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, Technologies and Economics (EG504H)

15 Credit Points

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.

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Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (Ccus) (EG504K)

15 Credit Points

This course presents an overview of the motivations, challenges and technological solutions associated with Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS). The main carbon capture technologies and methods, CO2 transportation and underground storage are covered. These are introduced in terms of their technical, economic, and environmental criteria, as well as stage of development. Examples of operating pilot plants are shown, complemented by industrial guest lectures and webinars.

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Optional Courses

Plus one from:

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

And one from:

  • Economic Analysis
  • Corporate Finance and Accounting for Energy
  • 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.

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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

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.

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Economic Analysis (BU5061)

15 Credit Points

The course will cover the main elements of Microeconomic Theory. Consumer theory will be examined by discussing how consumers choose under the constraint of a budget to generate demands. This theory will then be extended to include choice under uncertainty and intertemporal choice. Some basic elements of competitive markets will also be presented. Producer theory will be examined to understand how firms decide the quantity to be produced under the constraint of a technology. Other relevant topics, such as public goods, externalities, and auctions, will be covered.

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Corporate Finance and Accounting for Energy (BU5074)

15 Credit Points

This course ensure students understand why companies behave the way they do with respect to financing choices and how this interacts with financial markets, with particular reference to the petroleum and energy industries. The course covers Investment Appraisal Techniques Employed in Petroleum Industry, Risk Analysis, Portfolio Theory and the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM)

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Introduction to GIS Tools, Techniques, Cartography and Geovisualisation (GG5065)

15 Credit Points

This module will introduce students to a number of introductory and fundamental geospatial tools and techniques for displaying and analysing geospatial data. This will include: navigation, measurement, spatial queries, geocoding, scripting, buffering, digitising, and overlay analysis. A number of ‘real world’ examples will be used to illustrate the application of the tools for data exploration, data capture, simple spatial analysis, mapping and visualisation. Emphasis will be placed on obtaining a sound understanding of the principles of each technique, as well as the importance of selecting the correct approach to a problem, analysing the data, and interpretation of the results.

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Semester 2

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses
Energy Conversion and Storage (EG551J)

15 Credit Points

To gain an understanding of the need to and the efficiency behind conversion of energy form one form to another and in the need to store energy in distinct forms. To understand the reasoning behind energy losses and how they might be minimised or overcome.

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Energy Systems Integration (EG554T)

15 Credit Points

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.

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Optional Courses

Plus two from:

Marine and Wind Energy (EG552U)

15 Credit Points

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

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Legislation, Economics and Safety (EG552S)

15 Credit Points

The course aims to develop a broad understanding about the renewable energy legislation and of the relevant aspects of economics and safety.

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Renewable Energy Integration to Grid (EG551K)

15 Credit Points

The course aims to develop a broad understanding about the challenges and requirements of integrating renewable generators (RE) to grid, how these requirements can be met using converters, and high voltage direct current (HVDC) as a method of connecting RE to AC grids.

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Semester 3

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses
MSc Individual Project (EG59F1)

60 Credit Points

The MSc Individual Project is an independent piece of research based on a topic related to a student’s degree programme. Students are encouraged to focus on a problem confronting industry or a related area. The individual project provides students with an opportunity to demonstrate how the in-depth skills and knowledge they have gained during the taught courses can be used to provide solutions to practical problems. The individual project should contain a degree of original research.

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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.

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate

The CAH3 code for this degree is CAH10-01-09. Students who need a visa to live or study in the UK must apply for ATAS clearance. The ATAS clearance certificate must be valid when you apply for a visa to enter the UK. To find out if you need to apply for ATAS clearance, please visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/academic-technology-approval-scheme

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.

Funding Opportunities

Energy company Total is offering two scholarships for Home students commencing in 2021/22 - one for MSc Energy Transition Systems and Technologies and one for MSc Renewable Energy Engineering. Closing Date: 14 June 2021. Find out more.

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.

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