Applied Geoscience

The course

Full-time, Part-time
Course type
Entry date


  • Contact

    Research and Knowledge Exchange Support Team (EGIS)

  • Telephone

    +44 (0)131 451 3130

  • Email


Heriot-Watt University has an active and growing capacity in Applied Geoscience which sits alongside and complements its Petroleum Engineering capabilities and research. At present, the main focuses of activity are the Shell Centre for Exploration Geoscience which was opened in 2013 at our Edinburgh Campus and the NERC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Oil and Gas that Heriot-Watt leads on behalf of a consortium of 17 UK universities, 2 NERC affiliates (The British Geological Survey and the National Oceanography Centre) and 10 industry sponsors.


Research projects

The Shell Centre was set up by joint agreement between the University and Royal Dutch Shell and currently supports 3 PhD and 2 PDRA positions in Applied Geoscience. The Centre’s main research themes are in regional geology, the structural development and evolution of sedimentary basins, subsurface mapping and field geology. In supporting opportunities for postgraduate research in these areas, the Shell Centre provides a key input to both academia, through publication and presentation of results, and industry by enhancing the understanding of prospective basins currently under exploration for oil and gas. Examples of recent projects include studies focusing on the tectonostratigraphic evolution of the Eastern Mediterranean, the formation and development of the Tanzanian passive continental margin and the spatial and temporal evolution of the Peri-Adriatic region.

The NERC CDT in Oil & Gas offers a unique combination of PhD research projects and bespoke industry-relevant training to around 30 PhD students per annual entry cohort across the UK partnership, 3 of whom are based at Heriot-Watt each year. The research themes currently within the CDT’s remit are Unconventional Hydrocarbons, Extending the Life of Mature Basins, Exploration in Challenging Environments and Environmental Impact & Regulation. The CDT aims to equip students not only with the skills needed to explore for and sustainably extract hydrocarbons, but also an understanding of the need for, and techniques to undertake, responsible environmental management of such activities. The CDT is creating a highly skilled workforce with expertise that can be used across the wider energy and environmental sectors, be that in industry, academia and public organisations.

The present Applied Geoscience capacity at Heriot-Watt University will be greatly enhanced by the move of the British Geological Survey (BGS) into the newly built Lyell Centre on our Edinburgh campus, creating exciting new opportunities to collaborate with their staff on a wide range of geoscientific research topics. A number of new appointments are also being made by both organisations under the themes of Earth and Marine Science, which will add to our existing research capability.

Entry requirements

Please contact the institute to discuss.


Tuition fees for entry
Status Full-time Part-time
Overseas £ 19056 £ 9528


  1. Your residency 'status' is usually defined as the country where you have been ordinarily resident for the three years before the start of your course. Find out more about tuition fees.
  2. Overseas includes applications from European Union countries who do not hold Pre-Settled or Settled status in the UK. Read more about the application process for EU nationals.

Scholarships and bursaries

We aim to encourage well-qualified, ambitious students to study with us and we offer a wide variety of scholarships and bursaries to achieve this. Over £6 million worth of opportunities are available in fee and stipend scholarships, and more than 400 students benefit from this support.

View our full range of research scholarships.