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MSc|Postgraduate Taught

Net Zero Engineering

Entry year
Entry requirements
2 years (Part-time)
1 year (Full-time)
Places available
30 (Part Time)
40 (Full Time)

Governments around the world have set legally binding targets in support of achieving ambitious low-carbon objectives and are investing heavily in the development of technology that will deliver decarbonisation of the energy sector.
Achieving these objectives is, however, a substantial challenge and requires input and engagement across a broad range of sectors. The rapid development of these sectors also emphasises the need for advanced skills and training portfolios to be delivered to not only address these challenges but also create future opportunities.
Therefore, the aim of this programme is to provide students with a strong foundation of the engineering and associated skills that are needed to underpin and contribute towards achieving sustainability and greener societies. In doing so, they will have an excellent platform to support existing and new industries in their transition towards achieving net-zero targets.

Students completing this course will possess skills which are increasingly sought after by local and international employers, particularly those in manufacturing and energy sectors. The course will also introduce students to a suite of emerging technologies which are being considered and will provide them with the skills to be able to assess them, providing opportunities for innovation, entrepreneurship, and growth in a variety of sectors.

Net Zero Engineering highlights

Industry Links

Researchers in the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering maintain close links with government departments and industrial partners focussed on the development of policy and processes for a net zero future.
We regularly consult and develop links with a large number of global employers from a variety of sectors including large energy producers as well as smaller industries. Furthermore, we work with a range of local and start-up/spin-out companies including Green Lizard Technologies, Nuada and Catagen.

Career Development

Students will learn and enhance the skills required to both help governments meet sustainability targets and respond to industry demands to maximize innovation in renewable energy deployment. These skills will be crucial as we transition towards a low-carbon society around the globe.

Internationally Renowned Experts

Sustainability is one of the School’s two core goals and to pursue this aim staff are leading multi-million pound research projects on sustainability and net zero research. As the UK’s only combined Chemistry and Chemical Engineering School within the Russell group, our experts very well placed to equip the next generation of scientists to address these issues.
We are ranked 10th in the UK for the study of Chemical Engineering with a 96% post-study success rate for graduates (Complete Universities Guide UK 2024). We were also ranked 7th for student-staff ratios in the subject (Guardian University Guide 2022).

Student Experience

Students will have an opportunity to participate in field trips to industrial partners who are currently deploying renewable energy solutions in the transport (Wrightbus) and water treatment (NI Water) sectors. In addition, students will be able to engage with companies by working on industry-academia projects.

Course Structure

All modules below will be assessed by 100 % coursework, which will comprise of written, oral and calculation-based assignments
• Sustainability and Net-Zero-Carbon Criteria (20 CATS)
• Tools for Quantifying Energy and Carbon (20 CATS)
• Applied renewable energy and low carbon technologies (20 CATS)
• Fundamental Principles of Hydrogen Generation and Use (20 CATS)
• Hydrogen System Integration (20 CATS)
• Hydrogen System Design and Practice (20 CATS)

The final module will be assessed based on the research project which is summarised below:
• Research Project in Net Zero Engineering (60 CATS) – written dissertation (50 %), laboratory performance, methodology and design records (40 %) and oral presentation (10 %)

Students may enrol on a full-time (1 year) or part-time (2 years) basis. Full-time students typically complete three modules per semester. Part-time students typically complete one or two modules per semester.
The MSc is awarded to students who successfully complete six taught modules (120 CATS points) and a 15,000 - 20,000 word research dissertation (60 CATS points).
Exit qualifications are available: students may exit with a Postgraduate Diploma by successfully completing 120 CATS points from the six core taught modules or a Postgraduate Certificate by successfully completing 60 CATS points from either of two defined sets of three taught modules.
There is a straightforward option to build towards a Master's degree though short courses. For example, you can choose to complete the taught sections as two individual PGCerts (60 CATS each) and then complete a research or design project and be awarded the full MSc in Net Zero Engineering.


Achieving the Net Zero Emissions targets set by governments around the globe will not be simple. It requires engagement across a range of disciplines that are underpinned by a strong understanding of the fundamental science and engineering behind sustainability and renewable energy. This course will target that challenge by equipping students with an enhanced skill set which will provide them with the tools to not only evaluate and assess sustainability but deliver low-carbon engineering solutions to a range of international industries. As a result, our graduates will be well placed to contribute and play a crucial role across multiple sectors as we transition towards a Net Zero society.

Semester One teaching

The modules during semester one, which are listed below, are focused on the core concepts of sustainability, the associated developments and importantly how we evaluate and assess those. This includes exploring the tools for quantifying the availability of resources and applying knowledge of Life Cycle Analysis, carbon-foot printing and model development. It also involves deploying these skills when learning about the range of renewable energies such as wind, marine, solar and bioenergy.
• CHE7301 Sustainability and Net-Zero-Carbon Criteria
• CHE7302 Tools for Quantifying Energy and Carbon
• CHE7303 Applied renewable energy and low carbon technologies

Semester Two teaching

The second semester will focus more specifically on hydrogen energy systems as an approach to achieving sustainability and decarbonisation of key sectors. The underpinning science and engineering of current manufacturing routes and emerging technologies will be explored along with discussing the growth of the hydrogen economy. The sub-components of hydrogen energy systems will also be investigated to demonstrate how they are influenced by the chemical and thermodynamic properties of hydrogen and how they can integrate with existing technology such as a batteries and gas separation. The relevant modules are:

• CHE7304 Fundamental Principles of Hydrogen Generation and Use
• CHE7305 Hydrogen System Integration
• CHE7306 Hydrogen System Design and Practice

Students will also conduct a research project under the supervision of an academic and/or industrial supervisor, within an applied area of net zero engineering. Students will be able to conduct their projects under two themes: lab-based or theoretical and modelling-based, which both align with research clusters within the school and reflect the scientific and engineering principles of the taught material.

* CHE7207 Research Project in Net Zero Engineering

People teaching you

Lecturer; Programme Director

Chemical Engineering
Dr Skillen is Programme Director for the MSc in Net Zero Engineering. He has previously held a fellowship with the UKRI Supergen Bioenergy Hub. Nathan holds a BSc (Hons) in Molecular Biology with Biosciences from Robert Gordon University and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the same institute (in collaboration with the University of St. Andrews and California Institute of Technology). His research focusses on photocatalytic technology development for a range of applications centred around environmental remediation and energy production. He currently has a lead role in the Photocatalytic Technology Research Group (PhotoTech R&D) at QUB. Dr Skillen has published several research articles and book chapters and currently sits on the international editorial board of Biomass & Bioenergy (Elsevier) and was part of a team of 10 researchers from across the UK that created the first graphic novel on Bioenergy.

Lecturer (Education)

Chemical Engineering
Dr Gui is interested in synthesis of solar fuel energy and finding energy-efficient solutions for conversion of carbon dioxide into useful chemicals such as zero-carbon hydrocarbon fuel.

Lecturer (Education)

Chemical Engineering
Robin Curry is a Lecturer of Education in the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at QUB. He specializes in Life Cycle Analysis and has expertise in the renewable energy sector including Anaerobic Digestion for biomethane generation.


Chemical Engineering
Professor Robertson has extensive research and senior level university leadership experience. His main research interests are in semiconductor photochemistry for energy and environmental applications. He sits on a number of scientific editorial boards and is a Chartered Engineer, Chartered Scientist and Chartered Chemist, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Institute of Chemistry in Ireland and the Energy Institute. He is also an Associate Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers.

Contact Teaching Hours

Small Group Teaching/Personal Tutorial

2 (hours maximum)
2 hrs full time, 1 hr part time

Personal Study

20 (hours maximum)
20 hrs full time, 10 hrs part time

Large Group Teaching

6 (hours maximum)
6 hours full time, 4 hours part time

Teaching Times

Teaching will be delivered in a blended format of on-campus and online classes which will accommodate full time and part time students. This will be backed up by accessible online lecture recordings and other course material.

Learning and Teaching

Learning opportunities associated with this course are outlined below:

  • The learning context

    You will be be part of a small, informal and chatty class. You’ll get to know your classmates and your lecturers well during field trips. You are expected to become an integral part of the School of Chemical and Chemical Engineering and will be invited to join staff and students at regular social events and professional events.


Assessments associated with the course are outlined below:

  • Awarding of the qualifications is based on continuous assessment of coursework, tests and assessment of modules based solely on submitted work related to private, individual study .


The School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering has seen substantial strategic investment in building new state-of-the-art research laboratories for synthetic chemistry and catalysis research, with accommodation for over 50 researchers.
A recent £4 million investment in research and teaching laboratory space has significantly modernised and further extended our facilities, with recently added open-access equipment including an environmental SEM facility, powder and single crystal X-ray diffraction equipment, a high-end confocal Raman microscope, and 400 & 600 MHz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers.
Further open-access Departmental facilities include three additional NMR spectrometers, three mass spectrometers, and additional powder XRD, ICP-OES, BET and Hg porosimetry equipment, a CD spectrometer and a HPLC/GC chromatography, as well as standard spectrometer and computational facilities.
An in-house team provides analytical services to internal and external stakeholders using their dedicated instrument suite. 15 technicians provide support for microanalysis, glass-blowing, mechanical engineering, electronics, computer management and laboratory safety.




The information below is intended as an example only, featuring module details for the current year of study (2023/24). Modules are reviewed on an annual basis and may be subject to future changes – revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year.

Entrance requirements


Normally a 2.2 Honours degree or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in Engineering (e.g. Chemical, Environmental, Mechanical, Civil), Physical Science (e.g. Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics) or a closely allied subject. Applicants with degrees in other disciplines or relevant work experience will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The deadline for applications is normally 30th June 2024. However, we encourage applicants to apply as early as possible. In the event that any programme receives a high number of applications, the University reserves the right to close the application portal earlier than 30th June deadline. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Application Portal against the programme application page.

Please note: a deposit will be required to secure a place.

International Students

Our country/region pages include information on entry requirements, tuition fees, scholarships, student profiles, upcoming events and contacts for your country/region. Use the dropdown list below for specific information for your country/region.

English Language Requirements

Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.0, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.

International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

  • Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
  • Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.



Career Prospects


This MSc will equip you with the knowledge and skills required for a successful career in sustainability and the renewable energy sector. We have good links and regularly consult with a large number of global employers from a variety of sectors including energy (including Shell, BP and Petronas), transport (WrightBus) and other chemical industries (Seren Technologies and Johnson Matthey). Furthermore, we work with a range of local companies and start-up/spin-out companies including Green Lizard Technologies and MOF Technologies. Graduates have also progressed into research at various universities.

Employment after the Course

Where would you like to be in five year's time?

Graduating from this course could lead to you becoming a project engineer in the design and development of components for low-carbon energy systems. You could also conduct environmental and sustainable impact assessments as a renewable energy coordinator for windfarms, solar installations and biorefineries. Alternatively, you might want to contribute towards the development of emerging technologies such as artificial photosynthesis through a research post or PhD. You may play a key role as a sustainable consultant for government in policy development to ensure the safety of new infrastructure for distributing green-hydrogen.

Achieving net zero emission is a global objective and therefore after your MSc you might want to travel and gain experience in places like Asia, South America or Africa. This could also be valuable for understanding the role you can play in achieving global Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs).

Employment Links

Employers who are interested in people like you include manufacturers (energy systems), construction companies, sustainability consultancies (local, national and international), government (e.g. Department for Energy and Climate Change), businesses that are transitioning to net zero, transport sector (public transport), the oil and gas sector, the pharmaceutical sector, academia and education and renewable energy suppliers.

Graduate Plus/Future Ready Award for extra-curricular skills

In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Graduate Plus/Future Ready Award. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.

Tuition Fees

Northern Ireland (NI) 1 £7,300
Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £7,300
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £9,250
EU Other 3 £25,800
International £25,800

1EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled status, will be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB will be charged the GB fee.

2 EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI are eligible for NI tuition fees.

3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.

All tuition fees quoted relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

Additional course costs

Terms and Conditions for Postgraduate applications 

1.1  Due to high demand, there is a deadline for applications. 
1.2  You will be required to pay a deposit to secure your place on the course.
1.3  This condition of offer is in addition to any academic or English language requirements.

Read the full terms and conditions at the link below:

All Students

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.

Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.

If a programme includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.

Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.

There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

How do I fund my study?

The Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £6,500 per NI / EU student for postgraduate study. Tuition fee loan information.

A postgraduate loans system in the UK offers government-backed student loans of up to £11,836 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.

More information on funding options and financial assistance - please check this link regularly, even after you have submitted an application, as new scholarships may become available to you.

International Scholarships

Information on scholarships for international students, is available at



How to Apply

Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

Apply now

When to Apply

The deadline for applications is normally 30th June 2021. In the event that any programme receives a high volume of applications, the university reserves the right to close the application portal earlier than 30th June deadline. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Entry Portal (DAP) against the programme application page.

Terms and Conditions

The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.
Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions.

Download a prospectus