MSc in Energy Systems | University of Oxford
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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 10,000 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 are 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.

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.

Other courses in this area

Changes to the course

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

Entry requirements for entry in 2019-20

Within equal opportunities principles and legislation, applications will be assessed in the light of an applicant’s ability to meet the following entry requirements:

1. Academic ability

Proven and potential academic excellence

Applicants are normally expected to be predicted or have achieved a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours (or equivalent international qualifications), as a minimum, in one of the following areas: engineering, physics, chemistry, materials science, mathematics, economics, geography, or related numerate disciplines by the time the course starts..

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

If you hold non-UK qualifications and wish to check how your qualifications match these requirements, you can contact the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC).

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

Alternatively, applicants for the part-time route who are in full-time employment are able to 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.

Other appropriate indicators will include:

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(s)

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 30 minutes.


Publications are not expected and will not be considered as a part of the application process.

2. English language requirement

Applicants whose first language is not English are usually required to provide evidence of proficiency in English at the higher level required by the University.

3. Availability of supervision, teaching, facilities and places

The following factors will govern whether candidates can be offered places:

  • The ability of the Department of Engineering Science to provide the appropriate supervision, research opportunities, teaching and facilities for your chosen area of work.
  • Minimum and maximum limits to the numbers of students who may be admitted to Oxford's research and taught programmes.

The provision of supervision, where required, is subject to the following points:

  • The allocation of graduate supervision 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.

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, maternity leave or change in employment.

4. Disability, health conditions and specific learning difficulties

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.

Decisions on admission are based solely on the individual academic merits of each candidate and the application of the entry requirements appropriate to the course.

Further information on how these matters are supported during the admissions process is available in our guidance for applicants with disabilities.

5. Assessors

All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgment of at least two members of academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and additionally must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent departmental persons or bodies).

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

6. Other information

Whether you have yet secured funding is not taken into consideration in the decision to make an initial offer of a place, but please note that the initial offer of a place will not be confirmed until you have completed a Financial Declaration.

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.


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.


There are over 1,000 full graduate scholarships available across the University, and these cover your course fees and provide a grant for living costs. If you apply by the relevant January deadline and fulfil the eligibility criteria you will be automatically considered. Over two thirds of Oxford scholarships require nothing more than the standard course application. Use the Fees, funding and scholarship search to find out which scholarships you are eligible for and if they require an additional application, full details of which are provided.

For students applying to programmes within the MPLS Division at Oxford, Research Council and other funding opportunities available, subject to eligibility. These opportunities are included in the Fees, funding and scholarship search.


Annual fees for entry in 2019-20

Full-time study

Fee status

Annual Course fees

Home/EU (including Islands)£17,745

Part-time study (2 year course, TM_GP6A9P1)

Fee status

Annual Course fees

Home/EU (including Islands)£8,873

Part-time study (3 year course, TM_GP6B9P1)

Fee status

Annual Course fees

Home/EU (including Islands)£5,930

The fees shown above are the annual course fees for this course, for entry in the stated academic year.

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. You may have seen separate figures in the past for tuition fees and college fees. We have now combined these into a single figure.

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.

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 2019-20 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,058 and £1,643 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 2019-20, 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.


The following colleges accept students for full-time study on the MSc in Energy Systems:

The following colleges accept students for part-time study on the MSc in Energy Systems:

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.


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: Carefully read the entry requirements on this course page to make sure you meet all the criteria.

Step 2: Check above what documents are required and prepare to apply by reading our Application Guide.

Step 3: Apply as soon as possible. Consult the Application Guide for more information about deadlines.

Application GuideApply - FTApply - PT 2YRApply - PT 3YR

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