Information and Process Systems Engineering MSc

Our Information and Process Systems Engineering MSc will prepare you for the information demands and knowledge-related challenges of today’s business environment. Upon completion of our MSc, you will understand the principles of knowledge management, decision-making in technical systems and business information technologies.


Why Surrey?

The programme provides high-quality education with rigorous intellectual challenges, commensurate with the financial rewards and job satisfaction available in the real world. It also delivers a thorough grounding in the current technologies and trends, offering comprehensive training in the fundamentals of the subject.

Programme overview

The MSc Information and Process Systems Engineering programme is aimed at graduates of traditional engineering, science and related disciplines. Graduates from non-IT or related disciplines tend to be ill prepared for the information and knowledge-related challenges and demands of today’s business environments.

We offer a wide selection of modules spanning process engineering, information systems, business and management. All taught modules are delivered by qualified experts in the topics and academic staff, assisted by specialist external lecturers.

Module overview

Programme structure

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

Graduate students will find the programmes of substantial benefit in developing the knowledge and skills acquired in their undergraduate programmes. For practising process engineers with professional business experience, the programmes are an opportunity to update their knowledge of current design practice and also to familiarise themselves with developments in 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 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, part of Technology, Business & Research Seminars module are 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 programmes, covering the most relevant areas in the sector of business and technology in the process industry. At the end of the programmes, you will have an opportunity to pursue a single topic in depth and to demonstrate evidence of research potential through the dissertation project.

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

Compulsory modules

Optimisation and Decision-Making

This module will develop your understanding of the technology available to optimise process systems, business models and operations. You are 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.

Information Security Management

Security is one of the greatest challenges for computer and information systems in the near future. Information security is a managerial problem as well as a technical one, and good security solutions depend on an ability to identify security requirements based on business needs and business processes. Thus, this module has a two-fold objective. It will look at how information systems can be managed and designed to fill actual business needs. It will also raise an awareness of the great range of security threats and how protection depends on a holistic view of the system.

Technology, Business and Research Seminars

Designers and managers working in technology-intensive industries constantly face new problems to which they have to find solutions. Research is becoming an important part of their job, carried out daily and in a routine manner. One of the best ways to get insights into these challenges is to get first-hand experience from experts who have already faced them and provided appropriate solutions which have proven to be successful. This module aims to provide an introduction to the general principles and practices associated with planning, undertaking and reporting research in engineering or physical sciences. At the same time, a series of seminars will be delivered by academics and industrial experts from diverse hi-tech industries and businesses (including chemicals, oil and gas, information systems and renewable technologies) which will present students with valuable insights into today’s challenges faced by technology-intensive industries in terms of their business and information systems activities. It also covers general business aspects that will explain how to start up a technology-based company.

Knowledge-based Systems and Artificial Intelligence

This module presents the current understanding of the development of decision support systems and knowledge management systems. It uses a common thread and examples from the design of chemical processes, focusing on the use of artificial intelligence techniques such as knowledge representation, knowledge-based decision support and agent technology.

Intelligent Information Systems

The aim of this module is to equip you with the knowledge and an overview, as well as the analytical skills, to assess security in large systems and organisations, and to incorporate security in every step of a system’s life cycle.

Process Modelling and Simulation

This module provides an introduction to the concepts and tools involved in the 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.

Optional modules

Process Safety & Operation Integrity

This module aims to develop your understanding of process integration. You will learn about powerful methods used to assess energy targets for energy recovery, and you’ll also have the chance to develop designs that match the targets.

Process and Energy Integration

Better efficiencies in material and energy require the systematic integration of all available process units. This module concentrates on systematic ways of assessing beneficial synergies between units, often deploying thermodynamics to set integration targets ahead of design.

Process Systems Design

On this module, you will focus on the design principles and methods for process systems comprising reaction and separation (including water reactions). You will develop a systematic understanding of methods for process synthesis and design; conceptual design of reactive and separation systems; integrated reaction-separation systems design, and pinch analysis and network design for water reuse.

Supply Chain Management

You will explore the concept of a supply chain and its management, including both qualitative and quantitative analysis, on this module. By the end of the course you should be able to understand key concepts of supply chain management, typical distribution networks, forecasting models, planning and optimisation of inventory policies.

Biomass Processing Technology

On this module you will develop in-depth understanding of the processes and techniques required for the production of energy, as well as chemical and material products, based on biomass processing. You will finish the course with an increased ability to identify, analyse and select processes for producing biofuels, pyrolysis and gasification. You will become confident explaining the concept of biorefinery and possible integrations with conventional refineries.

Advanced Process Control

Automatic control is an essential technology to maintain safe, economic and environmentally benign operation of manufacturing processes. Process control is increasingly needed and challenging because modern plants have become more difficult to operate as the result of complex and highly integrated processes. This module aims to provide an introduction to process control, balancing theoretical and practical aspects. The module will review basic concept in control, including dynamics, feedback and stability, based on which more advanced and modern techniques will be introduced. It will integrate computer experiments, which closely simulate the operation of process plants, to enhance the understanding of process control principles.

Transitions to a Low Carbon Economy

Energy use and the systems put in place to supply it are responsible for the majority of the world’s emissions of carbon dioxide and hence much climate change policy is directed towards the energy sector. Energy is also central to economic development and social welfare and thus energy security and cost minimisation are high on national policy agendas. Energy markets throughout the world are also evolving rapidly, with privatisation, competition, market structure and regulation remaining prominent issues in the UK, Europe and internationally. The range of challenges for energy policy is diverse and exciting. This module focuses on the transitions needed from the current situations in energy use, supply, markets and policy to those required as part of a long term, sustainable, low carbon energy system.

Sustainable Development Applications

This module will provide an introduction to SD for students primarily concerned with industrial ecology, and a consolidation and deepening of understanding for students focusing on sustainable development and corporate environmental management.


The dissertation project gives you an opportunity to pursue a single topic in depth and demonstrate evidence of research potential for the MSc award. You will be 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. Upon successful completion of the module, you will be able to approach an open-ended topic to experiment with new technologies.

Teaching and assessment

Our programmes utilise 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, as well as modelling of process systems.

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, on-going 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 our well-established Centre for Process and Information Systems Engineering (PRISE). PRISE, supported by industrial membership, fosters interactions with R&D centres around the world. The most notable of the successes in this area includes 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)

Your career

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 these programmes will be well prepared to help technology-intensive organisations make important decisions in respect of vast amounts of information, by adopting, combining, implementing and executing the right technologies.

Related programmes

Postgraduate (Taught)

Related departments/schools

Related research areas

Programme leader

Dr Franjo Cecelja

Find out more

General enquiries:

+44 (0)1483 681 681

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Programme facts

Type of programme:


Programme length:

  • Full-time: 12 months
  • Part-time: 24 months

Start date:

Sep 2016, Feb 2017

Entry Requirements

Candidates should be graduates with a minimum 2.2 honours degree (or 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.

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

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.


Study mode Start date UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time Sep 2016 £8,000 £18,000
Part-time Sep 2016 £4,000 £9,000
Full-time Feb 2017 £8,000 £18,000
Part-time Feb 2017 £4,000 £9,000

Please note these fees are for the academic year 2016/2017 only. Annual fees will rise by four per cent (rounded up to the nearest £100) for each year of study.

A complete list of all fees for our Masters Programmes


Discounts for Surrey graduates

Thinking of continuing your education at Surrey? As an alumnus of Surrey you may be eligible for a ten per cent discount on our taught Masters programme fees. Learn more.

For more details

GREAT Surrey Scholarships India

For for all postgraduate taught courses starting in February 2017 within the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, the University is offering graduates from India the opportunity to apply for one of three scholarships worth £5,000 through the GREAT Scholarships - India programme. 

For more details

Admissions Information

Our Admissions Policy provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students.

Further information for applicants

Postgraduate Study Advice

Steps to Postgraduate Study is an official, independent guide for anyone considering a taught postgraduate course. The guide is produced by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, the Scottish Funding Council and the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland.

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Modules listed 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.

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