MSc in Earth Science
This MSc course explores current aspects of Earth science, investigating how the Earth’s lithosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere are dependent upon each other, interacting across a wide range of temporal and spatial scales. You will learn to critically evaluate current research and gain skills that allow you to update your knowledge of Earth science. You will investigate how to deal with complex interacting Earth systems, how to quanitify fluxes within the Earth system and understand the climatic consequences of changing the balance between different components. You will learn how to communicate scientific information to specialists and non-specialists.
Planning your studies
To study for our MSc in Earth Science you must normally hold an honours degree (or equivalent qualification) in science or a science-related subject. If you have other study or experience that you believe equips you to take this qualification you can still apply, but must supply evidence of that study or experience. Your case will be referred to our MSc in Science Admissions Panel. For further advice, email the postgraduate science team.
To successfully undertake this postgraduate study you will need to have studied Earth science at degree level. If you do not have a degree in Earth science (or similar) then you are likely to need to undertake additional study before starting the qualification. Please contact the postgraduate science team for further advice.
You will need good computing skills (e.g. able to search the Web, use email, use word processing and spreadsheet packages. You should also be able to carry out mathematical manipulations (e.g. algebraic rearrangement of equations, use exponentials and logs). Please see the individual module descriptions to ensure that you are properly prepared before starting to study for this qualification.
All teaching is in English and your proficiency in the English language should be adequate for the level of study you wish to take. We strongly recommend that you have achieved an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of at least 7. To assess your English language skills in relation to your proposed studies you can visit the IELTS website.
You must complete the taught module Earth science: a systems approach (S808) before the project module. We recommend that you study no more than 90 credits a year, and you must complete the programme within ten years.
You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.
Career relevance and employability
Completing this MSc course will equip you with a set of key transferable skills, which will be relevant to Earth science, as well as providing you with a basis of postgraduate level science skills. You will learn to critically evaluate current research and advanced scholarship in your field of study as well as evaluating research methodologies. You will discover how to deal with complex issues and make sound judgements and decisions in complex and unpredictable situations.
You will learn to communicate information and conclusions to specialist and non-specialist audiences including professional audiences, demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a postgraduate level.
The nature of this qualification will develop your independent learning skills and enhance your ICT skills in locating information and communicating with others in both professional and academic contexts.
There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU’s Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.
For this 180-credit masters degree you require:
30 credits from the following optional undergraduate modules (or from transferred credit):
and 150 credits from the following compulsory modules:
The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes
- Knowledge and understanding
- Cognitive skills
- Practical and professional skills
- Key skills
, and how they are acquired through teaching, learning and assessment methods.
Credit for previous study elsewhere
If you have already completed some successful study at undergraduate or postgraduate level at another institution you may be able to transfer credit for this study and count it towards this Open University qualification. If you wish to apply to transfer credit you must do so as soon as possible as it may affect your choice of OU modules. If you are awarded credit for study completed elsewhere, you may find that you need to study fewer OU modules to complete your qualification with us. No credit transfer can be given for the MSc project module (S810).
Visit our Credit Transfer site for more information and details of how to apply for credit transfer.
On successful completion of the required modules you can be awarded a Master of Science in Earth Science entitling you to use the letters MSc Earth Sci (Open) after your name. The degree will be classified as pass, merit or distinction. You will have the opportunity of being presented at a degree ceremony.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the following regulations:
These regulations are also available on our Essential Documents website.
How to register
If you want to study for this qualification, read the description and check you meet any specific requirements (for example, some of
our qualifications, require you to be working in a particular environment, or be sponsored by your employer). Then select the
module you wish to study first and ensure it is suitable for you before following the registration procedure for that module.
During the registration procedure you will be asked to declare which qualification you are studying towards.
See a full list of modules available for this qualification