This course provides students with the latest knowledge and skills for metal Additive Manufacturing (AM) providing a great foundation for a future career. This includes AM processes and their capabilities, designing AM systems, qualification, modelling and materials. Practical experience will be gained through assignments and group and individual projects in close collaboration with leading industrial end-users.


  • Start dateFull-time: October. Part-time: throughout the year
  • DurationMSc: Full-time one year Part-time up to three years; PgDip: Full-time up to one year Part-time two years; PgCert: Full-time up to one year Part-time two years.
  • DeliveryTaught modules 40%, Group project 20% (dissertation for part-time students), Individual project 40%
  • QualificationMSc, PgDip, PgCert
  • Study typeFull-time / Part-time
  • CampusCranfield campus

Who is it for?

Cranfield University offers the MSc course in order to deliver graduates who are able to hold positions of significant engineering responsibility in the wide range of organisations using Metal Additive Manufacturing Technologies. This course provides students with the latest knowledge and skills for metal Additive Manufacturing (AM) providing a great foundation for a future career. This includes AM processes and their capabilities, designing AM systems, qualification, modelling and materials. Practical experience will be gained through assignments and group and individual projects in close collaboration with leading industrial end users.  The graduate will meet a major part of the requirements for membership of the appropriate professional organisations, and will have experience and skills in the management of research and development projects.

Why this course?

Cranfield University has over 20 years’ experience in large-scale AM of metallic structures on all fronts i.e. process design; incorporation of ancillary processes (cold work, metrology, inspection); development of specialist hardware and CAM software; qualification of material properties and definition of design and manufacturing rules. 

Our ever-growing materials portfolio features alloys such as titanium, aluminium, iron, nickel and copper-based systems as well as exotic elements such as tungsten, molybdenum, and tantalum.

Access is given to several state-of-the-art AM facilities including Wire + Arc AM systems (based on robotic arms), CNC gantries, laser-wire AM systems and powder-based systems.

Did you know we have the biggest metal 3D printer? 3D printing also known as additive manufacture (AM), enables the production of metal parts at significantly reduced time and cost when compared to existing methods. 

You will join a teaching and research team of approximately 30 people, and will have the chance to work on projects within the WAAMMat consortium. This currently includes 20 industry partners (including Airbus, BAE SYSTEMS, Lockheed Martin, etc).

More details here

The development of this new course has been co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme.

erasmus logo

Informed by Industry

This course has been designed in close collaboration with Cranfield’s industrial partners. They will continue to help to develop sponsored projects, as well as updating the content of the course in alignment with what’s needed by industry.

Course details

The course includes nine taught compulsory modules, which are generally delivered from October to March. Module titles include:

  • Additive Manufacturing System Design
  • Finite Element Analysis (theory and hands-on experience on FEA)
  • General Management
  • Management of Manufacturing Quality (defects, standards, procedures, statistical control)
  • Metal Additive Manufacturing Processes (an overview of the technologies used in metal AM)
  • Metal Additive Manufacturing Metallurgy (will provide an understanding of micro-structures and metallurgical characteristics of various alloy systems deposited by AM).
  • Net-shape Manufacturing (a closer look at the net-shape AM processes ,plus others)
  • Post-processing for AM (understanding and selecting the most appropriate post-processing techniques)

The modules include lectures and tutorials, and are assessed through practical work, written examinations, case studies, essays, presentations and tests. These provide the 'tools' required for the group and individual projects.

Course delivery

Taught modules 40%, Group project 20% (dissertation for part-time students), Individual project 40%

Group project

The group project experience is highly valued by both students and prospective employers. Teams of students work to solve an industrial problem. The project applies technical knowledge and provides training in teamwork and the opportunity to develop non-technical aspects of the taught programme. Part-time students can prepare a dissertation on an agreed topic in place of the group project.

Industrially orientated, our team projects have support from external organisations. As a result of external engagement, Cranfield students enjoy a higher degree of success when it comes to securing employment. Prospective employers value the student experience where team working to find solutions to industrially based problems are concerned.

Example of recent group projects from related courses include:

  • WAAM of 15-5 PH stainless steel using Plasma arc process
  • In-process cold-work of WAAMed aluminium to eliminate porosity
  • Laser Interferometric Technology to Monitor Additive Manufacturing

Individual project

Students select the individual project in consultation with the Course Director. The individual project provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to carry out independent research, think and work in an original way, contribute to knowledge and overcome genuine problems.

Example of recent individual thesis projects from related courses include:

  • Electrical property characterisation of copper and aluminium components made by additive manufacturing
  • Relationships between build rate and mechanical properties in Ti-6-Al-4V
  • Study of building horizontal and inclined walls using additive layer manufacture


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.

Metal Additive Manufacturing Processes

    The aim of this module is to cover the fundamental physics of heat-source - material interaction in additive manufacturing, to then introduce various AM techniques (selective laser melting, electron beam melting, wire arc AM, blown powder). The mechanisms of the individual techniques will be explored to include the benefits, challenges, limitations and suitability of each process. Practical examples will be used throughout to enable selection of a suitable process for a particular application.
    • ​Fundamentals of arc processing.
    • Fundamental of laser/beam processing.
    • Metal AM processes.
    • AM process selection.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:
1. Describe various heat sources and their interaction with different feedstocks.
2. Compare the different AM processes and describe machine architectures.
3. Evaluate the different AM processes for a specific application.
4. Appraise the benefits, challenges and limitations associated with the use of AM techniques.

Post Processing for Additive Manufacturing

    This module will enable you to understand, describe and evaluate the different post processing techniques currently used on AM parts and allow them to select the most appropriate one for a specific AM process and application. It will explore the underlying material science concepts for these processes.
    • Post-processing techniques.
    • Shot-peening.
    • Heat treatments.
    • Hot isostatic pressing.
    • Materials science.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:
1. ​​Evaluate the different post processing techniques used on AM parts, including those required for removal of support structures, improvement of surface characteristics and structural integrity.
2. Appraise the benefits and limitations of each post processing technique with respect to each AM process.
3. Propose the most suitable post processing technique for a specific AM process and application.
4. Assess the benefits of in-process cold work on the properties and microstructure of parts.​

Metal Additive Manufacturing Metallurgy

    The aim of this module is to provide you with an understanding of the microstructures and metallurgical characteristics of Additively Manufactured (AM) structures in a range of alloys, and how the metal and heat source interaction affects microstructure and strengthening behaviour of different alloys.
    • Mechanical properties of metals.
    • Dislocations and strengthening mechanisms.
    • Failure.
    • Grain structure and recrystallisation.
    • Phase Diagrams.
    • Phase transformations: Development of microstructure and alteration of mechanical properties.
    • Principles of metallographic examinations.
    • Steel/Stainless Steels/Nickel.
    • Aluminium, copper, and other non-ferrous alloys.
    • Titanium.
    • Heat treatments.
    • Dissimilar AM.
    • Corrosion.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you should be able to:
1. Analyse phase diagrams and continuous temperature transformation diagrams for a range of alloys to explain the microstructural changes that occur.
2. Relate material microstructure to mechanical performance.
3. Evaluate specific materials for different applications to ensure they meet the requirements of the design brief.
4. Relate the heat treatment to the microstructure, mechanical properties, residual stress and defects.
5. Compose procedures and methods for preventing formation of undesirable phases and defects for dissimilar metallic AM parts.

Management of Manufacturing Quality

    The aim of this module is to provide you with an understanding of the fundamentals of quality management related to additive manufacturing, welding, and other processes, including quality systems and non-destructive examination, and to provide you with the knowledge to manage health and safety in the work place.
    • Overview of standards and their function.
    • Introduction to quality assurance.
    • Quality control during manufacture.
    • Welder and operator qualification.
    • Introduction to Non-destructive examination (NDE) and types of defects.
    • Destructive testing methods.
    • Non-destructive testing methods (dye penetrant, magnetic particle, eddy current, acoustic emission, radiographic inspection, tomography, ultrasonic inspection).

Intended learning outcomes
On successful completion of this module you should be able to:
1. Appraise the standards and the relationship between standards and a particular application, to achieve the required quality.
2. Assess the different NDT techniques, explain the principles upon which they are based, and interpret their results.
3. Assess the probability of occurrence of the different defect types for a selection of materials and manufacturing techniques.
4. Manage workplace practices to ensure adequate health and safety.

Additive Manufacturing System Design


    This module will enable you to design their own additive manufacturing cell (including manipulation equipment, and sensing), or integrate an existing additive manufacturing machine in a broader production line. It also introduces you to experimental design and how to develop suitable parameters for part production.

    • Sensors for Additive manufacturing.
    • Manipulation.
    • Jigs and fixtures.
    • Cell design.
    • Project planning.
    • Factory layout.
    • Experimental design.
    • Part shielding.
    • Thermal management.
Intended learning outcomes

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

1. ​​Design and justify a programme of experiments for producing a simple structure and demonstrate the effect of the main input parameters, and analyse data produced from these experiments so that the relationship between process inputs and outputs is understood.

2. Plan an AM cell for manufacturing a specific AM part that includes selection of a robot, and methods to manipulate the part, fixturing and sensing of the part, equipment for loading and unloading, labour requirements and an estimation of the time to manufacture.

3. Calculate and justify the cost of a typical additive manufacturing operation including labour costs, overhead costs, and consumable costs.

4. Plan a factory layout that incorporates all required operations (feedstock storage, machine preparation, material preparation, AM cell and the finishing operations for the part).

5. Construct a project plan for the installation of the AM system.

Finite Element Analysis for Additive Manufacturing

    Provide both an introduction to the theory underpinning finite element analysis, and hands on experience using a well-established package named Abaqus, to understand finite element analysis in the context of metal additive manufacturing.
    • Introduction to finite element analysis.
      o Overview of the FEA method.
      o Concepts, procedure and terminology of FEA.
      o Advantages and general applications of FEA.
      o FEA in metal additive manufacturing.
    • Theory of FEA method.
      o Mathematical theory for obtaining approximate solution.
      o Finite element formulation for solid mechanics.
      o Finite element formulation for heat transfer.
    • Implementation of FEA.
      o Simplification and specification.
      o Solution techniques.
      o Assessment of results.
      o Mistakes, errors, accuracy and limitations.
    • Introduction to FEA software ABAQUS
      o Pre-processing.
      o Running job and troubleshooting.
      o Post-processing.
    • FEA of metal additive manufacturing.
      o Key phenomena and problems.
      o Thermal analysis.
      o Mechanical analysis.
    • o Other sophisticated aspects, e.g., molten pool fluid dynamics, solidification, grain growth, and solid state phase transformation.
    • Practice: modelling wire arc additive manufacturing of a small metal wall using ABAQUS.
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module you should be able to:
1. ​Describe and review finite element analysis (FEA) method and its applications.
2. Recognise and evaluate considerations for applying FEA to the modelling of metal additive manufacturing.
3. Identify the limitations associated with the use of FEA.
4. Demonstrate a FEA approach for solving a range of mechanical and thermal problems.
5. Use a FEA software package to obtain modelling results and critically assess the results.

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.


Teaching team

You will be taught by industry-active research academics from Cranfield with an established track record, supported by visiting lecturers from industry. The Course Director for this programme is Dr Yongle Sun and the Admissions Tutor for this programme is Surya Krishnaswamy.


The Metal Additive Manufacturing MSc is accredited by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) on behalf of the Engineering Council as meeting the requirements for further learning for registration as a Chartered Engineer (CEng).


Candidates must hold a CEng accredited BEng/BSc (Hons) undergraduate first degree to show that they have satisfied the educational base for CEng registration.


Please note accreditation applies to the MSc award, PgDip and PgCert (if offered) do not meet in full the further learning requirements for registration as a Chartered Engineer.

Your career

This qualification takes you on to a wide range of careers involving metal additive manufacturing processes, with experts needed in all fields from design, processes or simulation. Responsibilities include research, development, design, engineering, consultancy and management across a broad range of industrial sectors.

Cranfield Careers Service

Our Careers Service can help you find the job you want after leaving Cranfield. We will work with you to identify suitable opportunities and support you in the job application process for up to three years after graduation. Our strong reputation and links with potential employers provide you with outstanding opportunities to secure interesting jobs and develop successful careers.

How to apply

Applications need to be made online. Click the 'Apply now' button at the top of this page. 

Once you have set up an account you will be able to create, save and amend your application form before submitting it.