Geology at the University of Aberdeen – Rebecca

Case study photo
Rebecca studied Geology at both
undergraduate and postgraduate level
at the University of Aberdeen

Having already completed a BSc in Geology & Petroleum Geology at the University of Aberdeen, Rebecca went on earn an MSc Integrated Petroleum Geoscience (IPG) from the same institution. Rebecca now works at Statoil as a Graduate Geologist, and we caught up with her to find out what it's like to study Geology at the University of Aberdeen:

Why did you choose to study at your university?

  • When I visited the University at an open day I fell in love with the university’s picturesque buildings and the beautiful setting in Old Aberdeen. I was a little unsure what I wanted to study and so the flexible opportunities available to new students made the courses very attractive. I began my studies in Geography & Geology, deciding to focus on Geology at a later date. 
  • At the open day I was also greatly encouraged by the expertise the university offered and the connections with relevant industries. 
  • Another huge selling point of the university was the world class sports facilities and clubs available to students, as at the time I was training and competing for GB in Modern Pentathlon.
  • I love that in Aberdeen you are in a bustling little city, close to the beach and never far from the mountains. In the summer you can walk, run & surf and in the winter you can cosy up in a small pub after a day skiing. It is a brilliant city and a great place to study!

What you have been doing since leaving university?

  • After leaving the University of Aberdeen in August 2014 I took 4 months off, travelling to the USA, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia and Indonesia. In 2015 I started my current position as a Graduate Geologist at Statoil in Aberdeen.

Did the university support you well?

  • From personal experience I know that Aberdeen University has so much to give. The links with many different industries allows the university to be among the best for research and development so you will know that you are learning the most up to date and relevant information during your studies! The student sports and social clubs are extremely diverse and the facilities are world class. The city is in a fantastic location; on the doorstep of the great Scottish outdoors, from mountains to sea. I think it says it all that I decided to stay on for an extra year and complete not only my BSc but my MSc there too.
  • I had fantastic support from Aberdeen University throughout my 5 years of study. Alongside my studies I competed for Great Britain in Modern Pentathlon, this meant my studies and sporting life was a balancing act. Aberdeen University provided world class support in terms of lecture material, catch up help and personal assistance if there were areas I was struggling with. I was also supported by the university financially for sport and in my studies.

What aspects of the course did you find difficult?

  • I wouldn’t say I found any single aspect/s of the course more or less difficult than others, although I am not saying it was plain sailing! If I had to choose my most difficult aspect I’d say Geophysics, but I think that is mainly due to being baffled by the long equations!
  • The course is very diverse, covering lots topics and doing so using a range of learning methods. I found that learning through lectures, practical classes and hands on work (e.g. field work, essays, practical sessions) made even the more difficult subjects easier to understand.

How did you fund your studies? Did you have a part-time job during your studies?

  • My MSc degree was fully funded by Chevron which was a huge help and gave me the opportunity to carry out my MSc project working for Chevron in the Britannia offices; doing real, hands on work! This was a fantastic stepping stone into working a full time job after finishing my MSc and also a great way to develop what I’d learned in class and apply it in a “real life” environment.
  • I did not work a consistent part time job during my studies due to my sporting commitments, and worked only ad-hoc hours. However, I did work for the university and for Aberdeen Sports Village during summer and Easter breaks. Many of my class mates did for part time all through their studies.

What about the social side of things at university, does a Geology student find much time for it? What sort of things do you get up to?

  • Geology students are a great social bunch! There are a few geological societies and groups in the university and also within the city. They often run pub quizzes, ceilidh dances and geological fields trips along with other fun activities! On top of this we often had class meet-ups following a week of lectures and always after exam periods. I found a fantastic work-life balance studying at Aberdeen University which allowed me to train and compete in World level sport, study a fantastic degree and spend time with like-minded people. 
  • Geology is a very social degree due to the nature of learning in many practical sessions and doing a lot of group work. And of course, don’t forget the field trips – they were the best side of socialising with the geology group! After a hard day in the field you can guarantee that someone would have made plans for the class to get together and have some time to let their hair down!

How has your university supported your career aspirations?

  • My degrees in Petroleum Geology were very specific and so lead me into the Oil and Gas industry as a Petroleum Geologist. However, not all of my classmates followed this route – the beauty of a Geology degree is that it equips you with many skills outside the technical role of being a geologist, e.g. field work, report writing, presentations, working alone and in teams, and for this reason you become a very employable individual in many industries and positions. Along with the career help given in the course, I sought help throughout my MSc from the University Careers Service and found it very beneficial.

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