Skip to main content

MRes Geological Sciences


The MRes in Geological Sciences is a full-time programme running over 12 months from the date of first registration for the programme. Applications will be accepted for a start date in October or January. The programme consists of (a) a major research thesis and (b) taught modules on generic and transferable skills, with an emphasis on scientific writing, oral presentations, and general research skills. Part-time study for this programme is not available.

Prospective students are advised to contact the Programme Coordinator Prof. Andy Wheeler in advance of application via (PAC code CKS82) to discuss possible project areas.

Students should consult the Fees office website for information on EU and Non-EU College and Bench Fees


MRes Geological Sciences Brochure

Programme Requirements

Students undertake a total workload equivalent to 90 credits over the 12 month programme, the principal element of which is the completion of a major research thesis of approximately 25,000 words. In parallel, students must take and pass taught modules to the value of 20 credits.

Students take 20 credits from the following available modules:

GL6020 Hydrogeology, Contaminated Land and Assessment

GL6021 Engineering Geology

GL6022 Environmental Planning and Regulation

GL6023 Offshore Environmental Geology

GL6024 Applied Geophysics

GL6025 Geoinformatics for Environmental Geology

GL6026 Field Geology Techniques

GL6027 Industry Case Studies

GL4002 Petroleum Geology and Basin Analysis (5 credits)

GL4003 Applied Geophysics (5 credits)

GL4004 Advanced Igneous Processes (5 credits)

GL4011 Economic Geology (5 credits)

GL4024 Exceptional Glimpses of Ancient Life (5 credits)

GL4027 Geochemistry (5 credits)


  • 1Students may elect to take other, relevant modules (subject to availability) that are offered by the University that are not listed above to fulfil the elective requirement with approval from the MRes coordinator, research supervisor and Head of School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Science.

Students will also undertake independent research towards completion of a research thesis to a student workload equivalent of 70 credits on a selected topic in Geological Science. 

MRes Research Projects



Ed Jarvis

Palynology and palynofacies of the Booley Bay Formation of Co.Wexford.  This project will focus on the palynofacies, palynogy, sedimentology and Palaeoenvironments of the Cambrian Booley Bay Formation in Co. Wexford.    Nearshore/offshore trends will be determined using quantitative palynofacies analysis, this will greatly aid the understanding of the Palaeoenvironments that the Edicarian biota were present in. This is the youngest record of the Edicarian biota worldwide, this palaeoenvironmental analysis would greatly increase our understanding of the Edicarians last refuge.


Ed Jarvis

Palaeoenvironments recorded in the Lias of Northern Ireland.  This project will involve sedimentological, palynofacies, microfossils and macrofossil analysis of the Lias sections in Northern Ireland in order to determine the palaeoenvironmental trends in the sequence. Two principle section, Waterlooville and White Park Bay will be logged and sampled for detailed investigation in the lab. This study will establish the nature of the Lias environments recorded including near shore/offshore trends and patterns of sea floor redox levels.


Maria McNamara

Taphonomy of insects in the Daohuguo Konservat-Lagerstätte (Jurassic, Inner Mongolia).  The Daohuguo biota is a major source of information on the diversity of insects during the Mesozoic, but its taphonomy has not been investigated. As a result, the fidelity of the biological information preserved by the biota – e.g. on palaeodiversity, faunal changes through time, preservation of key features e.g. colour patterning, etc. – is unknown. This project involves characterising the sedimentological setting of the biota by the analysis of thin sections using light- and scanning electron microscopy, the construction of sedimentary logs and the analysis of hundreds of sedimentological and fossiliferous hand specimens of sediments from the Lagerstätte. The quality of preservation of numerous fossil specimens will be assessed and analysed using statistical methods.


Pat Meere

Characterising deformation in unconsolidated sediments.  (Pat Meere and Kieran Mulchrone, School of Maths)  Techniques and criteria to recognise and measure deformation in unconsolidated sediments are still rather limited and primarily concerned with clast fabric analysis.  Existing techniques assume that clasts behave like rigid objects immersed in a viscous fluid (Jeffery, 1922).  Preliminary experimental studies on natural glacial tills have indicated that clasts tend not to follow true Jeffery behaviour and tend not to orbit through the shear plane.  It is our view that using a 3D Jeffery model with a varying component of pure sheart across the shear plane will best approximate sub-glacial deformation conditions in diamict tills.     

Objective 1: Apply existing numerical modelling software to identifying a series of diagnostic parameters for Jeffery-type deformation in object populations.              

Objective 2: Carry out physical analogue modelling to simulate deformation of unconsolidated sediments.                                                                                              

Objective 3: Use criteria validated from the first two objectives to identify sub-glacial deformation at sites where existing evidence for such deformation is not conclusive.


Pat Meere

Early tectonic fabric development in sedimentary rocks.   This project will consist of a combined microstructural/petrological study on the initial development of penetrative tectonic fabrics in clastic sedimentary rocks.  The study will primarily focus on fabric development in the Irish Variscan foreland.


John Reavy

Petrological and structural mapping of the Fanad Lineament, Co. Donegal.  Detailed petrographic and structural mapping will investigate the role this structure played in siting, ascent and emplacement of the Fanad granite. Fieldwork will involve granitoid facies mapping, microstructural analysis and kinematic evaluation. 

See also Regulations for Submission and Examination of Research Masters Degrees.

Programme Learning Outcomes for MRes (Master of Research) in Geological Science (NFQ Level 9, Major Award)
On successful completion of this programme, students should be able to:

  • Carry out an independent and original research project to address an emerging question in Geological Sciences. 
  • Prepare and write a dissertation of their research project in a critical, logical and systematic manner, in keeping with the standards of postgraduate research.
  • Display advanced theoretical knowledge and practical understanding within a research area of Geological Science.
  • Understand the basis and application of field and laboratory methods used in Geological Science and a knowledge of their limitations
  • Avail of relevant workshops or modules to increase scientific technical skills
  • Source, review, critically assess and evaluate relevant primary literature and summarize material for presentation to peers and for inclusion within the research dissertation.
  • Design, write and defend a scientific research proposal based on their current research topic or a proposed topic.
  • Evaluate their skill set and identify skills that should be acquired.
  • Develop professional practice skills including team-work, negotiation, time-management, scientific writing and oral communication.

School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences

An Scoil Eolaíochtaí Bitheolaíocha, Domhaneolaíocha agus Comhshaoil

Distillery Fields, North Mall, University College Cork, Ireland , T23 N73K.