Mineral Resources (MSc) 2018 entry

The Mineral Resources MSc delivers knowledge and skills training essential to pursue a career in the mineral industry sector and to prepare students for PhD research. The course provides extensive training at the forefront of mineral resources, including industry-led workshops and field excursions.

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Course type

Postgraduate; leading to a Master of Science (MSc)

Course dates

  • Start date: 10 September 2018
  • End date: 30 September 2019

If you started this programme in 2017, you can find information about 2017 entry on the 2017 Mineral Resources page. 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

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.

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Tuition fees

UK and EU: £10,360
Overseas: £20,980

Application deadline

Applications are accepted until shortly before teaching starts in September. 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
  • personal statement (optional)
  • 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

Mineral resources are a part of almost everything surrounding our everyday life. Finding those resources is the job of economic geologists, multidisciplinary scientists who use geochemistry, mineralogy, geophysics, petrology and structural geology to understand, describe, and explore for mineral resources.

The MSc in Mineral Resources will prepare you to enter a career in the mineral industry or to pursue PhD research. The degree has been designed by recommendations from industry, and provides practical training involving methodologies and technologies at the forefront of mineral exploration.

Key experiences include field excursions to a world-class ore deposit in the UK and the Rio Tinto mine in southern Spain to study the genesis of volcanic massive sulphide deposits and innovative acid mine drainage remediation methods.


  • Delivers a wide range of experience in the field of mineral resources based on the “mineral system” approach.
  • Focuses on current genetic models of ore deposits, applied field training, 3D geological modelling and mineral exploration.
  • Designed in collaboration with the mineral resources industry.
  • Provides key industry skills, such as sub-surface mapping, core logging, integration of multiple spatial data sets and 3D modelling.
  • Dynamic working atmosphere supported by collegial staff and student community.

Teaching format

The MSc in Mineral Resources is a comprehensive course that combines core knowledge, field work, short courses and a research dissertation and integrates that with first-hand experience through a diverse and challenging set of industry-relevant mapping, logging and 3D geological modelling skills.

The MSc degree requires two semesters of full-time (or four semesters part-time) coursework, equivalent to a total of eight taught modules. The assessment for the taught modules is based on coursework and written examinations.

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

Further particulars regarding curriculum development.


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 2017–2018 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2018 entry.

Student must take the following four compulsory modules in their first semester of study:

  • Magmatic-related Ore Deposits: focuses on the geodynamic setting, geometry and mineralogy of the principal metallic mineral deposits related to magmatic processes.
  • Mineral Exploration: explores the fundamental geochemical, hyperspectral and geophysical concepts used by the mineral exploration industry.
  • Applied Geological Mapping: field-based module that focuses on creating and interpreting surface and underground maps, and drill core logs.
  • Advanced Petrogenesis: explores the genesis and evolution of magmatism that creates Earth's crust and the petrography and geochemistry of the associated minerals and rocks.

Students must take the following four compulsory modules in their second semester of study:

  • Hydrothermal Ore Deposits: focuses on the geodynamic setting, geometry, and mineralogy of the principal metallic mineral deposits related to hydrothermal processes.
  • 3D Geological Modelling: introduces three-dimensional geological modelling using industry-standard software and emphasises the creation, validation and interpretation of geological and structural models, as well as their use in mineral exploration and mineral resource estimation.
  • GIS and Spatial Analysis for Earth Scientists: covers the principles behind, and practical application of, spatial analysis in Earth Sciences.
  • 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.

In the final three months of your course, you will focus on independent research which concludes with a 15,000-word field- and laboratory-based dissertation. The topic is defined by the student in conjunction with an academic advisor and would normally be based around one of the research foci within the School and include industry involvement.

In order to maximise the time for independent research to be conducted, formulation of the research dissertation project, a background literature review, proposal writing and development of the analytical design is all completed by the end of Semester 2.

The third semester then concentrates on data collection, data integration and interpretation, and presentation of the research within a poster conference, before final submission of the 15,000-word dissertation towards the end of August.

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MSc, there are exit awards available that allow 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 2018 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.


Visit St Andrews

If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at an open day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.


Upcoming visiting days:

  • Wednesday 14 November 2018

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Events and seminars

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


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.

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) often provides funding for PhD programmes in Earth and Environmental Science through the IAPETUS Doctoral Training Programme.

PhD in Earth Science


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.

Contact information

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

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 3940
Email: earthsci@st-andrews.ac.uk

Earth and Environmental Sciences website


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).