Autonomous Vehicle Dynamics and Control MSc/PgCert/PgDip


MSc in Autonomous Vehicle Dynamics and Control MSc

The worldwide market for unmanned and autonomous vehicles is expanding rapidly. Autonomous airborne vehicles have numerous existing and potential applications including search and surveillance, mapping crop-spraying, environmental and weather monitoring. Autonomous ground vehicles have very diverse applications such as factory automation and mine clearance.

In light of this expanding industry, this unique MSc in Autonomous Vehicle Dynamics and Control will equip graduates and engineering professionals with the fundamental knowledge and enabling skills required to develop a successful career.

Course overview

The MSc in Autonomous Vehicle Dynamics and Control consists of two equally weighted components: taught modules and an individual research project.

Individual Project

Our industry partners sponsor individual research projects allowing you to choose a topic that is commercially relevant and current. Topics are chosen during the first teaching period in October and you begin work during the second half of the MSc course (May – August). The project allows you to delve deeper into an area of specific interest, taking the theory from the taught modules and joining with practical experience.

Projects encompass various aspects of operations, not only concerned with design but including payloads, civil applications, system, sensors and other feasibility studies industry wishes to explore.

For the duration of the project, each student is assigned both a university and industry supervisor. In recent years, students have been based at sponsor companies for sections of their research and have been given access to company software/facilities.


The taught course for the autonomous vehicles course consists of lectures in three areas: Dynamics, Control Systems, and Autonomous Systems and Technology. There are ten compulsory and eight optional modules.




Taught Modules (50%) and Individual Research Project (50%). The taught modules are assessed by a mixture of examinations and assignments.

Start date, duration and location

Start date: October

Duration: Full-time MSc - one year, Part-time MSc - up to three years, Full-time PgCert - one year, Part-time PgCert - two years, Full-time PgDip - one year, Part-time PgDip - two years

Teaching location: Cranfield


Cranfield University is unique in that it offers an MSc which covers a wide application within the autonomous vehicle industry. Achieving this highly sort after qualification with its strong industry links will enable you to differentiate yourself in todays competitive employment market.

This masters covers the fundamentals of autonomous vehicle design and control, whilst enabling you to specialise in appropriate subject areas via optional modules and an individual research project. This flexibility means that you may tailor the course to your own particular interests and career aspirations.

This course is also available on a part-time basis enabling you to combine studying with full-time employment. This is enhanced by a three-stage programme from a Postgraduate Certificate to Postgraduate Diploma through to an MSc. 

Cranfield is very well located for visiting part-time students from all over the world, and offers a range of library and support facilities to support your studies. This MSc programme benefits from a wide range of cultural backgrounds which significantly enhances the learning experience for both staff and students.

Informed by industry

The course is directed by an Industrial Advisory Board comprising senior industry professionals. This group meets twice a year and ensure that the course content equips students with the skills and knowledge required by their organisations. There are a number of opportunities for students to engage with these members throughout the year, building crucial rapport with future employers.

The Industry Advisory Board includes representatives from:

  • Selex ES
  • Astrium
  • BAE Systems
  • Leica Geosystems
  • MBDA
  • Autonomous Surface Vehicles (ASV)
  • European Aeronautics Defence and Space Company (EADS).

Your teaching team

You will be taught by Cranfield's experienced academic staff including:

  • Professor Antonios Tsourdos, Course Director, a specialist in path planning and trajectory management, mission planning and task allocation, integrated system health management and cyber-physical systems.
  • Dr Al Savvaris, whose research interests include UAV systems, flight simulation and flight control systems.
  • Professor Rafal Zbikowski, a specialist in bio-inspired approach to mitigation of the deluge of sensory data, verifiable autonomy for co-operating vehicles, integrated system health management and cyber-physical systems.
  • Dr Hyo-Sang Shin, whose interests include sensor based navigation and guidance.

Our staff are practitioners as well as tutors, with clients that include European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) Astrium, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), McLaren Electronic Systems, Selex ES and Autonomous Surface Vehicles (ASV) Unmanned Marine Systems. Our teaching team work closely with business and have academic and industrial experience. Knowledge gained working with our clients is continually fed back into the teaching programme, to ensure that you benefit from the very latest knowledge and techniques affecting industry. The course also includes visiting lecturers from industry who will relate the theory to current best practice.

Facilities and resources

Students on the Autonomous Vehicle Dynamics and Control masters, benefit from a wealth of University-wide and Departmental computational facilities. Industry sponsors on this course often provide specialised software and licenses for the students working on their research. This provides valuable experience on up-to-date software and increases employment prospects.

The Autonomous Vehicles Laboratory is equipped with a netted area for flight tests and a variety of sensors, used for testing in the areas of guidance, navigation, control and surveillance. You will have direct access to the facilities during your research project for testing and analysis.

Cranfield University offer a comprehensive library and information service, and are committed to meeting the needs of students, creating a comfortable environment with areas for individual and group work as well as silent study.

Experience and familiarity with using the more specialist industry resources will be recognised and valued by future employers. Developing skills to make the most of our rich information environment at Cranfield is not only important to you whilst you are studying, it is also vital for your future employability and career progression.

Entry Requirements

A first or second class UK Honours degree in engineering, or an equivalent degree in engineering, engineering science, physics, applied mathematics or other appropriate applied science.

Applicants who do not fulfil the standard entry requirements can apply for the Pre-Masters programme, successful completion of which will qualify them for entry to this course for a second year of study.

English Language

If you are an international student you will need to provide evidence that you have achieved a satisfactory test result in an English qualification. The minimum standard expected from a number of accepted courses are as follows:

IELTS - 6.5

TOEFL - 92 

Pearson PTE Academic - 65

Cambridge English Scale - 180

Cambridge English: Advanced - C

Cambridge English: Proficiency - C

In addition to these minimum scores you are also expected to achieve a balanced score across all elements of the test. We reserve the right to reject any test score if any one element of the test score is too low.

We can only accept tests taken within two years of your registration date (with the exception of Cambridge English tests which have no expiry date).

Students requiring a Tier 4 (General) visa must ensure they can meet the English language requirements set out by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and we recommend booking a IELTS for UKVI test.


Home EU Student Fees

MSc Full-time - £9,000

MSc Part-time - £9,000 *

PgDip Full-time - £7,200

PgDip Part-time - £7,200 *

PgCert Full-time - £3,600

PgCert Part-time - £3,600 *

Overseas Fees

MSc Full-time - £17,500

MSc Part-time - £17,500 *

PgDip Full-time - £14,000

PgDip Part-time - £14,000 *

PgCert Full-time - £7,000

PgCert Part-time - £7,000 *


Students will be offered the option of paying the full fee up front, or to pay in four equal instalments at six month intervals (i.e. the full fee to be paid over the first two years of their registration). 

Fee notes:

  • The fees outlined apply to all students whose initial date of registration falls on or between 1 August 2016 and 31 July 2017.
  • All students pay the tuition fee set by the University for the full duration of their registration period agreed at their initial registration.
  • A deposit may be payable, depending on your course.
  • Additional fees for extensions to the agreed registration period may be charged and can be found below.
  • Fee eligibility at the Home/EU rate is determined with reference to UK Government regulations. As a guiding principle, EU nationals (including UK) who are ordinarily resident in the EU pay Home/EU tuition fees, all other students (including those from the Channel Islands and Isle of Man) pay Overseas fees.


To help students in finding and securing appropriate funding we have created a funding finder where you can search for suitable sources of funding by filtering the results to suit your needs. 

Visit the funding finder.

Bursaries may be available, however please be aware that funding will, in most cases, only be discussed once you have secured a firm offer of a place on the course. Please contact the Enquiries Office for further details.

Cranfield Postgraduate Loan Scheme (CPLS)

The Cranfield Postgraduate Loan Scheme (CPLS) is a funding programme providing affordable tuition fee and maintenance loans for full-time UK/EU students studying technology-based MSc courses.

Conacyt (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia)

Cranfield offers competitive scholarships for Mexican students in conjunction with Conacyt (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia) in science, technology and engineering.

Application Process

Online application form. Applicants may be invited to attend for interview. Applicants based outside of the UK may be interviewed either by telephone or video conference.

Career opportunities

The industry-led education makes Cranfield graduates some of the most desirable all over the world for recruitment by companies competing in the autonomous vehicle market including:

  • BAE Systems
  • Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
  • Selex
  • MBDA 

Graduates from this course will be equipped with the advanced skills which could be applied to the security, defence, marine, environmental and aerospace industries. This approach offers you a wide range of career choices as an autonomous systems engineer, design engineer or in an operations role at graduation and in the future. Others decide to continue their education through PhD studies available within Cranfield University or abroad.

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