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MSc Petroleum Refining Systems Engineering

Course Description

Today, engineers and scientists are expected to have strong skills in information systems engineering and decision-support systems. On this programme you will develop the ability to help technology-intensive organisations make important decisions by adopting, combining, implementing and executing the right technologies.


Our Petroleum Refining Systems Engineering MSc will equip you with the essential knowledge required to work as an engineer 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.

Visit the website http://www.surrey.ac.uk/postgraduate/petroleum-refining-systems-engineering


Created in response to the worldwide shortage of qualified engineers in the petroleum refining systems engineering industry, our programme combines petroleum refining (technologies, operations and economics) and systems engineering (modelling and simulation, optimisation, and process design and integration).

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.

Programme structure

We offer a set of optional modules that will allow you to tailor the programme to suit your individual needs, whilst the compulsory modules provide the fundamental knowledge and skills needed in industry today.

Graduate students will find the programme of substantial benefit in developing the knowledge and skills acquired in their undergraduate programme. For practising process engineers with professional business experience, the programme is an opportunity to update their knowledge of current design practice and also to familiarise themselves with developments in codes and methods of analysis.

Successful completion of four modules is required to gain a Postgraduate Certificate and eight modules for a Postgraduate Diploma. To be awarded the MSc, you will need to take eight modules and successfully complete a dissertation.

Each module is worth 15 credits. The majority of modules are provided by University academic staff. In addition, the Technology, Business, and Research Seminars module is coordinated and supervised by University academic staff but delivered by experts from industry, research institutions and business organisations. The majority of modules run for ten weeks and comprise approximately 30 hours of class time (three hours per week) and 120 hours of self-study and assignments.

There is a wide selection of modules on offer within the programme, covering the most relevant areas in the sector of business and technology in the process industry. At the end of the programme, you will have an opportunity to pursue a single topic in depth and to demonstrate evidence of research potential through the project dissertation.

Academic support in the form of consultations is constantly available to enable further knowledge and skill comprehension.

Compulsory modules

Refinery and Petrochemical Processing
This module provides an understanding of refining and immediate downstream petrochemical processing. Specifically, you will gain a holistic understanding of refinery systems and the family of hydrocarbon products (and their individual processing steps and corresponding technologies), and grasp the principles for improving refinery economics.

Process Safety and Operations Integrity
On this module you will build up an understanding of the principles for analysing and tackling major hazards and operational problems in refineries and petrochemical plants. Specifically, you will become aware of major types of operational and safety problems, and understand the causes and consequences of individual types of problems, as well as the ways of handling them. You will also master the methods of HAZOP and HAZAN, and be able to apply the principles of operations integrity management.

Process and Energy Integration
This module develops an understanding of process integration, highlighting solution strategies for the synthesis of energy recovery networks in the context of the overall flowsheets of processing plants and utility systems. The principles and methods apply to refinery, petrochemical and other processes.

Process Modelling and Simulation
You will be introduced to the concepts and tools for mathematical modelling and simulation of refinery, petrochemical and other process systems. Specifically, you will acquire knowledge of types of modelling tools and gain experience of applying the standard simulation tools commonly employed in the industrial workplace.

Process Systems Design
This module develops your understanding of how to systematically synthesise and design refinery, petrochemical and other process systems. It will cover process synthesis and integration technologies that reduce the costs and environmental impact of chemical plants, with a particular focus on reaction and separation.

Optimisation and Decision-Making
You will develop an awareness of the technology available for optimising process systems, business models and operations. You will be provided with state-of-the-art versions of modelling and optimisation approaches, in order to understand both the potential and the limitations of available techniques.

Optional modules

- Introduction to Petroleum Production

- Energy Economics and Technology

- Economics of International Oil and Gas

- Renewable Energy Technologies

- Sustainable Development Applications

- Technology, Business and Research Seminars

- Knowledge-based Systems and Artificial Intelligence

- Supply Chain Management

- Transitions to a Low Carbon Energy Economy

- Biomass Processing Technology


This project provides an opportunity for you to pursue a single topic in depth and to demonstrate evidence of research potential for the Masters award. You are encouraged to either research a new concept or apply existing technology in a new field. A number of dissertations are carried out in collaboration with industry. Through this module, you will be able to approach an open-ended topic to research new ideas and experiment with new technologies.

Teaching and assessment

Our programme utilises our research-active staff in conjunction with state-of-the-art facilities to provide a range of learning experiences – lectures, seminars, directed study, practical laboratories and project work.

Lectures are delivered by specialised, expert academic staff. Further in-depth knowledge and skills are gained through seminars delivered and guided by experienced professionals from industry, business and research organisations, with the focus on the latest trends and problem-solving methods. You will also work on a number of projects, individually and in groups, supervised by academic staff and focusing on real-life problems.

Modules are generally assessed by a combination of examinations and continuous assessment. The latter will be based on solutions to tutorial questions, reports covering practical sessions and fieldwork, and essays on a number of suitable topics. Each module is examined separately. There is a written final examination for most modules at the end of each semester, although some modules are examined by continuous assessment only. The modules and the dissertation project have a minimum pass mark of 50 per cent.

Find out how to apply here - http://www.surrey.ac.uk/apply/postgraduate

Visit the MSc Petroleum Refining Systems Engineering page on the University of Surrey website for more details!

Student Profiles

Discounts for Surrey graduates - No. of awards TBC

If you are a self-funded UK, EU or international student who has studied for an undergraduate degree at the University of Surrey campus in Guildford, you could be eligible for a ten per cent discount on our taught postgraduate Masters programme fees. This scheme is for applicable to Postgraduate Taught entry students only and is reviewed annually.Students who graduated in 2013 are eligible, as well as alumni from previous years, on receipt of evidence of the award from Surrey and where we can identify that you actually studied in Guildford. Students from SII-DUFE are eligible for this scheme.Associated Institution students are not eligible. Not available to modular self-pacing students.

Value of Scholarship(s)

10% tuition fee discount


Self-funded UK, EU or international student who has studied for an undergraduate degree at the University of Surrey campus in Guildford

Application Procedure

If you have any enquiries regarding this matter please contact the Student Fees and Funding Office on [email protected]


GREAT Surrey Scholarships India - 6 Awards

Funded by the University and the UK government’s GREAT Britain campaign, up to six scholarships worth £5,000 (paid in the form of a fee discount) are being offered on postgraduate taught courses from the following subjects:- Chemical and Process Engineering
- Chemistry
- Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Computer Science
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Environment and Sustainability
- Mathematics
- Mechanical Engineering Sciences
- PhysicsWHO CAN APPLY?You can apply for a GREAT Surrey Scholarship if:- You hold a high first-class degree from an Indian university (the minimum requirement is 65 per cent from a prestigious university or 70 per cent from a regional university).
- You hold an offer from Surrey to study any MSc course within the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, as listed above (you must hold an offer before submitting an application for a scholarship)

Value of Scholarship(s)



The GREAT Scholarship – India programme is aimed at high-calibre Indian students who want to study for a postgraduate programme in engineering.

Application Procedure

To apply, you will need to complete the online form - http://www.surrey.ac.uk/content/great-scholarships-india-2016

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A minimum 2.1 honours degree (or overseas equivalent) in an engineering, science or related subject. Practitioners with suitable qualifications and relevant experience in engineering, science or technology are also welcome to apply.English language requirements-IELTS minimum overall: 6.5-IELTS minimum by component: 6.0

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