Petroleum Engineering MSc
- Delivery: Full Time, Distance Learning
- Programme type: Taught Programme
- Study location:
- Entry date:
The MSc in Petroleum Engineering is a programme of lectures and project work, encompassing a wide range of petroleum engineering fundamentals, pertinent to the modern petroleum industry. Project work provides an opportunity for ideas and methods, assimilated through lectures and tutorials, to be applied to real field evaluation and development design problems. The courses are applied in nature and have been designed so that a graduate is technically well prepared for, and has a sound knowledge of, the industry into which he or she will be recruited.
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 configured as an individual assignment for distance learning candidates.
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. You must also complete a supplementary application form
The course director will also arrange an interview (telephone usually) through the Residential Academic Administrator, Anne Mathers.
The MSc Petroleum Engineering is accredited by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IMMM) and the Energy Institute (EI).
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.
Understand the rock and fluid properties of a hydrocarbon reservoir. Describe the nature of the fluid flow and pressure distribution in a reservoir. Understand the effects of production/ injection on recovery of reserves.
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.
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.
Understand the concept of formation evaluation and well logging. Understand the physical principles of the tools used in logging. Characterise the formation based on interpretation of well logs.
Develop an understanding of the role of simulation in reservoir engineering. Gain insight into the value of simulation. Provide the appropriate numerical techniques to enhance hydrocarbon recovery
Understand the economic concepts involved in project evaluation. Understand the value of investments. Evaluate risks associated with economic decisions. Project Ranking.
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.
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.
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.
In addition to the academic qualifications, motivation, industrial experience and personality are taken into consideration.
Distance learning students
Please note that independent distance learning students who access their studies online will be expected to have access to a PC/laptop and internet.
Fees for this programme can be found on our Tuition fees page.
All course costs are covered by the tuition fee. This includes full print and electronic versions of the course notes, core text books, a tablet PC (all IPE students are currently provided with a free iPad), 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.
Many of our past students have gained funding from industry sources, both those companies involved in oil exploration and production in their home countries or larger international companies that offer scholarship programs. For example:
- Nigerian Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF)
- Bolahak, Kazakhstan
- Commonwealth Scholarships
- Chevening scholarships
There are also a number of Industrial sponsorships available every year to UK and EU students. All eligible applicants (generally EU/UK students) automatically have their CVs or applications sent to participating petroleum companies, who offer a limited number of sponsorships each year to our students, across all three programmes. The number of sponsorships offered will vary depending on the companies’ needs and situations, and the quality of the student applicants and are given our after an interview event that takes place during the summer before the course starts.
Scholarships & bursaries
Alumni Scholarship Scheme
British Chamber of Commerce in Germany Foundation Scholarship (German students)
Carnegie-Cameron Taught Postgraduate Bursaries
Applicants must be Scottish by birth, have at least one parent born in Scotland or have been continuously resident in Scotland for a period of three years for the purpose of secondary or tertiary education.
Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan
International (Commonwealth citizens)
Department for International Development (DFID) Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme
East Lothian Educational Trust
Applicants must be a resident of the old county of East Lothian (ie excluding Musselburgh, Wallyford and Whitecraig.)
Entente Cordiale Scholarships
French nationals aged 35 or under.
UK and EU taught course applicants to IPE
Japan Scotland Association Scholarship
Japanese nationals planning to enter a postgraduate course at Masters level at a Scottish University.
Leverhulme Trade Charities Trust
Restricted to residents of the UK who are a son, daughter, spouse, widow or widower of a commercial traveller, chemist or grocer.
Local Education Authority Awards
Part-time Fee Grant (SAAS)
See SAAS residence conditions.
Postgraduate Student Allowance Scheme (SAAS)
EU and UK applicants who meet the SAAS criteria on eligible courses
Remission of Fees (families of staff)
Spouses/civil partners and children of members of staff, also retired members of staff of the University
Royal Caledonian Schools Trust
Applicants must be of Scots parentage (conditions apply - see below)
SFC Key Skills Funded Places (PET)
Applicants resident in Scotland to the programmes below who have accepted an offer to study from the Institue of Petroleum Engineering
Scotland's Saltire Scholarships
Citizens of Canada, the People's Republic of China, India or USA (2 awards for each country)
Employees of Heriot-Watt University
Tullow Group Scholarship Scheme
Available for specified MSc programmes and for nationals of specified countries only.
West Lothian Educational Trust
Individuals must have originated in West Lothian or have lived there for the last 3 years.