MSc Renewable Energy Development (RED)

The course

Course type
Entry date

Our Renewable Energy Development degree is designed to specifically address the key drivers of renewable energy development in the UK and abroad.


Open Evening

Join us for a postgraduate Open Evening at our Edinburgh Campus on 30 November 2022 between 16.00-18.30. This is the ideal opportunity to explore our campus, meet our academics and find out more about student life.


Got questions about this programme?

Contact our enquiries team.


The MSc in Renewable Energy Development (RED) is delivered by the International Centre for Island Technology (ICIT) at our Orkney Campus.

It has been designed around three key drivers of renewable energy development:

  • Policy and economics
  • Technology
  • The environment.

The programme is designed to specifically address these key drivers of renewable energy development in the UK and abroad.

The course aims to give its graduates cross-cutting skills in the renewables sector. The course addresses the needs of renewable energy developers as they seek to maximise economic benefits whilst grappling with challenges of overcoming regulatory and environmental issues, and securing finance. Teaching is reinforced with project work where emphasis is placed on simulating real working situations.

The course maintains strong links with industry and regulators involved in the sector to ensure its relevance to the demands of renewables employers.

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.

Flexible study options

This course can be studied full-time or part-time on campus in Orkney. Alternatively, you can also study via Online Learning, ideal for those in employment or with other commitments, providing flexible study options that fit around work or family.

Graduate profiles

Visit our Graduate Profiles page to learn what some of our graduates said about their experiences studying a MSc in Renewable Energy Development at Heriot-Watt University.

Programme duration

Mode of study Duration
Full-time 1 year
Part-time 2 years

Course content

Programme lead: Dr. Mark Hull

8 taught courses (7 mandatory + 1 optional) + Dissertation 

Stage 1

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.

Transition Engineering

The course will give context within which the renewable energy industry is now developing and the approach for energy transition to meet net zero targets.

Renewable Technology Generation

This course will provide students with a technical understanding of the technologies (both mature and emerging) to extract energy from renewable sources. These will include how energy is extracted from the earth's natural energy fluxes by technology and converted to useable forms.
Technology sectors include:

  • Wind
  • Wave
  • Tidal stream and barrage
  • Hydro
  • Solar thermal, Solar PV
  • Biomass and Waste
  • Geothermal and energy efficiency

The course considers the scales of both the individual technologies and of existing developments, with key projects used to illustrate key technical and development issues.

Stage 1 optional

  • Environmental Processes
  • Oceanography   
  • Climate Change, Sustainability and Adaptation

Stage 2

Future Energy Systems

Past and current energy demands that have shaped current patterns of energy use, the physical infrastructure of the energy industry; the political frameworks which manage the resource; and societies' continued expectations for energy. The energy transitions of whole systems and end uses are critical to achieving net zero targets. The course covers the energy use in Buildings, Transportation, and Infrastructure and the mechanisms for energy transition.

Energy Transition Lab

The aim of the course is to draw together the practical skills and knowledge developed in earlier courses. This is achieved by means of a simulated energy transition project. The project scenario is hypothetical but based on a real location and requires the collection and assessment of real data associated with the location. The Transition Engineering approach will be put into practice around the wicked problems of energy transition. The course also aims to develop teamwork and project management skills.

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.

Stage 3


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.


The RED programme is designed to provide graduates with inter-related skills in the renewables sector. It addresses the needs of renewable energy developers as they seek to maximise economic benefits whilst grappling with challenges of overcoming regulatory and environmental issues, and securing finance.

Our graduates typically hold a wide spectrum of key positions within renewable energy technology developer companies, project development companies, utilities consultancies, governments, regulators and NGO's.

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

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 ( 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)


Tuition fees for entry
Status Full-time
UK £7776
Overseas £16184


  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 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.

Financial support

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 Renewable Energy Development. This funding is available for on-campus study only.