Developed jointly with industry to effectively transfer the knowledge and skills from senior experts in industry and the University to the next generation of structural engineers. Professional training for professional engineers.

Delivered part-time via distance learning only.

Key Facts

1 Year / 3 Years
Study Mode
Part Time
Start Month
Learning Mode
Distance Learning

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Aimed at practising Structural Engineers. While a good honours degree is a pre-requisite, this MSc also requires you to have practical Structural Engineering experience, to provide the context for the taught material.

To enable you to remain in your employment the MSc is only available as a Part-Time programme and is taught entirely by distance learning. Class interaction with each other, and with the tutor, is via module-specific online discussion boards and email. To sustain a good teaching experience and ensure good access to, and feedback from, the industry-based tutors especially, places on the programme are limited.

The entire programme of courses covers a range of relevant theoretical and practical subjects which have been selected to present you with the latest industry thinking and key engineering skills required for this crucial area of expertise. Examples of the former include, Finite Element Methods and Structural Dynamics, whereas examples of the latter include a number of Conceptual Design modules and the design of steelwork connections.

What You'll Study

The information below applies to the 3 year part time distance 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.

Year 1

Compulsory Courses

Design of Connections (distance Learning) (EG501N)

The purpose of this course is to explain the behaviour of steelwork connections and how this is translated into a wide range of design tools.

The fundamental concept is one of force paths, and how this applies to a wide range of different types of connections is the key feature of this course.

The course is assessed by three coursework assignments. Although the first two are standard designs, the third assignment is for a very non-standard detail which requires fundamental thinking about connection behaviour, and about the practical constraints that need to be accommodated.

View detailed information about this course.

Structural Dynamics (distance Learning) (EG501Z)

Need for understanding structural dynamics in modern offshore engineering and beyond arises from the fact that structures are often subjected to dynamic loads such as waves, wind, earthquake, blast and impacts. The structural engineer must therefore be able to understand and quantify dynamic loads and their effects in design and analysis. This course explains structural dynamics starting from the underlying first principles, through more advanced concepts and methods (including analytical and numerical), to practical applications to offshore structures. Theoretical concepts are illustrated by worked examples and numerous tutorial problems and assignments will enable students to gain confidence in their use.

View detailed information about this course.

Fatigue and Fracture Mechanics (distance Learning) (EG551X)

This course is for students studying for MSc Oil & Gas Structural Engineering.

This course deals with fatigue and fracture mechanics and its application to structural design and assessment. It encompasses theoretical background, but the emphasis will be on practical application.

This course is delivered by Distance Learning, where the students will access the teaching content via the web in 4 blocks at 3 week intervals. The course tutor will have scheduled times of delivery on the on-line forum.

View detailed information about this course.

Conceptual Design of Topside Modules (distance Learning) (EG551S)

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.

View detailed information about this course.

Year 2

Compulsory Courses

Brown Field Structural Engineering (EG5098)

The course introduces concepts involved in offshore brownfield structural engineering, including case studies and design examples for small, medium and large projects, as well as an overview of lifting guidance, structural integrity management and offshore survey information.

Emphasis will be placed on good detailing and clarity of presentation of design calculations.

This course is delivered by Distance Learning only for students studying for the MSc Oil & Gas Structural Engineering. Students will access the teaching content via MyAberdeen and the course tutor will answer queries and provide guidance through an on-line forum.

View detailed information about this course.

Petrochemical Structural Engineering (EG5595)

In the oil and gas industry, Petrochemical Engineering is the term used for onshore-based facilities, as opposed to offshore developments. Students following this course will therefore develop skills in the design of petrochemical structures, including their foundations.

Concepts involved in the design of petrochemical structures are introduced, alongside a range of design specifications, case studies and worked examples. In addition to gaining practice in structural steelwork design, the novelty of this course is the inclusion of basic foundation design. Emphasis is placed on good detailing and clarity of presentation of design calculations.

View detailed information about this course.

Finite Element Methods (distance Learning) (EG5596)

The background to the finite element method and its use in the Oil and Gas Industry is explained in this course. As well as the modelling of linear static and dynamic problems, the modelling of material and geometric non-linearity is an important aspect of the course. Coursework assignments will be based on the student edition of ABAQUS which is supplied with the Course Textbook which students are required to purchase.

View detailed information about this course.

Blast and Fire Resistant Structures (EG502C)

Hydrocarbon fires and explosions produce extreme loading on structures. The purpose of this course is to develop the ability to design structural components to operate effectively in fire and blast loading scenarios in order to promote safety. Fundamental principles and concepts are covered to provide the essential physical understanding of a structure’s behaviour at high temperatures or under dynamic loading. Simple models are used to assess the loading that results from fires and explosions. Industrial standards and design guidelines are explained.

View detailed information about this course.

Year 3

Compulsory Courses

Conceptual Design of Jackets and Subsea Structures (EG501A)

The aim of this course is to introduce the student to the issues to be considered when conceiving the design of offshore jacket structures. Key concepts covered include strength and fatigue design, environmental loading, foundation design and fabrication and installation

This course is delivered by Distance Learning, where the students will access the teaching content via the web. The course tutor will be contactable on the on-line forum, as well as via email.

View detailed information about this course.

Design of Stiffened Plates (EG501B)

This course provides an introduction to the behaviour of the thin-walled stiffened plate structures that are found in the Oil and Gas Industry. The small deflection and large deflection theories (including elasto-plastic effects) are presented for a wide range of in-plane and out-of-plane load actions. A key feature is to explain how these behaviours are represented in Design Codes of Practice.

View detailed information about this course.

Re - Assessment of Existing Structures By Structural Reliability Analysis (EG551A)

The need for structural reliability analysis in modern offshore engineering arises from the imperative to control and manage risk of failure. However, to be able to do so it is first necessary to measure and quantify the risk. This course provides a comprehensive introduction to structural reliability starting from the underlying principles of statistics and probability, through structural reliability concepts and methods, to practical applications to complex offshore structural systems. The theoretical concepts are amply illustrated by worked examples and numerous tutorial problems and assignments will enable students to gain confidence in their use.

View detailed information about this course.

Design of Jacket Attachments (EG551B)

This course is designed for students to develop skills in the Structural Engineering of Jacket Attachments, with the key emphasis on structural clamps.

The course introduces the concepts involved in the design of Jacket Attachments, mainly structural clamps. It offers a range of design specifications, case studies and worked examples. Emphasis is placed on good detailing and clarity of presentation of design calculations. Design guidance is drawn from a wide range of bespoke industry practice, and serves to represent the range of approaches to the complex design of structural clamps.

View detailed information about this course.

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 MSc is made up of twelve taught modules, which are normally taken two at a time, over three years (although it is possible to take up to 6 years, if interruptions from study or a slower pace are required). Class interaction with each other, and with the tutor, is via module-specific online discussion boards and email. Approximately 10-12 hours of study is expected per week per course.

Learning Methods

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Individual Projects


The internet delivery is a staged release of teaching materials and coursework assignments with online quizzes after each teaching block. Teaching blocks are normally two or three weeks apart. Half of the modules will also have an end of module Examination - in December or May/June - which can either be at Aberdeen or at an agreed Higher Education establishment/British Council office convenient for the student's own location anywhere in the world.

Why Study Oil and Gas Structural Engineering?

  • Fully accredited by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE), the Institute of Highway Engineers (IHE) and the Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT).
  • To enable you to continue to work whilst you study, this programme is delivered by part-time, distance learning.
  • The programme can be studied to full MSc degree level or can be taken as individual CPD modules.
  • Half of the courses studied on the programme are taught by practising, experienced Structural Engineers. This demonstrates our commitment to ensure key skills are passed down to the next generation of Structural Engineers.
  • This is a hugely popular and competitive programme which demonstrates its relevance to, and key integration with the industry.
  • Our location at the heart of Aberdeen, Europe's energy capital, and leading "World Energy City", brings you closer to the industry. The city is an inspiring place for any future oil and gas and wider energy industry leader.
  • Our geographic location puts us in a unique position of being able to offer a curriculum that is highly relevant to the needs of employers, alongside cutting-edge research. A degree from the University of Aberdeen puts you in a unique position to develop crucial business links alongside your learning.
  • To ensure that the degree programmes remain current and connected to industry, the programme is developed and reviewed by an Industry Advisory Board, made up of experienced professionals from a range of backgrounds.
  • Our engineering programmes attract students from around the world, all sharing a common interest and passion for the future of oil and gas exploration and production, and the engineering skills required to make it a continued success.
  • Our engineering graduates move into very successful careers with a large proportion working in senior roles in the industry, even as high as CEO and MD level. It doesn't matter where in the world you end up working, you are likely to have a fellow Aberdeen graduate engineer working with you. Our School of Engineering truly is a global family network.
  • You will be taught by, and engage with a truly international team of engineering staff. Collectively they bring an incredible level of industrial experience and academic expertise from working on major projects around the world.

Fees and Funding

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

Fee information
Fee category Status Amount
All Students
Fee is charged on a modular basis per 15 credits.
Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year £1,220
  • 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.


View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Entry Requirements


Minimum requirements for this programme are a 2:1 (upper second class) Honours degree in Civil or Structural Engineering, or equivalent, with ideally 1 or 2 years (depending on its nature) of relevant experience.

Flexibility may be shown to those with 2:2 (lower second class) Civil or Structural Engineering degrees who have significant professional experience. First Class Civil or Structural Engineering students with little experience may be considered after consideration of degree transcripts.

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

  • CVan up-to-date CV/Resumé
  • Degree Certificatea degree certificate showing your qualifications
  • Degree Transcripta full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
  • Personal Statementa detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme


Industry experience is essential to get the most from this programme. The programme is designed to enhance the existing skills of industry professionals in order to lead them on to the next step in their career and become future leaders.


This Degree is Accredited by

Our Experts

Programme Coordinator
Dr Paul Davidson

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.


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

AB24 3UE
+44 (0)1224 272515
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