Applications are now open for the September 2024 cohort. Expressions of interest should be submitted by the deadline of 24th June 2024, with full applications submitted by the deadline of 8th July 2024.

This course meets the requirements of the Level 7 Explosives Ordnance Engineering Master's Apprenticeship Standard. Eligible organisations will be able to use their Apprenticeship Levy to cover the cost of the course tuition fees. View Fees and Fundinginformation, or find out more about Master's Apprenticeships.

We see, hear and use thousands of explosives around the world every day, from the military and defence sector to mining and other industrial operations. This means the requirement for expertise in explosives and their engineering is crucial. 

The Explosives Ordnance MSc Apprenticeship will teach you the necessary understanding behind explosive engineering, munitions and target response and look to the future in explosives development. 

Apprenticeship MSc will be awarded on successful completion of several compulsory modules that total 200 credits. 

The course offers advanced academic background necessary for students to contribute effectively to technically demanding projects in the field of explosives and explosives ordnance engineering (EOE).


  • Start dateSeptember
  • DurationMSc Apprenticeship 3 years part-time
  • DeliveryCoursework, examination, and end point assessment
  • QualificationMSc
  • Study typePart-time
  • CampusCranfield University at Shrivenham

Who is it for?

This course has been designed specifically to provide an opportunity to a wide range of attendees, including military officers, defence industry staff, government servants and civilian students, to provide knowledge and transferable skills that will enhance employment potential in this field, problem solving, self-direction and informed communication skills.

Why this course?

This course specialises in explosive ordnance and engineering and is world class in teaching and research. We have a diverse student body drawn mainly from personnel linked to the military from numerous industries and institutions in the UK as well as overseas, providing a rich educational experience.

Students are introduced to up-to-date and current research, which enables them to obtain a critical awareness to problem solving and capability to evaluate best practice in the field of EOE.

Course details

Part 1 of the MSc course contains an introductory period followed by academic instruction, which is in modular form. Students take core modules covering the main disciplines. 

Course delivery

Coursework, examination, and end point assessment

Group project

To integrate module learning into an overall critical evaluation of new trends in EOE, students undertake a group project (see 'Future Developments: Scanning the Horizon of EOE module below), which considers current ‘Hot Topics in EOE’ - for example, nanotechnology, insensitive munitions, analysis and detection and environmental initiatives. The group project involves students working together to research these hot topics and to critically appraise the facts, principles, concepts, and theories relating to a specific area of EOE. They do this as a group and then individually prepare elements of a presentation that they feedback in groups to their peers in an open forum. The presentation is then graded from an individual and group perspective.  

The group project enables the students to work as a team, enhances their communication skills and encourages the ability to present scientific ideas in a clear and concise manner. It also gives the students an understanding of the procedures and challenges associated with peer review and grading, and prioritisation of presented work against a clear assessment framework.

Individual project

The aim of the End Point Assessment phase is to give students an opportunity to apply the skills, knowledge and understanding acquired on the taught phase of the course to a practical problem in EOE. The project is to be agreed with academic staff and the industry sponsor so solve real world problems.


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.

Introductory Studies

    The aim of Introductory Studies is to prepare students for their subsequent programme of study on the assessed modules. The module is designed to enable students to revise, consolidate and expand their skill and knowledge base so that they can derive maximum benefit from their course of study. It is an optional module and carries a formal credit rating of zero, although a student’s understanding of the materials covered may be tested as part of the assessment for subsequent course modules.
    • Chemistry,
    • IT, Computing Services and Library Briefing,
    • Materials and Materials Engineering,
    • Mathematics,
    • Physics,
    • Stress Analysis,
    • Study Skills.
Intended learning outcomes
On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
  • Demonstrate sufficient command of fundamental principles to be able to study successfully for subsequent modules.

Research Tools part 1 and 2


    Select appropriate tools to undertake research in EOE. To provide the tools to successfully undertake M-Level studies in EOE.


    This module will cover:

    • Scientific search techniques,
    • Critical evaluation,
    • Written and oral communication skills,
    • Experimental design for EOE related projects, including basic project planning skills resource management and statistical analysis and data display,
    • Health, safety and project ethics,
    • A selection of computer modelling programmes in EOE, e.g. blast, detonation, terminal ballistics and risk,
    • Positive and negative aspects of using computer codes versus laboratory experiments.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module you will be able to:

  • Critique scientific research by collating relevant information from a range of sources to address specific questions relating to EOE,
  • Critically evaluating EOE challenges with computer modelling tools by considering the advantages and disadvantages of their applicability,
  • Justify when to use computer modelling tools, experimental work or both to solve a problem or carry out research in EOE,
  • Select appropriate techniques and academic skills required to complete M-level study.

Introduction to Explosives Engineering


    To address knowledge gaps in military or industrial EOE capability by working in a team to design and conduct scientifically rigorous analytical procedures and present clear results of a particular EOE project.


    This module will cover:

    • Introduction to the module (1 day), regular updates with supervisors and relevant stakeholders,
    • Project selection based on group knowledge, skills and experience,
    • How to develop and set-up experimental equipment for laboratory or fieldwork,
    • Conducting analytical procedures and present clear results of a particular EOE project.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you will be able to:

  • Apply team member’s experiences to address EOE capability gaps and challenges,
  • Execute sound project management principles,
  • Critically analyse literature to identify gaps in military and industrial EOE capability and results of practical experiments,
  • Evaluate and communicate experimental results and conclusions orally and in writing.

Munitions and Target Response


    The aim of the module is to provide you with the skills and knowledge to analyse targets and defeat mechanisms.


     This module covers:

    • Introduction to warheads and ammunition,
    • Introduction to armour design,
    • Wound ballistics and human vulnerability,
    • Fragmentation theory and warheads,
    • Small arms and cannon ammunition,
    • Shell and projectile design,
    • Target penetration and shock events covering subsonic to hydrodynamic regimes,
    • Shaped charge and EFP warhead design,
    • KE ammunition and penetrator design,
    • Mine threat and damage mechanisms,
    • Complex armour, spacing, obliquity, disposition and failure mechanisms,
    • Characterisation and testing of materials for high strain rate loading,
    • Blast effects, blast-structure interactions including internal detonations,
    • Terminal ballistics demonstration.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you will be able to:

  • Appraise the characteristics of the target and mechanisms for defeat,
  • Establish the critical factors in munition design,
  • Evaluate the performance of munitions for target defeat,
  • Assess the design principles and critically review the efficiency of protective systems.

Delivery Systems

    To enable an understanding of the ways in which a lethality mechanism (warhead) may be delivered to a selected target.
    • Light and heavy guns, cannons and mortars and small arms; charge systems, external ballistics and relevant design features,
    • Torpedoes; underwater ballistics, underwater propulsion, guidance and control,
    • Detection: IR and optical sensing, radar systems,
    • Guided weapon design: Propulsion, aerodynamics, control, guidance.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you will be able to:

  • Establish the operational features and principles of a wide variety of ammunition, launch and carriage methods, underpinned by a detailed knowledge of the sub-systems and design methodologies,
  • Assess the external ballistics and flight dynamics associated with the various classes of munitions,
  • Review and conduct calculations related to the performance (i.e. range and velocity) of munition systems using informed aerodynamic, propulsion and mass data,
  • Evaluate the relevance and performance of sensor and guidance technologies.

Future Developments: Scanning the Horizon in EOE


    To provide a capstone module for the EOE MSc, by integrating the learning from the taught phase with a critical evaluation of new trends and technologies in EOE.

    • Part-time students should only undertake this module when they have completed 50% of the taught phase unless agreed with the EOE Course Director,
    • The group work consists of a mix of part-time and full-time students. It will be necessary for the groups to communicate regularly between each other and meet with the group supervisor at least 3 times during the year,
    • The launch of the module is one full day (see separate timetable for dates),
    • The assessments require one day in January for a poster session and two days in March/April for Oral vivas,
    • There will be additional tutorials throughput the academic year and all students should attend in their groups unless agreed with the Course Director,
    • Present scientific ideas in a clear and concise manner,
    • Evaluate the value of funding / non-funding of research,
    • Work effectively in teams and manage own time,
    • The compulsory taught modules from the EOE MSc,
    • Current ‘Hot Topics in EOE’, including, for example:
      • Nanotechnology,
      • Insensitive munitions,
      • Analysis and detection,
      • Environmental initiatives.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you will be able to:

  • Define the user requirements for a military capability.
  • Critically evaluate the key drivers and technologies that have historically influenced military capability,
  • Create an assessment rubric for peer review. Apply the rubric and justify feedback and mark scheme,
  • Convincingly debate future science and engineering solutions and evaluate them against changing requirements of EOE.

Safety Assurance in EOE


    To apply appropriate safety assurance for activities involving explosives and ordnance.

    • Introduction to key safety legislation and regulations,
    • Recognise the threats and failure modes of munitions,
    • Complete safety assessments that are in-line with real and theoretical scenarios,
    • Discuss and debate the complexity of safety protocols.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you will be able to:

  • Describe the evolution and importance of regulations and legal context for explosive safety,
  • Evaluate the body of evidence required to demonstrate a system is safe,
  • Discuss the key safety factors during the in-service phases of the CADMID cycle for a munition system and its components,
  • Produce safety advice for introducing a munition into service.

Testing and Evaluation of Explosives


    To furnish you with critical understanding and practical experience of testing methods, regimes and requirements for explosives and explosive articles.


    This module will cover:

    • Introduction to current safety testing regimes with examples of the required tests,
    • Discussions on the complexity of legislation applied to the testing protocol within the UK,
    • Practical demonstration of testing methods and analyse of the data obtained.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module you will be able to:

  • Identify key contents of UK MoD standards and associated test documentation relevant to the approval of explosives, and articles containing explosives,
  • Critique the main test methods to classify explosives performance (detonation velocity, pressure, critical diameter) and other properties of energetic materials,
  • Critically review the importance, relevance and limitations of different instrumentation techniques, and their selection and applicability to experimental research and test data gathering,
  • Interpret, draw and critically review conclusions from given experimental data.

Rocket Motors and Propellants


    To develop an understanding of the principles of rocket propulsion and of rocket propellant composition and performance.


    Rocket Propulsion:

    • Principles of reaction propulsion,
    • Fundamental principles of applied thermodynamics and gas dynamics,
    • Mach number, flow function, flow area relationship,
    • Convergent-divergent nozzles,
    • Definitions of propulsion performance criteria,
    • Internal ballistics of solid propellant rocket motors,
    • Charge design for particular applications,
    • Rocket motor components,
    • Thrust vector control methods,
    • Velocity and range equations for accelerating and cruising projectiles.


    • Principles of rocket propellant composition.
    • Properties and applications of cast and extruded double base propellants.
    • Properties and applications of rubbery composite propellants.
    • Properties and applications of liquid monopropellants and bipropellants.
    • New developments in propellant composition and formulation.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module you will be able to:

  • Apply the principles of thermodynamics and gas dynamics to rocket propulsion, demonstrating that a solid rocket motor is a self-regulating device.
  • Critically evaluate the principle of charge design applied to examples in the defence and commercial sectors.
  • Evaluate the design of a propellant formulation against the key user requirements of safety, performance and combustion signature.
  • Analyse the latest developments and drivers in the manufacture and design of future rocket propellant formulations.

Design for Vulnerability


    Extreme but credible accidents and enemy action (EA)2 can cause munitions to react violently, with potentially severe consequences for people, equipment and infrastructure. Using a common scientific framework and set of evidence, Insensitive Munitions (IM) Policy drives the design of safer munitions; Hazard Classification (HC) controls their storage and transport; and Explosive Risk assessment builds on these to manage residual risks.

    The aim of the Design for Vulnerability module is to explore the policies and processes used to manage the consequences of such EA2 events throughout the munition lifecycle; the science underpinning the response of energetic materials and weapons systems to these EA2 events; design principles to minimise the responses; and tools and techniques to manage these responses.

    Taking the IM and HC criteria as a starting point, this module describes the reaction mechanisms that can lead to violent reactions and associated experimental and modelling techniques; and develops the qualities needed for safe design through explosive and propellant formulation; warhead, rocket motor packaging design; together with threat hazard assessment to develop a risk-based approach to accidents or actionEA2, through an holistic approach to munitions safety balancing a sense of the possible against need.

    • Policy & Rationale for IM, HC & ERA,
    • EA2 threats and examples,
    • Theory & experimental methods for Shock initiation, cook-off and deflagration to detonation transition.
    • Advances in formulation and processing for EA2 - understand the pertinent issues facing the formulator when optimising for performance and safety.
    • EA2 design principles for warheads, rocket motors and pyrotechnic devices – energetic materials structural design, mitigation features.
    • Consideration of munitions safety as a through life and systems approach, including threat hazard analysis, consequence modelling, and a warfighter perspective of operational imperatives balanced against safety.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you will be able to:

  • Summarise the policy, strategy and operational context of EA2,
  • Evaluate the relationships between IM, HC & ERA and the scientific principles and mechanisms controlling the response of munitions to EA2,
  • Critique the state of the art and future direction of design solutions for EA2
  • Select tools and techniques available to evaluate, manage and mitigate the consequences of EA2.

You will be able to propose design approaches which may lead to safer munitions following consideration of life cycle threat and the practicalities of testing, whilst providing the user with an effective operational capability.

Explosives and the Environment


    To provide a comprehensive overview of the behaviour of explosives in the environment and their pollutant linkages.

    • The use of explosives in the environment,
    • The effects on the environment,
    • Environmental risk assessment of explosives,
    • Contaminated air, land and water,
    • Soil systems and sampling techniques,
    • Environmental issues through life of explosives.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you will be able to:

  • Explain the chemical and physical behavior of explosives in the environment,
  • Defend decisions made on environmental grounds that can be balanced with operational capabilities and cost effectiveness over the whole life cycle of a product/project (CADMID),
  • Evaluate potential pollutant linkages between explosive sources and environmental receptors,
  • Select appropriate mitigation, remediation and management solutions for explosives contamination.

Your career

Many of the students are linked to military employment and as such are sponsored through this route. Therefore, the majority of students continue to work for them on completion of the course. However, the course has the potential to take you on to enhanced career opportunities often at a more senior level across a range of roles corresponding with your experience.

How to apply

Next steps

If you would like to find out more general information about the course and your eligibility to attend the programme, if you'd like specific information on the course please contact the course director Professor Tracey Temple

For employer related enquiries, fees and funding, and the expression of interest/application process, please contact our Apprenticeships Team

Employers: Please complete our Expression of Interest form.
Prospective students: Please ask your employer to submit an Expression of Interest form to indicate their willingness to sponsor you.

Applications for apprenticeship routes have to come via the Expression of Interest form. Apprenticeship applications received via the application button on the non-apprenticeship pages will not be processed.

Under the Apprenticeship Levy scheme employers can fund apprenticeships for any new and current staff with the right to work in the UK and whose main place of work is England. This programme meets the requirements of the Level 7 Ordnance Munitions and Explosives (OME) Apprenticeship Degree. Eligible organisations will be able to use their Apprenticeship Levy to cover the cost of the programme. If you think you could qualify for sponsorship under this scheme please consult the information pages on becoming an Apprentice.