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The subsea control system is the nerve centre of the entire subsea factory.

Gain a thorough awareness of how this system and its components operate, including the complex technology and risk and safety factors involved.

This online short course is part of our MSc in Subsea Engineering. It guides you through the requirements for, and design of, subsea electrical, electro-hydraulic, hydraulic and programmable control systems.

Whatever your engineering background, this course will help you specialise within or move into a career in the subsea industry.

Gain highly sought-after expertise with a leading energy university and direct industry input from global subsea companies operating in the North Sea and beyond.

What will I study?

It’s an area often dubbed a ‘magic art’, highly technical and understood by few. Break this mystery down and gain an essential introduction and foundation in the building blocks of subsea control.

Subsea control engineers need to be comfortable with a multitude of engineering concepts at the basic level. So you’ll cover concepts in:

  • mechanical engineering
  • electrical engineering
  • chemical engineering
  • environmental engineering
  • civil and structural engineering
  • hydraulics and other areas.

You’ll examine all aspects of subsea control technology, including electrical power. You’ll get to grips with subsea equipment, both topside and subsea. Your lectures will also cover:

  • control fluids
  • umbilical and control lines
  • valves
  • sensors
  • sizing of hydraulics
  • communications
  • transmission through fibre optic cables.

You’ll study subsea standards and guidelines, with essential training in risk and safety.

You’ll also look ahead to future technologies, and tackle issues and challenges like obsolescence.

By the end of this course, you will…

  • Be familiar with the components and uses of a wide variety of subsea control systems.
  • Know the requirements for, and design implications of, umbilicals and control lines (power and telemetry).
  • Be able to model subsea power requirements.
  • Have a detailed understanding of the requirements and objectives of pre-commissioning, both at the factory and in situ.
  • Be familiar with the standards involved in the design of equipment.
  • Understand the design, control and application of manual and automatic shut-down valves, and emergency-response systems.
  • Be introduced to design of redundancy and the role of spare capacity.
  • Understand obsolescence management in subsea control systems.

How will I study?

This course is delivered online, with one final exam that you must sit in person. You can study with us anywhere in the world and manage your study hours to suit you. We’ll help you locate an exam centre in your area for your final exam.

Part of our Masters in Subsea Engineering, this course is taught at Masters level. You’ll learn from tutors with experience at high levels of industry and major companies operating in the subsea and offshore sector.

You’ll also benefit from an Industry Advisory Board. It constantly reviews course content to ensure you’re gaining the latest knowledge and are up to speed with emerging trends, technologies and career opportunities.

Training is delivered through MyAberdeen, our online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Also available as an app, you can access your learning materials on computer, smartphone and mobile device 24/7.

Your course features a range of resources, including:

  • online lectures and tutorials
  • reading materials
  • discussion boards with your colleagues and tutors
  • the online resources of our award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library.

Where will this take me?

Subsea Control is one of a suite of Engineering short courses that we offer online. These can be used to build up credits towards higher qualifications.

Find out more about credits.


As a graduate from any engineering background, including electrical, civil, naval and mechanical, this course will prepare you for a specialist career within the subsea sector.

There’s benefit for those working in non-control areas of subsea too, such as umbilical engineering. You’ll gain an in-depth understanding of the interface between subsea control systems and your own professional area.

Your employer or professional institute may recognise this course for Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Talk to your employer or institute to find out more.

Further learning

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

MSc in Subsea Engineering

  • Accredited by The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMarEST), the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and the Energy Institute.
  • Prepares you to make an immediate impact in your chosen career in the subsea industry.
  • Available to study on campus or online, so you can study at your own pace, at any location.

See our full range of postgraduate Engineering degrees.

Am I ready?

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

The course is delivered at Masters level. At this level, you’d usually have at least:

  • a 2:1 (upper-second-class) honours degree in Engineering, Applied Mathematics or Physics
  • or three years’ relevant experience that supports this level of training.

Apply for this course

Start date
28 September 2020