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MSc in Oil and Gas Engineering
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MSc in Oil and Gas Engineering

MSc (Master of Science) | Oil and Gas Engineering - There is a shortage of qualified engineering specialists in the oil and gas sector, with skilled professionals enjoying competitive salaries.

This oil and gas engineering msc degree (in partnership with Brunel University London) 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 engineering industry and practising professionals who wish to specialise in the design, analysis and construction of oil and gas installations.

What are the aims of this Oil and Gas course...?

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 the Brunel University London 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.


Benefits of this Oil and Gas Engineering degree

The course is much more than just an MSc, as there are a range of additional benefits:  

  • 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


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.

What careers are suitable for this Oil and Gas Engineering degree...?

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


Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information on this website and NSIRC will take all reasonable action to deliver these services in accordance with the descriptions set out in it. However, we reserve the right to vary these services, using all reasonable efforts to offer a suitable alternative. All costs, rates and prices stated are subject to amendment and should be taken as a guide only.

Students are encouraged to familiarise themselves with our summary of terms before accepting a place. 

Course Content

The programme duration will be 12 months of full-time study.

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.

Developed with extensive consultation with the industry, this programme 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.

MSc 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. 


  • 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.       

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. 

How will it be taught?


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.


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. 

The course is solely delivered at NSIRC, which is located within TWI's premises in Great Abington, Cambridge. Travelling to Granta Park is convenient, as a daily, direct shuttle bus to Cambridge means that students also have the benefits of living in Cambridge, a compact cosmopolitan city that caters well for students with a host of sporting, cultural and social events. Take a look at Mill Road – described as the Islington of Cambridge and its surrounding area which is one of the hubs of student night life. Another advantage is close proximity to London, 45 minutes by train, in addition to easy access to the major airports and road links to the rest of the country.

TWI launches new MSc in Engineering Leadership and Management
NISRC Facility at TWI, Granta Park, Cambridge


1 year full-time or 2 years part-time 

Fees for 2019/20 entry

UK/EU students: £9,100 full-time or £4,550 part-time

International students: £18,720 full-time or £9,360 part-time

For more information please visit the Brunel website

Entry Criteria 2018/19

  • A UK first or second class Honours degree or equivalent, or equivalent internationally recognised qualification in relevant branch of engineering or science;
  • Other qualifications and relevant experience will be assessed on an individual basis.
Admission outside of these guidelines is possible for exceptional students. If you have extensive work experience but no graduate qualifications, you may be considered for admission to the programme.

All candidates will be invited to interview with the course director or his/her nominee prior to a formal offer being made.

If you wish to enquire about the course you can email enquiries@nsirc.co.uk for more details.