Key Facts

Course Code F996
  • Qualification


  • Typical Course Length

    1 Year

Apply Now

Applications for this course close on the 21st of July 2017.

The MSc in Glaciology is designed to provide you with a range of skills appropriate for the practical and theoretical challenges of glaciological research, but which are also highly relevant to wider Earth Science and Physical Geographical contexts and employment beyond.

Supported by world-leading glaciology staff in the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences (DGES), you will gain high-level, subject-specific expertise in the critically-important study areas of glaciology, glacial geological and glacial geomorphological investigation.  The department’s careful balance of tutoring and independent study will thoroughly prepare you for further doctoral study and specialist employment. 

In addition, you will develop a broad range of personal and practical skills through new experiences in managing teams and individuals, planning, implementing and evaluating research programmes, and the use of field and remote sensing technology.  Whether you progress into related geographical employment or not, these sought-after skills and experiences will enhance your employability and impress prospective employers.  Your mastery of analytical and applied skills and strategies will stand you in good stead throughout your career in which ever sector you choose.

We invite applications from students from a range of related disciplines including geologists, geographers, environmental Earth scientists and computer scientists. 

  • Key Facts
  • Overview
  • Modules
  • Employability

Key Facts


One year full-time or two years part-time. The academic year (September to September) is divided into three semesters:

September to January; January to June; June to September.

Contact Time:

Approximately 8-10 hours a week in the first two semesters.

Assessment: The taught part of the course (Part1) is delivered and assessed through lectures, student seminars, practical exercises, case studies, course work and formal examinations. The subsequent successful submission of a 12,000 word research dissertation (Part 2) leads to the award of an MSc.

Entry Requirements:

Good Undergraduate degree 2.2 (UK) (or above) equating to a mark of 56.5 or above in a related subject. European and International applicants can find their grade equivalence on our comparability page. Those who are not graduates must satisfy the University that they are of the required academic standard to pursue postgraduate study.

English Language Requirements:

If you have a Bachelor’s degree from a UK University, you do not need to take an English proficiency test.

Non-native English speakers who do not meet this requirement must take a University-recognised test of academic English language proficiency. For further information please see our English Language requirements page.

Course Fees:

Please see the tuition fee pages for current tuition fees. Please note that all fees are subject to an annual increase.


Funding opportunities may be available, please check the funding calculator for details.


The Masters in Glaciology is a full-time programme taught over one year.  Having completed your undergraduate degree in a related field, this MSc will enable you to bring your skills and knowledge up to date with a mastery of the latest technological tools and contemporary theoretical understanding. The course will also enhance your oral, visual and written communication skills, as well as your ability to work independently or in a team setting. 

The course is divided into two parts over three semesters.  In part one, you will establish a breadth of necessary skills in a number of core modules whilst directing your own study by choosing specialist modules. You will receive specific instruction in a wide range of specialist skills, including the programming and operation of automated instruments, interpreting satellite and aerial imagery, the use of computer software – especially quantitative analysis, GIS and remote sensing tools – and the use of field skills in sedimentological logging and landform interpretation.

In part two, you will apply your learning in the individual dissertation worth an additional 60 credits.  You will prove your mastery of the subject in this final 15000-word assessment and directly contribute to the knowledge base of DGES.  For those considering progression into a PhD, the dissertation project can form the basis for a doctoral proposal and, subsequently, a foundation for a career in academia and further research.

Whatever your own previous experience or future aspiration, you will benefit from a superb variety of outside and in-class learning environments.  Outside activities include field research expeditions, including a week in the European Alps, case study visits and team development activities.  In-class activities include lectures, seminars, guest speakers and specialist technological workshops.  Our small class sizes offer a friendly environment to encourage communication and sharing of experiences, opinions and observations between you and your colleagues.

As a graduate of the MSc in Glaciology, you will emerge with broadened horizons, technological and theoretical expertise and proven field experience.

Our lecturers are active researchers working at the cutting edge of their disciplines, and you will benefit from being taught the latest geographical theories and techniques. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework assessment (REF 2014) DGES retained its crown of the best Geography department in Wales, with 78% of the research being undertaken classified as either "world leading" or "internationally excellent”. DGES is also in the top ten of UK Geography departments with regard to research power, which provides a measure of the quality of research, as well as of the number of staff undertaking research within the department.

Our Staff

Department of Geography and Earth Science: lecturers are all qualified to PhD level or working towards a PhD.


Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.


Qualification: MSc in Glaciology

This degree will suit you:

  • If you wish to obtain a Masters degree from an internationally-renowned research institute;
  • If you have a 2:1 degree or higher in a related discipline;
  • If you wish to gain academic expertise, field skills and technical experience a single course of study;
  • If you wish to enter one of a diverse range of careers requiring research, analysis and practical excellence.


Every aspect of the MSc in Glaciology programme is designed to enhance your employability: indeed, successful completion of this degree is in itself certain to do so; but we set more store by the hugely enhanced knowledge, abilities and skills with which you will graduate. We believe that prospective employers take a similar view.  This course will widen your knowledge, skills, experience and understanding of the subject in such a way that cultivates transferable skills which will benefit you in other disciplines of work and study. 

In addition to building your CV, completion of this Masters course demonstrates your passion for furthering human knowledge at a delicate stage in global affairs.  Understanding the processes that govern glaciers and snow cover is not only crucial for developing models of the response to climatic change, but also for evaluating water and other natural resources, understanding waste disposal, assessing pollution and tracking earth-surface erosion. 

By completing the Masters in Glaciology, you will have aligned your passion to a unique and highly-desirable set of skills and experiences.  Your tutored expertise, personal research and team experience in the field will make you an engaging candidate for areas of work relating to Geography, but also to more generic positions within companies that require thoroughness in research, clarity in analysis and fluency in communication.  You will gain these skills and more as you progress through your studies at DGES.

Field Expertise in Practise

As a highly practical Masters course, the MSc in Glaciology includes the module ‘Glaciological Field Techniques’  This will take you into the Swiss Alps on an data-collection expedition to demonstrate your learning on research design and hypothesis testing, data interpretation and glaciological reconstruction.  This week-long fieldtrip will form the basis for an oral presentation and written report on glaciological reconstruction.  Such activities convert the purely academic theory of research and data collection into the proven know-how of experience and, very importantly, the necessary cache of presentation skills to communicate your findings successfully.  This experience gained by this approach, which begins at the concept stage and ends in written and live presentation, is a rare advantage in the competitive jobs market.  The MSc in Glaciology is set up to help you pursue this edge throughout your studies, securing your theoretical learning with practical knowledge.

Advanced Skills in Research and Technology

As you would expect, the content of this MSc is strongly weighted in favour of understanding all the scientific processes and advanced technical tools at the disposal of the Glaciologist.  A number of modules, such as the Advanced Research Skills, are designed to develop your thinking to the point that critical analysis and evaluation becomes second-nature.  The benefits of practising such skills go beyond the Masters course and into further study and any professional employment you choose. 

You will also get to grips with an impressive array of systems and technologies including GIS, SDI, satellite imaging and remote sensing, all under the careful tutelage of lecturers who work at the cutting edge of research in the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences (DGES).  This highly specific and technical experience will impress employers within related employment sectors and dazzle those in other, unrelated areas of work.

Project Management in the Dissertation

The Masters dissertation requires you to work independently and to pursue your own individual dissertation topic, without the support of a team; teamwork is only anticipated if safety considerations in the field demand it.  Therefore there is a requirement for you to read appropriate literature and to ensure that you maintain good time-management in order to complete the research on time.  A professional work ethic is essential to deliver this demanding combination of research, analysis, communication and presentation.  This part of the MSc will require you to employ project management skills which are entirely transferable to almost any work context that Masters graduates apply for.

Studying for this Masters degree will allow you to sharpen up all your core scientific disciplines, your professional work ethos and your presentation and communication skills.  Once secured by obtaining your Masters Degree, you will have gained confidence in the level of your academic expertise and practical field skills, which in turn will enhance your employability in both highly specialised related professions and also on broader, unrelated professional paths.