Postgraduate Courses at Bangor University

Applied Marine Geoscience MSc

Course facts

  • Name: Applied Marine Geoscience
  • Qualification: MSc
  • Duration: 1 year full-time

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This MSc is a full-time one-year course, consisting of 9 months taught course and 3 months research project, and assessed by coursework and examinations. The course provides theoretical and practical training in measuring, quantifying and understanding the physical processes within the geological marine environment. It provides a sound scientific basis on which to decide how best to design and execute marine surveys, be they geophysical, sedimentological or geological, for the required purpose.

The MSc in Applied Marine Geoscience evolved from its predecessor, the Marine Geotechnics course which boasted a 30 year pedigree.

A series of modules have been designed to explain the processes that form and characterise a wide variety of sedimentary environments, from the littoral zone to the deep ocean. Those controls range from the dynamical, chemical, climatic to geological; all are inter-related. The student also gains knowledge and understanding of survey techniques in order to map these environments and thereby gain a better understanding of the processes that shape them. The final facet of the course involves an explanation of how these sedimentary materials react to imposed loads - how they behave geotechnically.

From past experience it is found that students on completion of the course will find employment in the offshore hydrocarbons industry, geophysical contract companies (both offshore and terrestrial), geotechnical engineering companies, river and harbour boards or government establishments. The course may also lead students to further academic research studies.

Aims of the course

The aim of the course is to provide the world with people who

  • understand the inter-relationships between the forces which shape the marine geological environment,
  • have mastered the practical and analytical techniques necessary to study those controls and survey the geological settings
  • can critically analyse their findings and present them at a standard and in a form required by end-users, be they commercial or academic.

Whilst the form and style of presentation of work may differ, the skills required by doctoral students and those by potential employers (the marine geoservices industry) overlap to a large extent. Specifically identifying aspects of the course in this light, we aim to enable the students to:

  • be skilled in planning and acquiring good quality data in the laboratory and in the field in a safe manner
  • be able to work as a team in the acquisition of larger data-sets
  • appreciate the importance of recognising the limitations of model-based interpretation of data
  • review and critically analyse previous work both before and after undertaking data acquisition or modelling
  • understand the fundamental workings of the offshore geoservices industry

In a more general sense, the course is designed to act as a conversion course for a physical scientist who wants to hone their research skills whilst at the same time getting a grasp of how those skills are applied to solve both academic and commercially based problems. An important part of the course philosophy is the idea that the challenges that face marine geoscientists can often only be solved by taking a multi-disciplinary approach and we instil this idea of wider thought into our graduates.

The course aims to place the student in a strong position to go on to doctoral studies on issues such as palaeoclimatology, geophysics or sedimentology; or enter directly into the offshore industry e.g. to geohazard analysis, or offshore renewable energy exploitation.

Entry requirements

Successful applicants normally hold, or are expected to be awarded, a First Class or Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a Natural Science or related subject. Alternatively, we will consider applicants with a good and relevant Lower Second Class Honours Degree provided that they have at least one year of additional relevant experience or can show evidence of particular interest in the course. Non-graduates who are over 25 years in age and have at least two years work experience relevant to the course are also encouraged to apply.

IELTS: 6.0 (with no element below 5.5).

International Students

For information and further detailed guidance on entry requirements for International Students, including the minimum English Language entry requirement, please visit the Entry Requirements by Country pages on the International Education Centre section of our website.

Ask the IEC for assistance...

If you want advice or a general chat about what’s available contact the International Education Centre on +44 (0) 1248 382028 or email

How to Apply

Online applications can now be made by prospective applicants for all postgraduate taught programmes and postgraduate research programmes at the University (with the exception of the PGCE, Diploma in Occupational Therapy and DClinPsy).

Step 1 - Preparing to apply

Home/EU students

International students

International students have two options when applying;

Option 1 - Apply online yourself

Option 2 - Apply online with the help of a recruitment agent

  • If you would like help in completing and managing your application you may seek help from one of our authorised representatives or agents. To see a list of our representatives for your country please visit the Country specific pages.

Step 2 - Apply Online

Apply online for September entry

Once you have read the Guidance Notes you should apply using our Online Application form.

After you have completed the form on-line, you will have to produce paper copies of a number of documents (certified where you’re unable to provide the originals), such as academic transcripts, degree certificates, confirmation of financial support, and English language test results.

Need help applying?

Home/EU students please contact...

Postgraduate Admissions: or write to:

Admissions Office
Bangor University
LL57 2DG

Telephone: +44 (0)1248 388484

International students please contact...

International Education Office: or write to

International Education Centre
Bangor University
LL57 2DG

Telephone: +44 (0) 1248 382028

When to apply

The University will accept applications throughout the year, but we would generally advise that you send in your application form by the end of June to ensure that you have time to make any funding and/or accommodation arrangements, and for documents such as transcripts and references to be obtained if not submitted with the application.This will also give you more time to meet any conditions we may potentially attach to an offer (e.g. in the case of overseas students, taking an IELTS or TOEFL test to meet the English Language requirement).

Career Prospects

Over the last 8 years, 78% of students have found geo-related employment and 18% have gone on to study for a PhD.  Typically, graduates have taken up the following career paths:

  • Onshore or offshore site investigation contract or consultancy companies.
  • Government research agencies, e.g. BGS.
  • Higher Education and Research.


Through the School of Ocean Sciences Association (alumni society), we have secured THREE industry studentships exclusively for the MSc Applied Marine Geosciences. 
These are provided by

and are for between £4000 and £2500.  The studentship activity can take many forms during your time here e.g. bilateral visits between the student in the School and the company, project joint supervision, short work experience or project related work at the company.  It is expected that the student will provide a copy of the final research dissertation to the funding company.  Applications are possible upon registration, not before and will be judged primarily on academic excellence and a clear, relevant career aspiration.  The award is open to all registered students - UK/EU and International.

Specifically for students applying from Africa, the Folarin Lajumoke Award is available (£1100).  This is a donation given with extreme generosity by one of our past students, from personal funds.  Only one award can be given each year and this is decided on the basis of the application form information upon registration.

The fifth source of funding specifically for the MSc Applied Marine Geosciences is the Kirby Laing Studentship.  This is worth £5000, is based on academic excellence and other information presented in your original application form. It is awarded on the basis of applications received by July 1st, 2013

Two other sources of funding open to all Masters courses in UK are:

  1. In the field of marine science, the Society for Underwater Technology Educational Support Fund award.  Details are available HERE.
  2. In the field of geoscience, the Petroleum Society of Great Britain studentship award,  Details availableHERE.

Despite the highly competitive nature of the awards, we have had successful applications for both of the above awards.

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