Delivering highly employable, process safety and broader chemical engineering professionals with a detailed understanding of operational safety, risk assessment and management.

Key Facts

1 Year / 2 Years
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
Learning Mode
On Campus Learning

Interested in this Degree?

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The University of Aberdeen School of Engineering has focused on safety related teaching and research for over 20 years and has established itself as one of the key centres for safety engineering. Process Safety is the latest addition to our suite of industry relevant engineering MSc degree programmes for individuals who have the desire and skills to become qualified Process Safety Engineers.

Working closely with leading industry organisations and IChemE, we have developed a truly distinctive and leading MSc Process Safety degree programme for students with a Chemical Engineering background, or with a Petroleum or Mechanical Engineering background, with good chemical/chemistry knowledge.

What You'll Study

The information below applies to the 1 year full time / 2 year part time on campus learning MSc programme which runs in September.

Semester 1

Compulsory Courses

Process Risk Identification & Management (EG50T4)

Historical safety/loss trends set the context for the topic. Major process hazards are reviewed with the accident process. Legislative frameworks utilised by industry are presented, highlighting differences between regions.

Hazard management systems and supporting safety analysis techniques are presented. These include: HAZID; LOPA; HAZOP; Event Trees; FMEA. ALARP is presented and reinforced by example.

Management measures to prevent major accidents (Major Accident Prevention Policies, MAPP; Safety Management Systems, SMS) and the role of the legislator are presented.

Candidates analyse major accidents and use the taught material to identify barriers which failed and establish underlying causes of accidents.

View detailed information about this course.

Upstream Oil and Gas Processing (EG5099)

The aim of the course is to give students a theoretical and practical understanding of the main technologies and unit operations involved in upstream oil and gas processing. The key aspects of process safety are also covered to provide the basis for developing safe and operable systems.

View detailed information about this course.

Loss of Containment (EG50T5)

The nature of fires & explosions is covered with basic models describing their characteristics. Thermal radiation is reviewed & modelled. Source & dispersion models for single and multi-phase systems are presented. Models for low temperatures generated on blowdown/expansion are presented. Fluid flow in networks is analysed focussing on fire water systems and flare/blowdown networks. Toxicity & dispersion are reviewed and extended.

Loss of containment statistics are reviewed with critical plant & equipment. Industry codes and standards are reviewed. The key area of HP/LP interfaces is covered. Gas blowby examples & case studies are presented. Identification and quantification of loss of containment scenarios are presented and analysed.

View detailed information about this course.

Computational Fluid Dynamics (EG501V)

The course aims to provide understanding of main principles and techniques underpinning computational fluid dynamics (CFD) combining numerical methods with practical experience using appropriate software. The course develops a foundation for understanding, developing and analysing successful simulations of fluid flows applicable to a broad range of applications.

View detailed information about this course.

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses

Applied Risk Analysis and Management (EG5558)

Risk assessment, the common tools used for (and the legal requirement associated with) risk assessment are covered. Students will have a thorough understanding on the components of good assessment and management of risks, and be familiar with the basic requirement for HAZID, HAZOP, SIL, QRA and the Safety Case.

View detailed information about this course.

Process Plant, Equipment & Operations (EG55P7)

The course begins with a treatment of the main items of plant and equipment, how they are designed and operated with a focus on process safety (failure modes, safe operating envelopes etc.).

Transient modes of operation are discussed and the interface of automatic process control and process safety is introduced.

The safety issues encountered in transient operations will be addressed; these include commissioning, start-up, shut-down, preparation for maintenance.

Relief and blowdown system design is developed.

Maintaining safe operations will cover the requirement for operational risk assessments, inspection and verification plans together with the development of operating and maintenance strategies.

View detailed information about this course.

Process Design, Layout & Materials (EG55P8)

Candidates will develop PIDs for major systems applying LOPA and including instrumentation. Inherently safe equipment layout principles for both onshore and offshore applications are addressed. Layouts will be developed for example applications.

The safety critical systems are reviewed and discussed.

Corrosion mechanisms are addressed together with materials for construction properties. Basic corrosion models are presented for a wide range of fluids. The operational modes which present most demand on materials are reviewed. Corrosion in erosive environments is addressed. Effects of temperature deviations in fire & blowdown are illustrated and analysed. Case studies are used to illustrate common issues.

View detailed information about this course.

Human Factors Engineering (EG55P9)

Human Factors Engineering (HFE) relates to how people interact with engineering systems. Failures in these areas are involved in all major incidents. Candidates explore them as part of this course. First, a review of major accidents will be undertaken to identify how equipment design, individual behaviours, and organisational behaviours contributed. Equipment/system design and the effect it has on individuals’ behaviours is explored. Human Error is addressed. Finally, organisational behaviours will be examined. Leading and Lagging indicators are explored and their strengths/weaknesses considered. Candidates have the opportunity to complete practical assessments led by industry practitioners with specialist expertise in HFE.

View detailed information about this course.

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses

Process Safety Individual Project (EG5912)

This course enables students to write a dissertation based on a process safety related topic. The wide aim of the course is to engage students in a problem which ties together the learning outcomes of the programme at an appropriate technical level.

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.

Postgraduate Open Day

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How You'll Study

Learning Methods

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


The principal method of student assessment is through written examinations. Candidates are normally expected to pass all examinations and all projects submissions. MSc candidates must submit a dissertation on their project, and may be required to undergo an oral examination.

Why Study Process Safety?

  • This programme examines the primary technologies and equipment used, as well as the operations involved in upstream oil and gas processing. Students will be exposed to the major issues and challenges facing industry and develop a professional approach to managing these accordingly.
  • A major component of the programme is understanding and managing risk. Students will be exposed to the tools and processes used to identify, assess and manage risk, taking factors such as process operations and human factors into account.
  • The programme produces highly employable process safety professionals who understand industry pressures and have a detailed understanding of operational safety and risk assessment. Professionals that can work across a multitude of chemical processing sectors. 
  • This is a relevant and highly professional programme which gives current engineering and science graduates a tremendous opportunity to further their career in a field in which, evidence suggests, there is currently limited provision and access to postgraduate study.
  • The programme can be studied part-time to suit the needs of industry professionals already working in the field.
  • Major incidents continue to happen, and they have a huge impact on people. A huge part of the profession is making sure that engineers have the skills to prevent these types of disasters.
  • 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.
  • 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 close links with industry ensures that you experience lectures taught by industry professionals, get the chance to visit relevant organisations, attend industry events, and undertake MSc projects with leading firms.
  • Our engineering graduates move in to very successful careers with a large proportion working in senior roles in 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.

Fees and Funding

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

Fee information
Fee category Status Amount
Home / EU / RUK Students Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year £5,200
International Students Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year £19,000
  • 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


  • 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 Chemical Engineering.
  • 2:1 in Mechanical or Petroleum Engineering with evidence of strength in key aspects of Chemical Engineering.
  • Those with a High 2:2 Honours degree in Engineering may also be considered if they can demonstrate 2+ years of relevant experience.
  • Key subjects you must have covered: Mathematics and Thermodynamics.

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


Safety will always remain one of the most important areas of focus for industry. This will result in a continuous demand for skilled, knowledgeable academics around the globe.

Industry Links

Hear from Business

  • Genesis Oil and Gas

    Genesis Oil and Gas

    The vision for the new MSc is to create a world-class centre of research and teaching in process safety, It’s too important a subject to not have a real focus on it for chemical engineers.

Our Experts

Programme Coordinator
Dr Euan Bain

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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