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Prepare for a successful mechanical engineering career

The Advanced Mechanical Engineering MSc is designed to prepare you for a successful mechanical engineering career leading large, complex projects. You will learn state of the art mechanical engineering methods, apply them to real world problems via industrially focused modules and research projects, whilst gaining the essential management skills to bring your ideas to life. Ranked in the UK top 5 for mechanical engineering, Cranfield offers a unique, postgraduate-only environment, with near-industrial scale engineering facilities and a teaching team with extensive experience of solving real world issues within industry.

Overview

  • Start dateFull-time: October. Part-time: October
  • DurationOne year full-time; two-three years part-time
  • DeliveryTaught modules 40%; Group Project 20%; Individual Research Project 40%
  • QualificationMSc, PgDip, PgCert
  • Study typeFull-time / Part-time
  • CampusCranfield campus

Who is it for?

This course is designed for engineering, physics or mathematics graduates who wish to develop a successful mechanical engineering career in industry, government or research. It will equip you with the advanced engineering and management skills demanded by leading global employers, including project management, design, computer-aided engineering, operation and optimisation of machinery, structural mechanics and integrity, and technology leadership. 

Your career

The Advanced Mechanical Engineering MSc is designed to provide you with the skills, knowledge and expertise required to develop a successful mechanical engineering career in the sector of your choice, including energy and power, aerospace, automotive and manufacturing. Our focus is on ensuring that you can make an impact from day one in your career. We do this by teaching you the state-of-the-art skills in mechanical engineering, enabling you to apply what you learn through industrially relevant group and individual research projects and equipping you with technology leadership skills. 
Graduates of this course have gone on to work in a range of roles, including:

  • Mechanical Design Engineer at Siemens,
  • Production Line Supervisor & Lean Implementer at GKN Land Systems,
  • Staff Engineer at BPP Technical Services Ltd working on offshore oil and gas engineering,
  • Engineer at Det Norske Veritas,
  • Management Associate at BMW Group UK Limited,
  • Project Engineer at BASF Coatings S.A.

Cranfield Careers Service
Cranfield’s Career Service is dedicated to helping you meet your career aspirations. You will be able to utilise career coaching and advice, CV development, interview practice, access to hundreds of available jobs via our Symplicity platform and opportunities to meet recruiting employers at our careers fairs. We will also work with you to identify suitable career paths and support you in the job application process for up to three years after graduation.

Why this course?

By combining advanced mechanical engineering topics, with a thorough underpinning in the management skills required to lead large, complex projects, this course will prepare you for a successful career.

  • Study at a top 5 ranked UK university for mechanical, aeronautical and manufacturing engineering,
  • Develop your technology leadership capabilities with the world renowned Cranfield School of Management,
  • Participate in individual and group projects focused on your personal interests and career aspirations,
  • Learn from lecturers with extensive, current experience of working with industry on solving real world mechanical engineering challenges,
  • Benefit from near-industrial scale facilities for project work in energy and power, aerospace, automotive, transport and manufacturing. 

Informed by Industry

The Advanced Mechanical Engineering MSc is closely aligned with industry to ensure that you are fully prepared for your career:

  • Cranfield’s long-standing strategic partnerships with prominent players in the energy and power, aerospace, automotive and manufacturing sectors ensure that the course content meets the current needs of global employers,
  • The teaching team are heavily involved in industrially funded research and development, enabling you to benefit from real-world case studies throughout the course,
  • Engineering modules cover the state-of-the-art in a range of topics including structural mechanics and integrity, design, computer-aided engineering, materials and corrosion, operation and optimisation of machinery, and project management,
  • A dedicated ‘Management for Technology’ module develops the essential management skills demanded by employers,
  • Student projects are often linked to the Department’s industrially-funded research – ensuring relevance to employers,
  • The course is accredited by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Course details

The taught element of the course comprises of eight modules and is delivered between October and February. 

Water course structure diagram

Five one-week modules, mostly delivered in the early part of the year, cover the fundamentals of Advanced Mechanical Engineering.  These are intensive weeks, consisting of all day teaching. During this period, there are some weeks without modules, which are largely free of structured teaching to allow time for more independent learning and reflection, completion of assignments or exam preparation.  

After the winter break there are three two-week modules that involve more active problem-based learning and typically include practical or laboratory sessions, case studies or group work.  These are an opportunity for you to apply and integrate your knowledge.  These modules are all assessed by assignments that are completed during the two-week period.  The focus on group work and application within these modules provides a valuable transition into the Group Project.

Course delivery

Taught modules 40%; Group Project 20%; Individual Research Project 40%

Group project

The group project, undertaken between February and April, enables you to apply the skills and knowledge developed during the taught modules. It provides you with direct experience of bringing knowledge to bear on an industrially relevant problem that requires a team-based multidisciplinary solution. You will develop a fundamental range of skills required to work in a team including team member roles and responsibilities, project management, delivering technical presentations and exploiting the variety of expertise of each individual member. Industry involvement is an integral component for the group project, to give you first-hand experience at working within real life challenging situations. 

In recognition of the fact that the modern design engineer cannot be divorced from the commercial world, you will provide a presentation and poster. This provides the opportunity to develop presentation skills and effectively handle questions about complex issues in a professional manner. All groups submit a written report and deliver a presentation to the industry partner.

Part-time students are encouraged to participate in a group project as it provides a wealth of learning opportunities. However, an option of an individual dissertation is available if agreed with the Course Director.

Recent group projects include:

Individual project

The aim of the individual research project, which takes place between May and August, is to provide you with direct experience in undertaking a research/development project in a relevant industrial or research area. It therefore offers the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills and focus your interests in a particular area of interest.  You will submit a research thesis and make a formal presentation of your findings to a panel of academics and industry experts.

For part-time students it is common that their research thesis is undertaken in collaboration with their place of work and supported by academic supervision.

Recent individual research projects include:

  • Comparison of a panel method and Reynolds averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) method to estimate the aerodynamic coefficients of a profile flying in ground effect,
  • The stress shielding effect of cracks in loaded components,
  • Review and modelling of heave and roll motion passive damping systems for offshore floating support structures for wind turbines.

Modules

Keeping our courses up-to-date and current requires constant innovation and change. The modules we offer reflect the needs of business and industry and the research interests of our staff and, as a result, may change or be withdrawn due to research developments, legislation changes or for a variety of other reasons. Changes may also be designed to improve the student learning experience or to respond to feedback from students, external examiners, accreditation bodies and industrial advisory panels.

To give you a taster, we have listed the compulsory and elective (where applicable) modules which are currently affiliated with this course. All modules are indicative only, and may be subject to change for your year of entry.


Course modules

Compulsory modules
All the modules in the following list need to be taken as part of this course

Fluid Mechanics and Loading

Module Leader
  • Dr Imma Bortone
Aim
    To provide a theoretical and applied understanding of fluid mechanics and fluid loading on structures.
Syllabus

    Principles of fluid dynamics:

    • Properties of fluids: Control volumes & fluid elements, Continuity, Momentum & Energy equations, stream function & velocity potential, Bernoulli’s equation.
    • Flow structures: Boundary layer theory, laminar & turbulent flow, steady & unsteady flow, flow breakdown & separations, vortex formation & stability
    • Lifting flows: Circulation theory, Prandtl’s lifting-line theory, sources of drag,  aerofoil characteristics
    • Fluid loading on horizontal and vertical axis turbines

    Dynamics of floating bodies: from simple hydrostatics to complex dynamic response in waves.

    • Hydrostatics of Floating Bodies; Buoyancy Forces and Stability, Initial stability, The wall sided formula and large angle stability, Stability losses, The Pressure Integration Technique
    • Fluid loading on offshore structures and Ocean Waves Theory: The Added Mass Concept, Froude Krylov Force, Linear wave theory, Wave loading (Diffraction Theory & Morison Equation),
    • Dynamics response of floating structures in waves: dynamic response analysis, application to floating bodies (buoys, semisub, TLP), effect of moorings.
Intended learning outcomes

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

  • Explain how the wind, waves and tides are formed, factors that influence their distribution & predictability;
  • Review the fundamental equations for fluid behaviour, characterisation of flow structures and forces and moments acting on lifting bodies;
  • Evaluate and select the most appropriate model to assess and undertake the simulation of a floating structure static and dynamic stability.

Risk and Reliability Engineering

Module Leader
  • Dr Mahmood Shafiee
Aim
    To introduce the principles of risk and reliability engineering and associated tools and methods to solve relevant engineering problems in industry.
Syllabus
    • Introduction and fundamentals of risk management and reliability engineering.
    • Failure distributions: how to analysis and interpret failure data, introduce the most commonly used discrete and continuous failure distributions (e.g. Poisson, Exponential, Weibull and Normal).
    • Risk management process: hazard identification, assessment, evaluation and mitigation (risk acceptance, reduction, ignorance, transfer).
    • Risk assessment techniques: risk matrix, Pareto analysis, fault tree analysis (FTA), event tree analysis (ETA), failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA), failure mode, effects and criticality analysis (FMECA), hazard and operability study (HAZOP).
    • Reliability and availability analysis: system duty cycle, breakdown/shudown, MTTF/MTBF/MTTR, survival, failure/hazard rate.
    • Reliability analysis techniques: reliability block diagram (RBD), minimal cut-set (MCS), series and parallel configurations, k-out-of-n systems, active and passive redundancies.  
    • Introduction to structural reliability analysis: stress strength interference and limit state function, first-order / second-order reliability method (FORM/SORM), Damage accumulation and modelling of time-dependent reliability.
    • Identification of the role of inspection and Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) in risk reduction and reliability improvement.
    • Introduction to maintainability and its various measures
    • Workshops and case studies: Work in groups to determine the risk and reliability of subsea production systems, power distribution networks, wind turbines, gas turbines, etc. 
Intended learning outcomes

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

  • Identify and analyse the concepts and principals of risk and reliability engineering and their potential applications to different engineering problems;
  • Assess and analyse appropriate approaches to the collection and interpretation of data in the application of risk and reliability engineering methods;
  • Evaluate and select appropriate techniques and tools for qualitative and quantitative risk analysis and reliability assessment;
  • Analyse and evaluate failure distributions, failure likelihood and potential consequences, and develop solutions for control/mitigation of risks.

Engineering Stress Analysis: Theory and Simulations

Module Leader
  • Dr Ali Mehmanparast
Aim
    This module brings together theoretical and computational stress analysis through Finite Element simulations, allowing students to appreciate how the two disciplines interact in practice and what their strengths and limitations are. The examination of Finite Element Analysis (FEA) for various practical applications (e.g. engineering components, composite structures, rotating disks, cracked geometries) in conjunction with relevant case studies will allow students to combine theoretical understanding with practical experience in order to develop their skills to model and analyse complex engineering problems.
Syllabus
    • Stress Analysis: Introduction to stress analysis of components and structures, Ductile and brittle materials, Tensile data analysis, Material properties, Isotropic/kinematic hardening, Dynamic strain aging, Complex stress and strain, Stress and strain transformation, Principal stresses, Maximum shear stress, Mohr’s circle, Constitutive stress-strain equations, Fracture and yield criteria, Constraint and triaxiality effects, Plane stress and plane strain conditions, Thin walled cylinder theory, Thick walled cylinder theory (Lame Equations), Compound cylinders, Plastic deformation of cylinders, Introduction to computational stress analysis.
    • Finite Element Analysis: Introduction to FEA, Types of elements, Integration points, Meshing, Mesh convergence, Visualisation, Results interpretation, Beam structures under static and dynamic loading, stress concentration in steel and composite plates, tubular assemblies, 2D and 3D modelling of solid structures, axisymmetry and symmetry boundary conditions, CS1: Stress and strain variation in a pressure vessel subjected to different loading conditions, CS2: Prediction and validation of the stress and strain fields ahead of the crack tip. (case studies are indicative).
Intended learning outcomes

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

  • Develop a strong foundation on stress analysis and demonstrate the ability to analyse a range of structural problems.
  • Explain the fundamentals of Finite Element Analysis, be able to evaluate methodologies applied to the analysis of structural members (beams, plates, shells, struts), and critically evaluate the applicability and limitations of the methods and the ability to make use of original thought and judgement when approaching structural analysis.
  • Provide an in-depth explanation of current practice through case studies of engineering problems.
  • Use the most widely applied commercial finite element software package (ABAQUS) and some of its advanced functionalities.
  • Evaluate the importance of mesh sensitivity in finite element simulations.


Computational Fluid Dynamics for Renewable Energy

Module Leader
  • Dr Patrick Verdin
Aim
    To introduce the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) techniques and tools for modelling, simulating and analysing practical engineering problems related to renewable energy, with hands on experience using commercial software packages used in industry.
Syllabus
  • Introduction to CFD & thermo-fluids: Introduction to the physics of thermo-fluids. Governing equations (continuity, momentum, energy and species conservation) and state of the art Computational Fluid Dynamics including modelling, grid generation, simulation, and high performance computing.  Case study of an Industrial problem and the physical processes where CFD can be used.
  • Computational Engineering Exercise: specification for a CFD simulation. Requirements for accurate analysis and validation for multi scale problems. Introduction to Turbulence & practical applications of Turbulence Models: Introduction to Turbulence and turbulent flows. Traditional turbulence modelling. 
  • Advanced Turbulence ModellingIntroduction to Reynolds-averaged Navier Stokes (RANS) simulations and large-eddy simulation (LES).
  • Practical sessions: Offshore renewable energy problems (flow around wind and tidal turbines) will be solved employing the widely-used industrial flow solver software FLUENT.  These practical sessions will cover the entire CFD process including grid generation, flow solver, analysis, validation and visualisation.
Intended learning outcomes

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

  • Assemble and evaluate the different components of the CFD process.
  • Explain the governing equations for fluid flows and how to solve them computationally.
  • Compare and contrast various methods for simulating turbulent flows applicable to civil and mechanical engineering, especially offshore renewable energy applications such as wind turbines and tidal turbines.
  • Set up simulations and evaluate a practical problem using a commercial CFD package.
  • Design CFD modelling studies of renewable energy devices.

Structural Integrity

Module Leader
  • Dr Ali Mehmanparast
Aim
    To provide an understanding of pertinent issues concerning the use of engineering materials and practical tools for solving structural integrity and structural fitness-for-service problems.
Syllabus
    • Introduction & Structural Design Philosophies
    • Fatigue Crack Initiation
    • Fracture Mechanics (1) – Derivation of G and K
    • Fracture Mechanics (2) – LEFM and EPFM
    • Fracture Mechanics (3) – Evaluation of Fracture Mechanics Parameters; K and J
    • Fracture Toughness Testing and Analysis; KIC and JIC
    • Creep Deformation and Crack Growth
    • Non Destructive Testing Methods
    • Inspection Reliability
    • Defect Assessment, Fatigue and Fracture Mechanics of Welded Components
    • Fracture of Composites
    • Corrosion Engineering
Intended learning outcomes

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

  • Assess fitness-for-service issues and propose appropriate structural integrity solutions.
  • Judge the current component life assessment procedures and distinguish their limitations in aspects of structural integrity.
  • Develop a critical and analytical approach towards the engineering aspects of structural integrity.
  • Be able to confidently assess the applicability of the tools of structural integrity to new problems and apply them appropriately.

Management for Technology

Aim
    The importance of technology leadership in driving the technical aspects of an organisations products, innovation, programmes, operations and strategy is paramount, especially in today’s turbulent commercial environment with its unprecedented pace of technological development. Demand for ever more complex products and services has become the norm.  The challenge for today’s manager is to deal with uncertainty, to allow technological innovation and change to flourish but also to remain within planned parameters of performance.  Many organisations engaged with technological innovation struggle to find engineers with the right skills.  Specifically, engineers have extensive subject/discipline knowledge but do not understand management processes in organisational context.  In addition, STEM graduates often lack interpersonal skills.
Syllabus
    • Engineers and Technologists in organisations: The role of organisations and the challenges facing engineers and technologies.
    • People management: Understanding you. Understanding other people. Working in teams. Dealing with conflicts.
    • The Business Environment: Understanding the business environment; identifying key trends and their implications for the organisation.
    • Strategy and Marketing: Developing effective strategies; Focusing on the customer; building competitive advantage; The role of strategic assets.
    • Finance: Profit and loss accounts. Balance sheets. Cash flow forecasting.Project appraisal.
    • New product development: Commercialising technology. Market drivers. Time to market. Focusing technology. Concerns.
    • Business game: Working in teams (companies), students will set up and run a technology company and make decisions on investment, R&D funding, operations, marketing and sales strategy.
    • Negotiation: Preparation for Negotiations. Negotiation process. Win-Win solutions.
    • Presentation skills: Understanding your audience. Focusing your message. Successful presentations. Getting your message across.
Intended learning outcomes

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

  • Recognise the importance of teamwork in the performance and success of organisations with particular reference to commercialising technological innovation.
  • Operate as an effective team member, recognising the contribution of individuals within the team, and capable of developing team working skills in themselves and others to improve the overall performance of a team.
  • Compare and evaluate the impact of the key functional areas (strategy, marketing and finance) on the commercial performance of an organisation, relevant to the manufacture of a product or provision of a technical service.
  • Design and deliver an effective presentation that justifies and supports any decisions or recommendations made
  • Argue and defend their judgements through constructive communication and negotiating skills.

Component Design

Module Leader
  • Paul Lighterness
Aim

    Specialised module to advance technical skills in industry prototyping design processes. This module will also introduce the facilities/workshops available at Cranfield.

Syllabus
    • Design thinking and creativity,
    • Collaborative Innovation,
    • Understanding the value and use of prototyping for innovation,
    • Introduction to technology readiness levels (TRL’s),
    • How to identify and write good requirement for design,
    • Hands-on use of professional CAD/CAE software,
    • Design skills workshops (sketching, CADCAE, mechatronics, 3D printing),
    • Knowledge of advanced materials and processes (smart materials, bio-inspiration, nano & micro technologies, additive manufacturing).
Intended learning outcomes

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

  • Identify, analyse and evaluate user needs and technical considerations to write good design requirements for a new product, service or system,
  • Critically evaluate and apply industrial best practice tools and techniques for converting an idea into commercially viable solutions,
  • Develop and build low fidelity proof-of-concept prototypes, using design best practice methods and agile innovation techniques,
  • Evaluate knowledge of advanced materials and processes appropriate for a new product, service or system,
  • Propose a viable Breakthrough Innovation proposition through the synthesis of best practice design methods and the application of advanced materials, processes and prototyping.

Applied Materials and Corrosion

Module Leader
  • Dr Joy Sumner
Aim

    To provide a knowledge and understanding of the corrosion processes that occur on structural materials and the impact on their mechanical performance.


Syllabus
    • Mechanical testing - in particular development of stress strain curves,
    • Corrosion monitoring:  using electro-chemical methodologies, and electron microscopy,
    • Corrosion Mechanisms: including effects of underlying material composition and processing,galvanic corrosion, pitting and crevice corrosion, mechanical interactions, microbial corrosion, corrosion of welds, stress corrosion cracking, hydrogen embrittlement and effects of H2S, High temperature corrosion,
    • Corrosion Control: Paints, cathodic protection, corrosion resistant alloys, corrosion monitoring, control by design.
Intended learning outcomes

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

  • Evaluate the impact of corrosion on the mechanical responses of structural materials and the impact of inhibition techniques on extending life,
  • Critically evaluate analysis and corrosion monitoring techniques to select appropriate methodologies,
  • Use an understanding of materials and processing to recommend alternative engineering solutions,
  • Discuss the role of codes and standards.

Teaching team

You will be taught by industry-active research academics from Cranfield with an established track record, supported by visiting lecturers from industry. To ensure the programme is aligned to industry needs, the course is directed by its own Industrial Advisory Committee.

Accreditation

This MSc degree is accredited by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE)

How to apply

Online application form. UK students are normally expected to attend an interview and financial support is best discussed at this time. Overseas and EU students may be interviewed by telephone.