MSc in Energy Systems | University of Oxford
A photo of people walking under the Bridge of Sighs, part of Hertford College
Bridge of Sighs, Hertford College
(Image credit: Henry Lee (DPhil in Molecular and Cellular Medicine) / Graduate Photography Competition)

MSc in Energy Systems

About the course

The MSc in Energy Systems covers technical, societal and political aspects of this dynamic subject and will provide you with an understanding of how to develop innovative solutions.

The MSc in Energy Systems augments world-leading research from the Department of Engineering Science with contributions from the Departments of Physics, Materials Science, Chemistry and the School of Geography and the Environment.

The course is designed to be accessible by those who have a first degree in either engineering, the physical sciences, or geography and will be taught using a modular framework to ensure that students are able to progress at their own predetermined speed.

The course structure is comprised of a combination of teaching methods, to provide a stimulating learning environment: taught modules, a case study project, fieldwork (industrial visit), and a dissertation.

The taught modules are divided into three different core themes: Resources, Systems and Services, exploring the production and supply of energy and the societal and political implications involved.  Each module is taught over 1 or 2 weeks, depending on the subject, and will be delivered in a lecture format.  These modules will also utilise innovative methods such as project based and student led peer-to-peer learning with ample opportunity for discussion.

Teaching modules will be closely aligned with current research within the University and each module will be split into four units.

Course teaching is concentrated in the first two terms of the academic year, leaving the final term for non-taught course components.

Other elements include three extended assessed activities: a group-based industrial or public sector study project; a whole cohort output based on a specific energy-relevant visit; and an individual 15,000 word dissertation.  This approach is expected to provide students with an optimal balance of working with sector stakeholders to develop understanding from taught elements while broadening personal horizons.

Further information about studying part time

There are two part-time variants (2 years and 3 years in duration) to allow those who may be constrained through personal circumstance, or those who wish to participate whilst still in full time employment, to attend. For students on the two year variant, students will study two modules and then have a gap week. For students on the three year variant, students will attend one module approximately every three weeks. The fees for each part-time variant are adjusted to reflect the amount of time that each student will spend in active study.

Supervision

The allocation of graduate supervision for this course is the responsibility of the Department of Engineering Science and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff. A supervisor may be found outside the Department of Engineering Science.

Graduate destinations

We would expect graduates from this programme to be equipped with skills for leadership positions where complex decision making is required eg strategic and advisory roles in Government or industry.  We would also expect this programme to provide a strong foundation for transitioning into a DPhil in research in energy.

Changes to this course and your supervision

The University will seek to deliver this course in accordance with the description set out in this course page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. In certain circumstances, for example due to visa difficulties or because the health needs of students cannot be met, it may be necessary to make adjustments to course requirements for international study.

Where possible your academic supervisor will not change for the duration of your course. However, it may be necessary to assign a new academic supervisor during the course of study or before registration for reasons which might include sabbatical leave, parental leave or change in employment.

For further information, please see our page on changes to courses.

Other courses you may wish to consider

If you're thinking about applying for this course, you may also wish to consider the courses listed below. These courses may have been suggested due to their similarity with this course, or because they are offered by the same department or faculty.

Entry requirements for entry in 2020-21

Proven and potential academic excellence

Degree-level qualifications

As a minimum, applicants should hold or be predicted to achieve the equivalent of the following UK qualifications:

  • a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours.

The qualification above should be achieved in one of the following subject areas or disciplines:

  • engineering
  • physics
  • chemistry
  • materials science
  • mathematics
  • economics
  • geography; or
  • related numerate disciplines.

Alternatively, applicants for the part-time route who are in full-time employment may provide evidence of equivalent relevant professional experience if they do not meet the academic requirements of this programme. This should be clearly evidenced in supporting documentation and will be discussed at interview if shortlisted for the programme.

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA normally sought is 3.7 out of 4.0.

If your degree is not from the UK or another country specified above, visit our International Qualifications page for guidance on the qualifications and grades that would usually be considered to meet the University’s minimum entry requirements.

GRE General Test scores

No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.

Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience 

  • Applicants will be assessed for their suitability for the programme based on prior academic learning, evidence supplied through references, and supporting information.
  • Publications are not expected and will not be considered as a part of the application process.
  • For the part-time route, evidence of previous professional experience will also be considered.

English language requirement

This course requires proficiency in English at the University's higher level. If your first language is not English, you may need to provide evidence that you meet this requirement.

Detailed requirements - higher level

The minimum scores required to meet the University's higher level are:

IELTS Academic7.5Minimum 7.0 per component
TOEFL iBT110

Minimum component scores:

  • Listening: 22
  • Reading: 24
  • Speaking: 25
  • Writing: 24
Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) or C1 Advanced191Minimum 185 per component
Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) or C2 Proficiency191Minimum 185 per component

Your test must have been taken no more than two years before the start date of your course. For more information about the English language test requirement, visit the Application Guide

Supporting documents 

You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application, including references and an official transcript. See 'How to apply' for instructions on the documents you will need and how these will be assessed.

Performance at interview

Interviews are normally held as part of the admissions process.

Applicants will be assessed for their suitability for the programme based on prior academic learning, evidence supplied through references, and supporting information. For the part-time route, evidence of previous professional experience will also be considered. Applicants will be notified of dates for interview once their application has been assessed.

Applicants invited for interview will be provided with a discussion topic on a technical subject for further discussion at interview. Sufficient time will be given to allow the applicant to prepare for the interview by researching the topic further. At the interview applicants will be asked specific questions on the designated subject to facilitate wider discussion, and to allow applicants to showcase their current knowledge and ability to consider a problem in a multidisciplinary manner.

In additional to discussion of the designated technical subject, the interview discussion will seek to assess the applicant's intellectual ability, academic achievement, academic potential and motivation. Interviews will take place via Skype with video by at least two interviewers - usually two academics associated with the course. Interviews will normally last around 20 minutes.

Supervision

Any offer of a place is dependent on the University’s ability to provide the appropriate supervision for your chosen area of work. Please refer to the ‘About’ section of this page for more information about the provision of supervision for this course.

How your application is assessed

Your application will be assessed purely on academic merit and potential, according to the published entry requirements for the course. Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background. Whether you have secured funding will not be taken into consideration when your application is assessed.

Admissions panels and assessors

All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgement of at least two members of the academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and must also be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent within the department).

Admissions panels or committees will always include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training.

After an offer is made

If you receive an offer of a place at Oxford, you will be required to meet the following requirements: 

Financial Declaration

If you are offered a place, you will be required to complete a Financial Declaration in order to meet your financial condition of admission.

Disclosure of criminal convictions

In accordance with the University’s obligations towards students and staff, we will ask you to declare any relevant, unspent criminal convictions before you can take up a place at Oxford.

Resources

Engineering research and teaching at Oxford takes place in a unified Department of Engineering Science with over 100 academic staff who are committed to advanced work in their own specialities while recognising a common engineering foundation. This creates an intellectual space where interdisciplinary work thrives and where expert advice is available to students in areas which though not central to their core research still impinge on it.

There are strong links too with researchers in other departments in the mathematical and physical sciences and, ever increasingly, with researchers and practitioners in medical science departments and University hospitals.

The eight research clusters in engineering science at Oxford are:

  • thermofluids and turbomachinery
  • solid mechanics and materials
  • civil and offshore
  • information, control and vision
  • electrical and optoelectronic
  • chemical and process
  • energy
  • biomedical engineering.

These research clusters are well-supported by experienced teams of technical, computing, and administrative support staff. The department has well-equipped research areas and workshops, which together with offices, lecture theatres, library, common room, stores, reprographics and other facilities, occupies some 16,000 square metres.

The department has around 350 research students and about 200 postdoctoral researchers and research fellows. Direct funding of research grants and contracts, from a variety of sources, amounts to an annual turnover of approximately £25m in addition to general turnover of about £26m.

Funding

There are over 1,100 full or partial graduate scholarships available across the University. You will be automatically considered for over two thirds of Oxford scholarships, if you fulfil the eligibility criteria and submit your graduate application by the relevant January deadline, with most scholarships awarded on the basis of academic merit and/or potential. To help identify those scholarships where you will be required to submit an additional application, use the Fees, funding and scholarships search and visit individual college websites using the links provided on our college pages.

Costs

Annual fees for entry in 2020-21

Full-time study

Fee status

Annual Course fees

Home/EU (including Islands)£18,455
Overseas£24,910

Part-time study (2 year course, TM_GP6A9P1)

Fee status

Annual Course fees

Home/EU (including Islands)£9,230
Overseas£12,455

Part-time study (3 year course, TM_GP6B9P1)

Fee status

Annual Course fees

Home/EU (including Islands)£6,170
Overseas£8,245

Course fees are payable each year, for the duration of your fee liability (your fee liability is the length of time for which you are required to pay course fees). For courses lasting longer than one year, please be aware that fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on likely increases to fees and charges.

Course fees cover your teaching as well as other academic services and facilities provided to support your studies. Unless specified in the additional information section below, course fees do not cover your accommodation, residential costs or other living costs. They also don’t cover any additional costs and charges that are outlined in the additional information below.

For more information about course fees and fee liability, please see the Fees section of this website. EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

Additional information

Full-time study

There are no compulsory elements of this course that entail additional costs beyond fees and living costs. However, as part of your course requirements, you may need to choose a dissertation, a project or a thesis topic. Please note that, depending on your choice of topic and the research required to complete it, you may incur additional expenses, such as travel expenses, research expenses, and field trips. You will need to meet these additional costs, although you may be able to apply for small grants from your department and/or college to help you cover some of these expenses.

Part-time study (2 year course, TM_GP6A9P1)

Please note that this course requires that you attend in Oxford for teaching, and you may incur additional travel and accommodation expenses for this. Further, as part of your course requirements, you may need to choose a dissertation, a project or a thesis topic. Depending on your choice of topic and the research required to complete it, you may incur additional expenses such as travel expenses.

Part-time study (3 year course, TM_GP6B9P1)

Please note that this course requires that you attend in Oxford for teaching, and you may incur additional travel and accommodation expenses for this. Further, as part of your course requirements, you may need to choose a dissertation, a project or a thesis topic. Depending on your choice of topic and the research required to complete it, you may incur additional expenses such as travel expenses.

Living costs

In addition to your course fees, you will need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support your living costs for the duration of your course.

For the 2020-21 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,135 and £1,650 for each month spent in Oxford. Full information, including a breakdown of likely living costs in Oxford for items such as food, accommodation and study costs, is available on our living costs page. When planning your finances for any future years of study in Oxford beyond 2020-21, you should allow for an estimated increase in living expenses of 3% each year.

If you are studying part-time your living costs may vary depending on your personal circumstances but you must still ensure that you will have sufficient funding to meet these costs for the duration of your course.

Colleges

Part-time study (2 years)

The following colleges accept students for two-year part-time study on this course:

Part-time study (3 years)

The following colleges accept students for three-year part-time study on this course:

 

How to apply

Contact regarding prospective supervisors, or any general enquiries, should be made through the Department of Engineering Science MSc Programmes Administrator in the first instance.

Supporting documents

The set of documents you should send with your application to this course comprises the following:

Official transcript(s)

Your transcripts should give detailed information of the individual grades received in your university-level qualifications to date. You should only upload official documents issued by your institution and any transcript not in English should be accompanied by a certified translation.

More information about the transcript requirement is available in the Application Guide.

CV/résumé

A CV/résumé is compulsory for all applications. Most applicants choose to submit a document of one to two pages highlighting their academic achievements and any relevant professional experience.

Personal statement:
Up to one page

Your statement should explain your motivation for applying for the course at Oxford, your relevant experience and education, and the specific areas that interest you and/or you intend to specialise in.

This will be assessed for:

  • your reasons for applying
  • evidence of understanding of the proposed area of study
  • your ability to present a coherent case in proficient English
  • your commitment to the subject, beyond the requirements of the degree course
  • your preliminary knowledge of the subject area and research techniques
  • your capacity for sustained and intense work
  • your reasoning ability
  • your ability to absorb new ideas, often presented abstractly, at a rapid pace.

Your statement should focus on your academic achievements and interests rather than personal achievements, interests and aspirations.

References/letters of recommendation:
Three overall

Whilst you must register three referees, the department may start the assessment of your application if two of the three references are submitted by the course deadline and your application is otherwise complete. Please note that you may still be required to ensure your third referee supplies a reference for consideration.

For the full-time route, all three references should be academic. For the part-time route, one reference should be an academic reference, one should be a professional reference, and the third may be either an academic or a professional reference, depending on your previous academic and employment history.

Your references will support your intellectual ability, your academic achievement, your motivation and interest in the course and the subject area, and your ability to work effectively in a group and independently.

Start or continue an application

Step 1: Read our guide to getting started, which explains how to prepare for and start an application.

Step 2: Check that you meet the Entry requirements and read the How to apply information on this page.

Step 3: Check the deadlines on this page and plan your time to submit your application well in advance.

Step 4: Our Application Guide will help you complete the form. It contains links to FAQs and further help.

Step 5: Submit your application as soon as possible (you can read more information about our deadlines).

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