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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 dateOctober
  • 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 Sustainable Manufacturing


    To provide an introduction to manufacturing technology and materials. Introduce you to the key skills required to write proposals and understand how to prepare the costs. To familiarise students with teamworking, ethics and concepts. To develop your 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, health, safety and environment. Research techniques including writing proposals and resourcing.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module you should be able to:
1. Explain the need and commitment to address professional and ethical responsibilities and a respect for diversity.
2. Critically assess manufacturing technology examples; such as explaining how a part is made, what it is made from and compare properties of the manufacturing process.
3. Demonstrate how to work effectively as a member of a technical team.
4. Prepare a proposal, estimating the project costs and resources, taking into account commercial and industrial constraints.

Operations Management


    To introduce you to 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 you will be able to:

1. Assess the key capacity determinant in an operation, and carry out an analysis to develop the most appropriate approach in response to changes in demand.
2. Select and apply appropriate approaches and tools to determine standards and improve processes.
3. Determine the information needed to support businesses, in particular manufacturing operations.
4. Assess and select appropriate Just-in-Time (JIT) tools to improve operations.
5. 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 your 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. Improvement procedures. Design of experiments.
    • Lean Manufacturing elements such as Value Stream Mapping and Waste identification.
    • Analysis of systems. Systems thinking.
    • P-FMEA. Business process fundamentals and the process review.
    • Performance measurement. Responding to and improving reliability.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module you should be able to:

1. Combine tools for assessing, controlling and improving processes, and their strengths and limitations.
2. Analyse 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. Critically appraise unreliability and maintenance techniques.

General Management


    To give you 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 you will 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 within an engineering context.


Lean Product Development


    As a 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 you should be able to:

1. Assess the application of product development process in lean environment and addressing global collaboration.

2. Design a process of product development based on the principles of set-based concurrent engineering.

3. Formulate the process of selection of materials and manufacturing processes.

4. Appraise the application of tools and techniques to support product development such as QFD, DFM, DFA, and FMEA.

5. Create and manage product development knowledge to solving product design and development problems and to enable trade-off between design solutions.

Specialist Option Materials Process Engineering


    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


    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

Next steps

If you would like to find out more general information about the course and your eligibility to attend the programme, please arrange a one-to-one discussion with the course director before you make a formal application.

For employer related enquiries, fees and funding, and the expression of interest/application process, please contact our Apprenticeships Team: apprenticeships@cranfield.ac.uk

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.

Expression of Interest form