MSc in Earth Science
This masters 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 quantify 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.The MSc includes taught modules and a compulsory project module which gives you the opportunity to explore a topic in further depth, and to undertake a substantial piece of independent research based on the knowledge and skills you will have developed in the taught modules
Planning your studies
To study for the MSc in Earth Science you must normally hold a UK honours degree (or equivalent qualification) in science or a science-related subject relevant to this qualification. 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 Science Postgraduate 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 Science Postgraduate Team for further advice.
You will also need good computing skills and a level of proficiency in the English language that is adequate for study at postgraduate level. The following should give you some indication of the basic IT and language skills we expect students to have before enrolling on our postgraduate qualifications in science. Please refer to individual module descriptions to ensure that you are adequately prepared before starting to study for this qualification.
Proficiency in the use of English: All of our taught modules are in English and your proficiency in the English language should be adequate for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we strongly recommend that you have achieved an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of at least 7. You can assess your English language skills in relation to your proposed studies by visiting the IELTS website.
We recommend that you take modules in the order listed below. Because of the demands that study of the degree will make on you, we recommend that you take no more than 90 credits a year, and you must complete the programme within ten years. You must have successfully completed the taught module Earth science: a systems approach (S808) before the project module, and we expect you to undertake the project module as the last stage in this qualification. 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 qualfication will equip you with key transferable skills, which will be relevant to Earth science, as well as providing you with a basis of postgraduate level science skills and skills relevant to developing your career. 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 situations.
You will also 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 qualification will develop your independent learning skills, enhance your skills in locating information and communicating with others in both professional and academic contexts.
You can find 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):
or the discontinued module S330
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. Please note that credit transfer will not 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 will 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