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 course is ideally situated to take advantage of the oil and gas industry in Aberdeen city and its industry experts who also have a strong input into the programme content and structure. This combination of academic overview and industry expertise ensures that you have a good range of skills and knowledge which is applicable to the global oil and gas and energy market so ideal if you are international or work or want to work internationally. Your skills are ideally placed to scope out maximising oil field recovery from declining field areas on top of upstream geoscience knowledge from initial exploration to mature and declining field recovery.
Aberdeen has been running this programme since 1973 to the current day, learning with the energy industry which is located in Aberdeen itself. This means that the programme is not only robust drawing on historical learning relevant to the current day, but highly regarded internationally. This strength of knowledge feeds down directly to you as a student and afterwards as a highly trained professional within the energy market.
Regarded as the best of its kind in the world the programme gives you vocational training in geoscience skills for minerals exploration and production, including: seismic interpretation, petrophysical analysis, geochemical evaluation, sedimentology, structural analysis, and reservoir modelling.
Geophysics and Petrophysics
Professional Skills Incorporating Field Trip
Project in Integrated Petroleum Geosciences
Find out more detail by visiting the programme web page
Find out about fees:
*Please be advised that some programmes have different tuition fees from those listed above and that some programmes also have additional costs.
View all funding options on our funding database via the programme page
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This course is one of the premier international applied petroleum geoscience courses. Since the inception of the course in 1985 its graduates have an unparalleled employment record in the petroleum industry both in the UK and worldwide. In addition our graduates are highly sought after for further PhD research in the petroleum geosciences.
● Recognised by NERC - 5 MSc studentships each year covering fees, fieldwork and maintenance.
● Recognised by Industry - Industry scholarships
● We offer highly focused teaching and training by internationally recognised academic experts as well as by visiting staff from the petroleum industry.
The course covers the applications of basin dynamics and evolution to hydrocarbon exploration and production. The course is modular in form providing intensive learning and training in geophysics, tectonics and structural geology, sequence stratigraphy and sedimentology, hydrocarbon systems, reservoir geology, remote sensing and applied geological fieldwork.
The MSc course provides ‘state of the art’ training in -
● 3D seismic interpretation and 3D visualization;
● Fault analysis and fault-sealing;
● Seismic sequence stratigraphy;
● Applied sedimentology;
● Well log analysis;
● Remote sensing analysis of satellite and radar imagery;
● Analysis of gravity and magnetic data;
● Numerical modelling of sedimentation and tectonics;
● Applied structural geology;
● Geological Fieldwork.
● Transferable skills learned during the course include
project planning, presentation techniques, report writing and compilation, team working skills, spreadsheet and statistical analyses, GIS methods as well as graphics and visualization techniques.
● The full time MSc course runs for 50 weeks. The first half comprises one and two week course modules as well as group projects and fieldwork. The second half of the MSc course consists of an individual research project usually carried out in conjunction with the petroleum industry or related institutions such as international geological surveys.
● Part time study over 24 months is also available
● Each year independent projects are arranged with new data sets from industry – some students work in the offices of the company whereas other may use our excellent in-house facilities. All independent projects are supervised by faculty members with additional industry supervision where appropriate.
Facilities include –
● Dedicated Modern Teaching Laboratories
● 14 Dual Screen Unix Seismic Workstations
● PC and Macintosh Workstations
● Internationally Recognised Structural Modelling Laboratories
● Advanced Sedimentological Laboratories
The MSc course also greatly benefits from dynamic interaction with internationally recognised research groups within the Geology Department including –
● Project EAGLE – Evolution of the African and Arabian rift system – Professor Cindy Ebinger
● Southeast Asia Research Group – Tectonic Evolution and Basin Development in SE Asia – Professor Robert Hall
● Numerical Modelling Research Group – Numerical Modelling of Tectonics and Sedimentation – Dr Dave Waltham
● Fault Dynamics Research Group – Dynamics of Fault Systems in Sedimentary Basins – Professor Ken McClay
The 2005 MSc graduates went on to employment with Shell, BP, Amerada Hess, Gaz de France, OMV (Austria), Star Energy, First Africa Oil, Badley Ashton, ECL, PGS, Robertsons, PGL, Aceca, and to PhD research at Royal Holloway and Barcelona.
Since 2001, 85% of our graduates have gone in to work in the oil industry, 10% into geological research and 5% into environmental/engineering jobs.
Accommodation is available on campus in en-suite study bedrooms grouped in flats of eight, each with a communal kitchen and dining space.
Subsistence Costs ~£9,000 pa (including Hall of Residence fees of c. £4,500 for a full year)
APPLICATIONS can be made on line at http://www.rhul.ac.uk/Registry/Admissions/applyonline.html