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

Can be studied by on campus or online learning modes.

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.

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Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning or Online Learning
Degree Qualification
12 months, 24 months or 27 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month

Study Options

MSc 27 months Online Learning Part Time September
Year 1

Year 1

  • Process Risk Identification and Management
  • Upstream Oil & Gas Processing
  • Applied Risk Analysis and Management
  • Process Plant, Equipment and Operations
Year 2

Year 2

  • Loss of Containment
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • Process Design, Layout and Materials
  • Human Factors Engineering
Year 3

Year 3

  • Individual Project in Process Safety
MSc 12 months or 24 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time September
Semester 1

Semester 1

Compulsory Courses

Process Risk Identification & Management (EG50T4) - 15 Credit Points

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.

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Upstream Oil and Gas Processing (EG5099) - 15 Credit Points

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.

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Loss of Containment (EG50T5) - 15 Credit Points

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.

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Computational Fluid Dynamics (EG501V) - 15 Credit Points

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.

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Semester 2

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses

Applied Risk Analysis and Management (EG5558) - 15 Credit Points

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.

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Process Plant, Equipment & Operations (EG55P7) - 15 Credit Points

The course aims to give students knowledge and understanding of how larger process systems behave and are operated and controlled, with a focus being put on safety aspects. Specific cases across the safety hierarchy (basic and advanced process control, alarm systems, emergency shutdown and interlocks, safety relief) are addressed.

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Process Design, Layout & Materials (EG55P8) - 15 Credit Points

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.

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Human Factors Engineering (EG55P9) - 15 Credit Points

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.

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Semester 3

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses

Process Safety Individual Project (EG5912) - 60 Credit Points

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.

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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

Learning Methods

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

Assessment Methods

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.

Entry Requirements


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 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.

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


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

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 51; Reading - 51; Speaking - 51; Writing - 54

Cambridge English Advanced & 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.

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.

MSc 27 months Online Learning Part Time September

Please refer to our InfoHub Tuition Fees page for fee information for this programme, or contact

MSc 12 months or 24 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time September

Fee Information

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU / RUK Students £5,500
Tuition Fees for 2018/19 Academic Year
International Students £20,000
Tuition Fees for 2018/19 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.

Funding Opportunities

OPITO, the skills organisation for oil and gas, is offering two scholarships worth £6,000 each to students commencing a Master’s degree in safety engineering at the University of Aberdeen. Further information on eligibility criteria and how to apply can be found on the Funding Database.

The SFC Postgraduate tuition fee scholarship may be available for those classified as Home/EU fee status students for this programme. Visit the scholarship page for more information.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.


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.

Career Opportunities

  • Chemical Engineer
  • HSSE Lead Engineer
  • Process Safety Engineer
  • Risk Analyst
  • Risk and Safety Manager
  • Safety Engineer

Industry Links

Hear from Business

  • Genesis Oil and Gas
    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

Deputy Programme Coordinator
Dr Waheed Afzal
Other Expert
Dr Euan Bain
Programme Coordinator
Dr Xiaodong Wang

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

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