Petroleum Engineering MSc

  • Delivery: Full Time, Distance Learning
  • Programme type: Taught Programme
  • Study location: Edinburgh
  • Entry date: September


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.

Part-time registration

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 Programme Director may arrange to hold a telephone interview with you.

Programme content

Reservoir engineering

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.

Petroleum Geoscience

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.

Drilling Engineering

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.

Formation evaluation

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.

Reservoir simulation

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

Petroleum economics

Understand the economic concepts involved in project evaluation. Understand the value of investments. Evaluate risks associated with economic decisions. Project Ranking.

Production Technology

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.

Well test analysis

This course provides an understanding of the fundamental of well testing to derive reservoir properties and its integeration with geology. The first five chapters discuss the classical well test theory (i.e. pressure versus time) whereas the next three chapters present the principles and applications of distributed surveys (i.e. pressure versus depth) for improved reservoir description.


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.

Individual project

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.

Entry requirements

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.

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.

We offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement prior to starting your masters programme:

  • 14 weeks English for IELTS 5.5 (with no more than one skill at 4.5);
  • 10 weeks English for IELTS 5.5 (with minimum 5.0 in all skills);
  • 6 weeks English for IELTS 5.5 (with minimum 5.5 in reading and writing, and minimum 5.0 in listening and speaking).

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.

Tuition fees

Tuition fees for 2016 entry (by residency status)
Status*Full-timeDistance Learning**
Scotland / Non-UK EU£12300£1000 / £1000***
England/Northern Ireland/Wales£12300£1000 / £1000***
Overseas£27600£1000 / £1000***

* If you are unsure which category you fall in to, you should complete a fee status enquiry form, which allows us to assess your fees.

** Fee per course

Additional fee information

*** £1000 per course, £1000 dissertation / project

All course costs are covered by the tuition fee. This includes full electronic versions of the course notes, core text books, an iPad for on-campus students, 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 & 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 taught scholarships and postgraduate research scholarships.

Additional scholarship information

Industrial sponsorship

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 programmes. For example:

  • Nigerian Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF)
  • Bolahak, Kazakhstan
  • Commonwealth Scholarships
  • Chevening scholarships
  • BP
  • Chevron
  • Shell
  • ExxonMobil

There are also a number of industrial sponsorships available every year to UK and EU students coming to pursue the degree on-campus in Edinburgh. All eligible UK/EU applicants 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.