We offer a structured Master’s programme that will equip engineers and scientists with the fundamentals of sustainable chemical engineering. This programme focuses on the technologies associated with the green hydrogen and bioenergy industries, and it is structured to extend candidates’ knowledge and skills in various chemical engineering-related fields, to ultimately upskill engineers and scientists so that they might become valuable contributing engineers in the green chemical engineering space.

Download this document detailing the information for this programme, or read more on the page below.

Programme information

Who is the programme for?

The structured Master’s programme will equip engineers and scientists with the fundamentals of sustainable chemical engineering, with a focus on the technologies associated with the green hydrogen and bioenergy industries. The programme is structured to extend candidates’ knowledge and skills in a variety of chemical engineering related fields, including both technical content as well as training for engineering management. The course is focussed on green hydrogen and bioenergy technologies, but also covers skills in data science, project and engineering management, and project economics. The intent is to upskill engineers and scientists so that they might become valuable contributing engineers in the green chemical engineering space.

What are the admission requirements?

All applicants must meet the minimum admission requirements as detailed in section 3.6 in the Engineering Calendar, Part II. The minimum selection criteria for the Green Chemical Engineering focus area is an Engineering or Science honours undergraduate degree in a discipline related to chemical engineering (this includes all engineering fields, biological, chemical and physics science honours degrees. If you are unsure if your background is suitable, please feel free to contact us). All applicants who meet the criteria undergo a selection process and are approved by a departmental committee that considers applicants’ academic record as well as any relevant industry experience.

How is the programme structured?

Students register for 180 credits over the duration of the programme, including eight taught modules and one research project module. Each taught module is 15 credits, amounting to 150 notional hours of work. A typical module consists of two weeks of pre-reading, followed by a block week which may be attended online or on campus. The final part of each module is a six-week post-block period where students will work on assignments (collaboratively and individually). Most assessments take the form of an assignment and do not require students to be on campus.

The block week provides an opportunity for students to critically engage with their lecturers and peers on fundamental concepts as well as applied problems. Students are not required to attend the block week in person on Stellenbosch campus: it is offered in a hybrid mode, serving students attending in person or remotely. However, the block week is a synchronous session. Students are thus required to actively participate in real-time, whether on campus or online. As such, students will be required to attend the full block week during normal working hours; part-time students will likely have to apply for study leave to do so. This is opposed to the pre-reading and post block sessions, which are asynchronous: students engage with the content and work on assignments in their own time.

Lastly, students undertake a 60-credit research project (i.e., 600 notional hours of work) as the final step towards earning their degree. During this time, students will work on a complex, relevant problem in the field of green and sustainable chemical engineering. They are supported in their research through individualised supervision from experts in the field.

An outline of the programme and individual modules are provided below.

When do classes take place?

The exact schedule is subject to change from year to year. However, an overview of a typical programme is shown below, both for full-time students aiming to complete the degree in two years and part-time students extending their studies over three years.

What does the application process involve?

Candidates are required to complete and complete and submit an institutional application. Documents needed to submit your application includes your academic record(s) and degree certificate(s), a comprehensive curriculum vitae, and a motivation letter.

Under the motivation letter section, applicants are required to upload a motivation letter (limited to one page only, please) detailing all prior learning and/or industrial experience as it relates to the programme’s minimum admission requirements. Appropriate prior learning may include relevant undergraduate training, e.g. Chemical/Mechanical/Electrical Engineering degrees or short courses, or degrees in relevant scientific fields. Industrial or commercial experience in related fields will also be considered favourably.

The application process towards registration is as follows: 

  1. Application: Candidate applies for the programme via SUNStudent: https://student.sun.ac.za/signup/. Once the application is submitted, the Central Admissions Office reviews the application.
  2. Selection: After the programme’s application deadline, we’ll draw all reviewed applications from the system and the programme coordinators will review the applications according to the programme’s selection criteria. The list of candidates who meet the selection criteria will serve for approval at a departmental management meeting. All applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application.
  3. Admission: Successful candidates will receive conditional offers via the application portal, which they must accept, and thereafter another final offer will be issued that candidates must also accept.
  4. Registration: This will take place at the start of the new academic year towards the end of January when registration opens. Admitted candidates will receive communication in this regard.

Programme overview:

The programme overview for both full-time and part-time registering students are given below. Due to pre-requisite requirements, the module structure is fixed, and students will be required to enrol for the specific modules per academic year as indicated below.

The scheduling of the modules for the following academic year are subject to change (as decided by the host department) and communicated to students well in advance, allowing sufficient time to plan and manage schedules.

Note: This master’s degree is offered on NQF level 9 (180 credits). One credit represents 10 notional learning hours. “Notional learning hours” is the estimated time taken by the average student to achieve the specified outcomes of the module of programme.

Part-time students Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Full-time students
Year 1 Data Science Project Economics and Finance Year 1
Year 2 Research Development and expertise (RDE)* Bioenergy
Year 3 Advanced  Engineering Management Green Hydrogen Project Engineering Green Hydrogen Technologies Year 2
Research project

*Full-time enrolled students will register for RDE in the second year of registration.

For more information about this Structured Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering at SU, please contact:

Professor | Biofuels, bioreactors & waste beneficiation

Postgraduate & Research Manager

Detailed course outline

Data Science (Eng) 874
(15 Credits)

Data science is the application of computational, statistical, and machine-learning techniques to gain insight into real-world problems. The focus of this module is on the data science project life cycle, specifically to gain a clear understanding of the five steps in the data science process, namely obtain, scrub/wrangling, explore, model, and interpret.

Pre-requisites: Knowledge of an appropriate coding language (e.g. Python).

Advanced Topics in Engineering Management 873
(15 Credits)

The purpose of the module is to present principles of general management within the context of technical disciplines. The course themes include the business environment and strategic management on a firm level, touching on the role of innovation and technology for competitiveness on a systems level from international and national perspectives.

Project Economics and Finance 812
(15 Credits)

his module is offered by the Department of Civil Engineering in block format. The purpose of the module is to expose students to financial management and financing aspects of projects. At the end of the module, students should understand time value of money, financial statements of organisations, personal finance, and the concept of project finance as it relates to infrastructure projects.

Project Management 873
(15 Credits)

his course is designed to enhance your existing project management expertise by reemphasising best practices and accentuating the role of project management, along with the project manager’s position, within the context of project-based organisations. In addition, the course will delve into the role of the project leader within such settings, with the aim of not only facilitating successful projects, but also promoting the overall success of organisations through the proper application of project management principles and the successful delivery of projects

Green Hydrogen Technology 815
(15 Credits)

This module will introduce the fundamental concepts related to green hydrogen, for both technologists and policy makers. It begins with production of green energy, the conversion of electrons to hydrogen through several production technologies, the storage, transportation and handling of hydrogen, how hydrogen can be directly used or finally converted to other valuable products downstream.

Green Hydrogen Technology 815
(15 Credits)

This course focuses on the practical and commercial application of various technologies for biomass conversion into bioenergy. The production of first- and second-generation biofuels as well as other forms of renewable energy, such as electricity, will be covered. Specific topics include Sustainable supply of biomass for bioenergy production, electricity production from biomass, bio-ethanol production, including substrate preparation, microbial conversion and separations, thermo-chemical conversions, including combustion, gasification and pyrolysis, and the use of these for green electricity production, biogas production, for example from landfill sites, animal dung and waste-water treatment, and biodiesel production, including process basics, product purification and waste treatment.

Green Hydrogen Project Engineering 814
(15 Credits)

Understanding the principles and techniques applied in the definition of industrial and commercial projects for green hydrogen production, conversion, storage, handling and end-application, with consideration of the integration of technologies and supply chains in a manner that optimises the economic and environmental benefits. Topics include technical design and feasibility, economic assessment, environmental assessment and project selection.

Research project 872
(60 Credits)

Students apply methods and concepts developed throughout the course to investigate an industrial case study in the form of a short research project.

Research Development 811
(15 Credits)

The purpose of this module is to prepare students on the structured master’s programme for postgraduate research. Topics covered include critical interpretation and analysis of literature, compiling a literature review, ethics, academic communication, compiling a research proposal, and ultimately completing the research project. Fundamentals of statistics and more advanced statistical models for experimental design will also be taught. Students are expected to submit a research proposal for assessment and completion of the module.

Stellenbosch University reserves the right to change the degree structure, modules and their content, lecturers, fees, admission requirements, delivery mode, semesters in which modules are offered and related issues. Admission is subject to selection and the number of students per cohort is limited.