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
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.
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.
You’ll learn from a team of academics from our School of Engineering.
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:
- Careers and Employability Service
- Disability support
- IT support
- Library support
- Student Support Service – help with finances, stress, wellbeing and non-academic issues
- Student Learning Service – study support, with advice sessions available via phone or Skype
- Aberdeen University Students’ Association (AUSA) – run by students for students
- Toolkit – clever apps and free training that can make your study life easier
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
This course will help you find employment opportunities in research and development, as well as in industrial fields including:
- oil and gas processing
- fine chemicals and beverages
- clean energy
- environmental waste management
- 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.
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.
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
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.