MSc Subsurface Characterisation & Geomodelling

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 90)

This unique and forward-looking MSc is designed to provide you with a solid grounding in key modern principles and methods required for a career in applied geology in our changing world.
The course is taught by experts from diverse geoscience disciplines, including pure and applied geology, geophysics, geomodelling and computational geoscience, with experience of the minerals and geoenergy sectors. It focuses on generic aspects of data interpretation, analysis and computer modelling of the deeper and shallow subsurface using real-world data and leading industry software (e.g., Petrel, Leapfrog, ArcGIS Pro).
This sought-after and transferable expertise will provide you with the flexibility needed for a geoscience career in an increasingly populous and resource-constrained world.

Further information about this course is available on the UCD School of Earth Sciences website

Download the UCD Science Graduate Taught Courses Brochure (pdf)

The programme combines classroom-based instruction, practical workstation experience, team-based exercises and field visits. It also includes a three-month applied research project.

Curricular information is subject to change

Full Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

Please consult the UCD School of Earth Sciences website for more information. 

This programme provides graduates and company staff seeking career advancement with the key knowledge, skills and tools required to be successful geoscientists across the range of industries and applied research organisations working with subsurface data. We value ambition and passion to be expert problem-solvers through the application of sound geological reasoning, models and quantitative techniques. We provide a learning environment that develops students’ ability to solve complex subsurface problems in a creative but pragmatic manner, to present results effectively to management and clients, and to work both individually and in teams as required in a business context. A strong emphasis is placed on learning and assessment through individual and team-based practical exercises in both the classroom and field. Students work with a wide range of industry datasets and workflows, using state-of-the-art techniques and software. The curriculum facilitates direct engagement with industry personnel via tailored short courses, site visits, joint fieldwork and business-style technical presentations.

  • Demonstrate a broad technical grounding and strong competence in characterising subsurface resources critical to modern society.
  • Appreciate the main subsurface challenges in each industry sector, the controls on resource volumes and how they are constrained, and the value and business drivers that govern activity in various geoscience-based industry sectors.
  • Show an advanced level of 3D and 4D understanding of the subsurface as well as critical reasoning skills developed through a wide range of practical exercises and a broad field-based curriculum.
  • Assess and balance the requirement for resource development against the inevitable environmental impacts.
  • Work with limited data and multiple hypotheses, balancing and assessing the merits and implications of competing models and designing work programmes to limit uncertainty.
  • Manage, QC, analyse and integrate large subsurface geophysical and borehole datasets with an awareness of data limitations and interpretation pitfalls.
  • Work with a range of digital subsurface and georeferenced data across different application areas including geophysical and borehole data and be able to load, visualise, manipulate and interpret these data using industry-standard software.
  • Create deterministic and nondeterministic geological models of the subsurface to help visualise, manage and develop resources and convey concepts to management and the public.
  • Work in mixed ability and multidisciplinary teams and engage in effective dialogue with cognate disciplines (drilling, engineering, environmental, energy).
  • Display a high level of professional and ethical integrity particularly in relation to data confidentiality, intellectual property and social licence to operate.
  • Operate to industry-standard Health and Safety requirements, particularly with regard to field work in remote areas and working on industrial sites.
  • Clearly communicate ideas and results to management, regulatory bodies and to public forums.
  • Develop skills in technical report writing and presentations as required for industry and research positons.
  • Formulate, drive and execute a piece of independent research addressing an applied subsurface geoscience question.
  • Build on an early network of contacts in the geoscience community.

The course is industry facing and designed to equip you for a career in a broad range of industries and research organisations requiring digital subsurface characterisation and modelling.
Application areas include mineral resources, the energy sector including oil and gas, geothermal, groundwater, carbon sequestration and storage, geotechnical services, national geological surveys and waste management. You will also receive training in the range of soft skills (e.g. reporting, programming) required by industry.


MSc Subsurface Characterisation & Geomodelling (F181) Full Time
EU          fee per year - € 9300
nonEU    fee per year - € 24960

***Fees are subject to change

An honours undergraduate degree at 2.1 or higher (or the International equivalent ) in the broad Earth Science/Geoscience area is required. Consideration will be given to applicants with similar qualifications in cognate areas (e.g. Geophysics or Physical Geography) and to those with significant and relevant work experience but who do not meet this criteria.

Applicants whose first language is not English must also demonstrate English language proficiency of IELTS 6.5 (no band less than 6.0 in each element), or equivalent.

Graduate Profile

Hannah Talbot
One of the best aspects of this course was the variety of modules which included group-based projects, hands-on practical classes, lectures and fieldwork. During this course, training was provided for modelling software such as Petrel and Leapfrog which are actively used in industry. This training is only offered at UCD and is one of the main reasons I chose this course. I enjoyed having the opportunity to explore many aspects of applied geology which allowed me to find my own interests and build on my skillset. I hope to work within the mining and resources industry once I graduate.

The following entry routes are available:

MSc Subsurface Characterisation & Geomodelling FT (F181)
1 Years
Full Time

* Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised