Renewable Energy Systems Engineering MSc

By taking our Renewable Energy Systems Engineering MSc, you will gain a global understanding of the major types of renewable energy technologies, and pick up the skills to successfully model and optimise these systems.

Why Surrey?

This programme provides you with opportunities to learn about other renewable energy technologies, energy sector economics, supply chain management and sustainable development, to further broaden your relevant knowledge.

Programme overview

Created in the context of the rapid advancement of the renewable energy industry, our programme is suited to graduates from engineering, science or other relevant backgrounds with an interest in pursuing a successful career in research, technological change and the commercialisation of renewable energy systems.

On our MSc, you will investigate both renewable energy and systems technologies, in order to become competent in the R&D and engineering tasks that are demanded of scientific engineers in the sustainable development sector.

Our programme also provides you with opportunities to learn about similar renewable energy technologies, energy sector economics and supply chain management.

Why not explore student experiences of the subject, including Alexandros Fourtoulakis who is studying Renewable Energy Systems Engineering MSc.

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.

Module overview

Compulsory modules


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.

Biomass Processing Technology

This module provides an in-depth understanding of the processes and technologies for sustainable use of biomass in producing energy and chemical products. You will acquire knowledge of first- and second-generation biofuel production processes, understand the concept of bio-refineries and examine the integration of biomass-based production and conventional oil refining.

Wind Energy Technology

This module aims to provide the students with an in-depth understanding of the theoretical, technological and economic aspects of wind energy systems. Upon successful completion of this module, students will be able to identify, assess and select the types of wind turbines, estimate the power output of specific wind energy devices and systems, assess the structural suitability of wind towers and evaluate the key aspects of on-shore (urban) and off-shore wind energy systems.

Process Modelling and Simulation

This module provides a systematic introduction to the concepts and tools for mathematical modelling and simulation of chemical, thermochemical and biochemical process systems. Specifically, you will acquire knowledge of types of modelling tools and gain experience in applying the standard simulation tools commonly employed in industrial workplaces.

Process Systems Design

This module develops your understanding of how to systematically synthesise and design 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 aims to develop 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.

Technology, Business and Research Seminars

This module aims to provide an introduction to the general principles 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 particularly renewable technology and related sectors) which will present students with valuable insights into today’s challenges faced by technology-intensive industries.

Optional modules

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.

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.

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.

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.

Energy Economics and Technology

This module examines the fundamentals of energy economics, and will provide you with a sound knowledge base on the UK and world energy situation as well as important, current energy policy issues.

Economics of International Oil and Gas

On this module you will look at the economic analysis of international oil and gas markets, examining in detail the behaviour of stakeholders, namely consumers and producers. By the end of the course you will be able to assess key developments that have affected the oil and gas industry, as well as analyse current energy policies.

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.

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.

Transitions to a Low-Carbon Energy 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. As a result, 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. 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.

Introduction to Petroleum Production

On this module you will look at the field of petroleum production, and focus on surface engineering and operations. Course content includes production facility schemes, fluid separation design, equilibrium flash calculations, processing of gas condensates, hydrocarbon transportation and storage, and project economics.

Process Safety and Operations 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.

Refinery and Petrochemical Processing

This module looks at the processes that comprise a typical refinery and petrochemicals complex. On successful completion of the module, you will be able to explain and apply the principles for the formation of crude oil; analyse these techniques; as well as identify the challenges facing the refining and petrochemicals industry.

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.

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 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.

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

Admissions enquiries:


Programme facts

Type of programme:


Programme length:

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

Start date:

Sep 2016, Feb 2017

Entry Requirements

A minimum 2.1 honours degree or an 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.

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.

Find out more


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.

Our alumni