This part-time course is undergoing approval to meet the requirements of the Level 7 Through-life Engineering Specialist Apprenticeship Standard. To find out more information for October start dates prior to final approval of the Standard please email

This course provides an essential foundation for future leaders in organisations who wish to optimise the value in-use and cost in-use for long-life engineering assets such as planes, trains, ships, vehicles, power-plants, machine tools, buildings etc.

Many of the premier UK industrial organisations are increasingly dependent upon Through-life Engineering Services (TES) to compete, gain market share, generate revenue and profit. This course offers through-life thinking to enable change leaders in organisations to embrace new and integrated approaches to develop superior through-life support capability to meet shareholder and stakeholder demands.


  • Start dateOctober 2018
  • DurationTwo-three years part-time
  • DeliveryTaught modules 40%, Group project (or dissertation) 20%, Individual project 40%
  • QualificationMSc
  • Study typeExecutive
  • CampusCranfield campus, Cranfield University at Shrivenham

Who is it for?

Developed by Cranfield University in conjunction with Rolls-Royce and Bombardier Transportation, this MSc has been designed for individuals at organisations where there is a growing emphasis on revenue being derived from providing the services that keep products operating effectively, rather than the design, manufacture and delivery of original equipment (hardware). The individual will be engaged in a discipline related to through-life management, support, asset management, and/or maintenance. The course is relevant to TES dependent organisations, engineers, business administrators, logistics, finance and commercial practitioners.

We aim to enhance your skills, and address the need for highly trained individuals involved in the support of complex equipment and systems. The skills gained in the course is expected to contribute to the achievement of competitive advantage for your organisation. The course is structured to allow maximum benefit from learning with minimum time away from the working environment.

Focused on educating leaders in the fields of through-life engineering services systems, design and planning, maintenance assessment and operations management, engineering and technology including condition-based maintenance and health management, standards and regulation, information technology, contracts and policy, life extension and obsolescence management, cost modelling and control.

Why this course?

There are two major themes within the Course:

  • The business context: this aims to define the business opportunity, capabilities required, plan the business change to move to TES, and analyse the provision vs consumption trade-off.
  • The execution activities: this focuses on the design and delivery of the processes and activities that make up the delivery and consumption of TES, and how to optimise the value proposition across the supply network.

The course ultimately aims to promote an integrated capability across these two themes in organisations in order to increase efficiency and competitiveness. There are additional benefits of the course:

  • A commercial approach to excellence: Organisations seek out streamlined processes to enable them to be more efficient, improve quality and be more cost effective. The Through-life System Sustainment course brings together expertise across several disciplines to inform industry and help organisations to stay ahead of their competitors.
  • Learning from the best academics and industrial practitioners: You will be taught by industry-active research academics with an established track record in product-service and maintenance systems, and through-life engineering services. Industry practitioners teach alongside academics with a view to provide real-life examples of solutions and challenges. .
  • Outstanding facilities: A vast range of specialist software applications are available for use, such as PLM, AnyLogic, Witness, SAP and CAD. There are also a number of physical facilities around degradation assessment, integrated vehicle health management, and autonomous maintenance.
  • Flexible study options: This course allows you to fit your studies around your existing life and work commitments so you can gain a postgraduate qualification while continuing your career. Projects can be undertaken with your organisation offering additional benefits to your employer.
  • Networking opportunities: Our considerable network of contacts – both in the organisations we work with and in the network you will be part of with your fellow students and as one of our alumni - gives you the opportunity to build useful connections.

Informed by Industry

Our courses are designed to meet the training needs of industry and have a strong input from experts in their sector. In particular the guidance provided by the TES Council (including organisations such as Rolls-Royce, MoD, BAE Systems, Babcock International and Leonardo) have been instrumental in making the course cutting edge. Students who have excelled have their performances recognised through course awards. The awards, presented on Graduation Day, are provided by high profile organisations and individuals, and are often sponsored by our industrial partners.


The MSc in Through-Life System Sustainment is subject to ratification by Institute of Engineering & Technology (IET), Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) & Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) on behalf of the Engineering Council as meeting for the requirements for Further Learning for registration as a Chartered Engineer following an accreditation assessment in March 2015.  Candidates must hold a CEng accredited BEng/BSc (Hons) undergraduate first degree to comply with full CEng registration requirements.

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

Course details

The MSc course comprises eight assessed modules (in the form of six assignments and two exams), in which students gain an understanding of world-class business practice, an industry led group and an individual project. Students are also supported through individual coaching and an online learning platform.

Group project

The group project gives a team of students the opportunity to take on responsibility for a consultancy type project working for an industrial sponsor. The group project is determined in collaboration with the sponsor organisation and will aim to solve real-world problems. Note: A dissertation can replace the group project.

Example titles:

• Analysis of Through-Life Engineering Services – Current Practice and Benchmarking
• Life cycle cost model of bearings as a generic commodity
• Feature deterioration mechanism knowledge base
• Using diagnostics and prognostics technology to reduce total through-life costs in complex system.

The title and abstract of a recent group project:

Title: Conceptualisation of Digital Twin in the Service Environment

The project details an investigative research project on the subject of the Digital Twin. The project reviews a wide range of literature to identify the state of the art and also conducts a survey to provide detailed insight. The concept of a Digital Twin is defined and a potential Digital Twin is mapped using systems engineering techniques. This definition and system map is then used to assess the potential benefits of the Digital Twin to an in-service product. The paper describes the development of a use case on an HP Turbine blade to demonstrate how the Digital Twin can improve decision making. The paper concludes with a Roadmap which defines the capabilities, requirements and benefits which will be necessary to develop a full scale Digital Twin.

Individual project

The individual project allows students to demonstrate their ability to think and work in an original way and overcome genuine real life challenges. Your sponsor nominates the topic - the individual project is conducted in the workplace.

Example titles:

  • Robust System Level Reliability Analysis and Risk Prioritisation Methodology.
  • Is Mission Profile a predictor of mission failures and subsequent spares demand
  • Intelligent maintenance workscopes for military gas turbine engines
  • Extension analysis of the Victoria Line rolling stock base maintenance interval
  • Analysis of corporate customer requirements
  • Investigation of root cause of no-fault-found unit removals in civil aviation, and the effectiveness of treatment options.


Taught modules 40%, Group project (or dissertation) 20%, Individual project 40%


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 modules and (where applicable) some elective modules affiliated with this programme which ran in the academic year 2018–2019. There is no guarantee that these modules will run for 2019 entry. All modules are subject to change depending on your year of entry.

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

Managing Assets and Value

    Develop a basic understanding of the key value drivers and performance levers to be considered in delivering through-life value from complex engineering systems. This will be achieved by reviewing emerging research and industry best practice in the field of system maintenance and through-life support, and applying the learning from specific case studies. The module will address business drivers and future trends to develop an understanding of operational methods, engineering challenges and basic tools to sustain “value in use” from operational assets. The overall course schema is appended to provide context.
    • Through-life value delivery and system thinking for a complex engineering system
    • Principles of managing system performance through life / holistic life cycle: maintenance, technology support, technology insertion, logistics, data and service network design and systems thinking
    • Introduction to the relationship between system performance and service capability (“through life capability management”): ensuring value in use through client focus and building relationships and consultancy skills for service and support
    Assessment of cost and effectiveness for reliability and maintainability , introduction to investment appraisal for system sustainment and performance assessment methodologies to design the support solution

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Identify the key through-life value drivers for a complex engineering system.
2. Demonstrate an understanding of the range of operational methods available for supporting equipment in service through life, and their relative advantages.
3. Demonstrate the basic understanding of system sustainment in the context of various sectors, and the business, operations and engineering challenges involved.
4. Demonstrate an understanding of the basic tools and methods for analysing and modelling the effectiveness of the system sustainment service or operation.
5. Identify the implications of various methods for implementation of a “system sustainment” service to maintain “value in use” from equipment.

System Effectiveness

Module Leader
  • Laura Lacey

    To examine the fundamental factors which influence the availability of complex engineering equipment, the cost of its through life support and its ultimate effectiveness throughout its service.

    • Availability, Effectiveness and User Requirements to deliver mission availability and mission reliability and the influences of maintenance and logistics on availability and system effectiveness.
    • The concept and definitions for system effectiveness.
    • Supportability Concepts and Logistics, their elements and interaction with A,R&M.
    • Definitions and measurement of logistics for supportability contracting strategies.
    • Quantitative Requirements, Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) logistic delay, Mean Time to Repair (MTTR) and impact on service provided.
    • Understand failure rate, hazard rate, failure distributions and failure avoidance including failure analysis in design and use of R&M predictions.
    • Integrated Logistic Support (ILS) and impact on system effectiveness and system sustainment through life including the design of the support solution.
    • Understand the philosophy, scope and capabilities of ILS and Logistics Support Analysis (LSA) and associated systems thinking.
    • A,R,M&S tools (e.g. FMECA and FTA techniques) and Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM).
    • Human Factors Integration (HFI) and impact on system effectiveness and system sustainment through life.
    • Testing and Evaluation and assurance of system effectiveness and sustainment for system operation and support.
    • Data collection and management/interpretation of data.

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Examine supportability concepts & logistics and how they contribute to system effectiveness and sustainment.
2. Examine supportability management & Integrated Logistic Support (ILS) (including programme management, risk management and capability integration).
3. Examine Availability, Reliability & Maintainability (A,R&M) and evaluate the influences on equipment availability and the particular influence of logistics.
4. Analyse the measures of A,R&M, how they are manipulated and applied and how their delivery can be assured.
5. Evaluate the A, R&M and Supportability (A,R,M&S) techniques used during concept, design, development, demonstration, production and trials. Examine evaluation, test and system effectiveness and its assurance
6. Examine the management issues for A,R&MS in providing operational availability at minimum Through Life Cost.

Leadership and Change Management

    To provide support solutions specialists with the leadership and operational skills required for designing, developing and delivering effective support solutions and Through Life Capability Management (TLCM).
    • Review leadership roles and responsibilities in TLCM and TLSS.
    • Values, attitudes and behaviours necessary for effective TLCM & TLSS.
    • Characteristics, scope, purpose and roles and responsibilities.
    • Service Value: Measurement of performance, critical success factors, cost elements, improving time scales, benchmarking, value for money and solutions development.
    • Service Skills: Tools & techniques for performance improvement, process re-engineering, situation analysis, problem analysis, problem-solving, decision-making, ‘Lean’ principles, Total Quality Management for project and programme management.
    • The role of psychometrics and use in leadership and management.
    • The service support skills of negotiation, consultancy, facilitation, coaching, communication, team working and leadership.
    • The role of ‘self’ in managing and leading change.
    • Resistance to change and sustainability of change – the role of cultures.
    • The diverse nature of organisations and how people, management and strategy are influenced by internal and external factors.
    • Change management including change in failure in service support and sustainment environments.
    • Pre-requisites for successful change.
    • Performance management approaches to drive successful implementation and change.

Intended learning outcomes

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

  1. Examine leadership attributes and behaviours in the delivery of through life capability and system sustainment.
  2. Evaluate the skills required for delivering service value.
  3. Evaluate the skills required for managing relationships and partnerships. 
  4. Examine the management of the skills and knowledge required for delivering successful Through Life System Sustainment (TLSS).
  5. Examine the leadership and skills required for change management in TLCM and TLSS. 
Examine best practice in delivery of successful system sustainment and the leadership and skills that have delivered success

Optimising Whole Life Cost and Performance Management

Module Leader
  • Professor Essam Shehab

    To provide an introduction to Cost Engineering principles, procedures and practices in industry that will contribute to the development of affordable products and services with the focus on life cycle costing.

    • Economic Through Life System development, why Cost Engineering (CE)
    • CE principles, cost estimation and modelling techniques, CE process, whole life costing, Integrated Logistic Support (ILS) costing, cost of hardware development and manufacture, cost of through life support
    • Dynamic cost modelling, Knowledge management for Cost Engineering, affordability engineering, risk analysis and uncertainty management, systems thinking for cost
    • Holistic life cycle related CE case studies for improved business intelligence: COST STUDIO® and other software tools

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Have knowledge and understanding of cost engineering principles.
2. Obtain the knowledge of cost estimating techniques.
3. Appreciate the proper process for cost estimation and analysis.
4. Have a knowledge about full product and system life cycle.
5. Understand the principles of life cycle costing.
6. Understand the principles of analysing risks and uncertainties in Cost Engineering.
7. Appreciate the cost estimation tools.
8. Appreciate how cost engineering is used in different application.
9. Appreciate how cost engineering is practiced within industry and measuring the success of through-life management.

Operational Availability and Risk


    To develop knowledge and understanding of analytical and modelling approaches that can be used to support the planning and management of the supply network.

    • Principles and concepts of risk and availability modelling
    • Supply network modelling frameworks
    • Concepts of probability and systems thinking for supply networks, and operational availability.
    • Information from data and statistics for supply network design
    • Formulation of resource allocation problems for delivery value.
    • Solve mathematical programming problems for through-life decisions using suitable software
    • Introduction to the ideas of continuous simulation including System Dynamics, Agent Based Modelling and Discrete event simulation

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Evaluate the issues involved in building availability and risk models of systems as a means of supporting the management of the service support and supply network.
2. Examine the underlying concepts of discrete and continuous simulation and mathematical programming and their application to the study of delivery for value, defining operational availability and system effectiveness.
3. Use "soft" methodologies in the problem formulation phase of a study and use modelling and simulation in design and in supply network planning.
4. Evaluate the issues arising during the collection, organisation and analysis of statistical data, in order to evaluate reliability and root causes.
5. Formulate a description of the supply network activities in the form of a conceptual model that can be used to capture common understanding, identify problematic areas and develop relative models of operational availability and risk.

Through Life Business Models and Requirements Management

Module Leader
  • Jeremy Smith

    To enable students to analyse critically the challenges and key issues for the efficient and effective delivery of Through Life Support solutions in different environments.

    • What Through Life Support (TLS) encapsulates: the elements of integrated logistics support; supportability analysis through life; and the dynamics of delivering efficient and effective support to fleets of complex, capital-intensive assets.
    • Logistics engineering and supply chain strategies, including the impact of technical innovations.
    • How TLS is delivered with organic and contracted support solutions bearing in mind holistic life cycles and the transition to operation.
    • ‘Design for ... (DFX) strategies’ and sustainable procurement and TLS.
    • Systems thinking for requirements engineering for through life support and sustainment.
    • Requirements capture and change management.
    • Contracted support solutions: commercial approaches and Public Sector approaches.
    • Case studies to illustrate governance, cultures and behaviours, enablers and blockers, performance management for system availability and cost effective support.
    • Measuring what matters: ensuring the right metrics for the delivery of effect and delivering an effective assurance process.
    • Data and information for asset management and engineering support.
    • Agreeing and implementing a common language for support: data and information standards, protocols and architectures.

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
  1. Utilise UK and international public and private sector experience and perspectives to identify the determinants of effective and efficient through life support.
  2. Evaluate support solution design and information requirements and the support landscape & requirements management for through life system sustainment.
  3. Critically analyse specific through life support solutions, value, identifying their key characteristics, strengths and weaknesses, incentive frameworks and assessing how they can be improved.
  4. Critique theoretical through life support good practice and real experience from commercial and international perspectives, and its relevance and applicability to different sectors.
  5. Demonstrate a conceptual understanding of the broad direction of academic research, and of the development of new approaches and processes, in the field of through life support and system sustainment.
  6. Deduce the most significant commercial and contracting issues for system sustainment and the delivery and management of best performance for support and sustainment through the lifecycle.

Information Management

Module Leader
  • Dr Christos Emmanouilidis

    The aim of this module is to provide fundamental concepts and working knowledge on information management techniques including data capture, data life cycle management, data value chains, data quality management, data analytics, information visualisation and data mining system design, development and application.

    • Data Quality and Management of Big Data
    • Data related Risks related to the Supply Chain
    • Data Management and Information Visualisation in Design, Manufacturing and Through Life support
    • Data Analytics
    • Service Data Management in Industry, Systems and Standards
    • The Use of Web 2.0 Technologies in Business
    • Data Mining (theory and hands-on)
    • Cloud Manufacturing
Intended learning outcomes 1. Demonstrate a systematic understanding of data and information management techniques (Big Data, Service Data).
2. Identify opportunities in a business where information management techniques can add value (Data and Business Value Chains, Business risks, Cyber security).
3. Demonstrate an understanding of Web 2.0 technology advantages and disadvantages for practical use.
4. Demonstrate the concepts of latest technologies in Information Management such as Data Analytics, Information Visualisation, Cloud Manufacturing and Internet of Things.
5. Ability to discuss the concepts of Data mining – includes hands-on training.

Diagnostics and Prognostics

Module Leader
  • Dr Zakwan Skaf

    To provide working knowledge on the design, development, implementation, and evaluation of Diagnostics, Prognostics and Health Management (PHM), Condition-Based Maintenance (CBM) technologies and maintenance management.

    • Introduction to the Diagnostics, PHM/CBM Design with emphasis on holistic life cycle design; Requirements, Metrics, and Cost Benefit; business intelligence, and system design for support solution
    • Systems thinking for FMECA and PHM/CBM modelling process; Fault Detection and Isolation Approaches; and wider reliability and maintainability management
    • Advanced R&D in PHM Algorithms; Dynamic Modelling and Simulation-Based Methods; PHM/CBM Reasoning Methods and Examples; Prognostic Algorithm Approaches and Examples in relation to the design of a support solution
    • Electronic/Software Systems PHM; Electronic Systems Diagnostic/Prognostic Examples
    • PHM Metrics and V&V Methods; Additional Case Studies, Lessons Learned, and Issues

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Demonstrate understanding of key concepts and techniques for maintenance planning, modelling and management, and prognostics and diagnostics.
2. Identify current Diagnostic and PHM/CBM technologies, their applications and challenges.
3. Analyse relevant performance metrics for failure mode detection, fault isolation, and prediction requirements.
4. Have working knowledge to make consequent maintenance plan for asset health.
5. Discuss how to conduct maintenance management using PHM/CBM technologies.

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. To ensure the programme is aligned to industry needs, the course has the support of a number of organisations in the through-life engineering services industry including Rolls-Royce. There are also industrial speakers from organisations such as: Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems, BABCOCK International, Xerox, MoD, and Bombardier.

Your career

Successful completion of this course takes you onto careers with higher levels of responsibility, a broader base of skills and capability and a greater level of professionalism.

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.

Jonathan Neal testimonial

The course is well structured, intense and enjoyable. Cranfield University academics are supported by industry experts and this mix of teaching styles works for me. In the day job it would take many years to gain the same depth and breadth of topic understanding that we will enjoy after our two years of study.

Jonathan Neal, Capability Development Manager, Engineering for Services