Automotive Systems Engineering MSc

Entry requirements:
2:1 +
1 year
3 years
Start date:
October 2018
UK/EU fees:
International fees:



Aeronautical and Manufacturing

The Times Good University Guide 2017


£17M STEMLab facility



Our Automotive Systems Engineering MSc programme aims to provide those of you with an interest in the automotive industry with knowledge and technical expertise in a wide range of automotive disciplines.

Our Automotive Systems Engineering MSc programme was created in partnership with companies such as the Ford Motor Company and Jaguar Land Rover.

We have a strong and growing research programme with world-class research activities and facilities. We have four major research groups working across the technologies of automotive and aeronautical engineering. Each group works on a variety of research topics, ranging from the development of new low emissions combustion systems for gas turbine engines, through to fundamental investigations into the operation of hydrogen powered fuel cells.

Our Automotive Systems Engineering MSc programme is accredited by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (towards Chartered status).

A key element of our Automotive Systems Engineering MSc programme is the opportunity for you to access the vehicle proving ground facilities at Horiba MIRA Ltd near Nuneaton. In addition, you will have use of MATLAB and Simulink software for technical computation.

What makes this programme different?

  • Created in partnership with companies such as the Ford Motor Company and Jaguar Land Rover
  • Accredited by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (towards Chartered status)

Who should study this programme?

Our Automotive Systems Engineering MSc programme is aimed at existing or prospective product development engineers.

Entry requirements

An honours degree (2:1 or above) or equivalent overseas qualification in a relevant engineering subject.

English Language requirements

All applicants for admission to Loughborough University must have a qualification in English Language before they can be admitted to any course or programme, whether their first language is English or not. Find out more.

IELTS: overall 6.5 with minimum 6.0 in each component.

What you'll study

Our Automotive Systems Engineering MSc is designed to provide a broad-based and sound education in advanced topics of relevance to automotive engineering via in-depth study.


Automotive Systems Engineering MSc covers a wide range of topics; to give you a taster we have expanded on some of the core modules affiliated with this programme and the specific assessment methods associated with each module.

Compulsory modules

MSc Project (60 credits)

The aim of this module is for the student to understand how to carry out a substantial research project within a systems engineering framework and to develop computer programming skills, communication skills, project time planning skills and awareness of the importance of engineering ethics to prepare the student to become a professional engineer.


  • Coursework (100%)

Optional modules

Autonomous Vehicle Systems (20 Credits)

Introduction of autonomous vehicle system


  • Control and optimization techniques
  • Path planning and collision avoidance
  • Path following
  • Sensor error modelling
  • Sensor fusion and Kalman filtering

Advanced topics/applications

  • Autonomous emergency braking
  • Moving object tracking
  • Rapid mapping


  • Coursework 100% Technical reports to be completed after the block taught period
  • Assignment one 50%: Data fusion of collected data from a test vehicle using Kalman filtering techniques
  • Assignment two 50%: an investigation of path planning and path following techniques

Body Engineering (20 Credits)

Vehicle Loading:

  • Design load cases (maximum braking, cornering and traction)
  • Lateral load transfer during cornering
  • Role of body compliance in lateral load transfer and vehicle handling
  • Suspension load calculations

Computational Continuum Mechanics:

  • Fundamentals of continuum mechanics
  • Plate and lamination theory
  • Linear elastic finite element method
  • Non-linear continuum mechanics
  • The time dimension
  • Fatigue
  • Fracture

Vehicle crashworthiness:

  • Traffic injury statistics
  • Physics of crash injury causation and biomechanical tolerance of humans to crash forces
  • Principles of Passive Safety (occupant protection)
  • General crash performance requirements for the car body structure. Structural crashworthiness for front and side impact
  • Integration of vehicle restraints and body structure for crashworthiness
  • Real world challenges for structural crashworthiness Assessments


  • Coursework 100%
  • Assignment one: 30% Technical report to be completed after the block taught period
  • Assignment two: 70% Technical report to be completed after the block taught period

Powertrain Calibration Optimisation (20 Credits)


  • Principles of modelling: requirements, form of models, fitting and diagnostic methods; use of computer tools; methods for selecting appropriate modelling techniques; properties of algorithms and techniques used for model creation
  • Design of experiments (DOE): statistical principles and methods including normal and Student's t distributions, analysis of variance (ANOVA); the methods, structure and progression of DOE; factorial, response surfaces and optimal methods


  • Formulation of the optimisation requirement; principles of optimisation; selection of techniques and application of diagnostics; optimisation in practice
  • Operating modes for engine and powertrain and the associated modelling and optimisation techniques


  • Overview of calibration tasks for both diesel and spark ignition including the application of DOE, modelling and optimisation methods; techniques used for in-vehicle optimisation
  • Application of optimisation to powertrain emissions including optimisation on the test bed and in the vehicle
  • Principles of diagnosis: methods and algorithms; use of embedded models; use of observers and Kalman-Bucy filters. Application of diagnosis methods to emissions controls systems and components
  • Emissions legislation (performance and diagnosis); the consequential demands placed on powertrain technical solutions; methods used to develop powertrain solutions from legislation


  • Coursework 100%
  • Coursework 70%: An investigation and evaluation of a calibration process to be applied to an engine in which certain specified improvements are required
  • Coursework 25%: The specification of an experimental and modelling strategy for a specified operational requirement
  • Coursework 5%: Pre-module assessment on Matlab prior to the block-taught module week

Sustainable Vehicle Powertrains (20 Credits)

Introduction to Advanced and Alternative Powertrain Technologies and future technology road map

Advanced combustion engines

  • Turbocharger: Fundamental theory and applications
  • Engine downsize: Performances and emission challenges
  • Advanced engine combustion technologies: HCCI, Miller cycle and other potential combustion concepts
  • Alternative transport fuels: Overview of the benefits and characteristics of alternative transport fuels
  • In-cylinder formation of pollutant emissions: Fundamentals of the in-cylinder formation of pollutant emissions from Gasoline and Diesel IC engines


  • Batteries: Basic electrochemistry, charging and discharging, battery management for vehicle applications
  • Electric Machines: Electromagnetism, electromotive force, back EMF, commutation, magnetic circuits and materials, conductors, principle sources of losses, motor types, emerging concepts, efficiency, operating characteristics
  • Fuel cells: Chemistry, systems, management
  • Hybrid and electric vehicle powertrain integration: architecture, optimisation, modelling case studies


  • Coursework 100%
  • Assignment one: 50% Technical report to be completed after the block taught period
  • Assignment two: 50% Technical report to be completed after the block taught period

Vehicle Aerodynamics (20 Credits)

Introduction to Vehicle Aerodynamics

  • Relevance, systems engineering approach in aerodynamic development process, basic concepts, sign conventions, basic vehicle characteristics, aerodynamic design philosophies, Influence of aerodynamics on vehicle performance. Legislative considerations
  • Origin of the aerodynamic forces: Pressure forces, skin friction, induced drag
  • General flow field around bluff bodies, front end flow, rear end flow, characterisics of basic vehicle geometries
  • Cooling heating and ventilation requirements, basic internal flows
  • Cooling system optimisation
  • Crosswind stability: Sources of instability, full scale and model test techniques
  • Surface contamination

Experimental techniques

  • Tunnel design, blockage correction, ground plane simulation, scale model testing 
  • Methods of measuring vehicle drag on a test track: Coast-down and steady state test techniques
  • Wind tunnel test methodologies, wind tunnel instrumentation, pressure measurements, hot wire anemometry, flow visualisation, PIV

Computational methods

  • Review of computational methods for vehicle aerodynamics
  • Governing equations, Numerical discretisation, Introduction to turbulence and turbulence modelling, Boundary Condition Selection 
  • CAD representation and grid generation, Post processing

Supporting fundamentals

  • Boundary layers and wakes, interpretation of aerodynamic data
  • Origin of the aerodynamic forces: Pressure forces, skin friction, induced drag


  • Coursework 100%
  • Assignment one: 50% Technical report to be completed after the block taught period
  • Assignment two: 50% Technical report to be completed after the block taught period

Vehicle and Powertrain Functional Performance (20 Credits)

Systems Engineering Overview

Introduction to Systems Engineering, contrast to component engineering, relevance to the modern automotive industry.

Vehicle Performance and Economy

Subjective and objective measures of vehicle performance, time to speed calculation - transmission efficiency, equivalent mass, launch from rest, wheel spin, gear change time, design of gear ratios, fuel maps, use of CVT, steady state fuel consumption, effect of engine type, simulation study in Simulink.

Transmission fundamentals

Drivetrain components; clutch, synchromesh, torque convertor.


  • Thermodynamics: gases and gas laws, thermodynamic processes in reciprocating IC engines, open and closed systems, engine cycles
  • Engine design and operating parameters, engine performance parameters
  • Combustion: fuel and chemical equations, combustion processes in SI engines, combustion processes in CI engines
  • Engine breathing and advanced valve-train-review of breathing theories, methods of characteristics
  • IC engines modelling techniques
  • Fundamentals of engine mechanics
  • Dynamometer measurements, engine dynamometers, chassis dynamometer

Supporting fundamentals

Review of Matrices, Laplace transforms, eigenvalues and eigenvectors.


  • Coursework assignment 1: 10% Group assignment carried out during the module week that includes a group presentation
  • Coursework assignment 2: 40% In depth technical report carried out after the block taught period
  • Coursework assignment 5: 50% In depth technical report carried out after the block taught period

Vehicle Dynamics (20 Credits)


Principles of the brush tyre model; the combined slip Pacejka Model.

Suspension and Steering

  • Roll centre location
  • Suspension derivatives (camber / scrub)
  • Forces and moments in the steering system, suspension jacking and anti-squat / anti-dive effects


  • Use of state-space for linear models
  • Steady-state cornering via the bicycle handling model
  • Understeer gradient, oversteer, critical speed
  • Development of a 6DOF nonlinear handling model in Matlab / Simulink comprising nonlinear tyre, lateral load transfer and roll moment distribution

Computer lab sessions

  • Ride modelling
  • Analysis of simulated open-loop handling response
  • Use of state feedback for longitudinal control

Vehicle testing at MIRA proving ground

  • Standard objective handling tests
  • Vehicle test specification and execution
  • Risk assessment
  • Data analysis


  • Coursework 100%
  • Assignment one: 50% Technical report to be completed after the block taught period
  • Assignment two: 50% Technical report to be completed after the block taught period

Vehicle Electrical Systems Integration (20 Credits)

Electrical Systems

  • Analysis of circuits
  • Basic design for electromagnetic compatibility
  • Introduction to vehicle electrical architecture
  • Introduction to application of power electronics
  • Controller Area Network (CAN bus)


  • Basic sensors
  • Principles and capability - GPS, IMU, Camera, Radar, Lidar
  • Risk assessment methods
  • Reliability assessment methods
  • Introduction to functional safety methods


  • Coursework 100%
  • Data collection and analysis from various sensors (60%)
  • Risk and Reliability modelling (40%)

How you'll study

Independent study
Group work
Practical sessions

Your personal and professional development

Our Department of Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering is committed to helping you develop the skills and attributes you need to progress successfully in your chosen career.

Future career prospects

Our graduates from Automotive Systems Engineering MSc work primarily in product design and development groups, and are sought after by a wide range of automotive companies. Students who wish to pursue other careers are well-equipped to work in a wide range of sectors within the vehicle industry.

Graduate destinations

Previous graduate destinations include:

  • Key Account Manager, BFCEC
  • Automotive Instructor, Bahrain Training Institute
  • Software Engineer, Changan UK R&D Center
  • Structural Dynamics Engineer, EADS Astrium (France)
  • Estimator, Galliford Try
  • Purchase Engineer, J J Electric Ltd (Thailand)
  • multiple job roles including Electrical Engineer, Chassis Electronics Intern, Automotive Engineer, Chassis Electronics Engineer, Electrical Systems Engineer, Electrical Engineer, Powertrain Specialist Engineer, Project Engineer, Vehicle Dynamics CAE Analyst, and Electrical Systems Engineer, Jaguar Land Rover
  • Graduate Production Engineering, Shell
  • Testing Engineer, TVS Motor company (India)

Your personal development

On successful completion of this programme, you should be able to:

  • communicate effectively
  • generate and analyse data to solve complex engineering problems
  • optimise use of resources and time in project planning and implementation
  • undertake technical roles in a team working the development of vehicle systems
  • learn independently and be familiar with how to access key information
  • sort, manipulate and present data in a way which facilitates effective analysis and decision making
  • critically appraise engineering problems.

Fees and funding


Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Special arrangements are made for payments by part-time students.

Our students