My guess is that you are reading this because you have an interest in either Royal Holloway, Geoscience, or distance learning. I am assuming that you, just like those working in the global oil and gas industry, will be of very diverse nationalities, locations, situations, knowledge and interests…
My goal for this blog is to give an informative, illuminating and entertaining perspective on Royal Holloway’s MSc Petroleum Geoscience, which I am in my second year of studying by distance learning (DL) through the University of London International Programmes. I am hoping this blog will appeal to the broad spectrum of readers, from industry experts, through to those with a passing interest and knowledge-base. At the end of this blog I have also included some links to other material for those interested in learning more.
I have entitled this opening blog ‘setting the scene’, because this is the focus – so potentially the driest of my planned blogs. It comprises a short overview of me, and the course – its purpose, structure and content. In future blogs I hope to inspire you to learn more about the fascinating and growing world of geoscience. I plan to delve into some of the academic aspects of the subject as presented to me, studying remotely, and – possibly more interestingly – into the real applications and value of the subject. Always very topical – for example, the recent news that the French oil company TOTAL is planning to invest in producing shale gas in the UK, a process which is banned in France, and are investing in some UK oil companies with assets in the Midlands.
So, first, a short section on me – I am a mature student, a UK national, home is west of London quite close to London Heathrow airport, and am a management consultant in the oil and gas industry. More details on ‘LinkedIn’ if you are interested. I did an MBA with the Open University by distance learning around 10 years ago, so know some of the benefits and challenges of learning remotely. My first degree, as a full-time student many years ago, was in Physics. I then went into the oil and gas industry, moved out, and moved back in again about 10 years ago.
My reason for wanting to do an MSc in Petroleum Geoscience was to refresh and update my knowledge about the industry, and particularly the exploration and production (E and P) side of the industry. I have always loved travel to isolated places. Geoscience is the core of the E and P industry.
The reason for choosing Royal Holloway (RH): my situation is that I need money, so needed to keep working, so needed a DL course. RH is only one of two providers of this sort of course in the UK. It is also quite close to my home, and researching other people’s views on the web – it has a VERY good reputation.
There are typically over 100 students on each module, located across the globe: Australia, Asia, Middle East, Europe, latin America and the USA.
The course is structured around six core modules, including a research project. I have chosen to do it over three years, so doing two modules a year. The modules run October – December, and January – March, each 10 weeks, with exams for each module in June.
So far I have completed, year 1: the Tectonics and Lithosphere Dynamics, and the Geophysical Analysis Modules.
In year 2, the first module was Sedimentology and Stratigraphy, which finished in December, and I am now just starting the fourth module on Structural Analysis.
The course content for each module is based around 1 or 2 course textbooks, on-line materials and exercises.
For those new to the field of Geoscience, Geo ExPro is a great website which has free publications four times a year which provides a wide range of information on geoscience activities across the globe.
In my next blog I plan to talk more about my current module, the strategies I have developed to be able to effectively, and successfully, study remotely and alone; together with some insights into the world of E and P….
Until then, best wishes, Pete
Pete is studying for the MSc Petroleum Geoscience by distance learning. He lives in the UK.