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Dave O'Leary

My name is Dave O'Leary and I completed the MSc. in Exploration Geophysics in 09/10. Before this, I completed a BSc. in Earth and Ocean Sciences. During this undergraduate, I took a particular interest in geophysics. So upon finishing this I decided that I wasn't ready for the working world and so I started to look at Masters courses. I looked through quite a few prospectus's before coming across the Leeds one. The Masters in Exploration Geophysics really stuck out as it seemed to almost pure Geophysics. Not a GeoScience course, but a Geophysics course, covering a huge variety of disciplines from Seismic to near surface methods. With this in mind, I contacted the department head.

Dr Clark, the head of the Masters course, was actually a major influence as to my choosing Leeds also. He was very enthusiastic and thorough in all replies. He would answer any and all questions related to the course and I would advise anyone thinking of doing this course to send him a quick e-mail. He also helped me to secure funding for the year which was an amazing boost. The degree itself is undeniably tough but highly rewarding. It is an intense 12 months, but I honestly feel that I could have been more prepared for work having come through it. Not only that but the course is known throughout the Oil and Gas industry in the UK as one of the top courses for Geophysics. The lecturers and facilities are top class with some classes being taught by industry professionals, either currently working or ex-industry, and there is plenty of extra talks and lectures throughout the year to expand knowledge on some areas.

We had visits from numerous companies during the degree and the majority of us had a job secured before we completed the degree. I think that point alone is a testament to the value of doing this degree. Upon graduating I joined WesternGeco as a Processing Geophysicist in London. Since then I have moved to an offshore job and am now Chief Field Geophysicist on OBC (Ocean Bottom Cable) and streamer seismic surveys for WesternGeco. I do believe that having completed my masters is what led me to be able to work in this industry. Not only do you leave the degree with a very high technical knowledge, but you also develop the soft skills that employers are looking for like time management, presentation skills and confidence in yourself.

To any prospective students, I can only say that if you are looking for a career in Geophysics then this masters degree will help you achieve that. However, it is not an easy year and you'll get out of it only what you put in.