Process Automation

Key information

Start date: Rolling entry*
CampusSouth Kensington

Postgraduate Certificate
6 months – 2 years part-time (30 ECTS)

Postgraduate Diploma
1–3 years part-time (60 ECTS)

MSc (industrial project)
2–5 years part-time (90 ECTS)

Course Co-directors
Professor Nina Thornhill and Dr Daryl Williams

Open to applications
View entry requirementsApply now


This programme will provide you with the depth of knowledge and experience necessary to apply the technology and techniques required for the development of automation, instrumentation and control systems.

Professional automation, instrumentation and control systems have become essential in the chemical and process industries over the years. Today, it is inconceivable that anybody would contemplate building a new plant or designing a new process without installing comprehensive instrumentation and control systems.

The development of automation, instrumentation and control systems can be more complex than the design of the plant itself. Unfortunately, there is a chronic international shortage of personnel with the depth of knowledge and experience necessary to apply the technology and techniques required.

Imperial is addressing this shortfall. This degree is aimed at talented individuals, who may be at the beginning of their careers or may be more experienced graduates looking for a new challenge.

We recognise the need for flexible learning. Working closely together with the industry-recognised Partnership in Automation and Control Training (PACT) group, we've designed a programme which offers a structured programme of industrially relevant and academically rigorous modules that can be taken on a part-time basis.

The emphasis of the programme is on real world application and many of the courses will be taught by experts from industry.

All students will initially register for the Postgraduate Certificate in Process Automation, Instrumentation and Control, made up of four modules. A member of the Chemical Engineering staff will assist you in selecting the best modules according to your background, interest and needs.

On successful completion of the programme, you can graduate from Imperial with a Postgraduate Certificate. Alternatively, you can choose to continue your studies and take an additional four modules to progress towards the Postgraduate Diploma.

On successful completion of the Postgraduate Diploma, you have the option to move on to the MSc.

MSc students will have typically taken two to three taught modules per year, with completion of eight modules in three to four years. Allowing an extra year for the industrial project, the expectation is that you will complete the programme within four to five years.

* You can begin this course at various points throughout the year, dependent on when modules are scheduled.


Modules shown are for the current academic year, and are subject to change depending on your year of entry.


Postgraduate Certificate

Core modules

  • Mathematics and MATLAB
  • Chemical Engineering Principles or Instrumentation and Measurement

Optional modules

You choose two optional modules from below.

  • Advanced Process Automation
  • Advanced Process Control
  • Batch Processing and Automation
  • Classical Control Systems Design
  • Control Schemes and Strategy
  • Control Systems Technology
  • Dynamics and Control of Distillation Columns
  • Fuzzy, Neural and Expert Systems
  • Management of Automation Projects
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Modern Control Systems Design
  • Optimisation and Scheduling
  • Process Analytical Technology

Postgraduate Diploma

You choose four optional modules from the Postgraduate Certificate list from the previous tab.

MSc (industrial project)

The industrial project is the culmination of the programme. It represents a major piece of design, development or research work done in-company.

Your project will be supervised jointly by Imperial and the company where you are based. The expectation is that it will take a total of 780 hours to complete, equivalent to four months' full-time work plus time to write the dissertation.

Teaching and assessment


  • Computer-based work
  • Group work
  • Independent Research Project
  • Laboratory work
  • Lectures
  • Seminars


  • Coursework
  • Examination
  • Practical

Course timetable

You will receive your course timetable by the beginning of your studies and the core teaching hours for the College are 9am–6pm.

Tuition fees and funding

The level of tuition fees you pay is based on your fee status, which we assess based on UK government legislation.

For more information on the funding opportunities that are available, please visit our Fees and Funding website.

Tuition fees

Tuition fees (Home and EU students)

2017 entry
PG Certificate (comprised of four modules) £2,450
per module
Postgraduate Diploma (comprised of four modules) £2,450
per module
MSc (industrial project) £4,900

Tuition fees (Islands and Overseas students)

2017 entry
PG Certificate (comprised of four modules) £2,900
per module
Postgraduate Diploma (comprised of four modules) £2,900
per module
MSc (industrial project) £5,800

Postgraduate Master's loan

If you are a Home or EU student who meets certain criteria, you may be able to apply for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan of up to £10,000 from the UK government. The loan is not means-tested, and you can choose whether to put it towards your tuition fees or living costs.


We offer a range of scholarships for postgraduate students to support you through your studies. Try our scholarships search tool to see what you might be eligible for.

There are a number of external organisations also offer awards for Imperial students, find out more about non-Imperial scholarships.

Accommodation and living costs

Living costs, including accommodation, are not included in your tuition fees.

You can compare costs across our different accommodation options on our Accommodation website.

A rough guide to what you might expect to spend to live in reasonable comfort in London is available on our Fees and Funding website.


We welcome students from all over the world and consider all applicants on an individual basis.

For advice on the requirements for the qualifications listed here please contact the Department (details at the bottom of this page).

We also accept a wide range of international qualifications. If the requirements for your qualifications are not listed here, please see our academic requirements by country page for guidance on which qualifications we accept.

Please note: ATAS is required for the MSc award within Process Automation, Instrumentation and Control, but not the PG Cert and Dip awards.


Minimum academic requirement

2.1 Honours degree in science or engineering and at least one year of current industrial experience.

International qualifications

The academic requirement above is for applicants who hold or who are working towards a UK qualification. 

We also accept a wide variety of international qualifications. For guidance see our Country Index though please note that the standards listed here are the minimum for entry to the College.

If you have any questions about admissions and the standard required for the qualification you hold or are currently studying then please contact the relevant admissions team.

English language requirement (all applicants)

All candidates must demonstrate a minimum level of English language proficiency for admission to the College.

For admission to this course, you must achieve the standard College requirement in the appropriate English language qualification. For details of the minimum grades required to achieve this requirement, please see the English language requirements for postgraduate applicants.

How to apply

All applicants must apply online.

You can usually apply for up to two courses, although your second choice will only be considered if your first-choice application is unsuccessful.

Most courses don't have a formal closing date, but popular courses close when they are full, so you should apply early to avoid disappointment. There may also be funding deadlines that apply to you.

You will need to upload documents with your applications, which may include transcripts and degree certificates.

Offer holders will need to pay a deposit to secure your place. This will be deducted from the balance of your tuition fees.

For full details on the online application process, or to start your application, please visit the How to Apply section of our website.

ATAS certificate

An ATAS certificate is required for overseas students applying for this course. Your Tier 4 visa application, or extension of stay, will automatically be refused if you need an ATAS certificate and cannot provide one.

For further guidance on obtaining an ATAS certificate please see the information on our International Student Support team website.

Further information

Where it all begins video

Contact us

T: +44 (0)20 7594 6053

Imperial students

Applying for your visa

Visit the International Student Support website for information on applying for a visa.

Imperial students


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