Join a process plant operations course you can study flexibly online.

Learn to enhance safety and operability in process plants.

In this Master’s-level online short course, you’ll study how large process systems behave, and how they are operated and controlled.

This course focuses on process operability, safety, and stability, and you’ll learn about:

  • controlled processes
  • techniques and criteria, including root-locus analysis, that are used to study the stability of a variety of controlled systems
  • the interface of automatic process control and process safety
  • advanced control strategies like feedforward, cascade, selective, split-range and ratio control
  • safety issues encountered in transient operations and techniques used to address them.

You’ll look at specific cases across the safety hierarchy, including: basic and advanced process control, alarm systems, emergency shutdown and interlocks.

Build credits towards an accredited Masters degree

This online course is part of the IChemE-accredited:

You can use the credits you earn on this short course towards this MSc qualification.

What you’ll study

In this course, you’ll cover the following topics.

  • Stability analysis of transient systems
  • Root locus analysis
  • Advanced control systems
  • Distributed control systems
  • Alarm systems and procedures
  • Emergency shutdown and interlock systems

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to...

  • Understand process safety challenges in transient operation.
  • Discuss the interface of process safety and automatic process control.
  • Discuss the design and operation of plants in the context of process safety.
  • Prepare operating procedures for the start-up of process systems.
  • Analyse advanced control systems and conduct the relevant programming of DSC systems.
  • Undertake analysis of alarms and emergency shutdown/interlock systems.
  • Communicate engineering calculations effectively.
  • Use computer methods to check and verify analysis and design procedures.

Why choose the University of Aberdeen for process plant operations courses?

Earn as you learn

We fit around full-time work, so you can earn qualifications while you keep earning a salary.

You’re in expert hands

We’ve been training world-class engineers for decades and delivering online learning for over 20 years.

20% alumni discount

University of Aberdeen alumni get 20% off this online course.

How you’ll study

Online learning

This distance-learning process plant operations course is delivered flexibly online.

You can learn anywhere, with no need for a study visa, and manage your hours to suit you.

Your teaching

This course is taught at Masters level.

Teaching is delivered through MyAberdeen, our online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It holds all the materials, tools and support you’ll need in your studies. Take a look around MyAberdeen.

You can access your learning materials on computer, smartphone and laptop, 24 hours a day. You’ll find a range of resources at your fingertips, including:

  • video lectures
  • online tutorials
  • slide shows
  • reading materials
  • the online resources of our award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library.

Your tutors

You’ll learn from a team of academics from our School of Engineering.

This course is assessed entirely online.

You’ll be assessed via:

  • a timed online test on stability analysis (25%)
  • your coursework on advanced control systems and safety hierarchy (75%).

The course totals approximately 150 hours of study and assessment time. That’s around 10 – 15 hours per week.

This is an indicative guide to the time required for a typical student at this level to achieve the learning outcomes.

You can largely set your own study hours each week to cover the materials. MyAberdeen is available 24/7, so you can log in and study when it suits you.

Activities with deadlines

There will be some activities scheduled for fixed times, such as assessments with deadlines or meetings with your tutor. But otherwise, you can access and work through the course at your convenience.

Our first-class support structure will ensure that you aren’t alone in your studies. You’ll have contact with your coordinator via email, MyAberdeen and Microsoft Teams. You can use social media and discussion boards to chat with your fellow students too.

We provide a wide range of services to support you in your studies and beyond:

Wherever you are in the world, you’ll feel part of our very special Aberdeen learning community.

Your course coordinator

Dr Panagiotis Kechagiopoulos

Panagiotis is a Reader in Chemical Engineering at the University of Aberdeen. His research interests lie in the optimisation of chemical engineering processes for the efficient utilisation of energy sources.

View Panagiotis’ profile

Where this will take you

Towards a Masters

You’ll earn 15 credits at Masters level (SCQF Level 11) with this course. You can use these credits towards our:

Accredited Masters in Process Safety

Become a qualified process safety engineer, ready to work in any chemical processing sector. Join an IChemE-accredited online degree you can fit around full-time work.

View MSc Process Safety

Careers

This course will help you find employment opportunities in research and development, as well as in industrial fields including:

  • oil and gas processing
  • petrochemicals
  • fine chemicals and beverages
  • clean energy
  • environmental waste management
  • materials
  • agrochemicals
  • process safety
  • consultancy, and
  • many technical areas.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Your employer or professional institute may recognise this course for CPD hours. Talk to your employer or institute to find out more.

Free career support

Access our free careers service while you study.

  • 1:1 appointments
  • CV checks
  • Interview prep
  • Job opportunities

See how our careers service can help you.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

We welcome students from all over the world.

This course has no formal entry requirements. You do not need to provide proof of your qualifications.

But you do need to check the entry guidance above to understand the level of teaching delivered, to decide if this course is right for you.

If you do not have qualifications from the UK, check the equivalent teaching level for your country.

Visa requirements

You do not need a visa to study online with us.

English language requirements

Teaching is delivered in English.

You do not have to provide proof of your English language skills to join this course. But we want to make sure that you can use English well enough to study successfully.

Recommended level of English

For this course, we recommend the following level of English language proficiency.

These are our Postgraduate Standard requirements, and these are minimum scores.

IELTS Academic and IELTS Online (not IELTS Indicator or IELTS General Training)

  • 6.5 overall
  • 5.5 for listening, reading and speaking
  • 6.0 for writing

TOEFL iBT and TOEFL iBT Home Edition

  • 90 overall
  • 17 for listening
  • 18 for reading
  • 20 for speaking
  • 21 for writing
  • TOEFL DI code is 0818

Cambridge English: B2 First, C1 Advanced, or C2 Proficiency

  • 176 overall
  • 162 for listening, reading and speaking
  • 169 for writing

LanguageCert International ESOL B2 Communicator (Written and Spoken)

  • Overall High Pass
  • 33 for listening, reading and speaking
  • 38 for writing

PTE Academic (online test not accepted)

  • 62 overall
  • 59 for listening, reading, speaking and writing

For full information about language requirements, see our English Language Requirements page.

You will need access to:

A computer (PC, laptop or Mac) operating on either:

  • Windows 10 or later
  • macOS 10.15 (Catalina) or later.

Most teaching materials are smartphone- and tablet-friendly. But we recommend a proper laptop or desktop for completing assignments comfortably.

Reliable internet access

We recommend:

  • a wired connection
  • a minimum download speed of 2 Mbps so you can take part fully in live sessions.

Speakers or headphones

  • We recommend a headset with built-in microphone and earphones if you’re likely to study in an environment with background noise.
  • A webcam is optional, but you may like to use one for some interactive sessions.

Software

We’ll give you access to Office365 applications. This means you can use online versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint and install these programs on up to five personal devices.

If your course requires specialist software, we’ll provide you with access to this and a licence that lasts throughout your studies.

See our detailed IT requirements for more information.

When you study with us, you can expect a first-class support structure so that you’re never alone in your studies.

But learning online does mean you have to motivate yourself and manage your own time.

Your most important commitment to your course will be time – the time to work through, reflect on and understand your teaching materials.

Before you start a course that involves a high degree of independent study, we recommend looking at the time you will be able to devote to your course each week:

  • Be realistic
  • Create a weekly schedule as a guide

If you have any questions about studying online, get in touch with our friendly team. We’re here to help.

Fee payment

Your course fee needs to be paid in full before you start your course.

We accept payment via Visa Debit, Visa Credit and Mastercard.

Ways to save

You may be able to get help funding this course via:

  • discounts – if any discounts are available for this course, they’ll appear in the section below
  • employer sponsorship – we accept full and partial fee payments from sponsors.

Find out more about funding options.

Student card

All our students are entitled to a University of Aberdeen student card. This gives you access to a range of student discounts around the city and online.

Learning resources

Access to all the books and resources you need are included in your tuition fee. They’ll be made available to you online and you do not have to buy your own copies.

Printing

You may wish to set aside a small budget for printing, depending on how you like to work.

This course has no formal entry requirements. You decide if it’s suitable for you.

This course is delivered at Masters level. To study this course successfully, you should:

  • hold a minimum 2:2 UK honours degree (or equivalent), and
  • have successfully completed an undergraduate course in process control.

Apply for this course

Start date
27 January 2025
Cost
£1,290
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