Postgraduate study
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

GeoEnergy MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: GeoEnergy

The MSc GeoEnergy caught my attention, and I was impressed with how the programme took scientific foundations and skills and pivoted them to the energy transition and decarbonisation world. It was ahead of its time from others I’d seen.

One thing I really enjoyed was that Professors brought in a lot of guest speakers throughout the programme. These ranged from postdoctoral researchers actively working on publishable projects, to industry leaders from the private sector, to public officials actively representing the UK in international settings. Hearing the different perspectives on the opportunities within the industry was really fascinating.

Cameron Henderson MSc GeoEnergy

Your career in a low-carbon future starts here.

Our MSc GeoEnergy enables you to pursue a geosciences-related career in the rapidly evolving energy sector, as it transitions from fossil fuels to a net-zero future.

Your training aligns with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, especially:

  • Goal 6: "Clean water and sanitation"
  • Goal 7: "Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy"
  • Goal 13: "Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts"

The programme uses subsurface geological knowledge to open diverse career paths in low-carbon energy technologies, the disposal of energy-related wastes and the evolving hydrocarbon industry.

You will learn about various ways to reduce CO2 emissions from the energy sector to help meet net-zero targets to tackle climate change. For example, you will learn about methods such as carbon capture and storage, along with energy storage technologies that complement renewable energy provision.

We have specifically designed this MSc to explore a wide range of energy topics, giving you opportunities for a varied career path.

What is GeoEnergy?

GeoEnergy encompasses the entire range of energy technologies and sources that interact with the geological subsurface.

This includes both established energy technologies, such as hydrocarbons, and developing areas, such as geothermal energy production and the storage of radioactive waste.

These technologies require either injection, extraction or interaction with fluids from the subsurface, which are subject to fundamental geological controls.

Understanding these controls is essential for the responsible and safe utilisation of these energy-related technologies for a low-carbon future.

Reputation, relevance and employability

You will benefit from the strength and international reputation of our research groups.

We are one of the largest groups of geoscientists in the UK actively researching a variety of GeoEnergy technologies, including:

  • carbon capture and storage
  • radioactive waste disposal
  • energy storage (including compressed air, heat and hydrogen)
  • geothermal energy
  • sustainable use of water resources
  • supply of critical elements for the energy transition
  • unconventional and conventional hydrocarbons

Our work supports global initiatives to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Is the MSc for me?

The rapidly developing GeoEnergy industry offers you challenges and opportunities to meet the need for reliable low-carbon energy. This is urgently needed to meet internationally agreed global decarbonisation targets and the United Nations' sustainable development goals.

This MSc is ideal for those seeking an environmentally responsible career focused on providing affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy for the future.

It is also suitable for those seeking to retrain from the traditional energy industry to meet the low-carbon needs of the future.

Play a vital role in the climate crisis

As a world-leading University, we are driving efforts to mitigate climate change and transition to a low-carbon economy. Our research is internationally renowned in the areas of carbon capture and storage, as well as negative emissions (also known as greenhouse gas removals). We are working within the UK and across the world on the delivery of net-zero emissions targets to meet the UN Paris Agreement.

What is it really like to study with us?

No one knows what it is like to study here better than the students themselves. Our students are sharing their experiences - from studying to living in Edinburgh and everything in between.

Get social with us:

When to apply

Please note: We may close applications to this programme earlier than the published deadline if there is high demand.

We strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

For dates and details, please refer to 'Application Deadlines' on the right panel of this page.

You should also avoid applying to more than one degree. Applicants who can demonstrate their understanding and commitment to a specific programme are preferred.

If you plan to apply to more than one programme, you should discuss your choices with us before you submit your application.

Where possible, we may make an alternative programme offer if you have been unsuccessful in your chosen programme.

This MSc programme comprises:

  • compulsory and option courses
  • dissertation

Courses are delivered by staff who are active researchers in each field. Their expertise is supplemented by selected guest speakers from the industry or other related research organisations.


We will work with you throughout your studies to prepare you for the dissertation project. This will be your opportunity to explore a topic of your choice in relation to the programme and prepare a dissertation that you can use to demonstrate your knowledge to potential employers.

How will I learn?

You will experience a range of learning styles while studying, depending on the subject matter and courses you are taking.

You can view each relevant course for teaching and assessment methods through the ‘Programme Structure’ link under compulsory and option courses below.

Changes to teaching and learning

We are committed to offering high-quality education to all our students. However, please be advised that there may be changes to course options and delivery. All decisions are made to ensure we can provide the highest standards for your educational experience.

Although we endeavour to provide a wide range of optional courses to choose from, these can be subject to change or cancellation at short notice. Places on optional courses can be limited due to course capacity and timetabling constraints. It may not be possible to guarantee every offer holder their top choice of optional courses.

Part-time study

You may study this programme part-time as we are committed to helping people into education while continuing to work or managing family and personal commitments.

By studying the MSc GeoEnergy, you will:

  • acquire cutting-edge knowledge of GeoEnergy technologies, many of which are essential if ambitious emissions-reduction targets are to be achieved.

    • These are taught by experts in their fields who are actively researching these topics.
  • learn about the critical technical aspects of these technologies, as well as factors that influence acceptance and their use, such as cost, regulation, drawbacks and how the public views the technology.
  • be provided with opportunities to practise talks to convey your knowledge to your classmates.

    • Communicating your knowledge to others is an essential skill. To help you develop these skills, our staff will provide feedback on these talks, and some are formally assessed.
  • gain experience writing reports and designing posters, summarising your knowledge on a subject, and drawing conclusions from a wide range of data types.

    • This will equip you with communication skills that are essential to many career pathways.

The MSc GeoEnergy provides a range of career opportunities in this emerging industry and the ability to work toward a low-carbon future.

We will equip you with the latest knowledge and skills required to use subsurface geological expertise for future GeoEnergy applications.

This will open a diverse range of career pathways in GeoEnergy technologies and the disposal of energy-related wastes.

The expertise gained on this programme will enable you to pursue a career in many energy-related areas, including:

  • Energy companies
  • Energy sector consultancies
  • Civil engineering companies
  • Environmental regulators
  • Environmental consultants
  • Local or national government agencies
  • National research laboratories
  • Non-governmental organisations

Our graduates

Our graduates have been very successful in gaining employment worldwide in a variety of public and private sector organisations.

Types of roles include:

  • Low carbon consultant
  • Energy and Climate Change Consultant
  • Research Analyst
  • Energy Officer
  • Applications Engineer
  • Hydrographic Surveyor
  • Hydrogeologist
  • Flood Risk and Sustainable Water Management Engineer

Examples of the organisations our graduates have gained employment include:

  • Element Energy
  • The Environmental Protection Group Ltd
  • Flexitricity
  • British Geological Survey
  • Wood Mackenzie
  • Ikon Science
  • Wardell Armstrong LLP

Alternatively, many of our previous students have gone on to further study, including PhD programmes. An example includes the Edinburgh Earth, Ecology and Environment Doctoral Training Partnership (E4 DTP)


We are committed to helping you meet prospective employers and network with those active in the field. Our established network comprises many organisations seeking graduates who possess the skills gained in our MSc programme. We have links with government departments, energy-relevant NGOs, and key industry players, from multinational energy companies to start-up geothermal energy companies.

Careers Service

Our award-winning Careers Service plays an essential part in your wider student experience at the University, providing:

  • tailored advice
  • individual guidance and personal assistance
  • internships and networking opportunities (with employers from local organisations to top multinationals)
  • access to the experience of our worldwide alumni network

We invest in your future beyond the end of your degree. Studying at the University of Edinburgh will lay the foundations for your future success, whatever shape that takes.

Field trips

Our programme includes a geological field excursion, which will provide a real-world synthesis of the separate strands of the MSc GeoEnergy.

We aim to visit the world-class geological exposures of the Scottish Highlands, which will provide you with a unique opportunity to interpret analogues of the rocks required for GeoEnergy technologies.

We will be able to examine analogues of reservoirs, which are vital for underground gas storage and water production. You will study the seals which direct the flow of underground water and hold buoyant gases in place, for example, in carbon capture and storage. You will see the type of metamorphic rocks that are considered for nuclear waste storage.

You will also gain improved geological field skills, including observation, measurement and recording, which are highly transferable. We will also see how the underlying geology affects the visible landscape, and how even a relatively remote area of the Scottish Highlands is at the forefront of clean-energy production.

Our compulsory field trips or field courses are free, including travel and accommodation.

Local day trips

Scotland is rich in geological diversity. Our programme provides several opportunities for day trips that may encompass either local fieldwork or site visits to various locations across southern Scotland.

Previous day trips have included geological localities along the Lothian coast near Edinburgh, including the world-famous Hutton's Unconformity at Siccar Point.

As part of the programme of events to welcome new students, we also organise a series of visits to local GeoEnergy-related attractions. These have previously included the National Coalmining Museum and the Scottish Oil Shale Museum.

There are no additional charges for field trips.

Changes to field trips

Field course locations may change for a variety of reasons, including the health and safety of our students, staff and communities, and to ensure we can maintain the highest standards for your educational experience. Where suitable, fieldwork will be relocated or rescheduled. We will also look at alternative arrangements that will ensure you achieve the quality learning outcomes of your degree. We will announce any changes as soon as possible.

Accessibility on field trips

We are committed to making our degree as accessible and inclusive as possible. In the event that you cannot attend a fieldwork trip, we will provide alternatives with comparable learning outcomes where necessary.

Specialist software and facilities

We support our dissertation projects by providing access to a wide range of specialist software and analytical equipment.

We also host a variety of world-class experimental facilities which can be used in dissertations by our students.

These include:

  • Experimental equipment for studying how fluids (CO2, H2, water) interact as they flow through rocks.
  • The 'GREAT-cell' for studying the flow of fluids through large rock samples (30 cm diameter) under typical subsurface pressure conditions.
  • Micro-CT scanner for imaging fluids within the porespaces of rocks.

Where you will study

You will have access to the University's facilities across all University sites.

For example:

  • laboratories
  • libraries
  • study spaces (some of which are open 24 hours)
  • computing facilities
  • social spaces
  • leisure facilities

Depending on the option courses you choose, you may study at various campus locations in Edinburgh.

King's Buildings campus

Most teaching for this programme occurs within the School of GeoSciences, located at the University's King's Buildings campus. The King's Buildings (KB) is the main campus of the College of Science and Engineering.

The King's Buildings campus is around 15 minutes from central Edinburgh. It is easily accessible by bus. You can also cycle (10 minutes) or walk (25 minutes) from the central area.

Edinburgh Climate Change Institute

Students in this MSc will also have access to the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute (ECCI) Masters Hub. You will have access to the shared 'Masters Hub' study space in ECCI as well as the café and shared working spaces on the ground and first floors. Some of your teaching will take place in the ECCI.

ECCI is also close to many teaching spaces and facilities within the Central Area campus. For example, the Main Library and gym.

Take a virtual tour

You can take a closer look at the School of GeoSciences and explore our facilities and campus on the University's Virtual Visit site. Discover our city's landmarks, our campuses, accommodation and get video tours - all in one place.

Edinburgh is your ideal base

Edinburgh is ranked 2nd in the UK and 16th in the world in the QS Best Student Cities 2024.

Edinburgh is not only a fantastic city to live in - it is the perfect location to study the subject you're studying. Our vibrant capital is an irresistible blend of history and modern city life. We have rich environmental locations to explore right on our doorstep. Immerse yourself among rugged coastlines, misty mountains, forest glens and sparkling freshwater lochs.

It is no surprise we are regularly voted one of the most desirable places to live in the world!

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a science or engineering subject. We will also take any relevant professional experience into account.

We may also consider your application if your background is not specifically related to these disciplines provided you have relevant work experience in a related area.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.0 in each component. We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 59 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than five years old* at the beginning of your programme of study. (*Revised 05 March 2024 to extend degree validity to five years.)

Find out more about our language requirements:


If you receive an offer of admission you will need to pay a deposit to secure your place.

  • £1,500 (this contributes towards your tuition fees)

Find out more about tuition fee deposits:

Field trips and field courses

We do not charge extra fees for compulsory field trips or field courses.

The programme fees will cover costs of travel, accommodation and subsistence on compulsory field trips. However, you must pay for incidental or personal expenses. This may include suitable outdoor clothing and footwear.

Living costs

You will be responsible for covering living costs for the duration of your studies.

Tuition fees

Featured funding

(Revised 05 February 2024 to add 'ScottishPower Master Scholarships' to the featured funding section)

School of GeoSciences scholarships

Scholarships and student funding

You can find funding opportunities, tuition fees and costs of living for prospective UK and international postgraduate students on the University website.

You are also encouraged to undertake your own research into the range of potential scholarships and other funding outside the University for which you may be eligible.

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Room 332, Grant Institute
  • School of Geosciences
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3FE

We aim to review applications and make selection decisions throughout the cycle.

You can apply up until the final selection deadline listed. However, if there is high demand, we may close applications to this programme earlier than the published deadline.

We strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

This is particularly important for applicants who may need sufficient time to take an English language test or to obtain other supporting documents.

The final deadline may be extended if any places remain on the programme.

Please submit a CV/Resume with your application. Find out more about writing a suitable CV:

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Room 332, Grant Institute
  • School of Geosciences
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3FE