements, thermodynamics, redox reactions and aqueous geochemistry.
- Geochemistry Field Excursion: covers best practice field skills in documenting the geological and environmental controls in a geochemical problem, how to collect samples, and post-trip sample analyses and report writing.
- Isotope Geochemistry: Theory, Techniques, and Applications: explores the theory behind, and geochemical applications of, the natural variability measurable in both radiogenic and stable isotope systems.
- Physical Chemistry Laboratory: comprises four practical experiments chosen from reaction kinetics, physical absorption of gases, macromolecular structures, diffraction, surface properties of materials, and dye modifications to photovoltaic cells; provides experience in planning and performing experiments in a laboratory setting, making measurements, and interpreting data.
Students choose three optional modules.
Here is a sample of optional modules that may be offered.
- Advanced Petrogenesis: explores the nature of the acid and basic magmatism that creates the Earth's crust, the petrography and geochemistry of minerals and rocks, and the petrogenesis and evolution of magmas.
- Advanced Physical Inorganic Chemistry: focuses on advanced discussion of the properties of selected main group compounds, spectroscopy and magnetism.
- Biogeochemistry: examines the role of biogeochemical processes in controlling Earth surface chemistry, and their possible influence on deep Earth reservoirs. It highlights current geochemical and numerical techniques used to constrain these interactions in both modern and ancient (rock record) systems.
- Blockbuster Solids: focuses on how material structure influences its electrical, magnetic and thermal properties, with emphasis placed on metal-organic frameworks and how they can be used for the storage and release of gases.
- Energy Conversion and Storage: discusses the technical details and environmental applications of electrochemical technologies for energy storage, such as batteries and fuel cells.
- Homogeneous Catalysis: discusses the use of metal-based systems in organic transformations and a detailed treatment of homogeneous catalysis.
- Processing of Materials: focuses on the processing of materials and fundamental materials properties such as crystallinity, composition, crystal phase, phase mixing, domain structure, grains and grain boundaries, porosity and pore structure.
- Water in the Environment: provides a combination of the underpinning hydrological theory and the analytical tools required to better understand and ameliorate problems of water in the environment.
Optional modules are subject to change each year, and some may only allow limited numbers of students (see the University's position on curriculum development).
The 'Hydrothermal Ore Deposits' and 'Magmatic-related Ore Deposits' modules are no longer options for this course. These will be replaced by new optional modules in both high and low-temperature ore-forming processes from the Mineral Resources MSc.
The third semester of the MSc course focuses on independent laboratory-based (or field and laboratory-based) research conducted with an academic supervisor. The topic is defined by the student and can be chosen from research foci within the School, or with an external industrial or academic partner.
The research project will involve:
- project formulation
- a background literature review
- proposal writing and analytical design
- data integration and interpretation.
Students present the results of their project as an oral presentation at a poster conference and in a dissertation. The completed dissertation of not more than 15,000 words must be submitted by a date towards the end of August.
If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MSc, there is an exit award available that allows suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PGDip instead of an MSc.
The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2020 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.