Fastest Growing Resource for Fresher Career development
Heriot-Watt University

Post Graduate Institute of Petroleum Engineering
Heriot-Watt University

About the courses

The MSc in Petroleum Engineering MSc[PE] is an intensive programme of lectures and project work, encompassing a wide range of petroleum engineering and geoscience fundamentals pertinent to the modern petroleum industry. Project work provides an opportunity for ideas and methods, assimilated through lectures and tutorials, to be applied to real field evaluation and development design problems. The courses are applied in nature and have been designed so that a graduate is technically well prepared for, and has a sound knowledge of, the industry into which he or she will be recruited.

The MSc in Reservoir Evaluation and Management aims to combine the engineering aspects of reservoir engineering with sound geosciences principles to enable a thorough understanding to the production processes of a reservoir. In a similar manner to the PE course, there is an extensive group project and an individual project.

The MSc in Geosciences of Subsurface Exploration Appraisal and Development (GeoSEAD) is a new course designed to examine the exploration aspects of petroleum engineering. It brings together an appreciation of petroleum engineering with the geological, geochemical and geophysical aspects of basin formation and hydrocarbon accumulation.

Career Opportunities
The courses provide specialist education tailored to the requirements of the upstream petroleum industry. The relevance of this education combined with careful selection of candidates has encouraged oil and oilfield service companies to target Heriot-Watt for recruitment of graduates over the years. The petroleum industry is subject to dramatic changes of fortune over time, with the oil price capable of very rapid rates of change in either direction. Petroleum, however, remains the dominant source of energy, with current world production of oil and gas at record rates. In a low price environment, companies face increasing technological and commercial challenges to keep their wells flowing and are increasingly dependent on input from petroleum engineers and geoscientists. It is widely recognised that a steady influx of fresh people and ideas is vital for longer term success and stability of an organisation, and it is therefore expected that recruitment will continue, especially for those with motivation and the appropriate qualifications.

PE Lecture Programme
- Drilling Engineering
- Petroleum Geoscience
- Production Technology
- Project Economics
- Formation Evaluation
- Reservoir Engineering
- Reservoir Simulation

Group Design Project
Groups of about 8 students are provided with real data from a field, similar to that which would be available to an Operator prior to a development decision. Analysis of this data results in an assessment of the reservoir and leads to the design of an appropriate production system. Through this exercise, students gain valuable insight into the use of imperfect and incomplete data, to the integration of the various taught components of the course and to problems of group interaction. It is also an opportunity to teach a range of transferable skills such as teamwork, presentation and negotiation.

During the project students have access to state-of-the-art computer technology and industry standard software. Assessment is by means of a written report and by group presentation. The development plan is presented to a group consisting of examiners, industrial experts, and government representatives.

Individual Dissertation
Students are required to carry out a detailed investigation of some topic related to petroleum geosciences or engineering. Projects are offered both by Petroleum Engineering and by the industry, and normally include a wide choice of experimental research, computer modeling and real oilfield problems. Assessment is by means of both thesis and oral presentation.

About the Department and University


Petroleum engineering concerns the exploitation of subsurface oil and gas resources. We are committed to the development and delivery of training and research programmes relevant to the needs of the international petroleum industry. Education and training are provided through taught Masters degree courses and through supervised research for the degrees of MPhil and PhD. Research activity was awarded the highest (5*) Grade in the most recent government Research Assessment Exercise confirming 10 years of internationally rated research performance. We have also been given an 'exemplary' rating by the QAA for our teaching. In 2002, the University conferred Postgraduate Institute status on the former Department of Petroleum Engineering, reflecting our post-graduate and research activities, and our international reputation.

With the growth and wide recognition of our teaching and research activity, we have attracted a high calibre of staff, both in academic and research functions. The diverse academic disciplines of the staff of the Institute enable both research and training to be pursued in a multi-skill environment which is essential to the oil and gas industry.

Staffing and Facilities
As an indication of the size of the Institute, the following is a list of the various categories of staff and students attached to Petroleum Engineering:
Senior Staff 22
Research Staff 30
Technical & Administrative Staff 40
Postgraduate Research Students 40
Postgraduate Course Students 100

In 1977, we moved into 1,200m2 of purpose built accommodation funded by the Department of Energy, and in 1986 expanded into additional space sponsored by Conoco and the UGC. With the opening of the Enterprise Oil Building in mid-1993 and the Tom Patten Building in 1999, total space available exceeds 5,000m2.

Modern, well equipped laboratories cover many aspects of petroleum engineering, including:
- Production Chemistry and Formation Damage
- PVT (fluid properties and phase behaviour)
- Reservoir Conditions Fluid Flow
- Reservoir Geoscience and Petrophysics
- Rock Mechanics
- Magnetics
- Flow Assurance
- Hydrates, Wax and Asphaltene

These labs are supported by state-of-the-art analytical equipment, eg our Environmental SEM.

Several projects make use of the latest PVT equipment and reservoir condition core flooding rigs. Pore scale research benefits from access to an environmental scanning electron microscope which allows observation of untreated and 'wet' specimens. Some pieces of apparatus are unique, including high pressure micro-model visualisation facilities and true tri-axial rock mechanics cells.

Computers play an important role both in research and teaching. Workstations, with ever increasing performance, are ideal for geostatistical modelling, reservoir simulation and other complex problems, while personal computers are widely available for running standard technical, mathematical and presentational software. In addition to an extensive network of Unix workstations and personal computers, staff and students have access to two computer nodes with parallel processing and powerful graphics capability. Industry standard software is readily available to enable teachers, researchers and students to tackle the complex science and engineering problems associated with the exploitation of petroleum resources. This includes significant suites of software by Fairfield, Schlumberger, Geoquest, Landmark and Edinburgh Petroleum Services, plus ANSYS, Crystal Ball, Geolog, GMA, IRAP/RMS, Petrel, Que$tor, SAVFEM, STARS, IMEX, ICOS, Terrastation and others. Some of these packages have been enhanced as a result of research conducted in petroleum engineering.

The Institution

The University is a research-led technological university providing high quality education and training for modern professional employment; meeting the needs and aspirations of students and helping them realise their potential. It aims to deliver world-class innovative research relevant to the needs of business and industry and by exploiting knowledge transfer gain commercial opportunities for economic and social benefit.

Address Information:

Address Post Graduate Institute of Petroleum Engineering
Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
Tel. No. +44 (0) 131 451 3567
Fax No. +44 (0) 131 451 3127
E-mail address
Course MSc in Petroleum Engineering
MSc in Reservoir Evaluation and Management
MSc in Geoscience of Subsurface Exploration Appraisal and Development (GeoSEAD)
Type of course Full-time taught masters course
(MSc in Petroleum Engineering also available via Distance Learning Study)
Length of course 12 months
Date of commencement Starts October each year; deadline for applications May each year
Class size Varies for each course
Accommodation Available if student accepts offer before end of August.
Fees Overseas 15,600 GBP
Home & EU 3,640 GBP
Student grants/
Financial Assistance
Sponsorship Event held each year in June open to Home&EU Students. NERC grant available for MSc Reservoir Evaluation and Management Students
Admission requirements Good Honours Degree from UK University (or equivalent)
TOEFL: 577 (233 computer equivalent)
IELTS: 6.5 or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency Grade C
Student Profile 1. Countries of origin (number): 15
2. Ratio Men/Women: 5/1
3. Age Range: 21 to 35
4. Average Age: 27
5. Average Work Experience – less than 1 year
Course Director MSc Petroleum Engineering: Dr JM Somerville
MSc Reservoir Evaluation & Management: Dr A Gardiner
MSc Geoscience of Subsurface Exploration Appraisal andDevelopment: Prof PWM Corbett/Dr Helen Lewis
Contact person Anne Mathers – Postgraduate Student Administrator

Please Click Here to Go Back