This programme will provide you with the advanced knowledge and skills to pursue a successful career in the oil and gas industry.
You’ll study modules covering core topics related to the downstream activities of the industry including drilling and production technology, oilfield chemistry and corrosion, and chemical reaction processes. You’ll also have the option to take modules in topics such as separation processes, process optimisation and control, and multi-scale modelling and simulation.
Practical work supports your lectures and seminars, as you split your time between the lab and the classroom. You’ll also undertake a major research project investigating a specific topic in petroleum production engineering, which could relate to your own interests or career intentions. Taught by experts in our world-class facilities, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills to thrive in a challenging and exciting industry.You’ll benefit from the chance to study in cutting-edge facilities where our researchers are pushing the boundaries of chemical and process engineering. We have facilities for characterising particulate systems for a wide range of technological materials, as well as facilities for fuel characterisation, environmental monitoring and pollution control. In our Energy Building, you’ll find an engine testing fuel evaluation and transport emissions suite and other characterisation equipment.
We are seeking accreditation from the Energy Institute.
Most of the course revolves around core modules, giving you a range of knowledge relating to different aspects of downstream petroleum production processes. These will include chemical reaction processes, drilling and production technologies and oilfield chemistry and corrosion.
You’ll look at the principles of process performance analysis, refining theory, enhanced oil recovery, chemicals used in corrosion control and strategies for new or mature assets. On top of this, you’ll take an optional module that allows you to develop your knowledge in an area that suits your own interests.
In the summer months you’ll undertake a research project, which will demonstrate the skills you’ve gained and may even be linked to your future career plans.
Want to find out more about your modules?
Take a look at the Petroleum Production Engineering module descriptions for more detail on what you will study.
Our groundbreaking research feeds directly into teaching, and you’ll have regular contact with staff who are at the forefront of their disciplines. You’ll have regular contact with them through lectures, seminars, tutorials, small group work and project meetings. Independent study is also important to the programme, as you develop your problem-solving and research skills as well as your subject knowledge.
You’ll be assessed using a range of techniques including case studies, technical reports, presentations, in-class tests, assignments and exams. Optional modules may also use alternative assessment methods.
The research project is one of the most satisfying elements of this course. It allows you to apply what you’ve learned to a piece of research focusing on a real-world problem, and it can be used to explore and develop your specific interests.
Examples of project topics would include:
A proportion of research projects are formally linked to industry, and can include spending time at the collaborator’s site over the summer.
The programme’s main focus is on downstream petroleum industry activities such as drilling, production, refining and distribution.
With an MSc degree in Petroleum Production Engineering you could expect to pursue a successful career in the oil and gas industries in a wide range of areas as diverse as field engineering, production drilling engineering, pipeline and transportation logistics, refinery operations and management, refinery control and optimisation, and sales and marketing.
You’ll have access to the wide range of engineering and computing careers resources held by our Employability team in our dedicated Employability Suite. You’ll have the chance to attend industry presentations book appointments with qualified careers consultants and take part in employability workshops. Our annual Engineering and Computing Careers Fairs provide further opportunities to explore your career options with some of the UK’s leading employers.
The University's Careers Centre also provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.
The MSc in Petroleum Engineering is designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills to tackle the oil and gas industry’s most challenging problems. Upon graduating students will be able to understand, frame and solve the most complex of upstream problems in today’s petroleum industry.
These courses provide specialist education tailored to the requirements of the upstream petroleum industry. The relevance of this education, combined with careful selection of candidates, has encouraged oil and oilfield service companies to target Heriot-Watt for recruitment of graduates since 1976.
The Petroleum Engineering degree is delivered by the Institute of Petroleum Engineering, a world-leading Institute committed to delivering research and training programmes that meet the needs of the international petroleum industry. Students have been attending the Institute of Petroleum Engineering at Heriot-Watt University to study for the MSc programme in Petroleum Engineering since 1975.
The MSc in Petroleum Engineering is a programme of lectures and project work, encompassing a wide range of petroleum engineering fundamentals, relevant to the current petroleum engineering industry.
Project work provides an opportunity for ideas and methods, assimilated through lectures and tutorials, to be applied to real field evaluation and development design problems. The courses on this programme are applied in nature and have been specifically designed so that our students are technically well prepared for, and have a sound knowledge of, the industry.
If your first language is not English, or your first degree was not taught in English, we’ll need to see evidence of your English language ability. The minimum requirement for English language is IELTS 6.5 or equivalent.
We offer a range of English language courses
This course is designed for engineering graduates who intend to enter or enhance their career prospects in the oil or natural gas industry. It will be re-accredited by the IGEM in 2016.
The course explores the geology, exploration, drilling, production (surface and subsurface), reservoir engineering and management, distribution and transmission of oil and gas from practical and theoretical viewpoints.
You will develop the knowledge and the skills for problem solving in terms of development, design, business and economics management in oil and gas engineering which will assist you to make management and scientific decisions in the workplace.
On completion of this course you may be eligible to join the Institution of Gas Engineers & Managers or Society of Petroleum Engineers which may enable you to qualify as a Chartered Engineer.
As well as studying the topics outlined in the following modules you will be expected to develop, to a professional standard, a number of transferable skills such as numeracy skills by way of quantitative mathematical analysis, problem solving skills, communication skills during group work, laboratory report writing and time management skills.
MSc (one year full-time or two years part-time)
PgDip (nine months full-time or one year and six months part-time)
MSc (one year and four months full-time or two years and eight months part-time)
PgDip (one year full-time or two years part-time)
Teaching will be carried out as formal lectures, laboratories, tutorials and workshops
Petroleum and Gas Engineering students are required to attend all of the modules. There are seven examination sessions. Students must pass all the modules studied with an overall average of at least 50% in the module programmes and in the course assessed work.
All laboratory and course assessed work must be submitted on time and to the required standard.
Students admitted to the course at Diploma level with examination and coursework of 50 % may proceed to MSc level. (120 Credits)
MSc Students must undertake a dissertation (60 Credits) on any aspect of the natural gas business either experimentally or computationally. The project can frequently relate to research work already in the school and or natural gas engineering and management.
Due to the relative uniqueness of this course in the UK, together with the high demand of graduates with the types of skills and knowledge that this course offers, employment prospects are excellent.
Graduates can expect to enter or progress in industries such as petroleum, gas, process engineering, chemical or steel.
This programme is strongly supported by major petroleum and gas engineering technology providers.
You will be assessed by both coursework 50% and examinations 50%
This programme will equip you with the essential knowledge for engineering careers in the oil, gas and petrochemical sectors.
Upon completion of the course you will have gained a comprehensive understanding of oil refining and associated downstream processing technologies, operations and economics; process safety and operations integrity; and methods for the optimal design of process systems.
You will learn about the general economics of the energy sector, oil exploration and production, as well as renewable energy systems.
Furthermore, your study of the various aspects of petroleum refining will be augmented by unique work assignments at a virtual oil-refining and chemical company.
This programme is studied full-time over one academic year and part-time students must study at least two taught technical modules per academic year. It consists of eight taught modules and a dissertation.
Example module listing
The following modules are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.
The programme aims to provide a highly vocational education that equips the students with the essential knowledge and skills required to work as competent engineers in the petrochemical sector.
This is to be achieved through combining proper material in two popular and complementary topics: process systems engineering and petroleum refining. The key objective is to develop a sound understanding of oil refining and downstream processing technologies, process safety and operation integrity, as well as systems methods for the optimal design of process systems.
A balanced curriculum is provided with essential modules from these two areas supplemented by a flexible element by way of elective modules that permit students to pursue subjects of preference relevant to their backgrounds, interests and/or career aspirations.
An integrated approach is taken so as to provide a coherent view that explores the interrelationships between the various components of the programme.
Knowledge and understanding
The programme aims to develop the knowledge and understanding in both petroleum refining and systems engineering. The key learning outcomes include:
Intellectual / cognitive skills
The programme aims to strengthen cognitive skills of the students, particularly in the aspects of problem definition, knowledge and information acquiring, synthesis, and creativity, as collectively demonstrable through the successful completion of the research dissertation.
The key learning outcomes include the abilities to:
Professional practical skills
The programme primarily aims to develop skills for applying appropriate methods to the design and operation of petroleum refining processes. The key learning outcomes include the abilities to:
Key / transferable skills
The programme aims to strengthen a range of transferable skills that are relevant to the needs of existing and future professionals in knowledge intensive industries irrespective of their sector of operation.
The key learning outcomes include the further development of the skills in the following areas:
We often give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities.
In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV.
This is a flexible online programme which offers you a variety of study options to gain your MSc in Petroleum Engineering from as little as 36 months to a maximum of 72 months to complete with 10-12 hours of study per week on average. You can study this programme from anywhere in the world and it offers the same academic rigour you would expect if you were studying on campus at University of Aberdeen but you can fit it around a busy life, work, other responsibilities and much more.
If have an engineering, science or mathematics degree and you are considering work in the oil and gas industry worldwide Petroleum Engineering can provide you with a wide range of knowledge and skills within the upstream oil and gas extraction area. The programme mainly focuses on the skills you need to extract oil which can be the initial geoscience knowledge through to core analysis and reservoir engineering. Within reservoir and well engineering there are several areas of analysis, testing and development you then specialise in. This ensures you have a very robust approach to offshore production with the type of advanced skills to problem solve and troubleshoot different situations.
The programme also develops your skills in formation evaluation, simulation, and appraisal plus safe production and enhancing the recovery of hydrocarbon oil and gas. This programme is highly regarded in the industry internationally and it is recognised by all major players in the oil and gas industry. Careers can be anything from Drilling, Operations, Piping Specification, Production, Reservoir, Subsurface and Wellhead Engineer. The degree hold accreditation from the Energy Institute and Institute of Mechanical Engineers
Find out more detail by visiting the programme web page
Find out about fee on the programme page:
View all funding options on our funding database via the programme page
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