Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Postgraduate Courses (School of GeoSciences)

Postgraduate Course: Project Design and Field Skills (MSc) (PGGE11271)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryPreparation for the dissertation project, including writing a project proposal in the style of an application for research funding. Incorporates a field excursion to the world-renown Scottish Highlands, to study analogues of rocks utilised by GeoEnergy technologies which will bring together the variety of topics taught on the MSc.
Course description This course will allow students to design a research project on the topic of their choice; reflecting on a subject area of their choice, including becoming familiar with the important and current literature on the subject. Students will present their research project proposals to each other (and potentially other members of the School), as well as write a detailed project proposal that will form the basis of the MSc dissertation which normally includes a literature review.

The geological field excursion will bring together many of the separate strands of the GeoEnergy MSc: hydrogeology (sedimentary aquifers); nuclear waste disposal in both hard and soft rocks; carbon capture and storage; unconventional and conventional hydrocarbon production; subsurface reservoir quality. Classic areas of Highland geology allow the study of world-class geological exposures, as analogues of rocks utilised by GeoEnergy technologies.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed:
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Full Year
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework: 100%

75% dissertation project proposal; learning outcomes 1-2

25% dissertation project presentation; learning outcomes 1-2

Project Proposal and Presentation: The project proposal will describe the background to the student's dissertation project and how this work will be performed (scientific methodology). The presentation will provide students with an opportunity to critically assess each other's research topics, as well as gain some appreciation for the breadth of scientific research conducted in the Earth Sciences. Maximum 6 x A4-sides of text (including references, figures and tables).

An assessment will be made of a draft of the introduction of the project proposal. The entire project proposal will not be reviewed, as this is a large part of the course assessment.

Project Presentation due week 12

Project Proposal due week 13
Feedback The project design component of the course is run partly as discussion groups and provides high levels of feedback.

The field component has continuous opportunities for feedback, both during the day with both staff and demonstrators, and in the evening discussion sessions.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Students will be able to design a research project with testable hypotheses and achievable goals.
  2. Students will be able to set their research in the broader context of work in their field of interest.
  3. Students will have an appreciation of the structure, geometry and properties of the rocks that are used by GeoEnergy technologies.
  4. Students will have improved geological field skills, which are highly transferable.
Reading List
For the Project Design: Students are expected to read widely on their selected topic area. Additional generic instruction in how to conduct research or write proposals etc will be provided throughout semester 1. The reading list depends upon the project that the students choose for their project proposal.

For the field course, a purpose-written handbook will be produced (as with other GeoSciences field courses). Plus:

General field geology:

Geological field Techniques by Angela Coe. Great all-round fieldwork book.

Helmsdale area:

Palaeoecology and sedimentology across a Jurassic fault scarp, NE Scotland, 1993, Wignall, PB; Pickering, KT Journal of the Geological Society, Volume: 150 Pages: 323-340

The Upper Jurassic 'Boulder Beds' and related deposits: a fault-controlled submarine slope, NE Scotland, Pickering, KT Journal of the Geological Society, Volume: 141 Issue: MAR Pages: 357-374 Published: 1984

Edwards, H.E., Becker, A.D. & Howell, J.A., 1993, Compartmentalization of an aeolian sandstone by structural heterogeneities: Permo-Triassic Hopeman Sandstone, Moray Firth, Scotland. In: North, C.P. & Prosser, D.J. (eds), Characterisation of Fluvial and Aeolian Reservoirs, Geological Society, London, Special Publications; v. 73; p. 339-365

Small-scale syn-sedimentary faults in the Upper Jurassic 'Boulder Beds' Pickering, KT Scottish Journal of Geology Volume: 19 Pages: 169-181 Part: 2 Published: 1983

NW Highlands area:

Geological excursion guide to the North-west Highlands of Scotland, Goodenough, Kathryn M. and Krabbendam, Maartin (Editors) Edinburgh Geological Society in association with NMS Enterprises Limited, 2011. Available here:

Excursion guide to the Moine geology of the Northern Highlands of Scotland, Strachan, R., Friend, C., Alsop, I., Miller, S. (Editors) Edinburgh Geological Society, Glasgow Geological Society in association with NMS Enterprises, 2010 Available here:

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Harvesting information from the scientific literature
Preparing a readable and concise summary of a longer document (abstract)
Proposal formulation and writing
Report writing
Field geology skills including record keeping and 4D thinking
KeywordsGeoEnergy,project design,literature review
Course organiserDr Mark Wilkinson
Tel: (0131 6)50 5943
Course secretaryMiss Sarah Jones
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information