Process and Environmental Systems Engineering MSc

With increasing awareness of environmental impact of modern manufacturing, graduates with the combined skills taught on this programme are highly sought after by both process and environmental industries.

Why Surrey?

If you want to develop core skills in process systems engineering, focusing your attention on environmental systems approaches, our course is for you.

Programme overview

Our MSc Process and Environmental Systems Engineering programme will train you in general and specialist process systems engineering subjects. Such areas are not generally covered in engineering and science curricula, and graduates tend to be ill prepared for the systems challenges they will face in industry or academia on graduation.

Our programme disseminates technology with a wide scope among engineering disciplines and will train you in general and specialist process systems engineering – crucial aspects to finance, industrial management and computer-integrated manufacturing.

There is a wide selection of modules on offer within the programme. All taught modules are delivered by qualified experts in the topics and academic members of the university staff, assisted by specialist external lecturers.

Our programme provides high-quality education with substantial intellectual challenges, commensurate with the financial rewards and job satisfaction when venturing into the real world. It will also make you aware of current technologies and trends, whilst providing a rigorous training in the fundamentals of the subject.

Module overview

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 core 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.

The majority of modules, worth 15 credits each, are taught by university academic staff. In addition, business and research seminars and renewable technology modules are delivered by experts from industry, research institutions and business organisations.

The majority of modules run for eleven weeks and comprise approximately 33 hours of class time, and 120 hours of self-study and assignments. You will also undertake a dissertation.

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

Software Development

In this module you will gain an appreciation of the technical issues involved in the production of computationally intensive engineering design and simulation software. You will explore the software design and production process from the mathematical origins to the final user interface. This module concentrates on the technical issues of algorithm design whilst touching on the business and user-interface aspects of commercial packages.

Process and Energy Integration

This module develops your understanding of process integration, highlighting solution strategies for the synthesis of energy recovery networks in the context of the overall chemical flowsheet.

Process Systems Design

This module develops your understanding of how to systematically synthesise and design chemical process systems. It will cover process synthesis and integration technology that can be applied in order to improve the economic efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of chemical processing plants.

Optimisation and Decision-Making

In this module you will develop your understanding of the technology available to optimise 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.

Environmental Life Cycle Approaches

This module aims to equip you to use life cycle approaches (LCA) and related systems approaches. It includes an introduction to the thinking, approach, methodology and practice of using LCA.

Sustainable Development

Environmental protection is too often seen as an additional cost to industry and public services. Clean technology aims to provide participants with the knowledge to rethink the provision of goods and services so as to achieve economic as well as environmental benefits. This module is designed to encourage discussion, to help you to think through the implications of the clean technology approach in your own area of work.

Environmental Law

This module aims to provide you with an understanding of the English, European Union and international legal systems, with particular relevance to environmental law. On completion of this module you will be able to understand legal procedures, interaction between legal proof and scientific evidence, structure of substantive environmental laws in the UK as well as the legal context for sustainable development.

Optional modules

Technology, Business and Research Seminars

This module aims to provide you with 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 business (including chemicals, oil and gas, information systems and renewable technologies) which will present you 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

Knowledge is the most critical part of any decision-making process, whether it’s design, management or general business. By the end of this module you will be able to represent a design process as a space of states, understand the relationship between design artefact, design intent and design rationale as well as build an ontology and apply an agent-based architecture to the solution of a problem.

Process Safety and 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 will also have the chance to develop designs that match the targets.

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.

Renewable Energy Technologies

This module covers renewable energy technologies from the engineering point of view: applications, engineering calculations and design, feasibility and so on. The main aim of the course is to provide you with a systematic understanding of current knowledge, problems and insight into the field of renewable energy technologies.

Process Modelling and Simulation

On this module you will address the concepts, methods and tools of process modelling and simulation. By the end of the course you should be able to identify and explain types of mathematical models, explain developing models and conduct numerical simulations. You will become confident selecting proper types of methods for a given problem, and applying standard tools to solve practical engineering issues.

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 and you will become confident explaining the concept of biorefinery and possible integrations with conventional refineries.

Solar Energy Technology

Solar Energy is a vast subject, based on different branches of science and technologies. This module aims to provide you with a systematic understanding of current knowledge, problems and insights in solar photo-voltaic technologies; enable you to evaluate current research and advances in the field; and assess solar PV technologies, developing critiques and proposing solutions.

Wind Energy Technology

On this module, you will focus on wind energy technology (both onshore and offshore systems) as well as the perspectives of commercial projects and economics. The main aim of the course is to provide you with an in-depth understanding of the theoretical, technological and economic aspects of wind energy systems as well as equip you with the knowledge and skills required for carrying out equipment selection and design and assessing wind energy projects.

Advanced Process Control

Automatic control is an essential technology to maintain the 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, therefore, aims to provide an introduction to process control, while balancing theory and practice.


The 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 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 research new ideas and 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.

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.

Related programmes

Postgraduate (Taught)

Related departments/schools

Related research areas

Programme leader

Dr Tao Chen

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

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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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