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A pipeline to global success

24th October 2014

Northumbria University, Newcastle, and energy services company Penspen have been awarded the prestigious ‘Global Pipeline’ Award for an online Masters programme.

The award, which is judged and presented by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ‘recognises outstanding innovations and technological advances in the field of pipelines transportation’.

The MSc Pipeline Integrity Management programme is the first course of its kind and a market-leader. Developed by Penspen and validated by Northumbria, the programme is designed to respond to a shortage of skilled pipeline engineers in the oil industry by producing highly skilled and professional graduates qualified to ensure the continued safety of ageing oil pipelines.

The distance learning course enables students to benefit from the expertise of Penspen engineers while applying the theory and practice of pipeline integrity engineering in a work-based environment.

The programme demonstrates the strong links that Northumbria has developed within the industry and the university’s ongoing commitment to graduate employability.

Dr Rebecca Strachan, Associate Dean for Business and Engagement within the Engineering and Environment faculty said: “We are delighted that this innovative MSc programme has been recognised for this award. The programme is a brilliant example of a successful university - industry partnership to meet a specific sector need.”

There is a shortage of skilled pipeline engineers in the world today, together with an increasing need, as the pipelines continue to age, for pipeline engineers with specific skills in pipeline integrity.

Michelle Unger, Head of Learning Services at Penspen said, “This Masters programme is unique as all the tutors are experts from the pipeline industry and it is delivered totally via the internet. This award will help us expand around the world.”

Phil Hopkins, Penspen's Technical Director added: “I am delighted we have won The Global Pipeline award, and I was proud to accept the award on behalf of Penspen, in particular for Michelle Unger and her Learning Team in Newcastle, who designed and deliver the MSc. All of the staff involved with the course have worked hard, and thoroughly deserve this recognition.”

For more information about the MSc in Pipeline Integrity Management come to Northumbria University’s open day on Saturday. Visit

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