UCC Postgraduate courses

Geology - Exploration Field Geology

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Geology - Exploration Field Geology

  • Code

    CKR43 Full-time

  • College

    Science, Engineering and Food Science

  • Duration

    1 year Full-time

  • Teaching Mode


  • Qualifications


  • EU Fees 2018

    See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Non-EU Fees 2018


  • Entry Requirements

    See Requirements for full details.

  • Closing Date

    Not on offer in 2019/2020

  • Non-EU Closing Date

    Programme not on offer in 2019/2020

  • Start Date

    Not on offer in 2019/2020

Course Outline

If you are a geology graduate, this course will provide you with the essential knowledge, techniques and experience required by the exploration geology sector for employment in the metal, coal or hydrocarbon industries.

Our course recognises the exceptional demand for exploration geologists driven by the unprecedented rise in commodity prices for metals, coal and petroleum resources.

Bucking the global recessionary trend, significant employment opportunities exist for skilled geologists both within Europeand further afield, with Australiaand Canadarecognised as major markets. 

Exploration companies require skilled field geologists. However, in many courses, geology graduates gain advanced knowledge in research-driven specialisms but lack industrially relevant skills and practical training in core areas. This course bridges that gap. We take note of employer feedback, and recognise and place emphasis on the field-based skills and competence required by industry.

Our course, therefore, provides an excellent foundation for a successful career in exploration geology.

On successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • demonstrate advanced competence in field methods as applied to the exploration industry in sedimentary, igneous, metamorphic and deformed terrains
  • demonstrate advanced understanding of the principles and practice of coal exploration
  • demonstrate advanced understanding of the principles and practice of basin analysis as relevant to the hydrocarbon exploration industry
  • demonstrate advanced understanding of the principles and practice of offshore geological exploration
  • apply Geographical Information Systems for geological mapping and exploration geology purposes
  • test the geotechnical properties of rock and unconsolidated sediment with particular application to mining and quarrying
  • demonstrate advanced understanding of the principles and practice of field exploration geology methodologies, e.g. regional sampling and core utilisation, to the level where you will be able to plan and direct an exploration course
  • initiate independent research on a field geology topic.

Part I

You will take taught modules to the value of 60 credits involving field study, lectures, practicals, seminars, workshops, and self-directed learning.

Part II

You will undertake a substantial Research Project (GL6018) to the value of 30 credits in an area of geology field study. This project must be submitted by 1 September in the academic year of registration for the course.

Core Modules
You will take 90 credits as follows:

Part I (60 credits)

GL6002 Igneous and Metamorphic Terrain Mapping (10 credits) 
Coal Exploration (5 credits) 
GL6005 Basin Analysis and Sedimentary Facies Analysis (10 credits)
GL6006 Geotechnical Investigations of Soils and Rocks (5 credits)
GL6007 Practical Offshore Geological Exploration (5 credits)
GL6008 Geological Application of Geographical Information Systems (5 credits)
GL6010 Field Exploration Methods and Professional Development (5 credits)
GL6011 Structural Geology for Hydrocarbon Exploration (5 credits)
GL6012 Structural Geology for Mineral Exploration (5 credits)
GL6013 Geology of Ore Deposits (5 credits)

Part II (30 credits)

GL6018 Field Geology Dissertation (30 credits)

Further Information can be found on our postgraduate calendar

Non-EU Applications

Applicants who are interested in applying for the programme can also apply online at PAC.

For full details of the non-EU application procedure please visit our how to apply pages for international students.


**All Applicants please note: modules listed in the course outline above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course, but these are subject to change from year to year. Please check the college calendar for the full academic content of any given course for the current year. 

In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools and departments. 

Course Practicalities

The MSc in Exploration Field Geology is a full-time 12-month course split into two parts.

Part I consists of taught modules running from September to April. The course includes ship time experience aboard the Irish State Research Vessel Celtic Voyager. It also includes residential field trips to Co. Donegal, Co. Clare and Co. Kerry in Ireland, and to South Wales in the UK.You must pass Part I in order to progress to Part II.

Part II consists of a five-month research project.

The taught modules in the course are assessed by a combination of written examinations and continuous assessment elements. These include essays, seminars, assessed presentations, practical reports, technical reports, offshore and field survey reports.

The five-month research project is assessed by a dissertation and a project seminar.

This course is taught by world leaders in the field of exploration geology. These currently include:

Garth Earls –  Premier Gold and former director of the Geological Survey of Northern Irleand.

Dr Mark Cooper, Sherwood Geoconsulting Inc. – petroleum structural geology

Larry Thomas, author of the foremost coal exploration text book and consultant ­– coal exploration

Prof Donny Hutton (former Chair of Geology, University of Birmingham) – igneous and metamorphic terrain mapping.

Eileen McCarthy - QMEC Environmental

Most instructors manage their own exploration companies/consultancies or have direct industrial research and training  links.

Why Choose This Course

When you graduate from this master’s course you will be equipped with both academic and practical skills in a range of subjects relevant to employers’ requirements.

Because the course is taught by world leaders in exploration geology who have considerable industrial knowledge, you will be well-prepared for employment in industry. The research dissertation also provides you with an opportunity to work directly with industry. On conclusion of the course you will have an excellent knowledge of the hydrocarbon, minerals and offshore surveying industries.

Placement or Study Abroad Information

Opportunities exist for students to undertake their Part II research project as part of a placement within an exploration company in Ireland or abroad.

Skills and Careers Information

You will acquire practical skills in:

  • field mapping for minerals and metals
  • coal and basin analysis
  • geotechnical site appraisals
  • appraising structural reservoir traps and seals
  • interpreting geophysical data
  • designing and implementing surveys, both on- and off-shore
  • evaluating a resource and implementing an extraction strategy
  • manipulating geological data in GIS
  • executing a research project.

Many transferable skills are also fostered through different learning approaches, including critical thinking, problem-solving, report writing, oral presentations, independent research and time management.


To be eligible, candidates for the MSc in Exploration Field Geology must either:

  1. hold at least a Second Class Honours, Grade II degree or equivalent in a Geological/Earth Sciences area or a related relevant degree or 
  2. have reached an equivalent standard through completion of a relevant postgraduate qualification

The number of places is limited and selection will be made on the candidate's performance in his/her primary degree and relevant experience. If you are applying with Qualifications obtained outside Ireland and you wish to verify if you meet the minimum academic and English language requirements for this programme please click here to view the grades comparison table by country and for details of recognised English language tests.

View the grades comparison table

Non-EU Candidates

Non-EU candidates are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to Irish university primary degree level. In addition, where such candidates are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language. To verify if you meet the minimum academic requirements for this programme please visit our qualification comparison pages.

For more detailed entry requirement information please refer to the International website .

Fees and Costs

The fee for this course is €6,750.

Part-time students:

If your course is offered full time and part time, normally the fee for part time course is half the full time fee per year, please check the fact file for confirmation.


If your course required a deposit, that figure will be deducted from your second semester fee payment in January.

EU student fee payment:

Fees for EU students are payable in two equal instalments. First payment at registration in August and the second in January.

International student fee payment:

Fees for Non-EU Students are payable in one instalment in August.

How can I pay?

By Credit/Debit card online or by credit transfer.


If you have any questions on fee payment please email our Fees Office at fees@ucc.ie .

The Non-EU fee for this course is €18,000.

Non-EU Fees

The 2017/2018 Postgraduate Fees Schedule is available here

How Do I Apply

1. Choose Course

Firstly choose your course. Applicants can apply for up to three courses under one application. Details of taught courses are available on our online prospectus.

2. Apply Online

Once you have chosen your course you can apply online at the Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC). Applicants will need to apply before the course closing date. There is a €50 application fee for all courses apart from the Education - Professional Master of Education - (Secondary School/Post-Primary Teacher Training) which has a €100 application fee.

3. Gather Supporting Documents

Scanned copies of the following documents will need to be uploaded to PAC in support of your application. Applicants may need to produce the original documents if you are accepted onto a course and register at UCC.

  • Original qualification documents listed on your application including transcripts of results from institutions other than UCC
  • Any supplementary forms requested for your course.

Please log into PAC for more details.

4. Application processing timeline

Our online application system PAC opens for applications for most courses in early November of each year. Check specific course details. 

Questions on how to apply?

Please use our web enquiry form to contact us.

Additional Requirements

Please note that you will be asked to fill in a supplementary information form as part of the applications process for this programme and you are also asked to provide an academic reference indicating your potential for postgraduate study. The supplementary form is available to view SupplementaryQuestionsckr43‌‌‎‌‎.

The closing date for non-EU applications is Programme not on offer in 2019/2020

Apply Now

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact