MSc Marine Renewable Energy
This MSc is designed as a multidisciplinary transition programme relevant to students from a wide variety of backgrounds and is delivered at our Orkney Campus. The taught part of the programme addresses the technical, environmental and economic drivers that are shaping the marine renewable energy industry. An individual research project then allows students to specialise in a topic of their choice.
The programme team has strong links with stakeholders in marine renewables and has unique experience and expertise gained at the geographical heart of marine renewables in the UK. A strong emphasis is placed on project work that simulates real working situations.
If you study at our Orkney Campus, you will benefit from a number of activities including guest lectures and practical sessions which help to develop your skills and knowledge in your field of study and offer opportunities to meet developers and others involved in the renewable energy industry.
September 2023 entry
The deadline for applications from Scottish and RUK students is 31st August 2023. For EU and overseas applicants, we guarantee to consider applications submitted by 1st August 2023.
Visit our Graduate Profiles page to learn what some of our graduates said about their experiences studying a MSc in Marine Renewable Energy at Heriot-Watt University.
Flexible study options
This course can be studied full-time or part-time on campus in Orkney. Alternatively, you can study via Online Learning, ideal for those in employment or with other commitments, providing flexible study options that fit around work or family.
|Mode of study||Duration|
Programme lead: Dr. David Woolf
8 taught courses (7 mandatory + 1 optional) plus dissertation
|Semester 1||Semester 2|
|Economics of Renewable Energy||Developmental Appraisal|
|Marine Renewable Energy Technology||Developmental Project|
|Oceanography||Renewable Technology Commercialisation|
|Environmental Processes (Optional)||Integration of Renewable Technology|
|Energy in the 21st Century (Optional)|
Economics of renewable energy
The aim of this course is to familiarise students with the economic principles and economic forces that underpin the energy sector in general and the renewable energy sector in particular. The course shall consider economic tools as potential solutions to energy related problems.
Marine Renewable Energy Technology
This course aims to promote an understanding of the developing marine renewable energy technologies - principally those of the wave, tidal stream and offshore wind sectors. It will involve the consideration of a range of generic technical design issues which must be addressed by design teams aiming to develop and install viable generating devices in typical prevailing marine operating environments. It will also consider offshore operations and the installation, operation and maintenance of marine energy converter (MEC) structures.
This course introduces the fundamentals of oceanography, providing an essential foundation at the beginning of the course for students who either do not have a background in the subject area, or whose background is largely limited to marine biology.
The aim of this course is to consider various aspects of development appraisal which relate to the viability of renewable energy development. This includes aspects of planning and resource availability, financial appraisal and economic viability. Finally, some project planning techniques are considered in the context of renewable energy developments.
This is a team project, where students have the opportunity to apply what they have learned through the other courses in relation to a hypothetical project. You have to look at a range of issues including resource assessment, site selection, development layout, consents, planning and economic appraisal, applying the knowledge and tools you have studied.
Renewable Technology Commercialisation
This course will provide students with a first-hand familiarisation of the development pathway associated with bringing a renewable energy technology from the drawing board, through critical developmental stages, to commercial markets. It will take an innovative approach – diverging from traditional class-based lecture formats - and be presented on a web-based platform where a wide range of multi-media materials will include recorded interviews with key industry personnel, industry documentation, case studies, scientific papers and specifically prepared materials, etc.
Integration of Renewable Technology
This course deals with the technical aspects of generating and integrating renewable energy into distribution networks. The course covers electrical generation, integration (via electricity, heat or fuel networks), distribution and use of energy, storage of renewable energy, and transport.
This research project allows you to focus on a specific area of interest, with opportunities to collaborate with businesses and other stakeholders. You choose your dissertation subject, in discussion with your supervisor.
Marine planning, including spatial planning, is a fast developing discipline of global interest with excellent employment prospects. It has the ambition to promote sustainable development of the Blue Economy and mitigate the effects of climate change. The international "Blue Growth Agenda" anticipates increasing economic activity and employment from maritime industries as diverse as offshore oil and gas, renewable energy, aquaculture, biotechnologies, artificial islands, deep sea mining and tourism. The increase in activity requires increased vigilance in marine protection and conservation. Our graduates typically hold key positions in:
- Marine development companies
Masters (MSc) level entry applicants must have one of the following:
- Minimum of 2:2 honours degree or equivalent academic qualification in a related subject area
- For postgraduate conversion courses, non-related degrees will be considered
- Corporate (or chartered) membership of relevant professional institutions will also be considered
PG Diploma level entry applicants must have an ordinary degree in a related subject area and relevant post qualification industry experience.
Candidates who do not meet the above entry requirements or have no formal academic qualifications will be considered individually based on their CV and possibly interview. Admission via this route will be at the discretion of the Director of Recruitment.
Recognition of Prior Learning
We are committed to providing study opportunities to applicants who have a wide range of prior experiences through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). For more information on RPL, please contact the Admissions Team (email@example.com) ahead of application. We can only consider requests for RPL at the time of application to a course of study.
English language requirements
If English is not the applicant’s first language a minimum of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent is required with all elements passed at 6.0 or above. Please refer to English language requirements for further details.
Some applicants may be asked for alternative evidence in line with UKVI recognised English speaking countries. Applicants who have previously successfully completed courses delivered in the medium of English language may be considered and will be required to provide documentary evidence of this. Examples would be secondary school education or undergraduate degree. A minimum of at least one year of full time study (or equivalent) in the medium of English language will be required.
All evidence of English language needs to be dated within two years of the commencement of study.
We also offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement prior to starting your master’s programme:
- 20 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.0 with no skill lower than 4.5)
- 14 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.0 with minimum of 5.0 in writing and no skill lower than 4.5)
- 10 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.0)
- 6 weeks English (for IELTS 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.5)
- Your residency 'status' is usually defined as the country where you have been ordinarily resident for the three years before the start of your course. Find out more about tuition fees.
- Overseas includes applications from European Union countries who do not hold Pre-Settled or Settled status in the UK. Read more about the application process for EU nationals.
Additional fees information
All course costs are covered by the tuition fee. For students studying at the Orkney Campus this includes electronic versions of the course notes.
Students should budget additional funds sufficient to cover living expenses such as accommodation, travel to and from the university, food, clothing and leisure pursuits.
Tuition fee loans of £5,500 are available to Scottish distance learning students on taught postgraduate courses. Full-time distance learning postgraduate students can also access a £4,500 living cost loan. Find out more from the Students Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS)
Scholarships and bursaries
We aim to encourage well-qualified, ambitious students to study with us and we offer a wide variety of scholarships and bursaries to achieve this. Over £6 million worth of opportunities are available in fee and stipend scholarships, and more than 400 students benefit from this support.
View our full range of postgraduate scholarships.
Additional scholarship information
Scottish Funding Council (SFC) funding available for Scottish students for MSc Marine Renewable Energy. This funding is available for on-campus study only.