A unique programme, tailored for training the next generation of professional chemists, with a unique focus on the oil and gas industry.

This programme is studied on campus.

This programme will build on your undergraduate chemistry experience and develop specialist skills applicable to the oil and gas industry. The oil and gas industry is expected to remain an important source of energy provision for the foreseeable future, with oil and gas projected to meet 60% of the world's energy needs in 2030, despite the growing research emphasis on renewable forms of energy generation.

This postgraduate programme focuses on the chemistry applicable to efficiency and environmental responsibility, addressing materials and energetics relevant to production and refining, and environmental impact and remediation.

The University has a historic and central presence within Aberdeen, the Energy Capital of Europe. This programme has been designed in collaboration with industry, which ensures that it is relevant and current. You will also be given the opportunity to build up your own network of industry contacts.

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Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
12 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
September or January

What You'll Study

The information below applies to the 1 year full time on campus learning MSc programme which runs in September. You will find information about other ways to study this programme in the next section on this page.

Semester 1

Compulsory Courses

Materials for the Oil and Gas Industry (CM5035) - Credits: 15

In this course, you will learn about the importance of cement and polymer materials in the oil and gas industry. The chemistry of cements, including oilwell cements, and the chemistry underlying the durability in the service environment is discussed in terms of composition-property relationships of polymers. The course is supported by practical classes, in which you will learn how the chemistry of materials can be applied in the oil and gas sector, using cements and polymers as examples. The associated planning and report writing provides you with a set of valuable transferrable skills.

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Processes, Materials and Bioremediation for the Energy Industry (CM5036) - Credits: 15

Oil and gas exploration has often proven to be an intrinsic threat to the environment. In this course, you will learn how to assess and prevent risks, and recognise components of risk assessment. You will learn concepts of chemical and biological processes for environmental remediation, and how to critically compare and select remediation strategies for particular types of contamination, as for example oil spills in the sea or on land. Environmental toxicology topics will be covered. The course is supported by practical classes which will develop skills used in assessing and reducing the impact of chemicals.

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Chemistry at Interfaces and Enhanced Oil Recovery (CM5037) - Credits: 15

Oil and Gas resources are limited, and modern techniques for oil extraction must provide high production efficiency. In this course, you will learn about the principle of enhanced oil recovery, which covers solid-gas interfaces and gas adsorption, thermodynamics of surface interactions and how surface chemistry can be applied to this task. The principles of corrosion and of corrosion protection and prevention are also addressed. The course is supported by practical classes to deepen your understanding of topics like surface tension, physisorption and chemisorption and characterisation of porous solids.

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Analytical and Instrumental Methods (CM5038) - Credits: 15

Chemical analysis is essential in the production of oil and gas; it provides critical information for the full life cycle in the extraction of oil and gas. It provides important data for assessing environmental issues as well as the integrity and performance of various materials used in production. In this course you will learn fundamental principles of instrumental analytical methods used in the oil and gas industry, such as infrared and UV-visible spectroscopy, chromatography, mass spectrometry, thermal analysis and X-ray powder diffraction. The course includes practical classes, in which you will get hands-on experience with relevant analytical techniques.

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Semester 2

Compulsory Courses

Flow Assurance and Oil Field Chemicals (CM5536) - Credits: 15

Pipelines are widely used for the transport of oil and gas products under the sea, or over land. A variety of chemical compounds in these products can undergo physical and chemical changes which can result in problems ranging from the interruption in the flow of oil and gas through to catastrophic failure of infrastucture. In this course, you will learn about general pipeline flow assurance and risks related to waxes, resins, asphaltenes, gas hydrates and scales. Chemical strategies for managing flow assurance are introduced and discussed. Flow assurance issues are put into practice in laboratory classes.

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Chemistry of Refinery and Natural Gas Processes (CM5535) - Credits: 15

In this course, you will learn the principles of distillation and fractionation, catalysis and Green chemistry. Environmental issues are tackled by understanding the chemistry and application of industrial scrubbers in oil and gas chemistry. The chemistry of natural gas conversion is introduced and you will learn to identify suitable catalysts for key petrochemical processes and describe their mode of action and identify and discuss industrial approaches to environmental protection including aspects of green chemistry. The course is supported by practical classes, in which you will get hands-on experience on topics such as catalysis and gas-to-liquids options.

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Applied Analytical and Instrumental Methods (CM5537) - Credits: 15

This course further broadens your experience gained in course CM5038. You will be exposed in more detail to advanced analytical applications, aiming to introduce the chemical concepts behind the techniques applied in industrial analytical chemistry laboratories supporting oil and gas exploration and production facilities. Hands-on experience is provided in the form of laboratory-based practicals on industrially-relevant materials and scenarios. You will learn how to optimise analytical performance, carry out an experiment, collate and interpret your own data and present your result.

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Industrial Engagement and Applications (CM5538) - Credits: 15

Students graduating from the Oil and Gas Chemistry course can have a variety of roles in a position in the petrochemical industry. In this course, students will put into perspective how their chemistry knowledge is applied in oilfield or refinery environments. Industrial lectures provide direct experiences in various technological sectors of the industry, and aspects of engineering will be presented to illustrate how chemical processes can be managed at scale. An understanding of the environment that chemistry is applied into, including, for example, the geotechnical characteristics of reservoirs, simulations and design concepts for fluids processing will be achieved.

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Semester 3

Compulsory Courses

Extended Research Project (CM5903) - Credits: 60

An extended research project is the final part of the Oil and Gas Chemistry course. Students will carry out an individual research project using the knowledge and skills gained in first part of the degree to investigate a topic relating to the oil and gas sector. We aim to provide project placements in industry locally in and around Aberdeen. Each project is supervised by both a University supervisor and the industrial placement supervisor to ensure academic quality. Projects may also be conducted at the University of Aberdeen in a research group, related to oil and gas chemistry topics.

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Course Availability

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.

How You'll Study

The degree programme is an intensive period of study. Lectures, practical tutorials and group work are key elements to the way you will learn. You will be given the tools and knowledge to succeed but significant opportunity will be given to you to express your own learning styles and ways of working.There are no limits to how successful you can be.

Learning Methods

  • Field Trips
  • Group Projects
  • Individual Projects
  • Lab Work
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

Assessment is by course work, by written examination or by a combination of these as prescribed for each course. The Extended Research Project will be assessed by dissertation. The degree of MSc shall not be awarded to a candidate who fails to complete the Extended Research Project at an appropriate standard, irrespective of their performance in other courses.

Why Study Oil and Gas Chemistry?

  • Accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry, it has been highly commended as an exceptional programme which meets the needs of future employers in the Oil/Gas and Energy sector, for the local industry and worldwide.
  • Since its launch in 2011, this programme has steadily grown, attracting students from around the world. It now forms a major part of our impressive suite of oil and gas and wider energy related MSc programmes.
  • We provide strong research-led teaching in oil and gas relevant themes and a close interaction with the oil and gas industry, providing knowledge & experience from renowned academics and industry professionals.
  • Aberdeen is the oil and gas capital of Europe and is the office location for many of the major oil companies that serve the industry. You will have the opportunity to work with and visit leading organisations during the programme.
  • Graduates find work in oil and gas and energy areas, and attain leading roles in their chosen areas. As Alumni, they then feedback into this course, for example through our mentoring system, where students are encouraged to contact mentors from industry.
  • Despite its focus on oil and gas chemistry themes, this degree programme will also give you the relevant chemistry knowledge and skills to perform in a variety of industrial processes.
  • In the 2014 REF, our department was rated "1st in Scotland for Chemistry research impact".
  • Our main research revolves around the broad areas of Biomolecular Chemistry (Natural products, medicinal chemistry and environmental analytical chemistry with speciation) and materials (surface chemistry and catalysis).
  • Chemistry staff also make extensive use of Central Facilities such as synchrotrons and neutron sources both in the UK and Europe. We are a full member of ScotCHEM which includes the international graduate school within the network of Scottish Chemistry Institutions, and can access facilities in other Scottish Universities.
  • You will be taught by, and work closely with our leading academics, and will be fully integrated into the respective research groups.
  • We are a close department of staff and students who actively work together. Your development will be encouraged and supported throughout your studies and you will build relationships that may last a lifetime.

Entry Requirements


Our minimum entry requirement for this programme is a Chemistry, Applied Chemistry or Industrial Chemistry degree at 2:2 (lower second class) UK Honours level (or an Honours degree from a non-UK institution which is judged by the University to be of equivalent worth).

Students with a degree in Chemical Engineering, Environmental Chemistry, Microbiology, Biochemistry, Geology or B.Ed in Chemistry may also be considered if they have a 2:1 (upper second class) result or above.

Key subject you must have covered: at least 2 years of university Chemistry.

English Language Requirements

All students entering the University must provide evidence that they can use English well enough to study effectively at the University of Aberdeen.

Details of our English language entry requirements can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages. This programme requires that you meet the College of Physical Sciences Postgraduate Standard level of English proficiency.

If you have not achieved the required scores, the University of Aberdeen offers pre-sessional English courses. Further details are available on our Language Centre website.

Nationals of some English-speaking countries or those who hold degrees from some English-speaking countries may be exempt from this requirement. Details of countries recognised as English-speaking can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages.

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.

an up-to-date CV/Resumé
Degree Certificate
a degree certificate showing your qualifications
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

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Tuition fee rates can be found on our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU / RUK Students £4,500
Tuition Fee for 2016/17 Academic Year
International Students £17,200
Tuition Fee for 2016/17 Academic Year
Home / EU / RUK Students £6,000
Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year
International Students £18,000
Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year

Additional Fees

  • 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.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.


Many of our graduates find careers in the oil and gas service sector, amongst which oilfield chemicals play a significant role. Several such companies are based in Aberdeen but it is anticipated that graduates from this programme will be able to find employment opportunities in all major oil and gas producing countries.

Career Opportunities

  • Crude Oil Analyst
  • Field Support Chemist
  • Process Chemist Engineer
  • Technical Specialist


This degree holds accreditation from

What our Alumni Say

  • Davina McLelland
    Davina McLelland, Technical Specialist at

    Davina McLelland

    Job Details
    Technical Specialist
    In addition, insight into the industry provided by professors, guest lecturers and an industrial placement during the research portion of my degree, helped me determine in what area of the oil and gas industry I wanted to start my career.
  • Emmanuel Ajayi
    Emmanuel Ajayi, Senior Technical Support Chemist at

    Emmanuel Ajayi

    Job Details
    Senior Technical Support Chemist
    Aberdeen is a typical Scottish city where the locals are friendly and open to international students. The University has created a multi-cultural environment where I was able to mix with students from other countries.

Our Experts

Head of Department
Professor Marcel Jaspars
Other Experts
Professor Jorg Feldmann
Programme Coordinator
Dr Andrew Kindness

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.

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1st in Scotland for Chemistry Research Impact

In the 2014 REF, our department was rated "1st in Scotland for Chemistry research impact". 


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Industry Visits

Industry Visits

Each year student students are given the opportunity to visit the premises of companies operating in the sector. Over the last 5 years, students have visited the offices of Intertek to learn about the work they do.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

College of Physical Sciences Graduate School
University of Aberdeen
Fraser Noble Building
King's College
AB24 3UE

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