Applied and Petroleum Micropalaeontology MSc

The course is aimed at graduates from a variety of Geoscience backgrounds who wish to gain expertise in Micropalaeontology and Petroleum Geosciences.

Applicants should ideally have a first degree in Geology or a closely related subject. Early Applications are encouraged as places on the course may be limited.

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Key features:

  • Looking at specimens under the microscopeComprehensive coverage of the key microfossil groups used in hydrocarbon exploration
  • Focus on the role of microfossils in understanding major changes in global climate
  • Course taught by both academic staff and industrial partners
  • Opportunity to experience working with geological consultancies as well as an academic research environment
  • Individual research project tailored to your own skills and goals
  • The course has received financial support from BG Group, BP, Petrostrat and Shell.

Download the MSc Applied and Petroleum Micropalaeontology leaflet

“The specialist course modules and teaching by academics as well as industrial staff makes my course stand out”

Yasir Ashraf - MSc Applied and Petroleum Micropalaeontology 


Deep sea drillingTaught modules offered include:

  • Foraminifera
  • Calcareous Nannofossils
  • Ostracods
  • Pollen and Spores
  • Dinoflagellates
  • Sedimentary Basin Analysis
  • Petroleum Geology

Fees and funding

Postgraduate Loans for Masters students

The new postgraduate loans system for Masters degrees in the UK will be introduced for students commencing in the 2016-17 academic year. The government-backed student loans will provide up to a maximum of £10,000 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas.

Detailed criteria and information regarding the application process is expected in early 2016. The key information to date is summarised here.

Fees for 2016

  • Home/EU students £9,180 FT only
  • International students £18,900 FT only

Learn more about fees and funding

Funded scholarships available:
There are a number of industrially funded places available for this course for 2016-17. These are open to EU and UK students only and are awarded on a competitive basis. The scholarships are designed to cover most, if not all of the course fees. In exceptional circumstances, a small stipend may also be awarded. If you wish to be considered for these awards, please complete the application form (Word doc 32KB) and submit by the deadline, 12:00 noon on Friday 29 April. Results will be announced towards the end of July.

The Micropalaeontological Society Educational Trust Fund also makes awards each year to the course. Applications should be made directly to the TMS; details can be found at the TMS Educational Trust Awards page.

Entry requirements

Applicants should ideally have a first degree in Geology or a closely related subject.

Learn more about entry requirements

International students:

Academic requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

How to apply

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

The first semester is preceded by a short UK-based field trip to collect samples, and delivered through a series of modules focussing on the key microfossil groups and their applications. In the second semester, students will normally take courses to broaden their understanding of petroleum geology and sedimentary basin analysis while undertaking independent research projects.

Assessment methods

120 credits are assessed through taught modules, 60 credits are awarded following the successful completion of the independent project which is assessed through a written dissertation. A variety of assessment methods are used, ranging from written coursework, case study reports, oral presentations and standard examinations.

Related research

  • The course is primarily designed to prepare students for work in the hydrocarbon industry and related service sector; this may involve both onshore and offshore work in the UK, Europe and Worldwide.
  • The research skills acquired will also provide a strong foundation for those wishing to undertake further postgraduate study towards the award of a PhD.

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The Guild has over 200 Societies, community volunteering groups and associations for you to join; they cover every topic and activity that you can think of - there really is something for everyone.


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Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.

Societies, School and campus life

The School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences is one of the friendliest and most dynamic at the University. There’s a great atmosphere and sense of community among students and staff. Learning apart, there is a lot going on, much of it driven by the two main student societies:

The Kinvig Society - named after the first head of the Geography Department, Robert Henry Kinvig – is one of the biggest and most active student societies on campus. Run by students, it lays on a lively and varied programme of social events throughout the year, culminatingin the black-tie Kinvig Ball at one of the city’s top venues in November and the Three Peaks challenge in aid of chosen charities. As well as trips to restaurants, bars and nightclubs, there are sporting events: Kinvig sports representatives organise teams for the inter-departmental University sports leagues. Football, rugby, hockey, netball, volleyball and squash are usually available for both men and women; in some cases, for mixed teams as well. If you’re a geographer or environmental science student, Kinvig will write to you before term starts with a full programme of events to help you settle in happily during your first few weeks.
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The Lapworth Society (LapSoc) is the student society for Earth Sciences students. Named after Birmingham’s first Professor of Geology, Charles Lapworth, it organises social events such as pub quizzes, drinks nights and the end-of-year-ball in March. It fields intermural sports teams in the University’s netball and six-a-side football leagues, training regularly and playing matches every Wednesday afternoon against other schools across campus.
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