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Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

Offshore oil and gas structural Engineering course covering the conceptual design of topsides modules. Emphasis is placed on the variety of loading conditions, such as in-place analysis, load out, lift, and installation. Course covers manual calculations and drafting and offers worked examples.  Requires structural engineering background (e.g. truss analysis, member design) and the use of code checks.

Course Details

Study Type Postgraduate Level 5
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Online Sustained Study No
  • Dr Paul Davidson

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Engineering (EG) (Studied)
  • Any Postgraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

The course introduces the conceptual design of topsides modules for offshore installation and offers a general introduction to offshore design; design guidance for a range of design specifications; case studies for small, medium and large projects as well as worked manual examples.

The aim of this course is to develop “back to basics” structural engineering skills with a focus on manual calculations and drafting – to truly understand the design decisions. The course focuses on the conceptual design of topside modules with a maximum lift weight of 2000 tonnes.  The development of viable alternative design schemes for a range of different module types will be a key feature, as will the use of approximate hand analysis.  Emphasis will be placed on good detailing and clarity of presentation of design calculations.  The course follows the philosophy and approach required for Professional Examination for Chartered Membership of I Struct E.

The course focuses on Structural Members Design and introduces modular connection considerations to demonstrate the design of real-world topsides modules.  The course emphasises basic engineering competence, demonstrated by good manual design and drafting sketches to produce robust structures.  Topics include:  conceptual design principles; approximate methods of analysis; module design specification for in-place lift and transportation load cases; connection and pad-eye details; weight control.  All of the theory is brought to reality through a series of worked examples of modules and corresponding coursework assignments.

The main learning outcomes will be familiarity with the following topics:

  • Structural design starting with a blank bit of paper
  • In-place, load out, transportation and lifting loads
  • Scheme development requirements for I Struct E Professional Exam
  • Engineering Judgement and Approach
  • Good draughting for preliminary design drawings
  • Sound design concepts for module arrangement

Justify designs and follow structural engineering design codes to prove feasibility

  • Weight Control and producing a Material Take Off (MTO)
  • Padeye design
  • Truss Node connection considerations
  • Typical solutions for  worked examples

Mode of delivery: This course is delivered online, where the students will access Topics via the web in blocks and submit written assignments for continual assessment. There is an online discussion board for engagement with tutors and other students and online quizzes used to release the next unit of material.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st attempt: 100% continuous assessment - 4 coursework assignments (25%, 25%, 30% and 20%).

Resit: The re-sit will comprise of re-doing the failed element/s (exam and/or coursework assessment/s) from the 1st attempt with a maximum CGS mark of D3. The marks for other elements (successfully passed) will be carried over. Resit mark of either RP or RF will be recorded.

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.


The course includes a number of homework assignments, each assignment will be marked and feedback given, both generally as well as individually. Learning outcomes are supported via interactive discussion on MyAberdeen discussion boards as well as online quizzes.  

Course Learning Outcomes


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