This MSc examines the physical processes governing the behaviour of volcanoes. Bristol is ranked #2 in the UK for 'Earth systems and environmental sciences' research (THE analysis of REF 2021) and you will be taught by leading scientists working at the cutting edge of research into volcanoes. This programme will provide you with a strong background for independent research to PhD level or for a career in industry, the public sector or a non-governmental organisation.
Increasing numbers of the global population being at risk means that volcano hazard prediction and mitigation is a fast-growing and competitive area of research that crosses the boundaries between traditional subject areas.
The programme is designed to equip you with knowledge of the physical processes of volcanoes, including both sub-surface and surficial behaviour, insights into important historical eruptions, understanding of risk and risk mitigation, and instruction and experiential learning on data gathering, handling analysis and presentation to publishable standard.
You will develop a wide range of skills, such as quantitative and computational skills, including the application of basic mathematical descriptions of physical processes and the use of statistical and data handling software; proficiency in critical analysis of scientific material from a variety of sources, including primary research documents and original data; and the ability to synthesise concise and informative material produced for a variety of audiences. A familiarity with A-level mathematics (or international equivalent) is recommended.
The first part of the programme comprises mandatory core units and optional units from which you may choose. These units are taught through lectures, practicals and supervised independent research, for which training through supported research activity and skills development is included. Optional units include a two-week field trip to Central America (there are additional costs associated with this trip).
The final part of the programme consists of a research project, which involves self-directed original research leading to a written thesis. For further information on research projects, please see the School of Earth Sciences website.
Visit our programme catalogue for full details of the structure and unit content for our MSc in Volcanology.
An upper second-class honours degree or international equivalent in Earth Sciences, Geographical Sciences, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics or related subject. Competency in maths must be demonstrated, either with Grade C in A level maths (or international equivalent) or two or more quantitative modules with an achievement of at least 60% (or international equivalent). Acceptable quantitative modules include, but are not limited to: GIS (Geographic Information System), Remote Sensing, Statistics, Computing and Geophysics. Applicants with a lower class of degree with relevant work experience will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.
Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.
If English is not your first language, you will need to reach the requirements outlined in our profile level E.
Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.
Fees and funding
- UK: full-time
- £11,500 per year
- UK: part-time (two years)
- £5,750 per year
- Overseas: full-time
- £27,400 per year
Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to an 8% increase in fees each year.
More about tuition fees, living costs and financial support.
£500. Further information about bench fees can be found on our webpages. Confirmation of bench fees will be stated in the offer letter sent to applicants.
University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a 25% reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni discount.
Bristol Master's Scholarship
£2,000 scholarships available for UK students from underrepresented groups applying for full-time master's programmes. Find out more about the Bristol Master's Scholarships and check your eligibility to apply.
Funding for 2023/24
Further information on funding for prospective UK and international postgraduate students.
The MSc in Volcanology will prepare you for a research-based career. About 40% go on to study for a PhD at a range of institutions in the UK, Europe, North America, Australia and Singapore. Most overseas students return to their home country to work for government agencies in hazard management. Other graduates work in the commercial sector for either geotechnical companies, or risk management and reinsurance companies.
This volcanology programme is rigorous and quantitative, and will prepare you for settings where both subject-specific knowledge and the ability to conduct independent research are highly valued.
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