Can I get onto an MSc Volcanology programme with a BSc in Geography?

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TheTakers
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Hi,

I’m two weeks away from completing my first semester on a Geography degree at the University of Leeds. I really enjoy my degree but I’m concerned that it might prevent me from accessing a future career in volcanology, which is what I really want to do in the future.

Now, I did do a lot of research before I applied to university, and though it was evident that a degree in geology was recommend, I took a chance on the basis that the two UK universities offering a masters in volcanology required either a degree in “geographical sciences” or “a related subject”. I’m now beginning to doubt my choice, however. I chose to apply for geography over geology or geography-geology because I preferred the course content and the breadth of knowledge it offered.

I will be taking an optional module in Natural Hazards and undertaking a volcanology internship or two, however will that be enough to allow me to be competitive in getting a place on a volcanology masters, or should I swap degrees? Ideally, I don’t want to do that, so it’s a last resort in the event that there is no possible logical way I can access volcanology with my degree.

Thanks for your time!
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Plagioclase
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(Original post by TheTakers)
Hi,

I’m two weeks away from completing my first semester on a Geography degree at the University of Leeds. I really enjoy my degree but I’m concerned that it might prevent me from accessing a future career in volcanology, which is what I really want to do in the future.

Now, I did do a lot of research before I applied to university, and though it was evident that a degree in geology was recommend, I took a chance on the basis that the two UK universities offering a masters in volcanology required either a degree in “geographical sciences” or “a related subject”. I’m now beginning to doubt my choice, however. I chose to apply for geography over geology or geography-geology because I preferred the course content and the breadth of knowledge it offered.

I will be taking an optional module in Natural Hazards and undertaking a volcanology internship or two, however will that be enough to allow me to be competitive in getting a place on a volcanology masters, or should I swap degrees? Ideally, I don’t want to do that, so it’s a last resort in the event that there is no possible logical way I can access volcanology with my degree.

Thanks for your time!
It's true that Geography isn't the ideal subject to have if you're looking to go into volcanology as a postgrad, they're going to mainly attract applications from people who've taken Earth Sciences or Physics or Chemistry or other physical sciences as their first degree. The problem isn't so much that they'd be concerned about a lack of background knowledge (because that can be learned relatively easily), the bigger issue is going to be a lack of maths and scientific training because that's a lot more difficult to develop. Working in volcanology, you're probably going to be working with some pretty difficult chemistry and physics and working with a lot of data, so they're going to want to have assurances that you can do that.

You should definitely take all of the physical geography/science modules that you can and getting some research experience in an internship in volcanology would be a very good idea. Whilst I can say that Geography is not the best subject you could be taking, I don't know how big of a barrier this is going to be. Masters degrees don't usually have as strict requirements as undergraduate degrees so for example, to do a volcanology masters at my university you need a first degree in "Earth Sciences, Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology, Engineering or other related subjects", so whilst it's clear that Geography isn't preferred, I also wouldn't have thought it would invalidate your application.

But to get a proper answer, I'd maybe send an email to a volcanologist in your university's geology department and ask them directly.
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tgwktm
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(Original post by TheTakers)
Hi,

I’m two weeks away from completing my first semester on a Geography degree at the University of Leeds. I really enjoy my degree but I’m concerned that it might prevent me from accessing a future career in volcanology, which is what I really want to do in the future.

Now, I did do a lot of research before I applied to university, and though it was evident that a degree in geology was recommend, I took a chance on the basis that the two UK universities offering a masters in volcanology required either a degree in “geographical sciences” or “a related subject”. I’m now beginning to doubt my choice, however. I chose to apply for geography over geology or geography-geology because I preferred the course content and the breadth of knowledge it offered.

I will be taking an optional module in Natural Hazards and undertaking a volcanology internship or two, however will that be enough to allow me to be competitive in getting a place on a volcanology masters, or should I swap degrees? Ideally, I don’t want to do that, so it’s a last resort in the event that there is no possible logical way I can access volcanology with my degree.

Thanks for your time!
won't claim to be an expert on this, but geography is considered to be a very broad degree. i'm my 3rd year of geography at exeter and i have covered so much. therefore, assuming your geography degree you are on is a BSc and not a BA then you should be fine. modules in a geography degree relating to hazards often cover geology as well. what sort of modules have you done/ will do in your degree?
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TheTakers
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(Original post by tgwktm)
won't claim to be an expert on this, but geography is considered to be a very broad degree. i'm my 3rd year of geography at exeter and i have covered so much. therefore, assuming your geography degree you are on is a BSc and not a BA then you should be fine. modules in a geography degree relating to hazards often cover geology as well. what sort of modules have you done/ will do in your degree?
This year:
- Data analysis and physical geography tutorials (statistics, GIS, etc)
- Dynamic Landscapes (geomorphology)
- Environmental Change: Past, Present, and Future
- Nature, Society, and Environment (organisational learning, policy making)

It is definitely a science based degree. I don't see the BA students aside from in Nature, Society, and Environment, which does, to some degree, discuss why the two geographies ought to be combined "again." Environmental Change has a little on geology, but not very much. There's an optional hazards module I hope to take later on.

I'm emailing admissions to get their answers, just because I definitely want to do volcanology and I don't want to risk it.
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