Postgraduate study
This multi-university partnership course will provide you with a solid grounding in efficient fossil energy technologies.
MSc Energy Process Systems Engineering
1 year full-time
Entry requirements
2:1 (or international equivalent)
Other requirements
Applicants with a high 2:2 (or international equivalent) with substantial work experience may also be considered
6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses may be available
Start date
UK/EU fees
£9,450 - Terms apply
International fees
£21,645 - Terms apply
University Park, University of Birmingham, Loughborough University



This MSc course is part of the Midlands Energy Graduate School (MEGS), a partnership between Nottingham, Birmingham and Loughborough universities. Students have the unique opportunity to take modules at each of the partner universities, studying alongside other MEGS students registered at all three universities, thus benefiting from the best research, resources and support across all of the universities.

Modules studied represent the academic specialism offered by each university and the research project, taken at the university where you register, will focus on specific aspects of fossil energy technologies.

This course offers project management as an optional module, led by the University of Birmingham.

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Chemical and Environmental Engineering taught courses


Full course details

Each university specialises in a different area:

  • Birmingham specialises in managing chemical reactions, plant design and carbon capture technologies.
  • Loughborough specialises in materials technologies for power generation and high-temperature applications.
  • Nottingham focuses on combustion technologies, power generation, environmental control and carbon capture.

It is therefore important to select your choice of university carefully. Full details of these options and specialisms are in the Modules section of this website and all enquiries are welcome.

Students can also register for this course via the University of Birmingham and Loughborough University.

Course structure

The course follows a modular structure, with students completing 180 credits over a 12 month period.

Students take 60 credits of core modules, 60 credits of optional modules and a 60-credit research project.

The curriculum covers the core themes of power generation, carbon capture, innovation and the wider, societal aspect of energy generation and use.

A wide range of optional modules allows students to tailor their studies to meet the needs of their chosen career path. Students may be able to take these optional modules via state-of-the-art video conferencing facilities on-campus at Nottingham, or in person at Birmingham and Loughborough. Students may also choose some optional modules from a range of technical choices and some from a range of contextual and managerial choices, which provides a well-rounded range of study.

Uniquely, students can choose to register for the programme either at the University of Nottingham, or one of the other two universities that comprise the MEGS (Midlands Energy Graduate School) consortium – the University of Birmingham and Loughborough University.

Your choice will depend on the type of research project you are most interested in. You will apply to the university where you wish to undertake your research project.

Each partner university offers a pathway which draws on the particular research strengths and topic specialisms at that institution, making it as easy as possible to benefit from the chosen study location. Further details about each university’s expertise are available under the module information.

Please note that the masters degree awarded is the same regardless at which university students are registered.

Learning outcomes

Fossil fuels continue to dominate global energy consumption and, since that status quo is unlikely to end in our lifetime, the demand for engineers to research and implement cleaner, efficient, responsible fossil energy solutions will increase for many decades into the future. This multi-disciplinary course will provide you with a solid grounding in efficient fossil energy technologies. It will prepare you with the knowledge and skills to tackle the major national and international challenges of implementing new fossil-based power plants and processes more efficiently, with near zero emissions and CO2 capture. 

You will gain skills in advanced engineering practice, including design, operation, problem-solving and practical elements. The advanced practice is centred on themes in fossil energy and environmental applications, so you also gain significant experience in areas such as energy efficiency, carbon capture and storage, petroleum production engineering, system modelling and environmental management. 

Before you apply

You must be sure at which university within the MEGS consortium you wish to register before making your application.

We will help you asses which university is the most appropriate based on your research preferences. You can discuss this with the course director Dr Cheng-gong Sun, providing your degree subject and university and an outline of the fossil energy topics that interest you. We will then get back to you to advise where your application should be submitted. Or you can refer to the course outline in the next section to give you a list of typical project topics and themes. 

Academic English preparation and support

If you need additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress to postgraduate study without retaking IELTS or equivalent.

A specialist engineering course is available and you could be eligible for a joint offer, which means you will only need to apply for your visa once.




Core modules

All students take the following core modules:

Power Generation and Carbon Capture

The following topics are covered: Fossil fuels, occurrence, use and world-wide availability; Fossil power generation, conventional and advanced technologies; Current environmental/climate change issues in Power Generation using Fossil Fuels: Emission problems and reduction technologies; climate-forcing carbon emissions and fossil energy de-carbonisation; Co-firing of fossil fuels and biomass; carbon (CO2) capture and storage (CCS).

Innovation and Technology Transfer

The module will provide students with a clear understanding of the importance of innovation in the exploitation of new scientific and technological developments and the transfer process for this technology to enable commercialisation. There is a strong focus on technology transfer from universities and research institutes out to industry and between industrial partners. The political and sociological debates about the significance of technology transfer from universities will be considered. The importance of intellectual property and patenting as a key element of commercialisation will also figure strongly in the module. Students will get 'hands on' experience by researching technology transfer strategies in universities, by working through real patents, patent searching, the approach to patenting indifferent industrial sectors and the processes involved in patent exploitation eg licensing deals, collaborations and company start-ups. Practitioners in the area, including members of the Business Development Network in the University, will assist with the module at appropriate points.

Communication and Public Engagement Skills

This module considers:

  • The importance of engaging publics with cutting edge research 
  • Methods of engagement that are suitable for varying audiences
  • How to write for varied audiences
  • How to engage with policymakers and industry
  • Public speaking skills
  • The planning, development and delivery of an engagement event for the public/policymakers
Energy Systems and Policy

This module deals with the social, ethical, economic and public policy aspects of the development, embedding and transformation of modern energy systems. Students will be introduced to current issues relating to the supply and demand for energy, the technologies involved (fossil fuels, nuclear, bioenergy, renewables, hydrogen) and how these might be assessed from different disciplinary perspectives (sociology, science and technology studies, economics, development studies, geography, and public policy studies). These will be framed in terms of the overarching concept of ‘energy systems’ and students encouraged to make connections between different perspectives. Topics include: energy security and energy policy at national and global levels; electricity markets; energy and the environment; relationship between fossil fuels, geopolitics and modern lifestyles; energy technologies and risk assessment; public policies around sustainable energy transitions and climate change mitigation; public perceptions of energy technologies; social practices of energy use; and energy access, energy poverty and development.

Research Project

Industrial Case Studies (Loughborough University)

Optional modules

Students then choose from these optional modules, which are delivered at the lead university or may be available via video-conference lecture.

Led by the University of Nottingham
  • Combined Heat and Power
  • Advanced Thermal Power Systems
  • Petroleum Production Engineering
  • Energy Storage
Led by the University of Birmingham
  • Advanced Reaction Systems
  • Systems Modelling
  • Conventional Energy Technology
  • Measurement Techniques
  • Process Engineering Fundamentals
  • Project Management
Available at Loughborough University
  • Surface Engineering
  • Ceramics: Properties and Processes
  • Metals: Properties and Processes
  • Materials Modelling
  • Sustainable Use of Materials
  • Teamwork and Leadership

Further options from across the Midlands Energy Graduate School (MEGS) may be chosen, subject to timetabling and delivery methods.

Research project topics

Each collaborating university offers expertise in particular topics. Please bear these specialisms in mind when choosing at which of the three participating universities you wish to register.

Led by the University of Nottingham
  • Carbon capture and storage
  • Advanced gas clean-up technologies for cleaner energy and power generation
  • Gasification technologies (syngas production)
  • Fossil fuel processing (oil, gas, coal and biomass)
  • Shale gas
Led by the University of Birmingham
  • Modelling systems
  •  Plant design
  •  Supercritical reactions
  •  Catalysts
  •  Carbon capture technologies
Led by Loughborough University
  • Materials for conventional power generation
  • Steels for ultra-supercritical steam powerplant applications
  • Coatings for superalloys for high temperature service
  • Degradation of materials at high temperatures

The taught element takes place between September and May and consists of lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops. The individual project takes place between May and August, based on one of the themes outlined above.

Taken over the summer term, based either at the University or in industry, the project brings together many of the core taught elements of the course, allowing students to explore current technologies and systems, plan and manage the project, work in a laboratory or industrial process environment, and evaluate the benefits and impact of their development. The project provides the advanced training necessary for students to be eligible for PhD study, and the advanced skills for process development roles in industry. All projects are supervised by an academic member of staff. The research project must be taken at the university at which the student is registered.

The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and information is provided for indicative purposes only.


Fees and funding

See information on how to fund your masters, including our step-by-step guide.

Please visit the faculty website for information on any scholarships currently available through the faculty.

Faculty of Engineering scholarships

UK/EU students

The Graduate School at the University of Nottingham provides more information on internal and external sources of postgraduate funding.

Please visit the faculty website for information on any scholarships currently available through the faculty.

Government loans for masters courses

The Government offers postgraduate student loans for students studying a taught or research masters course. Applicants must ordinarily live in England or the EU. Student loans are also available for students from Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

International and EU students

Masters scholarships are available for international students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure your course application is submitted in good time.

Information and advice on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study is available on our website, as well as country-specific resources.


Careers and professional development

Graduates of this programme will be in demand by power generation companies and partner organisations working on technologies for a near-zero-emission power plant. 

There is a world-wide demand for engineers and scientists with high-level education and skills in energy technologies, focusing on fossil fuels, as coal-fired power stations continue to be commissioned, built and operated. This programme also provides an entry route to progress to PhD study, upon successful completion (minimum grades apply).

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2017, 94.2% of postgraduates in the faculty who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £29,000 with the highest being £100,000.

* Known destinations of full-time home higher degree postgraduates, 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career destinations for our graduates in the faculty include civil engineers, environment professionals, health and safety officers, production and process engineers, research and development chemists, university researchers and other engineering professionals.

Career prospects and employability

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers* and can offer you a head-start when it comes to your career.  

Those who take up a postgraduate research opportunity with us will not only receive support in terms of close contact with supervisors and specific training related to your area of research, you will also benefit from dedicated careers advice from our Careers and Employability Service.  

Our Careers and Employability Service offers a range of services including advice sessions, employer events, recruitment fairs and skills workshops – and once you have graduated, you will have access to the service for life.

* The Graduate Market 2013-2017, High Fliers Research. 

Boost your earning potential

Which university courses boost graduate wages the most? Studying with us could help you to earn more.

  • We are second highest in the UK for female engineering graduate earnings, five years after graduation
  • We are second highest in the Midlands for male engineering graduate earnings, five years after graduation

(Source: Institute for Fiscal Studies data:



This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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Efficient Fossil Energy Technologies MSc - Male postgraduate students working in a laboratory researching carbon capture (4780)
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Dr Cheng-gong Sun
Faculty of Engineering
University Park
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