Petroleum Engineering MSc
The MSc in Petroleum Engineering at Heriot-Watt University is a programme of lectures and project work, encompassing a wide range of petroleum engineering fundamentals, pertinent to the modern industry.
Vocational in its nature, the programme allows students to study specific courses as well as undertake a field development project (with other students) and an individual research project. The programme has the principal objectives of providing specialist high quality learning and teaching, informed by transferable skills such as employability and research awareness.
As a result of this specialist education, over 90% of graduates from the programme have found employment within the petroleum industry soon after graduation, as IOCs, NOCs and oilfield service companies actively target our graduates. The MSc in Petroleum Engineering is recognised globally by oil and gas companies.
As well as the compulsory Field Development Project and the Individual Research Project, students will undertake the following taught courses:
Involves a range of engineering disciplines in the design and safe construction of exploration and development wells. These wells are required either to gather information from or to drain oil and gas reservoirs.
Concerns the origin, structure and internal geometry of reservoirs and the creation, migration and entrapment of hydrocarbons. Geological models form the basis for reserve estimation and development planning.
Concerns the productivity of oil and gas wells. It includes the design, installation and operation of down-hole and surface systems, to optimise the controlled recovery of pipeline quality crude oil and gas. Safety and the ability to respond to changing situations are important considerations.
Involves understanding the financial implications of engineering decisions, which are normally made in an environment of uncertainty.
Involves the measurement and interpretation of rock properties, such as porosity and resistivity, by means of well bore instruments.
Concerns the physics, chemistry and flow of petroleum fluids within a reservoir. A range of analytical techniques are used to model fluid flow and for predicting how the reservoir might behave under various development scenarios, an important objective being the maximisation of energy recovered.
Involves the construction of detailed, mathematical models of reservoirs, as a means of predicting their behaviour and performance.
Group Design Project
Groups of about 10 students are provided with real data from a field, similar to that which would be available to an Operator prior to a development decision. Analysis of this data results in an assessment of the reservoir and leads to the design of an appropriate production system. Through this exercise, students gain valuable insight into the use of imperfect and incomplete data, to the integration of the various taught components of the course and to problems of group interaction. It is also an opportunity to teach a range of transferable skills such as teamwork, presentation and negotiation. During the project students have access to state-of-the-art computer technology and industry standard software. Assessment is by means of a written report and by group presentation.
Students are required to carry out a detailed investigation of some topic related to petroleum geoscience or engineering. Projects are offered both by the Institute and by the industry, and normally include a wide choice of experimental research, computer modelling and real oilfield problems. Assessment is by means of both thesis and oral presentation.
How do I apply?
You apply via the online application process. It tells you the information you need to provide, including financial and English language issues.
For those already employed in the oil industry, it may be possible to study on a part-time basis, including a Distance Learning version of the MSc PE degree. Please contact us for further information.
Distance learning programme
This provides greater convenience and flexibility for students who prefer to remain in employment. Examinations are similar to those taken by residential students. The only significant difference is the design project, which is configued as an individual assignment for distance learning candidates.
We endeavour to arrange financial support for students accepted on to the courses, negotiating annually for industrial scholarships. These are allocated following interviews in early summer.
These courses provide specialist education tailored to the requirements of the upstream petroleum industry. The relevance of this education combined with careful selection of candidates has encouraged oil and oilfield service companies to target Heriot-Watt for recruitment of graduates over the years. The petroleum industry is subject to dramatic changes of fortune over time, with the oil price capable of very rapid rates of change in either direction. Petroleum, however, remains the dominant source of energy, with current world production of oil and gas at record rates. In a low price environment, companies face increasing technological and commercial challenges to keep their wells flowing and are increasingly dependent on input from petroleum engineers and geoscientists. It is widely recognised that a steady influx of fresh people and ideas is vital for the longer term success and stability of an organisation, and it is therefore expected that recruitment will continue, especially for those with motivation and the appropriate qualifications.
Postgraduate Msc Level
Entrants to the programme will normally have a good Honours Degree (minimum 2:1 or UK equivalent) in engineering or a relevant science discipline such as geology, physics, chemistry or mathematics, from a British or overseas University.
Postgraduate Diploma level
- Bachelors Degree An Ordinary degree in a cognate or semicognate discipline.
- Higher National Diploma HND or equivalent qualification deemed suitable to third year entry of a cognate Bachelors degree, plus four years' relevant post-qualification work experience.
- Higher National Certificate HNC or equivalent qualification deemed suitable to second year entry of a cognate Bachelors degree, plus six years' relevant post-qualification work experience.
- Work experience Eight or more years' relevant work experience at a suitable level.
English language requirements
If your first language is not English, or your first degree was not taught in English, we’ll need to see evidence of your English language ability. The minimum requirement for English language is IELTS 6.5 or equivalent.