Taught course

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Transition

Heriot-Watt University · School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society

Entry requirements

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.

Recognition of Prior Learning

We are committed to providing study opportunities to applicants who have a wide range of prior experiences through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). For more information on RPL, please contact the Admissions Team (studywithus@hw.ac.uk) ahead of application. We can only consider requests for RPL at the time of application to a course of study.

Months of entry


Course content

This interdisciplinary masters degree is ideal for professionals looking to become leaders in realising energy transition. The course is delivered by experts in renewable energy, economics and transition engineering at the International Centre for Islands Technology (ICIT) in Stromness, Heriot-Watt University’s Orkney campus. The learning environment is enhanced by the action research group, the Transition Lab, in the Islands Centre for Net Zero (ICNZ). ICNZ is a partnership led by the Orkney-based European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) working closely alongside our leading academics and a range of other business and community organisations across the Scottish Islands of Orkney, Shetland and the Outer Hebrides. Collectively, current ground-breaking research is helping to navigate the challenges we face and making progress in the development and delivery of new renewable and sustainable energy supply and end-use systems.

This course focuses on the key drivers of the exciting new and growing field of energy transition and transition engineering:

  • Policy and economics of net zero carbon
  • Renewable energy technologies, development processes and grid integration
  • Energy transition in transport, primary production, construction and manufacturing
  • Action for climate change through organisation, enterprise and technical shift
  • Transition engineering in the broadest sense of figuring out how to build sustainable change through decarbonisation projects

Our graduates gain skills across renewable energy technology, integration and development, and the processes of creating and leading just transitions for enterprises, organisations and communities. The course addresses the needs of multiple circular economy sectors such as renewable energy developers, communities and organisations under pressure to meet net zero targets and address climate change. Teaching is reinforced with project work where emphasis is placed on simulating real-life situations and processes. Students learn how to use key communication platforms including digital tools for data analysis, modelling and other interactive approaches.

By choosing to study at our Orkney Campus, you will benefit from several activities including guest lectures from leaders in the sector and hands-on practical sessions which help to develop your skills and knowledge in your field of study. Orkney as a destination also offers the opportunity to network with leading ingenuity-led industry employers involved in many renewable energy sectors, providing a range of employment possibilities post-graduation.

Information for international students

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:
  • 20 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.0 with no skill lower than 4.5)
  • 14 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.0 with minimum of 5.0 in writing and no skill lower than 4.5)
  • 10 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.0)
  • 6 weeks English (for IELTS 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.5)

Fees and funding

See University website

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MSc
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    36-96 months
    • Online learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Admissions Office