Introduction

An oil and gas specific Chemistry degree from Europe's oil and gas capital.

This programme is studied on campus.

The 5th year option to the BSc programme.

Chemistry contributes in many ways to the oil and gas Industry. Geochemists are intimately involved in the exploration phase. Materials used in production such as oil well and pipeline components, chemicals to aid oil recovery, filters and other aids to product purification, corrosion inhibitors etc., are developed by synthetic chemists.

Performance monitoring is undertaken by analytical chemists. Environmental chemists deal with all of the environmental consequences of oil and gas production. Lifetime issues such as corrosion and corrosion protection also require input from chemists. The eventual decommissioning of offshore platforms, or their possible conversion to other uses such as wind farms or wave energy collectors, will raise many new problems requiring chemical solutions.

For the degree programme you will study courses in Chemistry, Physics, Geology and Environmental Science in the year 1, Chemistry, Materials Science and Geology in year 2, and Chemistry in years 3 to 5. Your project work in years 4 and 5 will involve research work on some aspect of offshore chemistry.

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Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MChem
Duration
60 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
September
UCAS Code
F110

What You'll Study

If you choose to study for the MChem, the 4th year of the programme varies slightly from that of the BSc route. In addition to the BSc 4th year, you will study a MChem Research Project and a Group Practical Project.

Year 1

Year 1

Compulsory Courses

Professional Skills Part 1 (PD1001)

This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students, is studied entirely online and covers topics relating to careers and employability, equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. During the course you will learn about the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, how they are relevant to you and the opportunities available to develop your skills and attributes alongside your University studies. You will also gain an understanding of equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing issues. Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’ (non-completion will be recorded as ‘Not Achieved’). The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks and it will be available to you throughout the academic year.This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students and above, is studied entirely online and covers topics relating to careers and employability, equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. During the course you will learn about the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, how they are relevant to you and the opportunities available to develop your skills and attributes alongside your University studies. You will also gain an understanding of equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing issues. Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’ (non-completion will be recorded as ‘Not Achieved’). The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks and it will be available to you throughout the academic year

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Chemistry for the Physical Sciences 1 (CM1021) - 15 Credit Points

The fundamentals of chemistry are important across the physical sciences and engineering. Starting with atomic structure and the Periodic Table, this course moves on to chemical bonding theory, building to the structure of organic molecules. Moving from the molecular level, acid-base theories, phase equilibria and solution chemistry are covered. The properties of ideal and non-ideal gases are then discussed. The energetics of chemical processes completes the course.

Teaching includes lectures and class workshops that put chemical concepts into a real-world context. Laboratory classes introduce important practical techniques, with experiments that support and complement the taught material.

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Elements of Chemistry 1 (CM1022) - 15 Credit Points

This course will inspire students to investigate the scope and power of chemistry and to develop the necessary skills for success in undergraduate Chemistry and beyond. Students will develop an appreciation of the essentially limitless scope of chemistry in understanding and controlling the material world. Students will also become more confident learners - in particular developing competences in literacy and numeracy, communication, data collection, analysis and interpretation, discussion and presentation of complex ideas and laboratory methods.

By getting to know other students studying chemistry and finding out about lecturers’ research interests, students will feel more part of the Chemistry team.

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The Earth Through Geological Time (GL1005) - 15 Credit Points

For 4,500 million years the Earth has been, and still is, a continually evolving Dynamic Planet. The record is held in the rocks and fossils of the present continental landmasses and ocean basins. To deduce the history of the planet geologists must apply a large range of scientific principles and disciplines. These disciplines encompass the biological, chemical and physical sciences. The course provides a basic understanding of how the structure and evolution of the planet are deduced and how this information can be used to discover and extract natural resources such as fossil fuels and ores.

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Ecology and Environmental Science (BI1511) - 15 Credit Points

This course will take you on a journey through the physical workings of the Earth, the interactions between species and their environments and then on to the effects humans are having on the planet, potential solutions and thoughts on the future.

Teaching is by staff with different subject specialisms who give both variety and immediacy to course material.

Exposure to the problems we are facing both now and in the future will help you make informed choices in their everyday lives.

A range of ‘wet’ and computer-based practicals enhance the classroom teaching and develop generic scientific skills.

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Chemistry for the Physical Sciences 2 (CM1513) - 15 Credit Points

Chemistry plays a central role in modern science and engineering, not only because of the insights it gives on the composition, properties, and reactivity of matter but also because of its wide-ranging applications. This course seeks to consolidate some of the important fundamentals of chemistry that underlie many topics and principles across the physical sciences and engineering, bringing together molecular structure, reaction mechanisms, the driving forces behind chemical reactions, and methods of chemical analysis and structure determination.

Workshops and laboratory classes complement lectures by consolidating learning and developing problem-solving and hands-on practical skills.

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Elements of Chemistry 2 (CM1522) - 15 Credit Points

This course aims to encourage students to integrate their knowledge in chemistry and apply basic knowledge to more complex but widely applicable topics in chemistry and to further develop the skills for success in undergraduate Chemistry and beyond.

Students will develop an appreciation of the interconnected nature of the traditional branches of chemistry thus enhancing their confidence in using their basic chemistry knowledge. Lectures, workshops and directed reading will introduce and discuss a range of topics including some historical background and present day theories and applications of fundamental topics in Chemistry.

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Earth's Materials (GL1505) - 15 Credit Points

Following on from GL1005 this course is an introduction to the petrogenesis of three major rock groups; igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary. Practical classes will centre around the use of polarizing microscope in the identification of the common rock-forming minerals. The relationship between plate tectonics and the petrogenesis of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, including types and styles of volcanic eruptions will be addressed.

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Optional Courses

  • Select a further 15 credit points from courses of choice
Year 2

Year 2

Compulsory Courses

Energetics of Change in Chemical and Biological Processes (CM2010) - 15 Credit Points

This course covers key concepts in physical chemistry which underpin our understanding and ability to control chemical and biological processes. The principal points include thermodynamics (enthalpy, entropy and free energies), chemical kinetics (zero, 1st and 2nd order reactions, rate laws and half-lives and the relationship of rate laws to reaction mechanisms), and basic principles of electrochemistry (redox chemistry and the Nernst equation). A strong emphasis on calculations helps students get to grips with the course material and develops numeracy skills. Laboratory experiments support and complement the taught material.

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Analytical Methods in Forensic Chemistry (CM2011) - 15 Credit Points

Has a suspect been at a crime scene? Has an accelerant been used in a fire incident? These questions can be solved by using modern analytical methods, which can determine trace element patterns or the presence of a compound used to start a fire. The course covers the underlying theory for identification and determination of, for example, drugs of abuse using structure determination by spectroscopic methods like UV, IR, NMR, mass spectrometry and chromatographic separations. Atomic spectrometry is covered for trace metal determination. In practical classes, students get hands-on training with modern analytical instrumentation, with experiments in a forensic context.

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Introduction to Materials (CM2012) - 15 Credit Points

This course provides grounding in basic materials science. There will be six areas covered: Introduction to materials, construction materials, electronic materials, optical materials, liquid crystals, and medical materials. Each of these areas will be introduced and facilitated by one of the course team. The impact of materials science on everyday life will be considered and explored throughout the course. Course assessments will be on topics of interest under these broad headings, often covering topical concerns, examples being materials for energy, such as solar cells, and medical implant materials, such as hip implants.

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Petrology & Mineralogy (GL2015) - 15 Credit Points

Petrology and mineralogy is a compulsory course for geology students. It covers igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary petrology. The course has a strong practical component and involves the preparation of workbooks based on individual study and practical exercises that use hand specimens, microscope work and chemical data.

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Organic and Biological Chemistry (CM2514) - 15 Credit Points

Modern organic and biological chemistry comprise the chemistry of carbon-containing compounds, which are natural (e.g. foods, fuel, perfumes) as well as synthetic (e.g. soaps, textile fabrics, pharmaceuticals). This course investigates some key areas in organic chemistry: shape, conformation, stereochemistry, and chemical properties of organic and biological compounds. Reactions and reactivity of aliphatic derivatives, olefins and aromatic compounds will be considered with particular reference to spatial and electronic effects. The experiments performed in the lab will help students understand key organic concepts and develop their synthetic/analytical skills.

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Shapes, Properties and Reactions of Molecules (CM2516) - 15 Credit Points

This course investigates some key areas of inorganic chemistry. An introduction to simple crystal structure types is given and important solid state materials such as high temperature superconductors, photocatalysts and zeolites are described. The concept of symmetry is introduced. Redox chemistry is developed in terms of Latimer, Frost and Ellingham diagrams: their applications in modern technology and industry are emphasised, including batteries, fuel cells, corrosion, electrolysis and water purification. The key properties of transition metal complexes - shapes, colours and magnetism are described and analysed in terms of crystal field theory. Laboratory experiments are closely tied to the lecture materials.

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Geophysics (GL2511) - 15 Credit Points

This course establishes the fundamental principles underlying the main methods of geophysical exploration data and their interpretation as applied to Earth Sciences. This includes some basic principles of continuum mechanics and stress and strain as used in structural geology as well some basic principles of geophysical fluid dynamics as relevant to sediment transport and deposition in sedimentology.

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Optional Courses

  • Select a further 15 credit points from courses of choice
Year 3

Year 3

Compulsory Courses

General Chemistry (CM3032) - 5 Credit Points

This module will help students refresh their knowledge of the first two years of study in chemistry and help them to prepare for the general exam papers in fourth year. There are no taught classes, but students are given four assessed homework exercises spread throughout the academic year.

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Solid State Chemistry (CM3036) - 15 Credit Points

This course introduces students to the fascinating properties of inorganic materials through a series of lectures, tutorials and laboratory experiments. An introduction to crystallography and crystal diffraction is given. The students will also learn about solid state synthesis and the properties of important solid state materials such as high temperature superconductors, zeolites and ferroelectric materials.

In the laboratory practicals the students will synthesise some of the key materials described within the course such as coloured glass, high temperature superconductors and photocatalysts. Students will also gain hands on experience in powder X-ray diffraction.

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Environmental Chemistry (CM3038) - 15 Credit Points

This advanced course describes, through a series of lectures, tutorials and laboratory practicals, how state-of-the-art and conventional analytical techniques can be used to characterise environmental processes. Important chemical processes which impact the environment in which we live will be described. These include ozone generation and depletion in the atmosphere, an introduction to xenobiotics and the importance of metals in biomolecules.

Students will get the opportunity to use state-of-the-art analytical instruments, including chromatographic systems and trace element analysers during the laboratory practicals.

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Principles of Petroleum Geology (GL3018) - 15 Credit Points

This course introduces students to the key issues surrounding being a geologist in the petroleum industry. With the changing nature of hydrocarbon exploration and production, both conventional and unconventional hydrocarbons are considered. The key concepts of the origin and generation of hydrocarbons, reservoir rocks and subsurface reservoir structures (traps) are introduced, together with some of the key techniques used within the industry (e.g. reservoir geology, petrophysics and formation evaluation). Practical issues such as how hydrocarbon wells are drilled and how rocks are sampled in the subsurface are also considered.

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Organic and Biological Chemistry (CM3534) - 30 Credit Points

This course introduces important fundamentals of organic chemistry. You will gain a firm grounding in NMR spectroscopy and mass spectrometry which are vital analytical tools to determine if the correct organic molecule has been synthesised. Biological chemistry such as DNA/RNA and genome sequencing will be introduced. Organic synthesis lectures will concentrate on chemistry of the carbonyl group, aromatic synthesis and pericyclic reactions.

Students will gain expertise in the synthesis of a number of different organic compounds such as dyes, compounds that change colour with temperature and an antibiotic during the laboratory practicals which accompany this course.

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Molecular Structure and Reactivity (CM3536) - 30 Credit Points

This course deals with important aspects of physical chemistry through a series of lectures, tutorials and laboratory experiments. Students will be introduced to the fundamentals of spectroscopy and will gain an understanding of the nature of chemical bonding. An introduction to the thermodynamics and applications of electrochemical systems will be given. We will show how variables such as pressure and temperature affect reaction rates and how this can lead to a better understanding of reaction mechanisms, in particular, industrially important polymerization reactions. The chemistry of liquid and solid surfaces will also be described with examples relating to the petrochemical industry.

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Optional Courses

  • Select a further 15 credit points from courses of choice
Year 4

Year 4

Compulsory Courses

Advanced Chemistry 1 (CM4025) - 15 Credit Points

The Advanced Chemistry modules are composed of a series of high-level lecture courses usually closely related to the research specialities of the lecturers. The individual courses give students opportunities for in-depth study of advanced topics whilst the variety of inorganic, physical, organic, materials, environmental and analytical chemistry covered in the Advanced Chemistry modules ensure that students have a good breadth of experience in the subject.

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Advanced Chemistry 2 (CM4026) - 15 Credit Points

The Advanced Chemistry modules are composed of a series of high-level lecture courses usually closely related to the research specialities of the lecturers. The individual courses give students opportunities for in-depth study of advanced topics whilst the variety of inorganic, physical, organic, materials, environmental and analytical chemistry covered in the Advanced Chemistry modules ensure that students have a good breadth of experience in the subject.

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Mchem Group Practical (CM4036) - 15 Credit Points

The aim of this first half-session course is to provide a combination of research experience and group work via research-focused group activities involving experiment planning, teamwork and the collection, sharing and interpretation of data. The group, in consultation with the supervisors, will develop a project plan where the overall aim and the objectives of the individual students are established. The development of a variety of transferrable skills is an important feature of this module, including working in a team, project planning, the presentation of results, time management, report writing and verbal communication.

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Advanced Chemistry 3 (CM4518) - 15 Credit Points

The Advanced Chemistry modules are composed of a series of high-level lecture courses usually closely related to the research specialities of the lecturers. The individual courses give students opportunities for in-depth study of advanced topics whilst the variety of inorganic, physical, organic, materials, environmental and analytical chemistry covered in the Advanced Chemistry modules ensure that students have a good breadth of experience in the subject.

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Integrated Chemistry (CM4521) - 5 Credit Points

This module aims to help students assimilate materials studied at different points during the whole undergraduate Chemistry degree programme. Students will find this module particularly useful in helping them prepare for the general exam papers. The course consists of a series of written exercises and workshops, held in the second half session, covering material studied in the earlier years of the course. The workshops are intended to review fundamental topics and ideas in the context of the more advanced material studied at Honours level. Course assessment will include written homework and a short oral exam.

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Mchem Research Project (CM4535) - 30 Credit Points

The level-4 individual research project for MChem students runs in the second half-session and affords students opportunities to learn modern research techniques and to develop some expertise in the topic of their project. As far as possible, projects are allocated in accordance with student preferences. Every project has a named supervisor and there is considerable scope for students to use their initiative in experimental design and interpretation of results. The development of a variety of transferrable skills is an important feature of this module, including project planning, presentation of results, time management, report writing and verbal communication.

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Refinery Chemistry (CM4536) - 15 Credit Points

Advanced topics in oil and gas chemistry including phase diagrams, catalysis, environmental aspects and refinery processes.

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Optional Courses

  • Select a further 15 credit points from courses of choice
Year 5

Year 5

Compulsory Courses

Mchem Applications in Oil and Gas Chemistry (CM5042)
Mchem Half Year Project Placement (CM5505) - 60 Credit Points

In the second half of Level 5, students gain research experience in a professional research environment, normally in a laboratory on mainland Europe. These projects extend from January to April and students may obtain additional funding from the Erasmus scheme to cover their extra costs associated with living abroad. Students may undertake their placement further afield, for example in North America or Australia, or within Aberdeen, subject to individual circumstances. Students undertake a comprehensive literature review on the topic of their project during the first half-session. The project placement is at the heart of the MChem and richly enhances employability.

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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

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

Assessment Methods

Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:

  • coursework such as essays and reports completed throughout the course;
  • practical assessments of the skills and competencies learnt on the course; and
  • written examinations at the end of each course.

The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, year of study and individual courses.

Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.

Further Information

View detailed learning and assessment information for this programme

How the programme is taught

The typical time spent in scheduled learning activities (lectures, tutorials, seminars, practicals), independent self-study or placement is shown for each year of the programme based on the most popular course choices selected by students.

How the programme is assessed

The typical percentage of assessment methods broken down by written examination, coursework or practical exams is shown for each year of the programme based on the most popular course choices selected by students.

Year 1

Learning Method
scheduled: 30%
independent: 70%
placement: 0%
Assessment
written: 42%
coursework: 46%
practical: 12%

Year 2

Learning Method
scheduled: 30%
independent: 70%
placement: 0%
Assessment
written: 57%
coursework: 43%
practical: 0%

Year 3

Learning Method
scheduled: 36%
independent: 64%
placement: 0%
Assessment
written: 58%
coursework: 10%
practical: 32%

Year 4

Learning Method
scheduled: 39%
independent: 61%
placement: 0%
Assessment
written: 47%
coursework: 53%
practical: 0%

Year 5

Learning Method
scheduled: 9%
independent: 41%
placement: 50%
Assessment
written: 38%
coursework: 62%
practical: 0%

Why Study Oil and Gas Chemistry?

  • The Offshore Industry is concerned with all aspects of oil and gas exploration and production, and in the longer term also with the decommissioning of offshore facilities. The Industry has an enormous economic impact on the North-East and on the UK as a whole.
  • Our location at the heart of Aberdeen, Europe's energy capital, and leading "World Energy City", very much 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.
  • 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.
  • All lecturing staff are active researchers in one or more of the areas of research strength of the Department: Materials Chemistry, Biomolecular and Medicinal Chemistry, and Environmental Chemistry.
  • Innovative methods for learning and teaching ensure that students develop skills in computing and IT, problem-solving, and personal skills, in addition to the core theoretical and practical principles of Chemistry.
  • In the 2014 REF, our department was rated "1st in Scotland for Chemistry research impact".
  • 80% of research in Chemistry was rated as 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent' at 2014 REF.

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

SQA Highers - AABB*

A Levels - ABB*
IB - 34 points, 6 at HL*
ILC - AAABB (B1 or B2 required)*
*Including good performance in Chemistry and another Mathematics/Science subject.

Advanced Entry - Advanced Highers AAB, A Levels AAB, or IB 36 points (6 at HL), including Chemistry at A and another Mathematics/Science subject.

Further detailed entry requirements for Sciences degrees.

English Language Requirements

To study for a degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Fees and Funding

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

Fee Waiver

For international students (all non-EU students) entering in 2017/18, the 2017/18 tuition fee rate will apply to all years of study; however, most international students will be eligible for a fee waiver in their final year via the International Undergraduate Scholarship.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU £1,820
All Students
RUK £9,250
Students Admitted in 2018/19 Academic Year
International Students £18,400
Students Admitted in 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.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Careers

Oil and Gas chemists start their careers in graduate positions working for either oil and gas companies or consultancies. You may advance your career due to the research element of your programme which means you are in a position to consult and innovate within the industry at top level. Your career options may also extend to renewables and process industries.

Career Opportunities

  • Graduate Chemist
  • Graduate Project Manager

Our Experts

Head of Department
Professor Marcel Jaspars

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". 

Features

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Chemistry Student Society

Chemistry Student Society

Student-led social and employability events and seminars.

Find out more
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SPE Student Chapter

SPE Student Chapter

Society of Petroleum Engineers, Student Chapter is one of the 230 student chapters around the world. Currently, our chapter is managed by 6 elected committee members and is advised by Dr. Akisanya. We have more than 150 members.

Find out more

Unistats

Unistats draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. You can compare these and other data for different degree programmes in which you are interested.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

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