MSc/PgDip/PgCert Advanced Chemical & Process Engineering (distance learning)

Key facts

  • Start date: September
  • Accreditation: Institute of Chemical Engineers
  • Study mode and duration: Part-time distance learning -
    MSc: 36 months; PgDip: 24 months; PgCert: 12 months
  • The Independent Complete University Guide 2022: 5th in UK for Chemical Engineering

  • The Times/ Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022: 4th in UK for Chemical Engineering

Study with us

  • a project and work-based approach is supported by online tutorials in which students and tutors can participate
  • opportunity to choose classes to meet your own learning objectives
  • for those working in chemical and process engineering roles

How could the Covid-19 pandemic affect my studies?

Covid-19: information & FAQs
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Why this course?

The course is accredited by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) – the global professional membership organisation for chemical engineering professionals.

The degree is designed to meet the needs of students who are in existing employment as chemical and process engineers and who are seeking an advanced degree in this field. The degree is designed to develop advanced skills and knowledge in the areas of chemical engineering, and chemical and process technology.

It may also be suitable for graduates of related science and engineering disciplines who are working in chemical and process industries, provided that they have enough background in chemical engineering. Graduates of other engineering and science disciplines may also be interested in the MSc Process Technology and Management, which has a chemical engineering conversions semester at the start of the course.

A two-year postgraduate diploma option and one-year postgraduate certificate are also available.

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner
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Course content

The first two years of the course feature core and optional classes, and in your final year, you'll complete a major project in your place of work.

A typical selection of classes offered on the programme is outlined below.

Semester 1

Process Design Principles

The focus of this module is on the principles of conceptual design and flowsheet development, which often represent the most difficult and challenging aspects of process design. The first stage is to define “design” and the associated terminology, and to show how this can be applied to both equipment and process selection. The second stage is to develop an appreciation of the hierarchical and structural methods of developing conceptual designs including the effective design of utility systems to reduce energy use.

The module will teach the following:

  • terminology of design
  • hierarchy of process design: block flow diagrams (BFDs), process flow diagrams (PFDs)
  • input-output structures of flowsheets
  • choice of reactors and separators
  • reaction, separation and recycle systems
  • hot and cold utility systems
  • energy utilisation to minimise utility and overall capital costs
  • retrofit design
  • batch process design
Safety Management Practices

This module provides you with an advanced level exposure to the role of management and management systems in safety and loss prevention.

It will involve in-depth analysis of major incidents in recent history pinpointing:

  • the structure of safety management systems
  • the approach to auditing safety management
  • the role of human factors
  • the process and concept of safe design

This course will also involve developing site emergency plans and accident investigation skills, as well as a review of legal structure for the UK.

Programming & Optimisation

This module aims to provide you with a fundamental understanding of scientific programming. In particular, its application to optimisation in engineering applications.

The module will teach you to:

  • develop algorithms to solve optimisation tasks
  • present working Excel spreadsheets tackling optimisation tasks in a form suitable for other engineers to use

Semester 2

Advanced Process Design

The focus of this module is on the wider implications of process design.

Firstly you’ll explore how batch and semi-batch processes are represented and described. The second stage will look at the broader context or macro level in which process design takes place. The third part of the module focuses on defining chemical product design and showing the similarities and differences between CPD and process design.

Ethics, Sustainability & Environmental Engineering

This module aims to assist students to understand their role in engineering sustainability, environmental aspects and professional ethics and how these may influence their professional practice and will teach the following:

  • ethical dimensions to engineering problem solving; professionalism
  • codes of conduct; and obligations to the public; case studies engineering ethics
  • ethical frameworks; introduction to applied ethics
  • psychological aspects of decision making
  • history & global context of sustainable development
  • environmental engineering in the chemical & process industries
  • environmental legislation relevant to the chemical & process industries
Project Management

This class aims to provide you with skills relating to the use of engineering practices in project management. There's a focus on the effective and efficient use of resources.

This module will teach the following:

  • introduction to project management & various methods & frameworks used in industry
  • overview of the PMBOK framework
  • overview of the PRINCE 2 methodology
  • project scheduling & the use of project management software
  • project management case studies
  • guided in-depth study of an aspect of project management in an area of interest to the student. For example risk, quality, planning etc

Semester 1

Choose three classes from (other optional classes will be available, this is just a selection):

Petroleum Engineering

This module aims to:

  • introduce to the students the concepts of origin and formation of petroleum, types and quality of refinery feedstock and natural gas
  • provide detailed understanding of petroleum production processes from reservoir to export
  • introduce field development planning and economic assessment
  • introduce advanced topics in multiphase flow, flow assurance, and carbon capture and storage
Molecular Simulation in Chemical Engineering

The educational aims of this module are:

  • how chemical engineering processes operate at a molecular scale and how the molecular scale eventually determines what happens at the process scale
  • the usefulness of Molecular Simulation in a chemical engineering context
  • the theoretical framework that underlies molecular simulations, thermodynamics and most of chemeng, namely basic statistical mechanics
  • molecular simulation conventions
  • transferable skills useful for obtaining measurements from simulations, analysing data, and communication of technical data and ideas.
Electrochemical Energy Devices

This module provides an overview of electrochemical energy conversion devices, including batteries, fuel cells and electrolysers for energy storage and generation.

The course will introduce important concepts in electrochemistry as applied to energy devices and will discuss engineering solutions for devices and systems.

Clean Combustion Technologies

This module aims to introduce students to the fundamentals of combustion engineering, and the concepts and applications of clean combustion technologies.

Molecular & Interfacial Science

This module aims to enhance students' knowledge and understanding of surface science and material properties, their underlying molecular origin, and their applications.

Semester 2

Choose 3 classes from a selection of relevant business and management classes, further advanced chemical engineering classes, and classes from related disciplines within the faculty of engineering.

Individual Project

This is the final assessment of the MSc programmes and is only taken by students in their final year of these degrees.

The module extends across the various advanced chemistry and business/management subjects taught during the course. You’ll explore an advanced technical issue and a business case within your industrial workplace.

Top 10 for Chemical Engineering. Complete University Guide 2022.
Top 10 for Chemical Engineering. Complete University Guide 2022.
The Times / The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021. University of the Year shortlisted.
The Times / The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021. University of the Year shortlisted.

Learning & teaching

The course is delivered via our virtual learning environment, Myplace.

Your lecturers will provide support through:

  • online tutorials
  • webinars
  • forums
  • email
  • telephone

Classes are taught by our academic staff, external consultants and industry specialists.

You're welcome to attend full-time lectures and tutorials and use the facilities on campus.


Assessment is through a balanced workload of class-based assessment, individual projects and exams.

Course awards

Our staff have been nominated in the annual University of Strathclyde Teaching Excellence Awards, voted for by Strathclyde’s students. Our staff have also received external awards from organisations such as the IChemE and the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Students from the UK

Although most assessment is online, students from the UK may occasionally be required to attend exams on campus, here in Glasgow. Occasionally, we may make an exception in compelling circumstances. This includes staff working in offshore installations. In these circumstances, a suitable examination arrangement can be agreed with the University.

Students from outside the UK

If you're from outside of the UK, you can take the exam at an approved international centre, should this be required.


You'll be based in the Department of Chemical and Process Engineering. We have state-of-the-art research laboratories that feature a comprehensive suite of experimental facilities including:

  • light scattering
  • spectroscopy
  • adsorption measurements
  • High-pressure viscometry

As a distance learning student, you'll have access to the University library online. You can borrow online books and download academic papers and journals. The library also offers a postal service for distance learning students.

Chat to a student ambassador

If you want to know more about what it’s like to be an Engineering student at the University of Strathclyde, a selection of our current students are here to help!

Our Unibuddy ambassadors can answer all the questions you might have about courses and studying at Strathclyde, along with offering insight into their experiences of life in Glasgow and Scotland.

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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

Normally at least a second-class Honours degree, or overseas equivalent, in chemical engineering or relevant engineering, technology or science discipline. Other qualifications may be considered if they meet the same standard.

Students must currently be working in a relevant role that will allow completion of the work-based project.

If in doubt about the entry requirements, please email us at

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Fees & funding

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Scotland, England, Wales, N. Ireland & International

Per year, as a graduating student undertaking the full degree

Year 1: £4,900 (£820 per 10 credits)

Year 2: £4,900 (£820 per 10 credits)

Year 3: £4,900 (£820 per 10 credits)

Available scholarships

Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.

Additional costs

Course materials

We don't charge students for course notes, all course notes are uploaded to myplace and students have the facility to print if required (costs would be incurred by the student).

Recommended texts are communicated to the library - students may wish to purchase their own copies.

Please note: the fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

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Whether you're planning to progress your career into engineering management, redevelop yourself as an engineer or move into a new industry – a Masters degree will expand your career opportunities. This MSc will also let you validate your skills and competency to employers.

Where are they now?

Job titles include:

  • Operations Director
  • Process Chemist
  • Process Engineer
  • Production Chemist
  • Senior Research Engineer
  • Senior Quality Officer
  • Concept Engineer
  • Engineering Manager

Employers and sponsors include:

  • BOC
  • BP
  • Centrica
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Glenmorangie
  • Johnson Mathey
  • Pfizer
  • Schlumberger
  • Total

International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 100 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.

Visit our international students' section

Map of the world.

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You'll be asked to set up an account with a password, after which you'll automatically be taken to the online application form. Please complete all sections of this, uploading copies of the following supporting documentation. The following items must be provided in order for an assessment of your application to be made:

  • a copy of the academic transcript and degree certificate for College and University qualifications
  • full CV, detailing your employment history, outlining job titles, organisations worked for, and roles and responsibilities undertaken


  • name and email information for two nominated referees
  • copy of your passport including photo page (international students only)

Start date: Sep 2022

Advanced Chemical and Process Engineering

Start date: Sep 2022

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Contact us

Faculty of Engineering

Telephone: +44 (0)141 574 5484