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MSc, PGDip, PGCert Offshore Energy Transition (Online learning modular study)

Key facts

  • Start date: September or January
  • Study mode and duration: Fully online and part-time, 18-60 months of study with average duration of 36 months

Study with us

  • designed for those who are working full-time in industry and are seeking further training for new job opportunities and enhanced career trajectory in the offshore renewable energy sector.
  • gain skills in engineering problem-solving, energy transition and renewable energy technologies.
  • become equipped with the necessary training to work as a future leader in offshore energy transition.
  • flexible learning via stand-alone modules for CPD purposes
  • can be transferred towards a PG Certificate, PG Diploma or MSc award (subject to regulations)
  • extensive selection of single 10-credit modules from our MSc programmes class range
  • develop an in-depth technical understanding of energy transition both from technical and economic points of view.
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Why this course

With the increasing demand for energy transition solutions around the world, there is an urgent need to train a sufficient number of experts with the required skillsets to take up the relevant technical and managerial positions in industry.

This course has been designed in response to this essential need and facilitates career change for those who have previously worked in relevant industrial sectors and are keen to take part in the emerging renewable energy industry.

What you'll study

The students will study eight technical modules which will develop a fundamental understanding of the offshore energy transition key concepts, needs and solutions. The candidates can select their 8 modules, from a wide range of module choices, based on their strengths, interests and the technical area that they would like to specialise in.

After completing the modules, the students will work on a literature review-based individual thesis project followed by a case-oriented dissertation project to design an energy transition roadmap for their current company or a nominated company from the list of suggestions provided by the course leader.

Offshore windfarm in the distance with sand dunes in the foreground.

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner


During this course, you'll have access to a wide range of computer software packages which would be required to make informed engineering decisions for various aspects of energy transition. You'll also work with leading academics in the offshore energy sector who have strong track records in the development of clean energy solutions for various industries.

Our facilities

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Course content

You'll take 180 credits made up of 120 credits of taught modules and 60 credits individual project. The part-time MSc course spans 36 months (typically) as follows:

  • Year 1 - 60 credits of taught classes
  • Year 2 - 60 credits of taught classes
  • Year 3 - 60 credits dissertation

Energy Transition Barriers & Readiness

This module aims to:

  • cover implications related to global warming and climate change risks as industries transition to net zero futures
  • cover set targets at the UK, EU and non-EU contexts with a view to distinguish opportunities and new business models
  • provide students with the fundamentals for decision-making under uncertainty

This module covers:

  • energy and climate change economics, and the business landscape
  • energy balance sheet towards net-zero
  • risks, uncertainties, barriers and opportunities in a changing landscape
  • energy and environmental law and policy
  • gap analysis, leadership and change management
  • technology and innovation
  • net-zero business strategies for resilient organisations
  • case studies of successful business models

On completion of the module, you’re expected to:

  • appreciate the impact of climate change to traditional businesses within the UK, EU and non-EU context and evaluate the requirements and influencing factors towards net-zero strategies
  • analyse the technological and operational uncertainties and incorporate them into a risk analysis
  • identify and manage risks and opportunities to an organisation's internal and external context and appraise the impact of policies and regulations to inform future strategies
  • identify gaps within the organisation and understand the role of technology and innovation to the development and implementation of net-zero strategies

Techno-Economics of Energy Systems and Integration

This module aims to:

  • introduce fundamentals of techno-economic assessment of energy systems and key aspects of their integration in future energy systems.
  • provide students with myriads of ways in which energy can be produced, stored, distributed for national, regional, local and individual consumption
  • emphasise on wind energy systems and thermo-chemical conversion technologies, and their integration into national grid and district heat networks

This module covers:

  • energy conversion technologies and their key performance indicators
  • economics and policy of energy systems
  • links between energy systems, environmental systems and the economy
  • life cycle cost modelling of renewable energy technologies (DEVEX, CAPEX, OPEX)
  • energy system definition based on different policy scenarios (tools, scenarios and criteria)
  • optimisation of energy systems at different scales
  • net-zero energy systems (CCUS, Hydrogen, Storage, Power to X)
  • case studies (Wind Energy Systems to Power Grid; Biomass for District Heating)

On completion of the module, you’re expected to:

  • understand the main stages of a renewable energy project’s lifecycle and explain the role of emerging technologies in the development of future net zero energy systems
  • explore the links between energy systems, environmental systems and the economy
  • identify key performance and cost indicators for renewable energy systems
  • discuss variety of economic and policy scenarios, formulate optimisation problems and analyse objective functions and constraints in energy systems modelling, assessment and optimisation

Environmental Impact Assessment

Environmental impact assessment (EIA) relates to the process of identifying, evaluating, and mitigating the biophysical, social, economic, cultural and other relevant effects of development proposals prior to major decisions being taken and commitments made. This class, run by the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering but open to all MSc and MEng students across the University, introduces the methods used to predict environmental impacts, and evaluates how these may be used to integrate environmental factors into decisions.

The class draws principally on the UK planning context of environmental impact assessment of individual projects (project EIA), but also takes account of EIA experience in other countries and international organisations. Participants evaluate the quality of Environmental Statements (or EIA Reports) and of the EIA process using the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) methodology.

The class discusses how EIA can be used a pro-active design tool for projects and how it can contribute to the enhancement of environmental, social and health issues. Students are also introduced to key principles of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and biodiversity net gain (BNG). Class has the contribution of key practitioners in the field and includes different case studies, such as proposed onshore and offshore windfarms.

Health & Safety for Offshore Energy Systems

This module aims to demonstrate how health and safety-related risks are identified and managed in offshore energy systems.

Numerous principles and methods will be introduced to aid effective safety management. Managing health and safety-related risks require learning from safety events (i.e. incidents and accidents) and considering human and organisation as a whole to manage and change organisational safety culture. The module will provide fundamental knowledge in the key areas of safety in offshore energy systems and will provide tools and techniques to enable professionals involved in offshore energy systems to manage and implement operations in a safe manner. Module will also cover safety assessments and support decision-making in safety-related considerations.

This module covers:

  • safety, risk and risk analysis; key terminology
  • accident Investigation: Procedure, taxonomies, human error and causal factors
  • lessons learnt from past experience
  • human capabilities and limitations
  • safety assessment and key components
  • decision support and cost-benefit analysis
  • organisational factors and safety culture

On completion of the module, you’re expected to:

  • understand the concepts and importance of safety, risk and of all requisite fundamentals enabling quantification of risk
  • developing frameworks (including methods and tools) for collation and application of effective learnings from safety events, accidents and near misses
  • understand human factors in safety critical operations and implement tools and techniques to enable integration of human factors in maritime.
  • be able to appreciate components of a safety assessment and apply it for indicative problems of offshore operations

Risk Management & Technology Qualification

This module aims to:

  • provide students with an understanding of risks involved in the design and operation of marine structures subjected to various deterioration mechanisms (fatigue, fracture, ultimate strength, etc.)
  • present and apply the analytical and numerical methods to assess the reliability of structural systems
  • present and apply the appropriate methods for risk-based asset management for marine structures

This module covers:

  • introduction to risk, reliability, and structural safety
  • fundamentals of uncertainty modelling and reliability analysis
  • structural Reliability Methods
  • reliability updating based on Bayes’ theorem
  • risk-based inspection and maintenance planning

On completion of the module, you’re expected to:

  • identify the sources of uncertainties and quantify the uncertainties within the context of risk and reliability analysis.
  • formulate appropriate limit states for reliability analysis subjected to relevant deterioration mechanisms.
  • apply the structural reliability methods to analyse the effect of uncertainties on the performance of structural systems.
  • perform a risk assessment considering reliability and consequence and develop effective risk management strategies.

Materials & Structures in Marine Environment

This module aims to:

  • develop an understanding of the material degradation and structural failure mechanisms in marine environment
  • provide an understanding of pertinent issues concerning the use of engineering materials and practical tools for solving structural integrity and structural fitness-for-service problems
  • presenting the theoretical and applied methods for design and life assessment of offshore structures

This module covers:

  • structural design considerations for marine applications
  • material degradation and damage evolution in marine environment
  • fatigue crack initiation and growth analysis
  • regulatory requirements and life assessment procedures
  • fabrication effects on design and integrity of offshore structures
  • environmental damage effects on design and life assessment
  • linear-elastic and elastic-plastic fracture mechanics theories and applications
  • fracture and failure analysis
  • defect assessment in offshore structures

On completion of the module, you’re expected to:

  • gain a systematic understanding of material selection and design requirements for offshore applications
  • demonstrate an in-depth awareness of the design and life assessment procedures for structures operating in marine environment
  • develop a critical and analytical approach towards the engineering aspects of structural design and asset integrity management
  • be able to confidently assess the applicability of the tools of structural integrity to new problems and apply them appropriately

Offshore Wind Turbines Dynamics I: Environment Modelling & Wave Loading

This module aims to:

provide the student with the knowledge necessary to model and analyse:

  • the marine environment (wind, waves, currents, soil) characteristics
  • the wave loading characteristics

This module covers:

  • marine environment modelling
    • wind (turbulence, wind shear, wind spectrum)
    • waves (Regular, Irregular, short- and long-term predictions)
    • marine currents (intro)
  • hydrodynamic loads on the substructure
    • wave loading regime: Diffraction parameter and Keulegan-Carpenter number
    • loads on large volume bodies: potential approach (radiation and diffraction)
    • loads on small volume bodies: Morison Equation

On completion of the module, you’re expected to:

  • propose the most suitable analytical and numerical approach to model the relevant aspects of the marine environment conditions: wind, waves, marine currents – normal conditions
  • propose the most suitable analytical and numerical approach to model the relevant aspects of the marine environment conditions: wind, waves, marine currents – extreme conditions
  • evaluate how to model the wave loads acting on the substructure and foundation of an offshore wind turbine

Offshore Wind Tubines II: Aero-Hydro-Servo-Elastic Coupled Dynamics with OpenFast

This module aims to:

provide the student with the knowledge necessary to model and analyse:

  • the marine environment (wind, waves, currents, soil) characteristics
  • the wave loading characteristics

This module covers:

  • hydrodynamic loads on the substructure: Hydrostatics
  • equations of motion: frequency approach
  • environmental loads in the time domain:
    • Wind loading on fixed bodies and on rotor (Actuator Disk theory, Blade Element-Momentum theory, correction factors to the theory)
    • Hydrodynamics loads in time domain: Cummins equation
    • Mooring system dynamics
    • Soil dynamics
    • Intro to control strategy and structural dynamics (modal approach, blades and tower)
  • offshore wind turbine aero-hydro-servo-elastic analysis in the time domain:
    • state of the art
    • time domain analyses: static equilibrium, free decay, wave only (regular/irregular), wind and wave
    • postprocessing: basic statistics, FFT, RAO

On completion of the module, you’re expected to:

  • perform a preliminary assessment of the dynamic response of the platform in the frequency domain
  • select how to model the dynamic response of the offshore system, in the time domain
  • set up and run a numerical aero-hydro-servo-elastic coupled dynamics analysis of an offshore wind turbine, critically reviewing the results

Data Analytics & AI for Energy Systems

A strong part of the business case for smart grids is using intelligence and automation to gain more capacity from existing assets to avoid large expenditure on further assets. Also, autonomy and intelligence is key to the flexible operation of smart girds, integration of low carbon generation and effective interaction with consumers.

This module teaches the key AI and data science methods that are applicable to smart grids, and provides case studies of their application. We are moving to a future where much more can and will be monitored and new techniques, leveraging data analytics, are needed to fully exploit the data. Areas covered will be machine learning, knowledge based methods, distributed intelligence methods and architectures, applications in asset management, applications in network management and control.

Marine Pipelines

This module aims to provide you with an in-depth insight into marine pipelines, emphasising the overall design process, pipeline hydraulics analysis, installation methods, environmental loading and stability, materials selection, and corrosion prevention.

This module covers:

  • design overview and process; Diameter and wall thickness; Installation methods; Operation and integrity management; Environmental conditions; Dynamic loading; Lateral stability; Scour; Free span; Trenching
  • internal fluids; Single and two-phase flows; Pressure and thermal profiles; Wax; Hydrate; Thermal insulation; Flow assurance; Drag reduction
  • materials and corrosion; Pipeline material; Steelmaking; Manufacture of linepipe for onshore and offshore applications; Internal corrosion; Corrosion detection and control; External corrosion and mitigation

On completion of the module, you're expected to:

  • have an overview of marine pipelines with regard to their design, installation, operation, and maintenance
  • gain an understanding of some fundamentals of marine pipeline design and analysis
  • apply analysis tools for pipeline hydraulics, multi-phase flows and thermal protection
  • identify the differences between pipe grades and pipe manufacturing methods
  • identify risk areas for internal and external corrosion in marine pipelines and describe the methods for corrosion inspection and control and select appropriate mitigation methods

Assessment will be in the form of coursework.

Finite Element Analysis of Floating Structures

This module aims to provide you with a theoretical and practical knowledge of the finite element method and the skills required to analyse marine structures with ANSYS graphical user interface (GUI).

This module covers:

  • introduction to finite element analysis and ANSYS GUI
  • truss elements and applications
  • solid elements and applications
  • beam elements and applications
  • plane stress, plane strain and axisymmetry concepts
  • plane elements and applications
  • plate & shell elements and applications
  • assembly process and constructing of the global stiffness matrix

At the end of this module you'll be able to:

  • understand the basics of finite element analysis
  • understand how to perform finite element analysis by using a commercial finite element software
  • understand specifying necessary input parameters for the analysis
  • understand how to visualize and evaluate the results

There is one exam and one coursework assignment. The exam is during the exam period of the first semester. Exam has a weight of 70% and coursework assignment has a weight of 30%.

Energy Economics

In this class you'll explore key economic issues at the heart of topical energy questions – building on the University’s outstanding reputation as a centre of excellence in energy technology and policy.

The class covers the objectives of energy policy; private and social perspectives on energy supply and demand; the special case of regulation of energy markets; the use of economic models in energy analysis; the economics of oil and gas activity and links between energy use and the energy sector and an economy.

10 credits

Individual Thesis Project

This module aims to give students a good understanding of all aspects of research work.

In addition, the technological study must be accompanied by survey of the relevance and applicability of the findings to the energy transition at large. Students will learn efficient ways to gather information and distribute workload, to efficiently analyse their results and to appreciate the broader implications of the whole project. In-depth technological studies will be accompanied by increasingly important competence in managerial skills, quality assurance and a sound appreciation of the technological, economic, political, social and environmental issues crucial to professional success.

This module covers:

  • a detailed structure for the class is outlined in the Project Brief presented to the students. This includes details of key milestones and assessment criteria
  • the Project Brief is reviewed regularly to reflect changing technical and economic opportunities in the fields of activity embraced by the Department’s MSc courses

On completion of the module, you’re expected to:

  • developing a broad and critical review of prospects for techno-economic growth in energy transition activities in a particular context/area
  • proposing and evaluating specific design-related activities with a view to proposing a future research and/or development project in, for example, key areas such as green hydrogen; novel fuel transportation technologies; energy transportation infrastructure
  • being able to present a research/development proposal to an expert panel and defend the recommendations

Individual Dissertation Project

The aim of the individual project is to develop the student’s project development skills and to combine many of the aspects learned during other modules within a specific topic and a coherent body of work. This will be achieved through students carrying out work into a particular topic relating to their theme and preparing a dissertation.

The individual project is a major exercise undertaken throughout the period of study.

The student will investigate a relevant and agreed topic, adhering to a defined schedule, with the findings being documented in a dissertation.

Project topics are selected from a supplied list or may be proposed by the student.

Projects may be undertaken in any department with approval, or wholly in industry, in which circumstances a co-supervisor may by appointed.

Based on the work of a project, a student will submit an individual dissertation which forms the main basis for assessment.

The project report will be submitted in late August.

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Start date: Jan 2024

Offshore Energy Transition (Online learning modular study)

Start date: Jan 2024

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