Introduction

Energy transitions require technical, economic and social solutions to the complex challenges of decarbonization.

This new programme gives an overview of the diverse challenges, including technical and non-technical (e.g. economic, policy) aspects. Students are introduced to systems thinking in the context of energy systems and learn relevant methods for system-level analysis (e.g. GIS, energy system analysis).

This programme is also available to study part-time online.

Study Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MSc
Duration
12 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
September
Location of Study
Aberdeen
Subject marketing image

Since the 1970s, there has been increased attention to more sustainable energy systems. In more recent decades, the transition towards these systems has gathered momentum, aided by new technological innovations in areas such as wind and tidal energy, energy storage, carbon capture and storage, biofuels and hydrogen. Despite the substantial progress around the world, the energy transition poses significant technological, commercial and political challenges for businesses and governments.

Energy transition engineers are faced with the challenge of redesigning our entire energy infrastructure while ensuring continued access to reliable and affordable energy. To achieve this, we must understand how to successfully integrate Low Carbon Technologies (LCTs) into our current and future energy systems. This requires a variety of measures on different levels (technical, economic, policy), some of which compete with one another.

This programme addresses this challenge by combining a detailed overview of the techno-economic aspects of individual LCTs with an understanding of energy systems and energy systems integration. You will also learn about non-technical aspects of the energy transition, such as the various economic and policy developments, without which many technologies would not develop beyond the laboratory. Students are also introduced to systems thinking, which is critical to successful energy transition due to the complex and interconnected nature of energy systems.

Based in the School of Engineering, this MSc draws on much of the ground-breaking research being conducted within the Centre for Energy Transition (CET), along with expert contributions from the School of Geosciences, the School of Business and the School of Law.

This programme is aimed at students with a background in engineering or similar quantitative subjects. It will educate to MSc level a new generation of systems engineers, with future career possibilities in all areas of the energy sector.

What You'll Study

Semester 1

Semester 1

Compulsory Courses
  • Introduction to Energy Transition: Demand, Technology and Economics

This course gives students an introduction and overview of energy transition, by focussing on the three key areas of demand, technology and economics. It begins with an introduction to the current energy system and the motivation for an energy transition. There follows a characterisation of the key drivers that underpin our social and economic reliance on energy. Subsequently, behavioural measures and technologies to enable the energy transition are examined and assessed according to diverse technical, economic and environmental criteria.

  • Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage

An introduction and overview of the challenges and technological solutions to the field of Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) will be presented in this course. This course covers the main carbon capture technologies and methods, CO2 transportation and underground storage. These technologies are introduced and characterised in terms of their technical, economic and environmental criteria, as well as stage of development. Examples of operating pilot plants are shown, and these are complemented by industrial guest lectures and webinars.

Optional Courses

Plus one from:

  • Energy from Biomass
  • Solar Energy
  • Geothermal and Hydro Energy

And one from:

  • Quantitative Methods
  • Introduction to Energy Economics
  • Introduction to GIS Tools, Techniques Cartography and Geovisualisation
Energy from Biomass (EG50M1)

15 Credit Points

This course describes in detail the technologies used to convert biomass into energy. The course covers combustion, gasification, pyrolysis, anaerobic digestion, bioethanol and biodiesel.

View detailed information about this course
Geothermal and Solar Energy (EG503V)

15 Credit Points

This course aims to provide a broad understanding of generation from solar sources, the associated technologies and the main technical challenges.

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Geothermal and Hydro Energy (EG503A)

15 Credit Points

Aims

To provide an understanding of the physical principles, technologies and systems associated with renewable energy generation from geothermal and hydro sources. To provide an understanding of the position of these sources of energy in the current and future global energy requirements and the technical challenges in meeting the future energy demand.

View detailed information about this course
Quantitative Methods (BU5025)

15 Credit Points

This course develops a mathematical and statistical ‘toolbox’ for PGT students in the Business School. These tools will useful in understanding and implementing research in business- and economics-related fields both during a student’s academic career as well as after graduation. The first part of the course covers basic mathematical models common across these fields. The second part of the course develops standard data analysis methods, including multivariate regression. The final part of the course examines shortcomings in the standard model and describes ways of overcoming those shortcomings.

View detailed information about this course
Introduction to Energy Economics (BU5053)

15 Credit Points

This course introduces key techniques from economics and finance to allowing understanding of the basics of business decision making within the energy industries and the economic implications of key energy policies. We consider basic financial concepts such as: present value, the opportunity cost of capital and their role in business decision making in energy industries. We also consider key economic elements of markets and how the economic environment structures the way in which businesses make decisions and energy market outcomes.

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Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems (GG3069)

15 Credit Points

This course covers the practical aspects of remote sensing and GIS. It is entirely hands on, and students learn through a series of exercises that becomes progressively more challenging and more specific to different geographical disciplines. By the end of the course students will be familiar with key remote sensing and GIS software and will have learned their fundamental tools. These are highly demanded skills in the job market at present, so this course is strategic for those students potentially interested in a job where these types of tools are employed.

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Semester 2

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses
  • Energy Systems Analysis and Scenarios

This course gives students an introduction and overview of Energy Systems Analysis (ESA), including theoretical backgrounds, example models, and hands-on model development and applications. It begins with an introduction to the field of ESA over the past decades, exploring different types of problems and modelling solutions. The course then introduces these different modelling approaches in turn, providing the students with a background in different approaches with their respective pros and cons. Subsequently, we introduce the concept of scenarios as a tool for exploring possible energy system futures.

  • Energy Systems Integration

This course is one of the key courses for MSc Energy Transition. The aim of this course is to provide students with knowledge and skills of critical analysis, multi-criteria assessment and planning of various multi-energy systems by taking into account system integration considerations. The course will provide the opportunity of putting the acquired knowledge and skills into practice by delivering hands on individual and group system integration projects.

Energy Conversion and Storage (EG551J)

15 Credit Points

This course is to provide an understanding of the need to and the efficiency behind conversion of energy from one form to another and the need to store energy in distinct forms, while minimising energy losses.

View detailed information about this course
Optional Courses

Plus one from:

Marine and Wind Energy (EG552U)

15 Credit Points

Aims

To provide an understanding of the physical principles, technologies and systems associated with renewable energy generation from wind and marine sources. To provide an understanding of the position of these sources of energy in the current and future global energy requirements and the technical challenges in meeting the future energy demand.

View detailed information about this course
Legislation, Economics and Safety (EG552S)

15 Credit Points

To provide an insight into the legislation and the economics framework which shape UK, European and international energy provisions from conventional and renewable sources. The course also aims to cover the fundamental safety issues which are important for the all renewable energy technologies.

View detailed information about this course
Semester 3

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses
  • Project in Energy Transition (60 credits)

Individual project as Master thesis at University or with Industrial Placement

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Why Study Energy Transition Systems and Technologies?

  • This is the first programme of its kind in the UK focusing on the transition from fossil fuels to renewables through the integration of Low Carbon Technologies (LCTs) into our current and future energy systems.

  • This programme combines technical knowledge of individual Low Carbon Technologies (LCTs) like renewable energy, including wind, tidal, solar, hydrogen and biomass, with non-technical aspects such as economic and political developments.

  • You will take a systems thinking approach to energy transition, to understand complex and interconnected energy systems. The energy transition is resulting in the digitalisation of the whole energy system, meaning much more data and interconnectedness. Only a systems approach can embrace these changes.

  • You will also learn various relevant methods for system-level analysis, including Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Energy System Analysis. These methods are augmented by technical, economic and environmental tools of analysis, which are used to assess and compare different technologies.

  • Aberdeen is a major international energy centre, and the School of Engineering is particularly known for world-class energy programmes in oil and gas, renewable energy and subsea engineering.

  • In recent years, non-hydrocarbon based energy has grown significantly in Aberdeen, mainly due to the large talent pool of energy engineers and scientists based in the Aberdeen region and the abundant wind and tidal energy resources off the Aberdeenshire coast.

  • Equinor selected Aberdeenshire as the location for Hywind, the world’s first floating wind farm. Vattenfal also chose Aberdeen as the location of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre, Scotland’s largest offshore wind test and demonstration facility. The pioneering Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project has created Europe’s largest hydrogen-powered bus fleet and the city's Energy Transition Zone fast track the development of Low Carbon Technologies.
  • Our location at the heart of the energy industry means that our programmes benefit from direct involvement from UK energy companies, as well as from overseas. This includes industry advisory panels, guest lectures, field trips, site visits, networking and careers events, and industry supported student projects.

  • Upon completion, students should have an overview of the key issues in energy transition, and be well equipped to address some of them with the taught methods (as they must in their final project).

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

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 Engineering or a related field such as the natural sciences, physical sciences or mathematics.

or

2:2 (lower second class) UK Honours degree in Engineering or a related field, or equivalent with 5+ years relevant experience.

Please enter your country to view country-specific entry requirements.

English Language Requirements

To study for a Postgraduate Taught degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.5 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

TOEFL iBT:

OVERALL - 90 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced, C2 Proficiency:

OVERALL - 176 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Document Requirements

You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme. If you have not yet completed your current programme of study, then you can still apply and you can provide your Degree Certificate at a later date.

Degree Transcript
a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
Personal Statement
a detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme

Fee Information

Fee information
Fee category Cost
EU / International students £23,500
Tuition Fees for 2021/22 Academic Year
Home / RUK £9,200
Tuition Fees for 2021/22 Academic Year

Additional Fee Information

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Scholarships

Eligible self-funded international Masters students will receive the Aberdeen Global Scholarship. Visit our Funding Database to find out more and see our full range of scholarships.

Postgraduate Virtual Open Day

On Tuesday 18th May, The University of Aberdeen will hold a Postgraduate Virtual Open Day.

It is open to everyone who is interested in Postgraduate Taught and Research study.

Find out more

Careers

There is an urgent, strong need to for properly trained and qualified professionals who are able to address the challenges associated with UN SDG Goal of “Affordable and Clean Energy”, and also the UK mission of achieving net-zero of greenhouse emission by 2050. Upon completion of the programme, you will have a good understanding of, and be well equipped to apply the methods and skills you have learned, to address the key challenges of the energy transition.

Graduates will be well placed to pursue careers across a wide range of industries, public sector organisations or academia. Typical employers for graduates of the programme include energy service providers, energy technology manufacturers, infrastructure (gas, heat, power) operators, utilities, aggregators, public sector organisations (local and national government, ministries) and many more.

Typical job roles rely on the critical systems thinking and detailed knowledge of the challenges and solutions for energy transitions. These include, for example:

  • Data Scientist/Analyst
  • Strategic Energy Advisor
  • Energy Planners
  • Energy System Operator
  • Energy Infrastructure Planner
  • Business Development Manager

Our Experts

Programme Coordinator
Russell Craig McKenna

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Address
Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
Aberdeen
AB24 3FX