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MSc Subsurface Characterisation and Geomodelling


for a geoscience career in a changing world

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This one-year, full time MSc started in 2022-23, and aims to provide geoscience graduates with skills and knowledge for a career in the broad range of industries and organisations requiring digital subsurface characterisation and modelling. The course is taught by experts from diverse geoscience disciplines including geology, geophysics, geomodelling, geoengineering and computational geoscience, with experience of the minerals and several geoenergy sectors. It focuses on theoretical and applied aspects of data interpretation, analysis and computer modelling of the deep and shallow subsurface using real-world data and industry-standard software.

As part of the course, you will also receive training in state of the art industry software (e.g., Petrel and Leapfrog, GIS) and develop a range of soft skills (e.g. presenting, reporting and programming) required by industry.

Find out more more below, and, for further details, contact Course Director Dr Tom Manzocchi at (opens in a new window)Tom.Manzocchi@ucd.ie 

Course Content: 

The MSc consist of the following modules which include mixed lecture and practical-based modules, entirely hands-on practical modules, teamwork-based modules and a fieldwork module:

Geoscience characterisation:

  • Stratigraphic prediction
  • Applied Structural geology
  • Applied Quaternary geology
  • Geofluids and Geomechanics

Geomodelling principles:

  • Introduction to geomodelling
  • Geostatistics and geomodelling
  • Fractured rock modelling

Data acquisition and processing:

  • Drilling and well logging
  • Geophysical methods I & II
  • Remote sensing
  • Geocomputation with Python

Industry applications:

  • Applied Geoscience
  • 3D mapping and modelling I & II (ArcGIS, Petrel, Leapfrog)
  • Rock Engineering

Fieldwork and teamwork:

  • Team-based modelling I & II
  • Geological Field skills - Spanish Pyrenees

Applied research project

More information: 

Is this course for me? Find out more by downloading our MSc Handbook.

About the course: 

The programme combines classroom-based instruction, practical workstation experience, team-based exercises and field visits. It also includes a three-month applied research project.

Autumn Trimester (September – December)

  • Stratigraphic prediction (2.5 credits)
  • Applied structural geology (2.5 credits)
  • Applied Quaternary geology (2.5 credits)
  • Applied Geoscience (5 credits)
  • Introduction to geomodelling (5 credits)
  • Drilling and well logging (2.5 credits)
  • Geophysical methods I (2.5 credits)
  • 3D mapping and modelling I (5 credits)
  • Geocomputation (2.5 credits)

Spring Trimester (January – April)

  • Geostatistics and geomodelling (2.5 credits)
  • Geofluids and Geomechanics (2.5 credits)
  • Rock Engineering (2.5 credits)
  • Remote sensing (2.5 credits)
  • Geophysical methods II (2.5 credits)
  • 3D mapping and modelling II (2.5 credits)
  • Fractured rock modelling (2.5 credits)
  • Team-based modelling I (2.5 credits)
  • Team-based modelling II (2.5 credits)
  • Geological Field skills - Spanish Pyrenees (7.5 Credits)

Summer Trimester (May - August)

  • Applied research project (30 credits)

For details of the course and modules, see our Course Overview Page.

Hear from course instructors, geoscientists from industry and past graduates here.

Entry to the programme requires an Honours undergraduate degree at 2.1 or higher (or equivalent) level in Earth Science or Geoscience. Consideration will be given to applicants with similar qualifications in cognate areas (e.g. Geophysics/Physical Geography), and to those with significant and relevant work experience but who do not meet this criterion. Applicants whose first language is not English must also demonstrate English language proficiency of IELTS 6.5 (no band less than 6.0 in each element), or equivalent. Full details of the fees and application process are available on the UCD Graduate Admissions website.

This programme provides graduates and company staff seeking career advancement with the key knowledge, skills and tools required to be successful geoscientists across the range of industries and applied research organisations working with subsurface data. We value ambition and passion to be expert problem-solvers through the application of sound geological reasoning, models and quantitative techniques. We provide a learning environment that develops students’ ability to solve complex subsurface problems in a creative but pragmatic manner, to present results effectively to management and clients, and to work both individually and in teams as required in a business context. A strong emphasis is placed on learning and assessment through individual and team-based practical exercises in both the classroom and field. Students work with a wide range of industry datasets and workflows, using state-of-the-art techniques and software. The curriculum facilitates direct engagement with industry personnel via tailored short courses, site visits, joint fieldwork and business-style technical presentations.

On completion of the programme students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a broad technical grounding and strong competence in characterising subsurface resources critical to modern society.
  • Appreciate the main subsurface challenges in each industry sector, the controls on resource volumes and how they are constrained, and the value and business drivers that govern activity in various geoscience-based industry sectors.
  • Show an advanced level of 3D and 4D understanding of the subsurface as well as critical reasoning skills developed through a wide range of practical exercises and a broad field-based curriculum.
  • Assess and balance the requirement for resource development against the inevitable environmental impacts.
  • Work with limited data and multiple hypotheses, balancing and assessing the merits and implications of competing models and designing work programmes to limit uncertainty.
  • Manage, QC, analyse and integrate large subsurface geophysical and borehole datasets with an awareness of data limitations and interpretation pitfalls.
  • Work with a range of digital subsurface and georeferenced data across different application areas including geophysical and borehole data and be able to load, visualise, manipulate and interpret these data using industry-standard software.
  • Create deterministic and nondeterministic geological models of the subsurface to help visualise, manage and develop resources and convey concepts to management and the public.
  • Work in mixed ability and multidisciplinary teams and engage in effective dialogue with cognate disciplines (drilling, engineering, environmental, energy).
  • Display a high level of professional and ethical integrity particularly in relation to data confidentiality, intellectual property and social licence to operate.
  • Operate to industry-standard Health and Safety requirements, particularly with regard to field work in remote areas and working on industrial sites.
  • Clearly communicate ideas and results to management, regulatory bodies and to public forums.
  • Develop skills in technical report writing and presentations as required for industry and research positons.
  • Formulate, drive and execute a piece of independent research addressing an applied subsurface geoscience question.
  • Build on an early network of contacts in the geoscience community.

We are now accepting applications for a September 2023 start.

To apply, visit: www.ucd.ie/apply