Delivered at our Orkney Campus, this MSc is designed as a multidisciplinary transition programme relevant to students from a wide variety of backgrounds. The taught part of the programme addresses the technical, environmental and economic drivers that are shaping the marine renewable energy industry. An individual research project then allows students to specialise in a topic of their choice.
The programme team has strong links with stakeholders in marine renewables and has unique experience and expertise gained at the geographical heart of marine renewables in the UK. A strong emphasis is placed on project work that simulates real working situations.
Read more in this guide to Studying in Orkney.
The Diploma and MSc degree course involves studying the 8 taught courses outlined below. If a student can demonstrate that they have already mastered the subject, they may undertake a Development Project instead of one of these courses.
Energy in the 21st Century
This course is designed to give you a broad understanding of the environmental, political and socio-economic context for current developments in renewable energy. The course examines the extent of current energy resources and how energy markets function. It covers some energy basics you will need for the rest of the programme (e.g. thermodynamics, efficiency conversions) as well as environmental issues associated with energy use, climate change and the political and policy challenges involved in managing energy supply and achieving energy security.
Economics of renewable energy
This course gives an understanding of the economic principles and mechanisms which affect energy markets today. It covers price mechanisms, the economics of extracting energy and the cost-efficiency of renewable energy technologies. You will learn about economic instruments used by policy-makers to address environment and energy issues, economic incentives to stimulate renewable energy development and about environmental valuation.
Environmental Policy & Risk
This course explores the legal and policy context in which renewable energy is being exploited. You will gain an understanding of international law, particularly the Law of the Sea, property rights and how these relate to different energy resources. The course also looks at regulatory issues at the international, European and UK level, which affect how energy developments are taken forward, as well as risk assessment and management in the context of renewable energy developments.
Oceanography & Marine Ecology
This course is designed to give you an understanding of the science of waves and tides, and how this affects efforts to exploit energy from these resources. You will also learn about marine ecosystems and how these may be impacted by energy extraction and about the challenges and impacts associated with carrying out engineering operations in the marine environment.
Marine Renewable Technologies
You will gain an understanding of renewable energy technologies which exploit wind, wave and tidal resources. The focus is on technical design issues which developers face operating in the marine environment, as well as the logistics of installation, operations and maintenance of marine energy converters.
Renewable Technology: Integration
This course explores the technical aspects of generating renewable energy and integrating it into distribution networks. You will learn about the electricity grid and how electrical power and distribution systems work. You will find out about different renewable fuel sources and end uses, and the challenges of energy storage.
Looking at what happens when renewable energy technologies are deployed, this course examines development constraints and opportunities: policy and regulatory issues (including strategic environmental assessment, environmental impact assessment, landscape assessment, capacity issues and the planning system). It also looks at the financial aspects (valuation of capital asses, financing projects and the costs of generating electricity) and at project management.
This is a team project, where students have the opportunity to apply what they have learned through the other courses in relation to a hypothetical project. You have to look at a range of issues including resource assessment, site selection, development layout, consents, planning and economic appraisal, applying the knowledge and tools you have studied.
This research project (equivalent in assessment to 4 taught courses) allows you to focus on a specific area of interest, with opportunities to collaborate with businesses and other stakeholders. You choose your dissertation subject, in discussion with your supervisor.
If you study at our Orkney Campus, you will also benefit from a number of activities including guest lectures and practical sessions which help to develop your skills and knowledge in your field of study, and offer opportunities to meet developers and other involved in the renewable energy industry.
Flexible study options
This course can be studied full-time or part-time on campus in Orkney. Alternatively, you can study via Online Learning, ideal for those in employment or with other commitments, providing flexible study options that fit around work or family.
Visit our Graduate Profiles page to learn what some of our graduates said about their experiences studying a MSc in Marine Renewable Energy at Heriot-Watt University.
Some of our Postgraduate Taught Masters Programmes are eligible for Inter-Campus Transfer. Please contact email@example.com for further information
You can apply for all postgraduate programmes (except Edinburgh Business School programmes) using our online application form.
You must create an account to use the online application form. You don't have to complete the application in one session; you can save what you have done so far and return to complete it at a later date.
Scholarships and bursaries
We aim to encourage well-qualified, ambitious students to study with us and we offer a wide variety of scholarships and bursaries to achieve this. Over £6 million worth of opportunities are available in fee and stipend scholarships, and more than 400 students benefit from this support.
View our full range of postgraduate scholarships.
LEARNING OUTCOMES – SUBJECT MASTERY
Understanding, Knowledge and Cognitive Skills
- The programme is designed around the three themes of policy, environment and technology. It is specifically designed to give students the best possible understanding of the marine energy sector and the markets and technological context within which the sector is developing.
- The programme will deliver key knowledge particularly in the field of: legislation; policy; device design; energy use and energy statistics.
- The programme will test numeracy (financial appraisal and technology); analytical skills (policy and data analysis). Furthermore emphasis is placed on the synthesis of different skill sets and knowledge in the form of integrated projects which draw on various aspects of programme.
Scholarship, Enquiry and Research (Research Informed Learning)
- Enquiry and research skills will be developed and enhanced during course assignments, study tasks and tutorials as well as the Development Project (A11DP). However the principal platform for scholarship, enquiry and research is the dissertation. Equivalent to four courses (60 SQIF credits) the dissertation is a student led piece of research. Supervisory support will help with the selection of the dissertation topic and the project design.
LEARNING OUTCOMES – PERSONAL ABILITIES
Industrial, Commercial and Professional Practice
- Several courses include assignments that are designed around professional scenarios (e.g. provision of professional advice to a client). The Development Project (A11DP) is based around the production of a professional report assessing development opportunities. Wherever possible, this is tied into a realistic scenario e.g. application for a sea bed lease; application for grant funding etc.
- Students will be exposed to key private and public sector actors in marine energy through a series of field trips and lectures e.g. technology developers, consultants and planners.
Autonomy, Accountability and Working With Others
- Inevitably studying for an MSc involves a great deal of individual effort. The dissertation in particular requires students to show a great deal of self motivation. Several on campus courses involve team group work.
Communication, Numeracy & Information and Communications Technology
- Students are required to present written information in a number of different formats (essay, professional reports, research thesis, briefing papers etc) as well as using other media (powerpoint, video etc) to convey complex ideas to a wide variety of audiences. Several courses test numeracy (A11ER, A11EC, A11DT, A11PR, A11DA).
Masters (MSc) level entry applicants must have one of the following:
- Minimum of 2:2 honours degree or equivalent academic qualification in a related subject area
- For postgraduate conversion courses, non-related degrees will be considered
- Corporate (or chartered) membership of relevant professional institutions will also be considered
PG Diploma level entry applicants must have an ordinary degree in a related subject area and relevant post qualification industry experience.
Candidates who do not meet the above entry requirements or have no formal academic qualifications will be considered individually based on their CV and possibly interview. Admission via this route will be at the discretion of the Director of Recruitment.
English language requirements
If English is not the applicant’s first language a minimum of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent is required with all elements passed at 6.0 or above. Please refer to English language requirements for further details.
Some applicants may be asked for alternative evidence in line with UKVI recognised English speaking countries. Applicants who have previously successfully completed courses delivered in the medium of English language may be considered and will be required to provide documentary evidence of this. Examples would be secondary school education or undergraduate degree. A minimum of at least one year of full time study (or equivalent) in the medium of English language will be required.
All evidence of English language needs to be dated within two years of the commencement of study.
We also offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement prior to starting your master’s programme:
- 14 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with no more than one skill at 4.5)
- 10 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with minimum of 5.0 in all skills)
- 6 weeks English (for IELTS 5.5 with minimum of 5.5 in reading and writing and minimum of 5.0 in speaking and listening)