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Strengthen your engineering capabilities

The Manufacturing Technology and Management MSc addresses the knowledge, skills and behaviour requirements of the Materials Process Engineer degree apprenticeship standard (Level 7). The Materials Process Engineer programme has been developed specifically to meet the high demand for technical specialism, combined with commercial and problem-solving skills applicable to a variety of thermal process-related industries.


  • Start dateJanuary
  • Duration30 months part-time
  • DeliveryTaught modules 40%, Group project (as dissertation) 20%, Individual Project and End Point Assessment 40%.
  • QualificationMSc
  • Study typePart-time
  • CampusDependent on delivery mode

Who is it for?

The programme has been mapped against the Level 7 Materials Process Engineer Apprenticeship Standard and has been developed for companies who want a full offering that delivers against all aspects of the Standard.

Find out more on studying our Materials Process Engineer Mastership®.

Why choose Cranfield University as your apprenticeship provider

One of the most powerful ways you can generate value from your Apprenticeship Levy is to upskill your existing workforce. 

At Cranfield, we’re passionate about providing education tailored for industry. As one of the first universities in the UK to offer degree apprenticeships at master’s level, we understand what is needed to develop industry-led apprenticeship standards and have the expertise to deliver that training.

Cranfield's apprenticeship will provide a widening portfolio of master’s level apprenticeship training required by industry.

Qualifications underpinning the standard

Our Materials Process Engineer Specialist Apprenticeship is underpinned by our Manufacturing Technology and Management MSc.

Why this course?

The course is about developing, up-skilling and improving the retention of current engineers to become leaders and managers of the future. The programme is applicable across a broad range of industries (casting, coating, welding, brazing, heat treatment and surface treatment technologies) where safe, reliable and long-term stability of manufacturing operations is a key business driver.

We aim to enhance your skills, and address the need for highly trained individuals contributing to the safe, reliable and long-term stability of manufacturing operations. The skills gained in the course is expected to contribute to the achievement of competitive advantage for your organisation.

The course has been developed in collaboration with industry, trade bodies and associations and the Institute of Apprenticeships to meet the Level 7 Materials Process Engineer standard.

Benefits to your learners 

Your early career professionals will benefit from a postgraduate qualification and personal development opportunity with one of the UK’s top postgraduate universities, specialising in technology and management. The applied nature of the programme enables personalised, specific and organisationally aligned development. The programme enhances their capabilities and puts them on the path to Chartered Engineer status (not within the Apprenticeship Levy)

They will acquire skills in:

  • Risk and uncertainty management.
  • Identification of innovation opportunities.
  • Engineering and technology including operations and asset management.
  • Design and planning for through-life cost.
  • Methods of manufacture for cost reduction and process improvement.
  • New product development and manufacturing operations.
  • Solving industry problems to generate business benefit.

Course details

Our apprenticeship is delivered through a mix of blended learning and block delivery primarily at our Cranfield Campus in Bedfordshire. The duration of the apprenticeship is approximately 30 months, this includes seven modules, a group project, individual project and an End Point Assessment.

Assessment one: project report (8000 words, 20 min presentation and 40 min questioning)

This will assess the apprentice’s ability to generate a viable process improvement proposal, which focuses on technical elements that can yield efficiency/business improvements on an existing manufacturing method.

Assessment two: professional review (60 min)

This assessment will take the form of a professional discussion to draw out KSB’s, in particular behaviours, which would be less likely to occur in the project and presentation approaches of assessment one, but mirror those used in the day to day work environment.

Assessment three: Knowledge and Skills Test (60 min)

Compliments the other assessment methods and focuses on aspects of the standard not assessed elsewhere.

Apprentices will take their learning from the classroom into their organisation and apply their learning through workplace practice, evidencing their new-found knowledge, skills and behaviours as part of their portfolio of evidence.

Click here to download the timetable.

Course delivery

Taught modules 40%, Group project (as dissertation) 20%, Individual Project and End Point Assessment 40%.

Group project

The group project/dissertation gives the students the opportunity to take on responsibility to solve real-world problems and the opportunity to develop non-technical aspects of the taught programme. The project provides details of an investigative research theme on the subject of materials process engineering. The project reviews a wide range of literature to identify the state of the art and also conducts a survey to provide detailed insight into the problem to be resolved. Through a staged approach, the problem is defined and a potential solution path is mapped using the techniques taught in the core modules. This proposed problem definition and system map is then contrasted with the approaches adopted by the original development team and through the use of this case study approach apprentices can take their learning from the classroom through a “safe” environment into workplace practice.

Individual project

A key element of the programme is the project work undertaken which is industrially driven with students selecting a project with the agreement of their employer which allows for the opportunity to demonstrate independent research ability, the ability to think and work in an original way, contribute to knowledge and overcome genuine problems in manufacturing.


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.

Introduction to Manufacturing, Materials and Research Techniques

Module Leader
  • Dr Sue Impey

    To provide an introduction to manufacturing technology and materials. Introduce the key skills required to write proposals and understand how to prepare the costs. To familiarise students with the Cranfield University environment and procedures, meet fellow students and staff. To develop personal skills in management and team working.

    • Overview of the programme and course, project management, technical writing and communication presentations, environmental issues. Learning styles, group and team working and self-study.
    • Manufacturing technology, introduction to engineering materials life cycles, introduction to computing and library facilities, health, safety and environment. Research techniques including writing research proposals, research costs.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. State the course objectives and its teaching methods.
2. Identify any gaps in basic knowledge.
3. Demonstrate the use of the university’s library and computer systems.
4. Describe examples of manufacturing technology.
5. Demonstrate the skills required for team working.
6. Outline a research proposal and estimate the research project costs.

Operations Management


    To introduce core factors of managing operations.

    • An introduction to manufacturing and service activities
    • Capacity, demand and load; identifying key capacity determinant; order-size mix problem; coping with changes in demand
    • Standard times, and how to calculate them; process analysis and supporting tools; process simplification
    • What quality is; standards and frameworks; quality tools; quality in the supply chain
    • Scheduling rules; scheduling and nested set-ups
    • Roles of inventory; dependent and independent demand; Economic Order Quantity; uncertain demand; inventory management systems and measures
    • Information systems – at operational, managerial, and strategic levels; bills of material; MRP, MPRll and ERP systems
    • Ohno’s 7 wastes; Just-in-Time systems (including the Toyota Production System, and Kanbans)
    • Class discussion of cases, exercises, and videos to support this syllabus
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

1. Apply the ‘Framework for the Management of Operations’ to all operations, from pure service to pure manufacturing.
2. Identify the key capacity determinant in an operation, and carry out an analysis to develop the most appropriate approach in response to changes in demand.
3. Select and apply appropriate approaches and tools to determine standards and improve processes.
4. Determine the information needed to support businesses, in particular manufacturing operations.
5. Analyse problems rigorously to develop options, and select an appropriate option taking into consideration relevant factors such as risk, opportunities, cost, flexibility, and time to implement.
6. Select appropriate Just-in-Time (JIT) tools to improve operations.
7. Develop appropriate quality systems for the whole of their supply chain – from supplier, through operations to customers – and ensure these systems are sustained and a culture of continuous improvement prevails.

Operations Analysis


    To develop in students a rigorous and logical application of tools and techniques for the design and control of operational systems.

    • Six Sigma, Process capability, common and special cause variability, control charts, acceptance sampling.
    • Lean Manufacturing elements such as Value Stream Mapping and Waste identification.
    • Analysis of systems to produce simple models. IDEF0 and IDEF3 and their application. FMEA. Business process fundamentals and the process review. Improvement procedures, modelling methods and process models. Performance measurement. Responding to and improving reliability.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

1. Combine tools for assessing, controlling and improving processes, and their strengths and limitations.
2. Analyze the relationship between work-in-process, lead-time and output in a production system and the impact of variability.
3. Decide the appropriate Six Sigma, Statistical Process Control tools and techniques and lean manufacturing approaches for different manufacturing cases.
4. Develop a ‘systems view’ of manufacturing and servicing operations.
5. Integrate unreliabilityin maintenance techniques can be deployed.
6. Critically appraise appropriate performance measurement system deployment.

General Management


    To give an introduction to some of the key general management, personal management and project management skills needed to influence and implement change.

    • Management Accounting Principles and Systems;
    • Personal style and team contribution, interpersonal dynamics, leadership, human and cultural diversity;
    • Project Management: structure and tools for project management
    • Introduction to standards: awareness of standards, relevant standards (quality, environment and H&S), value of using standards, management of the standard and audit.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

1. Interpret and organize the objectives, principles, terminology, and systems of management accounting.
2. Assess the inter-relationships between functional responsibilities in a company.
3. Assess and select among the different management styles, team roles, different cultures, and how the management of human diversity can impact organisational performance.
4. Interpret and analyse the structure, aspects, and tools for project management.
5. Critically assess the ethical and social responsibilities and the need for compliance within an engineering context

Lean Product Development

Module Leader
  • Dr Ahmed Al-Ashaab

    As Master level course this module has to develop knowledge, critical scientific thinking and hands-on experiences for developing a product. A scholarly approach of product development, project management and evolution, as well as the use of the most suitable material and technology, are expected. Research appropriately into customer and market requirements and their analysis to translate the requirements into product specification.


    • Introduction to Product Development (PD)
    • Concurrent Engineering
    • PD Tools and Methods
    • Lean Product Development
    • Set-Based Concurrent Engineering (SBCE)
    • SBCE Industrial Case Studies
    • PD in Knowledge-based Environment
    • Trade-Off Curves to enable SBCE
    • Tutorial PD Project

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Demonstrate knowledge of the application of product development process in lean environment and addressing global collaboration.
2. Demonstrate knowledge of selection of materials and manufacturing processes.
3. Demonstrate knowledge of the application of tools and techniques to support product development such as QFD, DFM, DFA, FMEA.
4. Demonstrate skill of using CAD/CAE tools to support the development of a product.
5. Apply materials appropriately to product applications and manufacturing processes.
6. Demonstrate knowledge of considerations of sustainability issues in product development.

Specialist Option Materials Process Engineering

Module Leader
  • Dr Jeff Rao

    To provide an understanding of the role that surfaces play in materials behaviour; concentrating on multiple functionalities.( e.g mechanical, optical, biomedical, catalytic, electronic, and self-healing) of thin film and coating systems. To introduce the concepts of functional surface engineering and how they may be used to optimise a components performance. To introduce suitable analytical techniques used to evaluate and characterise surfaces and thin film samples.

    • Philosophy of functional surface engineering, general applications and requirements. 
    • Principles and design of coatings. 
    • Surface engineering as part of a manufacturing process. 
    • Integrating coating systems into the design process. 
    • Coating manufacturing processes; Electro deposition. Auto-catalytic deposition, physical and chemical vapour deposition, Ion-beam techniques, plasma spray deposition. 
    • Analytical Techniques: X-ray diffraction, TEM, SEM and EDX analysis, surface analysis by AES and XPS, overview of synchrotron-radiation based techniques for thin films. 
    • Data interpretation, process control and approaches to materials analysis. 
    • Coating systems for industrial applications, Multilayered coating architectures.
    • Applications of functional films in electronic, catalysis and biomedical applications.
Intended learning outcomes
On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
  • Demonstrate a practical understanding of the concepts of surface engineering as part of a manufacturing process.
  • Explain the principles of physical vapour deposition, chemical vapour deposition and other coating technologies and describe the relevance of the technology to industry.
  • Describe and critically appraise applications of coating technologies when fabricating coating designs.
  • Discuss the methodology and select appropriate analytical techniques to characterise the material microstructure of a coating and determine its likely performance.
  • Provide examples of functional coating systems and tools to evaluate their performance.

Optimisation of Manufacturing Operations

Module Leader
  • Dr David Rickerby

    This module will enable students to gain an understanding of the physical principles and operating characteristics of a selected manufacturing process and how data analytics, automation and process sensors can improve manufacturing operations. The module is also intended to develop students’ skills in communication, project management, and the implementation of process improvement techniques.

    • Fundamentals of manufacturing process automation
    • Sensors and data acquisition
    • Manufacturing process analysis
    • Principles of automation
    • Design and analysis of experiments
    • Evaluation and industrial implementation of research data
    • Economics of manufacturing process operations
    • Project Planning
Intended learning outcomes
On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
  • Appraise the different approaches for optimising the performance of manufacturing systems.
  • Design a programme of work directed towards optimising the performance of an existing manufacturing operation.
  • Make a proposal for enhancements to this manufacturing operation that offers improved performance with a reduction in overall cost of operation.
  • Construct a project plan for the installation of the improved system of work with associated cost benefit analysis.

Teaching team

You will be taught by industry-active research academics from Cranfield with an established track record in product-service and maintenance systems, and through-life capability management.

Rushabh promo

Studying at Cranfield gave me a lot of opportunities. The best example is the group project which probably wouldn't be possible at any other university. This allowed me to tackle industry problems. Cranfield is quite unique in this sense, having more industrial engagements.

Rushabh Shah, Development Engineer

How to apply

To apply for this course please use the online application form.