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Gain professional advantage through comprehensive understanding and skills in design and operation of offshore pipelines.

Learn from top industry and academic experts, with a university at the forefront of teaching and professional training for ambitious engineers throughout the global oil and gas industry.

Enjoy vital career benefits and options – with all the advantages of distance learning wherever you work in the world.


This online short course will give you a detailed understanding of the engineering and scientific concepts that underpin the selection of material and size of seabed pipelines, safe installation and operation, and environmental impact. You’ll develop your knowledge of materials engineering and selection, and failure and degradation issues in a subsea environment including life cycle analysis. You’ll also examine reasons for failure, and how failure analysis is applied in the design process.

We’ve designed this course for you as a graduate engineer working in the offshore industry, or looking to move into it. You’ll be taught by academic and industry experts in mechanical and civil engineering, with a third of your lectures contributed by highly experienced subsea engineers working in the industry today.

Aberdeen is the obvious choice for this course, as a globally-recognised centre of excellence in subsea engineering in a region with the highest concentration of subsea companies. Additionally, your programme benefits from an Industry Advisory Board which constantly reviews course content to ensure that you gain state-of-the-art knowledge and are up to date with emerging trends and technologies.

You can study this credit-bearing online short course standalone, or as a taster to progressing to a full MSc in Subsea Engineering. Our Masters programme is highly-acclaimed and accredited by relevant industry bodies and is also available fully online, for you to study at your own pace, at any location, and fitting around your work and personal commitments.

Why Aberdeen for this course?

The combination of reputation, experience, breadth of expertise, teaching and research strength, location and international outlook, makes Aberdeen the obvious provider of first-class education in energy. Aberdeen is Europe's energy capital, and a leading ‘World Energy City’. Our University is a founding Member of the Global Subsea Universities Alliance.

Our Institute of Energy brings together experts in research, teaching and professional development across all areas of oil and gas and renewable energies. Students gain the benefit of close working relationships with major companies and entrepreneurs, and learn from experienced industry professionals and world-class academics who collaborate with industry colleagues on cutting-edge research.

Aberdeen engineering graduates are today working at senior level, including CEO and MD, in the offshore industry worldwide. Wherever you are working in the world you are likely to have a fellow Aberdeen graduate engineer working with you.

You can take this credit-bearing short course standalone. Should you decide to pursue your studies in greater depth, you can use these credits to progress to the full online MSc in Subsea Engineering, accredited by The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMarEST), the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), and the Energy Institute.

You may also want to consider our new MSc Global Subsea Engineering programme which offers a unique opportunity for students to learn in an internationally collaborative environment centred around two major oil and gas hubs - Aberdeen in Scotland and Perth in Western Australia.

What you'll study

Topics covered on your course include:

  • Overview of pipeline design, including commercial and environmental considerations, national and international design codes, and technological challenges.
  • Site investigation and pipeline routing, including soil classification, site survey and preparation, HSE requirements, human and environmental factors.
  • Design based on stress analysis.
  • Design against failure, including buckling and collapse.
  • Pipeline on-bottom stability, hydrodynamic loads on pipelines, pipeline-soil interaction response and modelling, pipeline seabed spanning response and evaluation.
  • External corrosion of pipelines and its prevention.
  • Pipeline ancillary equipment design including PLEMs, protection devices, etc.
  • Pipeline installation methods and installation analysis techniques.

Throughout the course you’ll develop expertise in the use of pipeline design standards (eg BSPD8010 and DNV-OS-F101).

And you’ll become proficient in using industry-standard software, with the huge advantage this brings when you step into a real-life industry project as a professional pipeline engineer.

How you'll study

This online, 12-week distance-learning short course offers all the flexibility and convenience to study when, where and how you choose, and to fit your learning around your location, work and personal commitments.

Our online courses are delivered through our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), as self- contained units of learning taught and assessed to the same quality as our degree programmes, and developed specifically for an online audience using a range of learning materials and assessment activities.

We aim to create an international online classroom experience and student community which enables you to enjoy the same learning experience as students on our full degree programmes, including access to a suite of learning resources and support.

We expect you to spend around 10-15 hours weekly on your 12-week course. You’ll be guided through your programme with weekly online lectures and tutorials, reading material, and plenty of opportunity to interact with your tutors - including professional subsea engineers - and with your online classmates on discussion boards.

Wherever you are in the world, as you enjoy the advantages of online distance study, you will still feel part of our very special Aberdeen family and learning community.


Your learning will be assessed continuously through your course, based on a design exercise. This will account for 20% of your final mark.

At the end of the course you’ll have a three-hour written examination worth 80% of your marks. Through our network of partners throughout the world we will arrange a convenient location for you to sit your exam. Alternatively, if you are based in Aberdeen, you can take your exam on our Aberdeen campus.

Entry Requirements

In general, applicants are expected to hold a relevant degree, however alternative/lower qualifications combined with an appropriate level of relevant experience may also be considered as a means for entry.

All students entering the University, including online courses, must provide evidence that they can use English well enough to study our programmes effectively. Details of our English language entry requirements can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages. For details of our pre-sessional English courses see our Language Centre website.