Find a Degree Postgraduate Taught Programmes Subsea Engineering

Programme Details

Subsea Engineering

Fully accredited by the The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMarEST) and Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE), the Institute of Highway Engineers (IHE) and the Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT).



The part-time, distance learning programme is studied entirely online through the University's Virtual Learning Environment.


The Master of Science in Subsea Engineering seeks to prepare highly-trained, highly-qualified, business-aware graduates that can make an immediate impact in their chosen career, and who can address the need for key skills in the subsea industry. Subsea Engineering at the University of Aberdeen has a unique relationship with the subsea industry both locally and internationally, and the programme receives contributions from local industrial organisations in terms of relevant and up-to-the minute contributions to teaching, and support in the specification of group and individual projects.

From the Heart of the European Oil & Gas Industry

Aberdeen is the heart of the European oil and gas industry, an international hub for companies engaged in Subsea Engineering. A degree from the University of Aberdeen puts you in a unique position to develop business links alongside of learning and developing international skills within the flexible, modular programme.

Full-Time or Part-Time (Distance) Study

The programme is available as both full-time and part-time (distance learning) study. Distance learning students make use of the University's online virtual learning environment to study via the internet. No attendance at the University is required making it a fully internationally available programme and one which can be studied alongside your career.

About the Programme

The programme seeks to best address the needs of the industry today in terms of subject areas of fundamental importance. The programme objectives are to provide students with:

  • Increased technical depth and breadth of knowledge and understanding of the development and operation of subsea technologies and systems, from wellhead to topside structure interconnections.
  • Intellectual and practical skills so that they can apply sound engineering principles and analysis methods to the design and installation of subsea systems, and can use and adapt appropriate analysis tools and techniques, specialist design software and Standards for design improvements and performance optimisation.
  • The opportunity to further enhance their transferable and personal skills in self-study, communication, report writing, project and time management, and problem solving.
  • An awareness of the roles and challenges of a practising subsea engineer based on course contents which are tailored to the current and future needs of industry, and therefore provides students with the knowledge and understanding and skills necessary for technical leadership and managerial responsibility.

Contact Information

For further information about the programme or to discuss your application, please contact the Graduate School Admissions Unit.


Full-time students study for one year: September - September:

You will study the following:

Subsea Production Systems

Developed to give students a detailed understanding of the business decisions as well as the specialist hardware required to develop subsea oil and gas production systems in challenging environments.  The course addresses the technical issues related to engineering, development, and production of oil and gas in subsea fields around the world.  A close linkage to the subsea industry is ensured through industry experts participating in the course delivery.

Engineering Risk and Reliability Analysis

The Engineering Risk and Reliability Analysis course develops knowledge and understanding of the key concepts in technical safety, risk and reliability used in engineering.

The course introduces general risk assessment principles and the application of probabilistic risk modelling schemes. Reliability theory and computation are addressed, using recognised engineering industry reliability methods. Students will also be introduced to safety management and human reliability, including safety management systems.

Subsea Control

Introduces the key concepts and components that form the subsea control system. A subsea control engineer must be comfortable in dealing with a multitude of engineering concepts at the basic level. Subsequently, this course borrows from concepts in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, environmental engineering, civil and structural engineering and hydraulics to name a few. The course tends to give a high-level systemic introduction of the various fundamental aspects necessary for a well-operating subsea control system.

Subsea Integrity

The aim is to provide knowledge of materials engineering and selection, and failure and degradation issues in a subsea environment, including life cycle analysis; to provide knowledge for understanding and applying the relevant design standards and selection guidelines; and to provide a detailed understanding related to fault finding and integrity management. Fundamental studies are combined with industry applications. 

Subsea Construction, Inspection & Maintenance

Provides a detailed understanding of the techniques used for installation, inspection, and maintenance of subsea systems, including seabed hardware, pipelines and risers, and the implications of such techniques for the design of subsea components and systems.

It will provide detailed knowledge on various techniques and trends in the installation, inspection and maintenance of subsea equipment, especially pipeline and riser systems and principal components.  It will provide engineers with a sufficiently broad awareness of techniques used throughout offshore operations to give an appreciation and understanding of system limitations and appropriate applications for different subsea environments.

Pipelines & Soil Mechanics

Offshore production of oil and gas requires transportation of the oil and gas from where it is produced to shipping vessels, storage tanks or refinery.  The transportation is done using pipelines which are installed on the seabed. This course examines the engineering and scientific concepts that underpin the selection of the material and size of such pipelines as well as safe installation and operation. The environmental impact and the role played by the seabed profile are also discussed. Contribution from industry-based practicing engineers is used to inform students of current practices and technologies in subsea pipelines.

Riser Systems & Hydrodynamics

The course provides students with detailed knowledge of risers systems design considerations, in particular looking at novel design considerations such as riser bundling, and the design implications of deep water fields in terms of additional hydrodynamic loading.

Flow Assurance

There are many challenges during transport of oil and gas through pipelines. These challenges require a real grasp of the fundamentals in fluid mechanics, heat transfer, phase changes, deposition and/or obstruction, erosion and new technologies to ensure a reliable and cost effective provision of oil and gas. Deep water production, heavy oils, high water production, severe slugging, hydrates, sour gases, asphaltenes and waxes make this task even harder. This course will provide a detailed explanation of the topics, a well-balanced set of tutorials with real examples, invited lectures from experienced engineers and flow assurance specific software training.

Individual Project

Enables students to write a dissertation based on a subsea related topic of the student’s own choice. Students are encouraged to focus their dissertation on a problem confronting the Subsea industry.

Previous Projects include:

  • Integrity management strategy for onshore and offshore pipelines
  • The application of composite materials as Subsea flowlines
  • Development of strain based algorithms for health monitoring of Subsea pipelines
  • Single pip damage assessment due to dropped object 
  • Simulation of soil consolidation and lateral interaction with wellheads


Part-time students study for two years:

Year 1
September to December:
• Subsea Production Systems
• Subsea Construction, Inspection & Maintenance

January to May:
• Subsea Construction, Inspection & Maintenance
• Pipelines & Soil Mechanics

Year 2
September to December:
• Subsea Control
• Subsea Integrity

January to May:
• Riser Systems & Hydrodynamics
• Flow Assurance 

June to December:
Individual Project


The modules are assessed by a combination of coursework and written examination. The distance learning coursework is submitted to the course tutor through the web-site and marks and comments will be sent back, also via the web, on campus submission is either by email or in person at teaching sessions. Each module has a timetable which details when the coursework is due and when the exam is scheduled to take place. Arrangements can be made for examinations to be taken at a convenient place for you. Distance learning students near to Aberdeen are able to take their examinations at the University.

Examinations are usually held towards the end of January and the end of May. Students sit the examination within their own timezone (e.g. 9am local time).


The courses are completely modular in structure and have been carefully developed to articulate to each other to provide a variety of levels of provision, suiting the needs of the participants. A choice of exit levels is provided to suit the needs of the participants thus leading to the award of a postgraduate Certificate, Diploma or MSc qualification. Each level is a necessary requirement for entry to the next one. Full-time students complete 4 modules per half session while part-time students complete up to 2.


  • Subsea Integrity (15 credits)
    Focus on materials design, defects, corrosion and stress failures, together with design standards implications for testing and acceptance, reliability assessment, fault finding and problem solving.
  • Subsea Production Systems (15 credits)
    This course will introduce students to various aspects of Subsea production systems, including field architecture, Subsea hardware, Subsea project stages and project management.
  • Engineering Risk and Reliability Analysis (15 credits)

  • Subsea Controls (15 credits)
    Studying subsea control systems including: Subsea control systems, umbilicals and control lines, power management, subsea electrical submersible pumping (ESP) and compression, as well as pre-commissioning and condition monitoring.
  • Subsea Construction, Inspection and Maintenance (15 credits)
    Attention towards subsea installation methodologies and planning, including vessel types, detailed load analysis, inspection and survey techniques design and installation planning.
  • Pipelines and Soil Mechanics (15 credits)
    Fundamentals of pipeline system design, including hydrodynamic loading and interaction with seabed materials. This will include design for insulation pressure, stability and buckling, including installation techniques.
  • Riser Systems & Hydrodynamics (15 credits)
    Fundamentals of riser and mooring system design including hydrodynamic response, displacement and load and fatigue analysis.
  • Flow Assurance (15 credits)
    To review the processes and problems associated with the flow of hydrocarbon product through subsea systems, with a particular emphasis on fundamentals of system modelling and design.
  • Individual Project (60 credits)
    All students who satisfactorily complete the core modules will undertake an individual project after the final exams. Projects will normally be specified in collaboration with industrial partners, and overseas students may undertake their projects with sponsoring companies in their own countries.

Lecture material will be provided in a variety of mediums, including written lecture notes and/or audio recording of lectures for streaming. It is important that distance-learning students have access to high-speed internet for streaming recorded lectures.


Alan Ross "Aberdeen is very much at the core of oil and gas related activities in Europe and, for any prospective/current student interested in enjoying a dynamic and exciting career in subsea engineering, there is no better place than the University of Aberdeen to help qualify anyone to undertake such a career." [More]
Bipin Kumar Pal "The degree helped me in gaining better insight into the industry along with good theoretical knowledge to help understanding the concepts." [More]
Pedro Miguel Vidigal "The close relationship of the university with companies such as Fugro and Technip allows the students to understand how marine operations work in the real world." [More]
Otonye Iboroma "The school has a very close working relationship with the players in the oil & gas sector  thereby availing me the opportunity of having to know real time challenges and solutions to the oil & gas sector." [More]


Academic Requirements

Our minimum entry requirement for this programme is a 2:1 (upper second class) UK Honours degree (or an Honours degree from a non-UK institution which is judged by the University to be of equivalent worth) in any branch of Engineering.

Flexibility may be shown to distance-learning applicants with a 2:2 level Engineering degree AND 5+ years of relevant experience.

Key subjects you must have covered: Mathematics, stress analysis, thermodynamics, dynamics, fluids and engineering design.

It is important to note that the programmes of postgraduate study at the University of Aberdeen are very competitive and the entry requirements stated are a guide to the minimum requirements, but do not guarantee entry. 

Document requirements

For this application we need at least: 

  • a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) so far (original & official English translation)
  • detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme
  • ideally - current CV/resume
  • optional - academic reference letter OR employer if you have 2+ years of experience

It is important when submitting an application that you ensure you have completed all the necessary sections and enclosed all the relevant documentation to ensure that your application can be processed as quickly as possible.  


Even if you have been educated in the medium of English you must meet our English Language requirements. These are located at This programme requires that you meet the 'Postgraduate Standard' level of English proficiency. If you are in doubt about your proficiency in English, contact the British Council office or its equivalent in your country. If your first language is not English, it is important that your proficiency in English is good in order for you to study successfully at the University of Aberdeen . Without this ability you will find great difficulty in understanding lectures, producing written work and sitting examinations.  


We have one intake of FT students each September. Late applications may be asked to wait until the next intake should the programme coordinator feel there is insufficient time to consider the application. Prospective students who require a visa to study in the UK are advised to apply as early in the year as possible to secure a place. Applications for full-time study received after 30th June from students who need to apply for a visa to study in the UK will not be processed for entry but will be considered for entry into the following intake as appropriate. Distance-learners should apply as soon as possible and by 31st July.



Information on tuition fees, including the current fee level, can be found on the University Registry website.



Funding opportunities can be found in our searchable Funding Database. You are advised to search the database as a broad range of funding exists much of which you may be eligible for.

A list of funding opportunties is also maintained on the College of Physical Sciences Funding Page.

SFC Postgraduate Taught Scholarships

Thanks to additional funding from the Scottish government this programme has funded places for Scottish and EU Students. More Information.

Talisman Sinopec Scholarship

UK/Home students only. September 2015 entry- £15,000 scholarship - more information  

Subsea UK Scholarship 

UK/Home students only. September 2015 entry - £8,000 scholarship - more information

Fugro Scholarship 

September 2015 entry - more information 

University of Aberdeen Alumni Discount Scheme

The University of Aberdeen is very pleased to offer a 20% discount on postgraduate tuition fees for all alumni who have graduated (or about to graduate) with a degree from the University of Aberdeen. More Information


Related Information

General Information

Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
The Hub
King's College

Tel: +44 (0)1224 272090 / +44 (0)1224 272091
Fax: +44 (0)1224 272576