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    Key information

    Mode of delivery
    Delivery type
    Start date
    September, January
    1 year


    Contact our enquiries team

    Contact us


    Petroleum Engineering at Heriot-Watt is ranked in the world's top 20 universities and 3rd in the UK (QS World University Rankings by subject 2023)

    Petroleum engineering is central to safe, efficient and sustainable development of oil and gas assets to meet global energy and resource demands.

    Since its establishment in 1975, the Institute of GeoEnergy Engineering (IGE) at Heriot-Watt University has delivered its internationally renowned petroleum engineering MSc programme, providing thousands of graduates with the knowledge and skills to tackle the oil and gas industry's most challenging problems across the globe. The programme offers an interdisciplinary approach to exploration and extraction of petroleum resources. Petroleum Engineering at Heriot-Watt is ranked 10th in the world, 3rd in the UK (QS World University Rankings by subject 2021)

    September 2024 entry

    The deadline for applications from UK students is 30 August 2024. For EU and overseas applicants, we guarantee to consider applications submitted by 2 August 2024.

    Programme content

    The programme encompasses a wide range of applied petroleum engineering fundamentals, leading to development of a technically well-prepared graduate with a sound knowledge of the industry – through eight taught courses and two projects. During the field development project, students work together on real field data, considering the technical, economic and environmental aspects involved. For the individual research project, students select a specialist topic, for example related to geosciences, enhanced oil recovery, production chemistry or advanced drilling and completions, offered both by the Institute and by the industry.

    Our students

    The large student population is a multi-cultural mix of numerate science and engineering graduates, some from industry, some straight from their first degrees, coming from well over 100 countries. This blend provides the opportunity to discuss, reflect and consider more than just the academic side of learning, thus promoting a range of transferable skills.

    Industry links

    Students will benefit from the excellent links with industry and research activities by staff at the Institute of GeoEnergy Engineering. The extensive alumni network supports the programme by offering professional talks, workshops and recruitment events, highlighting the relevance of this education to the oil and gas industry.

    The Institute also has an industry-based strategic advisory board, which monitors activities in the wider context of the needs of the industry and offer guidance on the programme ensuring content is up to date and relevant to current industry needs. 

    Many of our international students are sponsored by major oil companies. There are a number of industry-based sponsorship opportunities for Edinburgh-based students primarily from the UK or EU countries. For more details, see the fees and funding section below.

    Flexible study options

    The programme is offered at the Edinburgh, Dubai and Malaysia campuses, in several approved learning partner centres and online. The programme can be studied full-time, part-time (Dubai and Malaysia) or via the flexible study mode of Heriot-Watt Online, ideal for those in employment or with other commitments.

    Programme duration

    Mode of study Duration
    Full-time 1 year
    Part-time (Dubai and Malaysia) 2 years
    Heriot-Watt Online 8 years


    Course content

    Year 1

    Students on the Petroleum Engineering MSc undertake eight taught courses and two projects.

    Taught courses

    Reservoir engineering

    Behaviour of reservoir rocks, fluid properties, reserve estimation, fluid flow through porous rocks and drive mechanisms.

    Geoscience for Petroleum Engineering

    Introduction to geoscience in order to understand the terminology used by geoscientists, to use geoscience data to calculate the volume of hydrocarbons in the subsurface.

    Drilling engineering

    Fundamental concepts and techniques used in drilling engineering, design requirements of well planning and construction, optimise the design of a drilling program.

    Formation evaluation

    Petrophysical analysis of wireline log data, different tools and their uses, interpretation of logs and reservoir zonation.

    Reservoir simulation

    Predicting reservoir dynamic behaviour: theoretical, numerical and practical flow simulation for history matching and forecasting.

    Petroleum economics

    Economic concepts involved in project evaluation; asset value, risk management, making informed decisions and screening and ranking of projects.

    Production technology

    Well completions and servicing; artificial lift; perforating; formation damage; reservoir stimulation; sand control; surface facilities.

    Well test analysis

    Fundamentals and applications of pressure versus time and pressure versus depth for improved reservoir description and management.


    Field development project

    Integration of all taught elements of the programme in determining a development strategy or plan based on real field data.

    Individual project

    Independent research project on a topic (related to petroleum engineering) of the students choice.

    Go Global

    Some of our Postgraduate Taught Masters Programmes are eligible for Inter-Campus Transfer. Please contact for further information.

    Fees and funding

    Tuition fees

    Tuition fees
    Status [footnote 1] Full-time
    UK 15112
    Overseas [footnote 2] 29960


    1. 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.
    2. 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 fee information

    All course costs are covered by the tuition fee. This includes full electronic versions of the course notes, core text books, field trips and any day trips arranged as part of the course.

    Students should budget additional funds sufficient to cover living expenses such as accommodation, travel to and from the university, food, clothing and leisure pursuits.

    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.

    Entry requirements


    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

    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 ( 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)

    Mathematical requirements

    Applicants will need good mathematical ability to succeed on their programmes. Students should have experience in university level mathematics of the sort commonly encountered on engineering degrees (e.g. a pass, or passes, in previous university level maths-based courses/modules) and be confident in further development of these skills.


    Graduates of the Petroleum Engineering programme are much sought after by oil operating and oilfield service companies both in the UK and worldwide. Graduates go on to work for major global oil and gas operating companies, service companies as well as smaller consultancies in petroleum engineering. The programme also provides an excellent springboard for graduates wishing to pursue a career in research.

    Graduate profiles

    Read our graduate profiles to find out what some of our recent graduates said about their experiences studying Petroleum Engineering at Heriot-Watt.

    Why Heriot-Watt?

    Ranking (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023)

    Petroleum Engineering at Heriot-Watt is ranked 1st in the UK for Employer Reputation by the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023.

    Lifelong connections

    Upon completing your studies you will automatically join the UK's oldest alumni association The Watt Club, with 147k members worldwide.

    Flexibility and affordability

    Study at a time and pace that suits you, and even while you work. HW Online offers pay-as-you-study courses and fees inclusive of exams and study materials, meaning you can focus on success, not extra costs.

    Clubs and activities

    At Heriot-Watt we have an extensive programme of over 90 sports clubs and societies to get involved in. You can try as many as you like or start one of your own!

    Edinburgh campus accommodation

    Living on our beautiful Edinburgh campus is a great way to meet others from all over the world. Our student accommodation is within easy reach of the teaching buildings, sports facilities, catering venues and the Student Union

    Edinburgh Campus facilities

    At Heriot-Watt University, we offer a wide range of services to help you deal with all aspects of your life with us, whether these be academic, personal, technical, financial or just plain fun!

    Health and wellbeing

    Student Wellbeing Services aim to provide a range of support, guidance, activities and advice to help students to be their best, and get the most from their university experience. From counselling to coaching we'll sure you are fully supported.

    Heriot-Watt Student Union

    There's more to university life than simply getting your degree, and Heriot-Watt University Student Union is all about helping you to have the best possible experience while you study here.

    Living in Edinburgh

    Historic and beautiful, a cultural capital that fuels the senses whether you love the arts or nature, nightlife or study life, Edinburgh is stimulating and inspirational and never, ever boring.

    Sport facilities

    Oriam, Scotland Sports Performance Centre offers state-of-the-art sports facilities, for all levels of sport and ability

    Your career

    Employers around the world actively seek out our graduates because they are work-ready. All our degrees are career-focused and relevant to the needs of industry. Around 95% of our students are in employment or further study within six months of graduating.

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