Process Automation


  • Entry Year 2023 or 2022
  • Duration Part time 2 Years


The significance of automation in the chemical and process industries has grown and continues to increase inexorably. That growth has been partly driven by developments in control and information technology with the control systems themselves having evolved in both flexibility and functionality. However, the primary driver has been economic, recognising that the technology can deliver substantive benefits in terms of operability, productivity, quality, reliability, safety, sustainability and viability.

Modern automation systems are complex and designing them, putting them together, getting them to work, operating and maintaining them is challenging. It requires a breadth and depth of knowledge across a range of disciplines involving a variety of theory and techniques, technology and practice, skills and knowhow.

This programme will develop your expertise in the design and development, application, operation and management of control and related systems. It is an exciting area to work in with no shortage of opportunities.

It can be taken as a Postgraduate Diploma or an MSc. We also offer an MSc degree apprenticeship where funding may be accessible through your employer’s Apprenticeship Levy.

Applicants should be employed in the chemicals/process sector of industry which will normally be either by an end-user (operating company), contractor (or systems integrator), or system supplier (vendor), with a job function in the area of instrumentation, control, and automation.


We offer a rolling programme of modules with various start dates throughout the year, which means you can enrol and start at any time.

For both the MSc and PGDip, you will select eight modules from the wide range offered. This flexibility allows you to tailor your studies to suit your interests, needs and background. Each module takes approximately three months to complete, consisting of a 1-week block of teaching followed by an assignment and an exam. Students will typically study two or three modules per year. There is a five-year time limit for completion of the MSc which includes the industrial project, and a four year limit for the PGDip.

Students enrolled on the Postgraduate Diploma may transfer to the MSc upon successful completion of four modules.

We place great emphasis on interactive learning, and you will learn from our academic experts and leading industrialists. We provide a balance of theory and practice, technology and techniques, information and understanding. Modules will typically include group discussions, demonstrations, presentations, problem-solving, case studies, practical work and simulation exercises.

The programme has previously been accredited by three professional bodies: IChemE, IET and InstMC. They have been approached about re-accreditation of the programme for further learning to Masters level at Lancaster.

Subject to the requirements of relevant experience and a position of responsibility, for those admitted with an accredited BEng degree, the award of the MSc degree should lead to Chartered Engineer (CEng) status.

Entry Requirements

Academic Requirements

2:2 Hons degree (UK or equivalent) in chemical or electrical engineering or in instrumentation and control.Otherwise, applicants with degrees in disciples such as mechanical engineering, physics or computing may be admitted, depending upon the emphasis of their degree course.

If you have studied outside of the UK, we would advise you to check our list of international qualifications before submitting your application.

Additional Requirements

Applicant should be employed in the chemicals/process sector of industry. which will normally be either by an end-user (operating company), contractor (or systems integrator) ) or system supplier (vendor), with a job function in the area of instrumentation, control and automation.

English Language Requirements

We may ask you to provide a recognised English language qualification, dependent upon your nationality and where you have studied previously.

We normally require an IELTS (Academic) Test with an overall score of at least 6.5, and a minimum of 6.0 in each element of the test. We also consider other English language qualifications.

If your score is below our requirements, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language programmes.

Contact: Admissions Team +44 (0) 1524 592032 or email

Course Structure

Detailed module information for this postgraduate programme will follow shortly. However, if you have any questions please contact the department.

Fees and Funding

We set our fees on an annual basis and the 2023/24 entry fees have not yet been set.

Scholarships and bursaries

At Lancaster, we believe that funding concerns should not stop any student with the talent to thrive.

We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to help cover the cost of tuition fees and/or living expenses.

Important Information

The information on this site relates primarily to 2022/2023 entry to the University and every effort has been taken to ensure the information is correct at the time of publication.

The University will use all reasonable effort to deliver the courses as described, but the University reserves the right to make changes to advertised courses. In exceptional circumstances that are beyond the University’s reasonable control (Force Majeure Events), we may need to amend the programmes and provision advertised. In this event, the University will take reasonable steps to minimise the disruption to your studies. If a course is withdrawn or if there are any fundamental changes to your course, we will give you reasonable notice and you will be entitled to request that you are considered for an alternative course or withdraw your application. You are advised to revisit our website for up-to-date course information before you submit your application.

More information on limits to the University’s liability can be found in our legal information.

Our Students’ Charter

We believe in the importance of a strong and productive partnership between our students and staff. In order to ensure your time at Lancaster is a positive experience we have worked with the Students’ Union to articulate this relationship and the standards to which the University and its students aspire. View our Charter and other policies.