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Oil and Gas Engineering MSc

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Subject area: Mechanical Engineering
Mode of study

1 year full-time; 2 years part-time: teaching delivered at Granta Park, Cambridge from 2017 entry.

PG code


Start date


Oil and Gas Engineering MSc


Join the next online webinar 12 June, 12pm (BST) with Dr Nenad Djordjevic, to find out more about this industrial-led course.

This course is delivered at Granta Park, Cambridge, the home of the National Structural Integrity Research Centre (NSIRC) and TWI.

The Oil and Gas Engineering MSc course is delivered at Granta Park, Cambridge, the home of the National Structural Intergrity Research Centre (NSIRC) and TWI. Scholarships have been announced for this course for September 2018 entry - apply now.

Learning outcomes on this course are consistent with the Society of Petroleum Engineers technical knowledge matrix developed in consultation with major oil and gas companies. The matrix shows the essential as well as the desired skill sought by industry in graduating engineers.


Postgraduate Loans: From 1 August 2018 , students who live in England will be able to apply for a Postgraduate Loan in academic year 2018/19 of up to £10,609. Find out more

Not all options * for this course are eligible for the Postgraduate loan. (* distance learning /January start or part-time option). If you are unsure you can contact the Student Centre, +44 (0) 1895 268268, email us: student.centre@brunel.ac.uk

About the course

There is still a shortage of qualified engineering specialists in the oil and gas sector, with skilled professionals enjoying competitive salaries.

This programme trains specialist engineers in oilfield structural design, fabrication and installation. It is aimed both at engineering and physical science graduates who are interested in working in the oil and gas industry and practising professionals who wish to specialise in the design, analysis and construction of oil and gas installations.


With high demand for qualified oil and gas engineers, graduates enter a global job market and can expect exciting career prospects - a trend that looks likely to continue for years to come.

As the industry now seeks the rapid drilling and commissioning of new wells to meet energy demands, along with major investment in heavy oils and shale oil and gas, skilled engineers who can rapidly design and commission oilfield installations will be the backbone for growth in this industry. It is precisely this type of engineer that Brunel’s programme will develop.

A distinguishing feature of the course is its ambition to instil systems thinking, by treating structures and their operating environment holistically as a system – helping graduates develop the skills to address a wide range of complex engineering problems rapidly.


Contact our Enquiries team.
Course Enquiries: +44 (0)1895 265599 (before you submit an application)
Admissions Office: +44 (0)1895 265265 (after you submit an application)

Course content

The programme duration will be 12 months for full-time study, or 24 months for part-time.

The taught part of the programme will take place during the Autumn and Spring terms over 24 weeks. Students will be encouraged to start planning their dissertation at the beginning of the programme. During the Summer term, students will be expected to focus their effort on their dissertation project, researching the dissertation topic full-time. Part-time students will be allowed an extended period to execute their dissertation project in line with the overall programme duration. However, they will be expected to devote an equivalent of at least one day per week on their dissertation project.

This programme has been developed with extensive consultation with the industry. It will be delivered by Brunel staff members and by industrial specialists. The programme structure is shown below and comprises two parts:

  • Core modules: The taught part of the course (Part 1) worth 120 credits. This includes a set of compulsory modules that provides fundamentals of structural and process engineering, and focuses on providing an understanding of how to design oil and gas structures such as pipelines, offshore and onshore to withstand internal loading induced by complex internal flows of oil and gas and also external loads such as waves and wind. Throughout fundamental mathematical, computational, experimental, testing and inspection techniques as well as codes of practice are taken into account. Civil engineering and construction aspects are also taught.
  • Dissertation: Your dissertation project forms Part 2 of the programme and is worth 60 credits.

Full-time (12 months) MSc and PGDip modules include:

Petroleum Production Fundamentals
The module aims at developing knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of how hydrocarbons are extracted, production processes, fundamental geoscience/physics, reservoir fluids, flows in porous media, the relationship between properties of hydrocarbons to process and temperature and the effects of process equipment to those. The module includes contemporary issues including shale oil and gas and fracking.

Applied Engineering Mathematics
This module aims at extending the mathematical background of students underpinning the mathematical aspects of all other modules with advanced numerical methods for solving differential equations, advanced algebra and optimisation. The module content and teaching of techniques and methodologies will be in the context of oil and gas engineering and will be based on industry relevant case studies.

Structural Materials
This module aims to provide an understanding of the materials employed in petroleum structures, their composition and how they are engineered to provide suitable properties. The module includes topics such as fracture mechanics for pipelines, material testing, offshore and onshore structures, selection, assessment, fabrication, degradation mechanisms including corrosion, welding and joining. Laboratories are included in the module to cover material testing aspects.

Structural Integrity and FEA
The module aims to provide knowledge of structural analysis methods including defect assessment, failure criteria and codes of practice for pipelines, floating and also fixed steel structures. At the core of the module is the development of key skills in finite element analysis for the structural response of those structures. The module includes computer sessions and laboratory sessions to cover topics such as testing and inspection of structures including Non-Destructive Testing techniques.

Multiphase Flow Fundamentals and Flow Assurance
The module introduces the fundamentals of multiphase flow processes and issues related to flow assurance of hydrocarbons, the properties of multicomponent mixtures and multiphase phenomena in pipelines, equations of state, heat and mass transfer. The module also aims at developing skills in computational fluid dynamics applied to hydrocarbon transportation in pipelines. Furthermore, the module introduces approaches for transportation systems including the treatment of flow especially for heavy oils and includes an introduction to advanced topics such as field development. The module includes laboratory sessions.

Dynamics of Petroleum Structures
This module aims at the development of knowledge, understanding and skills for the prediction and analysis of the dynamic response of onshore and offshore structures under external dynamic loading conditions such as wave and wind forces.

Design and Construction of Installations
The module includes the civil engineering aspects of onshore pipelines and offshore structures including geotechnical and structural engineering approaches, codes of practice and standards for construction to prevent failure. In addition, it includes engineering project management techniques, contractor selection and management, investment appraisal, testing and commissioning. A group project forms part of the module assessment.

Reliability Engineering and Risk Management
The module aims at the development of knowledge and understanding of risk and the quantitative methods for risk analysis and mitigation strategies in the design of onshore and offshore structures.

Term Three (MSc Only):

Students will conduct a major piece of research (c. 30,000 words) in an area of oil and gas engineering.

Delivery will take place in block mode teaching with each module requiring a week-long teaching schedule. Laboratory sessions will take place at specialist facilities in the week following the module delivery and will last for up to three days each.

Part-time (24 months) MSc and PGDip:

In the part-time mode, four taught modules are taken each year with the completion of the dissertation following in term three of the second year.

Full-time and part-time (12 and 24 months) PGCert:

Students must take the Design and Construction Installations and Petroleum Production Fundamentals modules and select any other two modules.


Read more about the structure of postgraduate degrees at Brunel and what you will learn on the course.


Starting salaries for fresh engineering graduates joining the oil and gas companies in the UK has risen to an average of £34,000, in 2011, well above other industry sectors. The December 2012 issue of PE (Professional Engineer), the IMechE members' magazine, also published an article on skill shortages in the oil and gas sector, citing BP as an example of the effort the industry is taking to address the problem.

Brunel graduates will typically find well paid roles within all three sectors of the industry: operators, service and supply firms, and consulting companies throughout the whole industrial supply chain. In particular the UK is one of the strongest in oilfield services provision being a core component of the UK manufacturing and service base. As a result, the programme will specifically target the following two sectors, related mainly to surface services:

  • Engineering, fabrication and installation (£11.2 billion annually in UK);
  • Operations (£8.5 billion annually in UK).

Surface services are delivered by a large number of industrial organisations as well as oil and gas producers, in contrast to subsurface dominated by very few global providers. Industry have expressed strong interest in the programme with several leading companies already offering to help with teaching, placement as well as supervision of dissertation projects.


Oilfield services companies, engineering consulting or upstream oil and gas producers and downstream refineries.

Work placements

Brunel has a purpose built award-winning Professional Development Centre with over 30 staff, including specialist industry consultants. The Placement service includes CV writing, one-to-one guidance and mock interviews. Brunel was named ‘Best University Placement Service’ at the Rate My Placement Awards in 2012.

At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.

» More about Employability

Entry criteria 2018/19

  • A 2:2 (or above) UK Honours degree, or equivalent internationally recognised qualification,  in a relevant branch of engineering or science.

  • Other qualifications and relevant experience will be assessed on an individual basis.


Entry to this programme requires all students who are not nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA) and have temporary immigration permission to remain in the UK to obtain an ATAS certificate.  If you are made an offer to join this course and you are not an EEA national, you will be required to obtain an ATAS certificate as a condition of your offer.

Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.

International and EU entry requirements

If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions

This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6 (min 5.5 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 51 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 60% (min 55% in all areas)

You can find out more about the qualifications we accept on our English Language Requirements page.

If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, you must prove knowledge of the English language so that we can issue you a Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS). To do this, you will need an IELTS for UKVI or Trinity SELT test pass gained from a test centre approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and on the Secure English Language Testing (SELT) list. This must have been taken and passed within two years from the date the CAS is made.

Should you wish to take a pre-sessional English course to improve your English prior to starting your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider for the same reason.

We offer our own BrunELT English Test and have pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet requirements or who wish to improve their English. You can find out more information on English courses and test options at the Brunel Language Centre.

Teaching and learning

Students are introduced to subject material, including key concepts, information and approaches, through a mixture of standard lectures and seminars, laboratory practicals, self-study and individual research reports. Supporting material is available online. The aim is to challenge students and inspire them to expand their own knowledge and understanding.

Preparation for work is achieved through the development of 'soft' skills such as communication, planning, management and team work. In addition, guest speakers from industries will provide a valuable insight into the real world of the oil and gas sector.

Many elements of coursework involve, and reward, the use of initiative and imagination. Some of the projects may be linked with research in the College's research institutes.

Assessment and feedback

Each module is assessed either by formal examination, written assignments and laboratories or a combination of these. Cut-off dates for receipt of assignments are specified at the beginning of the academic year. Examinations are normally taken in December and May.

The learning outcomes of the programme are:

Knowledge and understanding

  • Fundamental understanding of oil and gas production including multiphase flows;
  • Analysis, design and assessment of offshore, onshore structures and pipelines;
  • Knowledge of technical and functional safety, safety and environmental legislations, and risk management in the context of the oil and gas industry;
  • Knowledge of contemporary issues such as shale oil and gas and fracking.

Cognitive skills

  • Apply knowledge of engineering mathematics, analytical and computational methods for the design and engineering of petroleum structures;
  • Identify, analyse and address surface engineering problems using a multidisciplinary approach, considering the trade-offs between cost, safety and delivery time;
  • Identify and evaluate different options in the design, specification and operation of surface production facilities;
  • Develop an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility, adhering to quality and health and safety standards.

Transferable skills and attributes

  • Communicate effectively through oral, written and electronic presentations;
  • Skills in the design and conduct of experiments as well as in the analysis and interpretation of data. Work independently but at the same time work/contribute/manage multi-disciplinary teams;
  • Obtain and apply effective interpersonal skills and develop leadership potential to drive growth in fast moving and capital intensive environments.

These learning outcomes are consistent with the Society of Petroleum Engineers technical knowledge matrix developed in consultation with major oil and gas companies. The matrix shows the essential as well as the desired skill sought by industry in graduating engineers.


Dissertation projects will be designed around industry needs in the areas covered by the programme, but will be appropriately scoped for MSc level studies. Industrial partners will have the opportunity to screen potential new recruits through these projects.

Special features

  • Students will be able to access laboratory facilities at the recently formed NSIRC site which are extensive, modern and well equipped.
  • Although we recruit a large number of highly qualified students to our undergraduate, postgraduate and research degrees each year, we don’t forget that you are an individual. From the beginning of your time here, you are allocated a personal tutor who will guide you through academic and pastoral issues.
  • The College is research intensive as our academics are actively involved in cutting-edge research. Much of this research is undertaken with collaborators outside the University, including leading oil and gas companies, construction companies, water utilities, and other leading industrial firms. We work with universities in China, Poland, Egypt, Turkey, Italy, Denmark and Japan. This research is fed directly into our courses, providing a challenging investigative culture and ensuring that you are exposed to up-to-date and relevant material throughout your time at Brunel.
  • We have excellent links with business and industry in the UK and overseas. This means:
    • Brunel degrees are designed to meet the needs of industry and the market-place;
    • The latest developments in the commercial world feed into your course;
    • You have greater opportunity at the dissertation stage of conducting a dissertation in industry;
    • We have more contacts to help you find a job when you graduate.



This course has been designed and developed in close consultation with industry and the Oil and Gas Engineering MSc is accredited by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3). We are seeking accreditation with the following professional bodies:

Fees and funding

Fees for 2018/19 entry

UK/EU students: £8,750 full-time; £4,375 part-time

International students: £18,000 full-time; £9,000 part-time

Some courses incur additional course related costs. You can also check our on-campus accommodation costs for more information on living expenses.

Read about funding opportunities available to postgraduate students

UK/EU students can opt to pay in six equal monthly instalments: the first instalment is payable on enrolment and the remaining five by Direct Debit or credit/debit card.

Overseas students can opt to pay in two instalments: 60% on enrolment, and 40% in January for students who commence their course in September (or the remaining 40% in March for selected courses that start in January).