Diploma in Downstream Petroleum Operations (DDPO)

The DDPO programme is the first of its kind in Uganda. It demonstrates Downstream Petroleum Operations (DPO) – Processing, storage, transportation and marketing of crude petroleum and its products. This programme is intended to give learners a comprehensive understanding of the DPO and general knowledge of the entire Oil and Gas Value chain. The language of instruction for the Programme shall be English.

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2 Years


Kigumba   View map




Uganda’s Oil and Gas industry is moving fast, from exploration, development and the production, and now going to a value added phase of refining, petrochemical processing, storage and distribution chains.

This program sets out a range of measures to expand output of Institute- based training providers in order to maximize the number of Ugandans with the qualifications needed to secure the almost five thousand technician-level jobs predicted to be created over the next ten years.

The process requires a high focus on education and skills development as well as institutional capacity building setting out activities to expand technician-level provision to ensure that UPIK produces high quality and Industry-relevant graduates.

The program is meant to maximize the quantity and quality of employment opportunities for Ugandans in Oil, Gas and related sectors. This training program will serve as an introduction to the downstream petroleum industry and will greatly assist those who need to progress to a detailed knowledge of the Industry.

This training course is designed for both technical personnel as well as operational staff at professional levels employed in refineries, petrochemical and Oil and Gas process industries. The course is designed to be of substantial benefit to personnel within the Oil and Gas sector such as:

  1. Engineers: Process, Chemical, Mechanical and Electrical.
  2. Process Control Personnel and Technical Staff in the refining and petrochemicals industries.
  • Safety and Inspection personnel.
  1. Operations, Maintenance or Project Engineers.
  2. Anyone requiring a broad understanding of the structure, operations and economics of the Oil and Gas sector.

Objectives of the Programme

The main objective of the Diploma in Downstream Petroleum Operations (DDPO) is to equip trainees with expertise needed to solve problems in the downstream sector and provide practical skills that will enable them maintain a productive and safe work environment.

The programme will: –

  1. Prepare learners for a career in the downstream Oil and Gas industry: Petroleum treatment, Petroleum Refining, Petrochemical industry, Petroleum and Petroleum products handling.
  2. Introduce to learners the concepts and principles of Health, Safety, Security and Environmental conservation in the downstream Oil and Gas sector.
  • Provide students with a broad understanding of the Oil and Gas value chain in terms of technical services and socio-ethical issues relevant to the local and international downstream Oil and Gas industry.
  1. Expose learners to a wide range of practical skills relevant to the downstream Oil and Gas industry.
  2. Develop critical and analytical thinking abilities of learners.

Programme Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the DDPO Programme, the graduate will be able to:

  1. Get into employment in the Downstream Oil and Gas industry.
  2. Integrate concepts and principals of Health, Safety, Security and Environment conservation in the workplace.
  3. Recognise the elements of the Oil and Gas value chain.
  4. Apply the acquired knowledge and technical skills to sustain operations in the downstream sector.
  5. Demonstrate ability of maintenance and troubleshooting in downstream facilities.

Career path and Progression Modalities

This DDPO curriculum is aimed at producing Downstream Petroleum Technicians who are relevant to the petroleum industry and world of work. It is learner-centred and competence-based and emphasizes acquisition of skills by the learners through practical teaching and execution of projects.

Therefore, on successful completion of this program, candidates can progress to a Bachelors degree in the following related disciplines at Universities or other degree awarding Institutions.

  1. Chemical Engineering
  2. Process Engineering
  3. Refining Engineering
  4. Petrochemical Engineering
  5. Polymer Engineering
  6. Mechanical Engineering
  7. Piping Engineering
  8. Any other related programme

The qualification provides knowledge and practical skills which expose graduates to various employment opportunities not limited to the following:

  1. Refining industry
  2. Process and production industry
  3. Welding and fabrication industry
  4. Environment and waste management industry
  5. Private technical work
  6. Instructing
  7. Central and Local Government jobs etc.

Duration of the Programme

The DDPO shall be taught in two Academic Years (four semesters). Two Recess Terms will be utilized for Industrial Training also referred to as On-the-Job Training (OJT) in this document.

Each semester consists of 17 weeks comprising 15 weeks of teaching and continuous assessment and two weeks of summative assessment.  OJT is a core module carried out at the end of each academic year and lasts for at least 6 weeks.

The program shall be completed within a timeframe of two academic years from the time of registration.

Entry Requirements

Considering the technical nature of the programme, a candidate with a science background shall be eligible for admission on meeting any of the following minimum entry requirements:

Category A:   Direct Entry (A’ Level Entry)

The applicant shall have at least one Principal Passes in Chemistry and Mathematics. A subsidiary pass in, Physics, Biology, Technical Drawing or Economics is an added advantage. Furthermore, the candidate must also have five passes in English, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, and one other subject offered at O’ level in one sitting.

Category B: Certificate Entry

Applicants must have attained at least a credit Certificate or its equivalent from a recognised Institution in:

  1. Chemistry related programmes
  2. Electrical and Electronics
  • Machining and Fitting
  1. Plumbing
  2. Motor Vehicle Technician
  3. And any other relevant programme

Furthermore, the candidate must also have three passes in Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, at O’ level in one sitting.

Category C: Mature Age Entry Certificate Entry

Applicants must have passed a mature age entry examination in an Engineering discipline from Institutions mandated by NCHE with a score of at least 50%.

Application Procedures

Application to the DDPO programme is through:

  1. Joint Admissions Board,
  2. Directapplications to the Institute through the Academic Registrar’s Office.

Other Information

Mode of Instruction

The various course units in the programme shall be administered through a combination of approaches. Focus shall be given to strategies that encourage active participation of the learners and acquisition of practical skills.

The strategies shall include but are not limited to:

  1. Lectures
  2. Student research presentations
  3. Laboratory practical work
  4. Workshops and seminars
  5. Fieldwork
  6. Case studies
  7. Simulations
  8. Project work

Log Book

Learners shall maintain a Log Book to record details of all training activities carried out. This will provide evidence of learners’ coverage and understanding of the operations involved and steps required.  The Log Book can be used as a reference guide for Learners to assist them as they enter the workplace.

All Log Book entries shall be validated as an accurate account by a supervisor or an Assessor. Learners should be given guidance on the relevant information to record.  A typical log entry shall be brief (e.g. covering one or two pages) and contain the following:

  1. Date when task was carried out
  2. Description of plant or equipment being maintained
  3. List of tools and equipment used
  4. Description of the maintenance task and a breakdown of the sequence of specific tasks carried out
  5. Brief description of any faults or damage
  6. Actions taken to complete maintenance task e.g. replaced or repaired component
  7. Outcome of task e.g. plant or equipment reinstated or not
  8. An accompanying drawing or photograph where relevant
  9. Additional notes to reflect on lessons learned.

Weighting System

The instruction methods of a course unit involve classroom teaching, field visits, laboratory testing, tutorials, and practical work. Each course unit is weighted using the credit unit (CU). One credit unit is equivalent to 15 contact hours (CH). See calculation below:

TCHY:  Total Contact Hours per Year.

NWY:     Number of Weeks per Year.

CU:        Credit Units = (TCHY / NWY)

A contact hour can either be a teaching or classroom-learning hour (LH), tutorial hour (TH), field visit and assessment hour (FVAH) and/or practical hour (PH). A contact hour is equivalent to 1 classroom teaching hour, 2 tutorial hours or 2 practical hours /field visits.

Course units are weighted according to the number of Credit Units (CU) they carry, which   are   based   on   their   core   relevancy   in   the   trade   of specialization. One (1) CU contains a minimum of 15 contact hours.

Fees Structure


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