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Mineral Resources (MSc) 2020 entry

The MSc in Mineral Resources prepares students for the challenges in resource extraction in the 21st century. It tackles not only the geological challenges inherent in mineral exploration targeting and estimation, but also the economic, environmental, social, and geopolitical aspects of mining: from exploration, extraction to remediation. 

Course withdrawn

This course has been withdrawn and will not run for the academic year 2020-2021. See available courses.

Course type

Postgraduate, leading to a Master of Science (MSc)

Course dates

  • 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.

Course duration

One year full time or two years part-time

Entry requirements

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.

Tuition fees

UK and EU: £11,420
Overseas: £23,090

Application deadline

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.

Application requirements

  • 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.

Course information

The MSc in Mineral Resources is a one-year postgraduate degree designed to prepare students for the challenges in resource extraction in the 21st century. Updated for 2020-2021, it will tackle not only the geological challenges inherent in mineral exploration targeting and estimation, but also the economic, environmental, social, and geopolitical aspects of mining: from exploration, extraction to remediation.

It provides hands-on training in both the classroom and field in the latest digital and remote sensing mapping techniques, 3D modelling software and geochemical mapping. Students gain knowledge and experience through interactions with invited guest lecturers from industry and by visiting mine sites. Knowledge is consolidated through both an industry or research-focused dissertation, and an international field course, which for 2020-2021 is planned to be in South Africa.

The MSc is targeted both at new graduates seeking a career in the resources industry or preparation for an applied PhD, and also at professional exploration geologists with several years industry experience seeking to move into an exploration strategy role.

Teaching format

The MSc in Mineral Resources is a comprehensive course that combines core knowledge, fieldwork, short courses and a research dissertation. The MSc degree requires two semesters of full-time (or four semesters part-time) coursework equivalent to a total of seven taught modules. The assessment for the taught modules is based on coursework and written examinations.

Knowledge gained will be consolidated through an assessed field excursion, which for 2020-2021 is planned to be in South Africa. 

The final three months of your course will be focused on independent research which concludes with a 15,000-word field or laboratory-based dissertation.


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.

Across the first two semesters, students must take the following compulsory modules:

  • Core to Crust Ore Genesis - High T: focuses on the geological processes, geodynamic setting, and mineralogy of the principal metallic mineral deposits related to magmatic and magmatic-hydrothermal processes.
  • Core to Crust Ore Genesis - Low T: focuses on the geological processes, geodynamic setting, and mineralogy of the principal metallic mineral deposits related to low-temperature hydrothermal and surficial processes.
  • Applied Digital Field Methods: field-based module that focuses on creating and interpreting surface and underground maps, and drill core logs.
  • Geodynamics: studies the geodynamic evolution of Earth's crust through geological time, the evolution of convergent and divergent margins, and the relationships between tectonics, erosion and climate. The module develops skills of geodynamic interpretation, field observation and use of numerical models.
  • Exploration to Estimation: explores the fundamental geochemical, hyperspectral and geophysical concepts used by the mineral exploration industry, introduces three-dimensional geological modelling using industry-standard software, and covers key aspects leading to mineral resource estimation
  • Global Resource Challenges: Tackles the economic, environmental, societal, geopolitical and ethical issues regarding mining, and future challenges shaping mineral exploration into the mid-21st century
  • Field Excursion: international field course to see major deposit types and mining operations, for 2020/21 this is planned to be in South Africa
  • Statistics and Analytical Sciences: provides students with a strong background in statistics and methods of data analysis used in Earth Sciences.

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.

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Events and seminars

The School of Earth and Environmental Sciences holds monthly seminars with expert guest speakers from the UK and abroad. 

The School also holds an annual full-day ‘FRESH’ seminar series (Frontline Earth Science Research at St Andrews). The 2019 FRESH event was entitled, “Evolution of Earth's Atmosphere.”


Recent Graduate Discount
The University of St Andrews offers a 10% discount in postgraduate tuition fees to students who are eligible to graduate or who have graduated from St Andrews within the last three academic years and are starting a postgraduate programme with the University of St Andrews.

Find out more about postgraduate scholarships

After the MSc

Research degrees

The comprehensive and rigorous MSc course provides relevant preparation for pursuing a career in the mineral industry sector and also prepares students for PhD-level research.

PhD in Earth Sciences


Because of the importance of the extractive industries to society, the economy and the environment, economic geologists are employed in the mineral, oil, gas and petroleum industries, engineering, environmental and financial sectors, as well as by geological surveys, consultancy companies, and academia.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students in building their employability skills.


School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of St Andrews
Irvine Building
St Andrews
KY16 9AL

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 3940

Earth and Environmental Sciences website

Page amendments 

4 March 2020: Course module information was added to the course page.


Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our admissions policy.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online (PDF, 72 KB).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online (PDF, 84 KB).

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