Ever since the start of the oil and gas industry in the North Sea there safety has been a constant learning process within the industry to improve safety in all areas. It often informs other industries in terms of best practise knowledge which can provide useful learning to other industries.The knowledge gained in the North Sea has also been transferred to other sites globally to ensure risks are minimised when extracting energy. There are numerous risks associated with energy extraction such as the environment in which operators work in, failure in facilities and machinery, human factors which need process and safety factors designing in, and a very large ignition source. The energy industry can be one of the most hazardous industries to work in but due to the risks involved it can often provide a highly safe environment to work in due to the amount of measures in place to protect everything on site and that is where the discipline of Process Safety can ensure a very high level of safety in which to extract minerals.
If you want to become qualified in Process Safety Engineering and are from a Chemical Engineering background, or a Petroleum or Mechanical Engineering background but with good chemical/chemistry knowledge and you are interested in safety and process in this industry the programme will develop advanced skills in assessing risk, processes and analysis to continuously improve safety in the industry. The programme is offered in Aberdeen city in the heart of the oil and gas industry within Europe and often worldwide and it is informed by close links and support from the industry to ensure it is robust and relevant. Aberdeen has offered advanced knowledge and learning in this area since the inception of the oil and gas industry which cover the entire physical and business supply chain.
Process Risk Identification and Management
Upstream Oil and Gas Processing
Loss of Containment
Computational Fluid Dynamics
Applied Risk Analysis and Management
Process, Plant, Equipment and Operations
Process Design, Layout and Materials
Human Factors Engineering
Process Safety Individual Project
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*Please be advised that some programmes have different tuition fees from those listed above and that some programmes also have additional costs.
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The Master of Safety Engineering will prepare you to improve and realise safety in many different areas. The programme trains you in prevention policy and safety management systems, the safety of products, processes, and installations, qualitative risk analysis techniques, and fire and explosion safety. You’ll obtain detailed knowledge of technical and managerial process safety concepts with regard to the whole life cycle of a production plant, and risk evaluations based on qualitative and quantitative methods.
The Master of Safety Engineering comprises a total of 60 credits. The programme consists of a group of common compulsory courses (23 credits) that are taken up by every student. This party contains courses with themes that are of interest to every safety professional, irrespective of the specialisation option. All courses in this part are taught in English. This relatively large core part ensures that every student is given the same broad basic education about the specialised field of safety.
After a general introduction to safety engineering, prevention policy and safety management systems are treated. Safety of products, processes and installations are discussed next and qualitative risk analysis techniques, fire and explosion safety complete this section.
Furthermore, students choose between one of two available options (22 credits each): Option Process Safety or Option Prevention. In turn, each option contains a number of compulsory courses (16 credits) and elective courses (6 credits).
The Option Prevention focuses on occupational safety and health-related issues. The compulsory courses in this option also discuss non-technical aspects concerning safety. This option is mainly of interest to candidates who want to obtain the Certificaat Preventieadviseur Niveau 1.
The Option Process Safety provides students with a detailed knowledge of technical and managerial process safety concepts with regard to the whole life cycle of a production plant from concept to design, construction and operation to decommissioning. Safety concepts of representative operational units are presented in a series of case studies. Examples of required safety oriented competences in industrial operations are also discussed. It is shown how risk evaluations and estimates based on qualitative and quantitative methods are performed.
Each student also needs to choose elective courses either from a short indicative list, or from any Master’s programme within the Group of Science, Engineering and Technology.
Finally, students have to complete a Master’s thesis of 15 credits, which represents an effort that is consistent with a programme of 60 credits in total.
The programme can be completed normally in one-year on a full-time basis. However, to facilitate the participation of working professionals, it can also be followed on a two year part-time basis.
After finishing this advanced Master's programme, the student should:
To carry out the programme's objectives, teaching activities consist of a combination of classroom lectures, practically oriented seminars and site visits. The instructors themselves come from the academic world both inside and outside K.U.Leuven, or have been recruited from reputable industrial companies because of their long-standing expertise and willingness to contribute to teaching and training.
In many countries, there is a permanent and growing need for scientists and engineers who are knowledgeable and trained at the academic level in the field of safety engineering and safety management. This is due to the increasing complexity of industrial production processes and the growing number of rules and regulations both in Europe and internationally.
Graduates of the Master of Science in Safety Engineering programme find employment in small national and large multinational industrial companies at home and abroad or are employed in private and/or governmental organisations. Such organisations need experts with the ability to conduct research, carry out analyses, and perform inspections, monitoring and certification in the broad field of safety.
Moreover, in some countries (including Belgium), companies beyond a certain size dealing with specific risks are required by law to hire or even employ a certified prevention advisor. This certification can be acquired through the Prevention option of the Master of Science in Safety Engineering (Certificaat Preventieadviseur Niveau 1).
It is also possible for graduates to begin a career as an independent consultant with expertise in safety and environmental areas.
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.