HN Petroleum Engineering

The Higher National Certificate & Higher National Diploma in Petroleum Engineering qualifications aims to help students to develop their understanding of management within the context of the Petroleum Engineering industry.

The qualifications in Petroleum Engineering provides a specialist work-related programme of study that covers the key knowledge, understanding and practical skills required in the petroleum engineering sector and also offer particular specialist emphasis through the choice of specialist units.

The higher National Certificate constitutes part I of the course and is equivalent to Level 4 of a degree programme. The Higher National diploma constitutes both Part 1 & Part 2 and is equivalent to Level 5 of a degree programme.

For the full programme specification please click here.

  • Minimum age 18 years.
  • Applicants should have one or more of the following:
    • Academic qualifications equivalent to 2 x ‘A’ level passes (E grade) or vocational equivalent at Level 3 (for example a BTEC Level 3 qualification in Engineering or Sciences)
    • One National Course at SCQF level 6 in a relevant subject preferably Mathematics or Physics or Chemistry plus four Standard Grades at Credit Level or National Courses at Intermediate 2 at grade ‘C’ or above
    • A programme of National Units in a suitable subject area eg Engineering or Science at SCQF level 5 and 6
    • Awards from other awarding bodies, provided that the competencies can be identified and matched to the above, including SVQ/NVQs in an appropriate occupational area.
    • Substantial related work experience
    • An international equivalent of the above

As this programme is both taught and assessed in English, it is essential that all non-native English speakers can demonstrate capability in English at the levels below:

  • IELTS 5.5 (Reading and writing must be at 5.5)
  • PTE 5.2
  • Or equivalent

Year One (HNC)

12 credits – 1 year full time study or 2 years part-time study

Unit/Unit Code Mandatory or Optional Credit Value Key Learning Outcomes
Science Industry: Key Issues
(DP9M 34 )
Core unit  – mandatory 1
  • Investigate and analyse a Science industry and its related key issues.
Petroleum Engineering: Physics, Mathematics and Chemistry
(F52Y 34 )
Core unit – mandatory 1
  • Explain the chemistry of hydrocarbons.
  • Explain the fundamentals of physics applied in petroleum engineering.
  • Perform relevant arithmetic, algebraic and geometric calculations.
Petroleum Geology and Geophysics:
An Introduction
(F530 34)
Core unit – mandatory 1
  • Explain the origins of hydrocarbons, basic petroleum traps and the main reservoir types and features
  • Explain the geophysical methods and equipment used to locate potential reservoirs
Petroleum Reservoir Engineering: An Introduction
(F533 34)
Core unit – mandatory 1
  • Explain the fundamental characteristics of hydrocarbon reservoirs
  • Perform calculations to provide preliminary analysis on hydrocarbon reservoirs
Oilfield Drilling Techniques and Operations: An Introduction
(F52X 34)
Core unit – mandatory 1
  • Explain the design features of drillingequipment.
  • Describe the techniques used in the selection and use of drilling fluids, cements and bits.
6 Communication: Practical Skills
(H7MB 34)
Core unit – mandatory 1
  • Summarise and evaluate written information on a complex vocational issue
  • Produce written information in a prescribed format on a complex vocational issue
  • Contribute to a formal oral interaction on a complex vocational issue
Petroleum Engineering: Graded Unit 1
(F546 34)
Core unit – mandatory 1
  • Develop an action plan that includes: interpretation of case study brief into a suitable time line plan
  • Identification of resources required and their likely sources.
  • Use appropriate methods in undertaking prescribed tasks.
  • Reflective report on the case study brief.
Mathematics for Science 1
(H8XP 33)
Optional 1
  • Apply algebraic methods
  • Solve problems using differential calculus
  • Solve problems using integral calculus
Engineering Science Principles
(DX49 34)
Optional 1
  • Apply the principles of linear and rotational motion.
  • Apply the principles of statics to beams and stressed components.
  • Apply the principles of engineering thermodynamics and fluid mechanics.
  • Apply the principles of electrical and electronic engineering to circuits.
Heat Transfer and Fluid Mechanics
(DT5T 35)
Optional 1
  • Analyse fluid flow patterns
  • Solve flow measurement problems
  • Solve problems involving incompressible flow in pipe systems
  • Analyse heat transfer rates through typical industrial plant
Environmental Awareness
(F2G8 34)
Optional 1
  • Explain how the use of the earth’s finite resources affects the environment.
  • Describe how human activity impacts on the environment.
  • Explain sustainable development at the global, national and individual level.
Quality Management: An Introduction
(DT8Y 34)
Optional 1
  • Explain the fundamental principles of Quality Assurance and Quality Control.
  • Explain the stages to be met in the process of achieving ISO 9001.
  • Select and apply quality improvement tools and techniques.
  • Categorise, analyse and interpret a quality costing model.

Year Two (HND)

30 credits: Two years full time study or four years part-time study

Unit/Unit Code Mandatory or Optional Credit Value Key Learning Outcomes
Project Management: Managing the Implementation of a Project
(DV5J 35)
Core unit  – mandatory 2
  • Manage project relationships.
  • Control a project budget.
  • Monitor and control a project.
  • Manage risks and issues.
  • Evaluate and close a project.
Engineering Mathematics 2
(H7K1 34)
Core unit – mandatory 1
  • Solve trigonometric and hyperbolic function problems
  • Use differentiation techniques to solve Engineering problems
  • Use integration techniques to solve Engineering problems
Oilfield Drilling Techniques and Operations
(F52W 35)
Core unit – mandatory 1
  • Use routine calculations for wellbore hydraulics.
  • Techniques required to identify and control abnormal well influxes (kicks) are described correctly.
  • Investigate complex oilfield drilling operations
Oil Well Management
(F52T 35)
Core unit – mandatory 1
  • Evaluate the options available to complete a well for production and describe the nature and function of the equipment used.
  • Evaluates the potential economic performance of a well, using well performance techniques.
Petroleum Recovery Techniques
(F532 35)
Core unit – mandatory 1
  • Analyse a petroleum recovery process from a given brief.
  • Evaluate the systems required to enhance petroleum recovery.
Petroleum Production Processes
(F531 35)
Core unit – mandatory 1
  • Explain the principles for the separation of oil, gas and water in petroleum production processes.
  • Explain the methods for the treatment of produced and injection waters.
  • Explain the methods for the purification and compression of the gas extracted at a production facility.
Petroleum Engineering: Graded Unit 2
(F547 35)
Core unit – mandatory 2
  • Develop action plan that includes: a project brief identifying customer requirements and project aim; a project specification that the customer has agreed; a set of project objectives; a project schedule identifying the project stages involved and the timescales for completion of each stage; compliance with relevant Health, Safety and environmental requirements.
  • Analyse the task and decide on a course of action for undertaking the project.
  • Plan and organise work and carry it through to completion.
  • Reflect on what has been done and draw conclusions for the future.
  • Reflective report on the case study brief.
Engineering Mathematics 3
(H7K1 34)
Optional 1
  • Use differentiation techniques to solve mathematical problems
  • Use integration techniques to solve mathematical problems.
Process Safety Engineering
(HE3F 34)
Optional 1
  • Explain the management of fire and explosion hazards.
  • Explain the management of occupational and environmental hazards when handling harmful materials.
  • Explain the methods and techniques used in Quantitative Risk Assessment
  • Analyse a hazardous incident.
Quality and Health and Safety Systems in Science Industries
(DF82 34)
Optional 1
  • Describe key aspects of Health and Safety Procedures in relation to Science.
  • Describe named quality standard(s) in relation to Science.
  • Undertake an industrial/commercial site visit that incorporates the investigation of Quality Standards and Health and Safety initiatives.
Pneumatics and Hydraulics
(DT9X 34)
Optional 1
  • Describe the operational and maintenance requirements of compressed air and hydraulic systems.
  • Design, assemble and test a fluid power and control circuit.
  • Demonstrate fault-finding competence on a fluid power system.
DC and AC Principles
(FY9E 34)
Optional 1
  • Solve problems involving basic electrical concepts and theorems
  • Solve single-phase ac circuit problems using complex notation
Three Phase Systems
(DN47 34)
Optional 1
  • Describe the production and characteristics of a three phase supply.
  • Analyse the response of balanced star and delta connected loads supplied by symmetrical three phase supplies.
  • Analyse  the response  of  unbalanced  star  and  delta connected  loads  supplied  by  three  and  four wire symmetrical three phase supplies.
  • Analyse power in three phase loads.
(DT9P 34)
Optional 1
  • Evaluate properties, changes and energy transfers of state for perfect gases.
  • Evaluate properties, changes and energy transfers of state for vapours.
  • Apply energy, continuity and momentum principles to steady flow processes.
(DT9T 34)
Optional 1
  • Solve problems relating to linear and angular motion.
  • Solve problems relating to impulse, conservation of momentum, work, energy and power.
Personal Development Planning
(DE3R 34)
Optional 1
  • Create and maintain a personal development Portfolio and a personal action plan.
  • Implement personal action plan.
  • Monitor and evaluate the plan and its implementation.
Working within a Project Team
(DH21 34)
Optional 1
  • Individually gather and/or read and evaluate written, graphical or pictorial information on a team task, and in co-operation with others, decide on a course of action for completing the project.
  • In co-operation with others, plan, organise and carry out the task.
  • Individually, produce a written report, in a prescribed format, reflecting on what has been done and drawing conclusions for the future.

When you begin your qualification your Programme Leader will take you through all aspects of your timetable, and of the requirements of IBCM and the awarding body Pearson. You will be given an induction to the college and the local area and into the specifics of the qualification including understanding the structure of the programme, the terminology and how assessment and internal quality assurance take place. You will be issued with a range of useful policies and procedures and will have a one to one interview to ensure we can tailor our support to your own individual needs.

For each module you will be issued with information as to the detailed requirements for a pass, merit or distinction grade, along with a suggested reading list. You will be issued with assessment plans which will show you the dates for all issue and submission of assignments for each unit.


To achieve each module you will have to demonstrate competence in each of the relevant learning outcomes identified above. Assessment may take the form of supervised closed book or open book written assignment or report, a project or case study brief or a presentation (or combination of any of the above). Some group work may take place, although you will always be assessed on an individual basis.

You will be given formative assessment early on in each module to enable you to identify where your strengths are and which areas you need to develop in order to be successful.
You will then be assessed at the end of each module against the required Learning outcomes. All assessments go through our own Internal Quality Assurance process to ensure that they meet the highest possible standards and give you every opportunity to achieve (see IBCM Assessment and Verification Policy).

Students will be awarded a grade of pass, merit or distinction for each module and an overall grade at the end of the qualification.

All of our assessment and internal quality procedures are regularly monitored and an Assessment Board will be held at the end of each term to verify all decisions made as well as to investigate any issues of concern.

Should you not meet the learning outcomes on your first submission, you will be given one opportunity for a resubmission. You may also be given the opportunity to resubmit in order to obtain a higher grade. If, at the resubmission, you still do not meet the required outcomes, one opportunity to retake the unit can be authorised. This unit can then receive a maximum pass grade.
If a unit is still not passed at this stage it is deemed to have failed. Your assessor will discuss the options with you, such as an alternative unit in the case of optional units, or whether you are able to study the core module again (repeat). See IBCM Assignment submission procedure. Full attendance at lessons for the repeated module is required along with appropriate payment.

There are compensation provisions within both the HNC and HND provision in that students can still be awarded the qualification if they have not achieved a pass in one of the 15 credit units completed, but have completed and passed the remaining units.

Assessment and Verification Policy
See IBCM Assignment submission procedure

Awarding Body:

  • SQA


  • 1 year full time HNC (2 years part time)
  • 2 years full time HND (4 years part time)

Start dates:

  • January and September

For details of fees please refer to separate price list