This module aims to consolidate and further develop systems skills through the application of systems engineering methods to a representative problem. Students will plan, design and build real systems, in order to gain practical experience and understanding of the impacts functional design, sub-system integration and through-life choices can have on projects.

This module is only offered as part of the Defence and Security (Technology) MSc.

At a glance

  • Dates
    • Please enquire for course dates
  • LocationCranfield campus

Course structure

Partly individual written assignment and partly group work. A 3500 words individual written assignment that will be a reflective piece on applying the systems engineering approach and system lifecycle in a practical example and on critically evaluating the impacts of decisions. The group multi part assessment consist of 1) a Group Portfolio worth 20% of the overall assessment that must record of the group activities throughout the week and capture the work, assumptions and any learning points and 2) a Group Presentation worth 10% that will provide a reflection on the activities undertaken in the module.

What you will learn

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:


  • interpret a systems problem and context;
  • explain the relationship between systems models and constructed system;
  • consider the external impacts upon a system performance and recognise constraints on systems design;
  • defend selection of methods used to solve problems associated with complex systems.


  • plan a logical systems engineering approach to a given problem and be able to evaluate the selection of methods, tools and processes;
  • apply systems engineering methods and techniques to a given problem in order to design and build a real system;
  • demonstrate the ability to work effectively as part of a systems engineering team;
  • critically evaluate the impacts of decisions on the performance and through-life management of a real system.

Core content

The course will cover the following topics:

  • application of systems engineering principles and methods on a representative problem in a group working scenario;
  • the week will comprise aspects across the lifecycle, such as problem scoping, requirements and V&V, system logical and physical design;
  • students will be expected to construct a real system and evaluate the impacts of their analysis and decisions;
  • through-life trade-offs and dependency considerations will drive system design;
  • the workshop will culminate in a final demonstration of the developed system;
  • practice in planning individual contributions and dividing effort amongst the members of a team working on a systems problem.

Read our Professional development (CPD) booking conditions.