MSc Mining Geology

Duration Full time 1 year
  • Geology
  • Engineering
LocationCornwall (Penryn)
Start date September


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This full time 12 month intensive programme is designed to provide advanced specialised training for earth science graduates, leading to excellent employment opportunities in the extractive industry. It is suitable for those who already have an honours degree in geology, mining/minerals engineering or a related subject.

You will attain a comprehensive understanding of the role of a geoscientist working in the mining industry. New skills include underground geological and geotechnical mapping, surveying, mineral exploration, ore microscopy, ore deposit modelling and mine planning. In-depth coverage of mineral resource estimation and grade control, mineral extraction and management, mining law and the environmental impact of mining, enable skills in quantifying the economic value of an ore body and assessing its potential for exploitation to be attained. There is emphasis on acquiring knowledge of the geological characteristics and genesis, methods of exploration, extraction and processing techniques of the major types of metalliferous ore deposit, bulk commodities and industrial minerals.

Taught modules are presented over two semesters and individual projects are undertaken throughout the summer vacation, often as industrial placements with a mining/exploration company. Recent projects have been carried out in all major mining countries on six continents, including Australia, Tanzania, Mongolia, Chile as well as in the UK.

Programme structure

You will study 180 credits to obtain an MSc and 120 credits for a PgDip.

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

Learning and teaching

Taught modules are presented over two semesters. Formal teaching ends in late April/May with a field excursion to examine the geology and visit mines in an area of the world famous for its mining activity.

Extensive use is made of Camborne School of Mines' underground mine facilities, laboratories, mineral processing pilot plant, and the superb field geology and extractive industry operations in South West England.

Field work

On this MSc programme you will receive a great deal of practical experience of working within the minerals industry. The programme aims to produce high quality graduates who can enjoy high employment rates and easy transition into further PhD study.  Emphasis remains on applied teaching and research relevant to careers in the earth resources and renewables sectors. Field visits and practical field-based assignments are used, where appropriate, to emphasise key areas within each module.

You will spend a significant proportion of your time in the field during the autumn term and over the Easter period and are required to participate in an international field trip to visit mines and exploration projects in a major mining region.

Your project runs from May until September. These projects can be located worldwide - previous students have undertaken projects on six continents, including countries such as Ireland, Greenland, Canada, Chile, Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Australia.

You will work on a discrete problem for 4 months, with access to field area and facilities fundamentally governing the timing of the project. You will often participate in designing the project with a sponsor, who in turn provides you with help and support during the project. CSM also provides support via supervision, software and laboratories.

Typical projects include:

  • Exploration: fieldwork + GIS layers + preliminary petrography (SEM/ Microprobe)
  • Production problems (grade or geometallurgy)
  • Mineral resource assessment problems: Geological controls + software development (Isatis/ Datamine)

You will receive extensive support for your projects such as staff sponsorship; module components; teaching materials e.g. specific software; mine/quarry visits in the UK and normally major mining countries such as Australia, Namibia and South Africa; student sponsors and research contracts with various companies and the EU.


A degree from the Camborne School of Mines will give you the practical and vocational skills to pursue a career in related fields, such as mining or exploration. It will also give you a range of broader skills in teamwork, problem solving and communication. We have excellent rates of graduate employment, with many of our postgraduates working abroad after graduation.

Graduates typically find employment as geoscientists in the UK and international mining and extractive industries, related support organisations (eg, consultancies, finance houses) and public service bodies (eg, geological surveys and other government agencies, including regulatory and environmental monitoring services). The MSc course also serves as a suitable foundation for PhD studies in related areas.

Examples of recent MSc Mining Geology graduate destinations:

  • Bardon Aggregates
  • BHP Billiton
  • British Geological 
  • Flemings Bank
  • Gold Fields
  • New Boliden 
  • Pilkingtons
  • Rio Tinto
  • Glencore 

The Career Zone (CAS) at our Cornwall Campus provides high-quality careers information and guidance to students of all disciplines. Our experienced careers team can give you individual support whilst you are at the University and after you have graduated.

Services include talks, confidential careers interviews and an extensive careers library of reference books, magazines and journals. A new computer suite is also available for accessing online careers information, vacancy services and specialist software on, for example, sources of funding for courses and worldwide volunteering.

The CAS can help you to identify attractive jobs, careers paths and employers and assist with your CV, interview technique and identifying work experience placements.

Research areas

From May to September, a major research project is undertaken, usually in association with a mining/exploration company and a dissertation is presented. Recent projects have been carried out in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand as well as in the UK.

Examples of recent MSc Mining Geology Research Projects

  • Alteration and ore mineralogy of an epithermal gold deposit, Sumatra
  • Geology and geodynamic modelling of Mount Isa and Century lead-zinc deposit, Australia
  • Exploration for Cu-Au Fe oxide deposits in Northern Sweden
  • Accuracy of reverse circulation drilling and titanium ore reserve reconciliation at Richard Bay Minerals, South Africa
  • Investigation of geological models at Cerro Matoso nickel laterite mine, Columbia
  • Slope stability analysis at a china clay pit, St Austell, Cornwall
  • Groundwater chemistry associated with inert landfill sites

A research- and practice-led culture

We believe every student benefits from being taught by experts active in research and practice. You will discuss the very latest ideas, research discoveries and new technologies in seminars and in the field and you will become actively involved in a research project yourself. All our academic staff are active in internationally-recognised scientific research across a wide range of topics. You will also be taught by leading industry practitioners.

Entry requirements 2016

Applicants will be selected on the basis of being predicted or achieved a minimum 2:1 Honours degree in Geology. Consideration will also be given to appropriate equivalent professional qualifications and training on a case-by-case basis.

Requirements for international students

If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

Overall score 6.5. No less than 6.0 in any section.


Overall score 90 with minimum scores of 21 for writing, 21 for listening, 22 for reading and 23 for speaking.

Pearson Test of English (Academic)

58 with no less than 55 in all communicative skills.

Cambridge English: Advanced & Proficiency

Overall score 176. No less than 169 in any section.

Pre-sessional English

Applicants with lower English language test scores may be able to take pre-sessional English at INTO University of Exeter prior to commencing their programme. See our English language requirements page for more information.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees per year 2016/17

  • UK/EU: £12,000 full-time
  • International: £21,500 full-time

Fee information

Fees can normally be paid by two termly instalments and may be paid online. You will also be required to pay a tuition fee deposit to secure your offer of a place, unless you qualify for exemption. For further information about paying fees see our Student Fees pages.

Current available funding

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If you have any questions about any of our taught masters programmes, please contact us:

Tel: +44 (0) 1326 371801