MSc Petroleum Refining Systems Engineering
- Programme length
- Full-time: 12 months, Part-time: up to 60 months
- Programme start date
- September 2013
Suitable for graduates with an interest in pursuing a successful career in the energy or petrochemical sectors.
Developed in response to the worldwide shortage of qualified engineers in the relevant industries, this programme is suitable for graduates in an engineering, science or technology subject with an interest in pursuing a successful career in the energy or petrochemical sectors.
The programme will equip you with the essential knowledge and skills required to work as an engineer in the oil, gas and petrochemical sectors. The key learning outcomes are: an 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.
The programme combines petroleum refining (technologies, operations and economics) and systems engineering (modelling and simulation, optimisation, and process design and integration).
In addition, it provides opportunities for you to learn about the general economics of the energy sector, oil exploration and production, as well as renewable energy systems. Furthermore, study of the various aspects of petroleum refining will be augmented by unique work assignments at a virtual oil refining and chemical company.
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:
We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.
Fees and funding
All fees are subject to increase or review for subsequent academic years. Please note that not all visa routes permit part-time study and overseas students entering the UK on a Tier 4 visa will not be permitted to study on a part-time basis.
|Programme name||Study mode||Start date||UK/EU fees||Overseas fees|
|MSc Petroleum Refining Systems Engineering||Full-time||Sept 2013||£6,025||£15,570|
|MSc Petroleum Refining Systems Engineering||Part-time||Sept 2013||£670 per 15 credits||£1,730 per 15 credits|
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
This module provides 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
This module provides an introduction 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
This module develops an understanding 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.
- Introduction to Petroleum Production
- Energy Economics and Technology
- Economics of International Oil and Gas
- Renewable Energy Technologies
- Sustainable Development
- Technology, Business and Research
- Knowledge-based Systems and Artificial Intelligence
- Supply Chain Management
- Transitions to a Low Carbon Energy Economy
- Biomass Processing Technologies
This project provides an opportunity for you to pursue a single topic in depth and to demonstrate evidence of research potential for the master’s 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.
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.
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.
Facilities, equipment and academic support
Modules related to the different groups are taught by a total of six full-time members of staff and a number of visiting lecturers.
An extensive library is available for individual study. It stocks more than 85,000 printed books and e-books and more than 1,400 (1,100 online) journal titles, all in the broad area of engineering. The library support can be extended further through inter-library loans.
As part of their learning experience, students have at their disposal a wide range of relevant software needed to support the programme material dissertation projects. In recent years, this work included the design of various knowledge-based and business systems on the internet, the application of optimisation algorithms and semantic web applications.
Numerous laboratory facilities across the Faculty and the University are also available for those opting for technology-based projects, such as the process engineering facility, a control and robotics facility and signal processing labs.
The work related to the MSc dissertation can often be carried out in parallel with, and in support of, ongoing research. In the past, several graduates have carried on their MSc research to a PhD programme.
Centre for Process and Information Systems Engineering
Process integration and systems analysis for sustainability of resources and energy efficiency are carried out within the well-established Centre for Process and Information Systems Engineering (PRISE). PRISE, supported through industrial membership, fosters interactions with R&D centres around the world. The most notable of the successes in this area include design technology for chemical reactors and chemical process flow sheets, optimisation solvers, the knowledge management h-TechSight and a long array of synthesis tools.
Major research interests in PRISE include:
- Chemical reactor design, addressing specific industrial reactors or reaction/separation and reactive separation processes
- Process operations, including graph-based methods, mathematical programming and stochastic optimisation
- Computer-aided molecular design (CAMD): integrated synthesis of optimal process designs and optimal solvents, novel solvent options and retrofit decision-making
- Bioprocess systems: the research targets optimal biocatalytic process design problems, focusing on membrane and solvent-based reactive and non-reactive separations, and solid/liquid separations
- Knowledge management and grid applications, inviting real-life problems to be used as pilot studies
- Oil exploration: research investigates the effective production and exploration of oil and the optimum design capacity of production facilities
- Sustainable systems engineering: with strong links with the Centre for Environmental Strategy (CES)
Engineers and scientists are increasingly expected to have skills in information systems engineering and decision-support systems alongside their main technical and/or scientific expertise. Graduates of this programme will be well prepared to help technology-intensive organisations make important decisions in view of vast amounts of information by adopting, combining, implementing and executing the right technologies.