Systems Engineering MSc

Entry requirements:
2:1 +
1 year
Typically 3 years (up to 8 years)
Start date:
October 2018
UK/EU fees:
International fees:



of the 2013 Queens Anniversary Prize


Our Systems Engineering MSc programme has been designed in collaboration with industry to meet the challenge of interdependence between sophisticated engineered systems of all kinds.

Advanced modelling, simulation and interactive visualisation tools and techniques will enable you to gain greater understanding of the performance, behaviour and emergent properties of advanced technology and complex systems.

You will have the use of advanced visualization techniques to enhance models and simulations of real-world systems, including cockpit simulators to study pilot behaviour toward stress and the impact this has upon their mental agility.

Systems Engineering MSc programme emphasises model-based systems engineering, and is thus positioned at the cutting edge of academic and practitioner practice. To support this approach, you will gain an understanding and be encouraged to use appropriate systems-based computer tools across all modules. These range from the use of general tools and program environments such as those typified by spreadsheets, MATLAB, and LabView, to more specific software such as System Architect, SysML toolsets, and Triz (the latter is used in product innovation). The software tools are pre-loaded onto machines in specific laboratories which are accessible outside teaching hours. These laboratories are supported by the School IT team throughout normal working hours; and on-line support is available in generous time slots throughout other parts of the day.

World-class visualisation facilities and an interaction management wall (comprising six large, integrated monitors) are available should students become involved in research in those areas as part of their individual projects. These facilities are open during normal working hours only (for health and safety reasons).

Our academic team is internationally renowned for their research and industry influence, and bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to each module. Throughout the programme, you will also receive insights from guest lecturers and industry practitioners that provide a real-world perspective to your learning.

The programme is accredited by the Institute of Measurement and Control, the IET, and the Royal Aeronautical Society. There are also professional links to INCOSE-UK and the Object Management Group standards body.

What makes this programme different?

  • World-class visualisation facilities
  • Accredited by the Institute of Measurement and Control, the IET, and the Royal Aeronautical Society

Who should study this programme?

Our Systems Engineering MSc is aimed at engineers who have specialised in a traditional discipline but are now expected to understand, operate in, develop and integrate entire systems that are not only increasingly complex but rapidly changing.

Entry requirements

An honours degree (2:1 or above) or equivalent overseas qualification in any science, technology, engineering or mathematical 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.

IELTS: 6.5 with a minimum score of 6.0 in all elements.

What you'll study

Key study areas include systems thinking, systems architecture, systems design, verification and validation, and an individual project. You'll have the option to undertake modules in holistic engineering (industry-led module), modelling simulation and visualisation, sensors and actuators for control, imagineering technologies, engineering and management of capability, and understanding complexity.


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

Systems Thinking

The aims of this module are to provide a comprehensive introduction to the systems discipline from which participants will acquire the principles and concepts of systems thinking and will become aware of its broad application base. It includes, but is not limited to, the following topics: introduction to systems concepts and theory; Information modelling; interactive methods for eliciting ideas from users; systems behaviour; systems methodologies; modelling methods. Assessment is via coursework that investigates the behavior and use of deterministic chaos.

Systems Architecture

The aims of this module are to give students: (i) practical knowledge of systems from a model based and architectural viewpoint; (ii) an understanding of system and enterprise architecture frameworks; (iii) knowledge of and practice with software and systems modelling languages, methods, and commercially available tools; and (iv) an introduction to model driven architecture and analysis. The students will learn how to model the architecture of a system and use it to assess system functionality and performance. Assessment is via coursework, part of which is completed during the contact study week.

Individual Project

The aim of this module is to provide an in depth opportunity for independent study that is related to one or more elements of a systems-based intervention. The research methods to be employed will be governed by the complexity of the system under study and may be hardware or software based or neither; largely theoretical or strictly practical or a mixture of both. The project topic may be derived from a tutor list of research interests; from a specific interest of the student; or from an industrial need formulated by the student in collaboration with an industry partner and agreed with the Programme Director. The project commences with a short document submitted in December related to choice; a 3,000 word Interim Project Report is submitted at the end of January; and Full Report (30,000 words) and short Impact Statement is due in the middle of September.

Systems Design

The aims of this module are to give students: (i) practical knowledge of design and requirements engineering from a systems and model based viewpoint; (ii) an understanding of the relation between system design, system architecture, and verification and validation (V&V); (iii) an introduction to and practice with software and systems modelling languages, methods, and commercially available tools; and (iv) an introduction to system modelling and analysis in support of design. Students will learn a system design process aligned to ISO/IEC 15288 and to how model a system for system design and analysis. Assessment is via coursework, part of which is completed during the contact study week.

Optional modules

Sensors and Actuators for Control

The aims of this module are for the students to understand the options available and the issues related to selection of sensors and actuators for control systems. It includes the following topics: sensors (sensed quantities, sensor types, uses of sensors, dynamics of sensors, smart sensors, sensor fault detection); actuation (basic principles; use in hydraulic systems, pneumatic systems, and electrical systems, advanced materials, choice of actuation system, open and closed loop actuation, actuator fault tolerance); and system design of sensor/actuator /control systems. Assessment is via coursework applied to the use of sensors and actuators in control.

Imagineering Technologies

The aim of this module is for the students to understand the relationship between systems thinking, creative management, innovation and enterprise. The module is designed for students who are ready to start their own business. By preparing a business plan the students will gain a competency that can make a direct contribution to UK plc. It includes the following topics: creative thinking, intellectual property, idea generation, business planning, innovation (via Triz and SCAMPER). Assessment is via coursework that has two components: a (partial) business plan for a new product and/or service; and a report on the application of the imagineering technologies met during the study week.

Understanding Complexity

The aims of this module are to introduce students to the problems of complexity (optimisation, reliability, simulation) as the size of a system grows, and to introduce some of the methods used in addressing such problems. The module is designed for students to: simulate a range of complex systems numerically using a range of techniques; use tools such as MATLAB to undertake the analysis of some complex system; design and produce code to simulate a range of physical problems, and use a number of techniques for modelling complexity such as Neural Networks and Genetic Algorithms. Note that this module is the only one to be part-assessed by a written examination (50%), the remaining component of the assessment is a written report that applies the content to a real-world problem.

Modelling, Simulation and Visualisation

The aims of this module are to: i) provide an overview of the role of modelling, simulation and visualisation in engineering and manufacturing; ii) explore the scope for making assumptions and approximations in order to become aware of the limitations and utility of modelling and simulation; iii) explore different visualisation techniques in order to understand outputs from a simulation; iv) explore emergent behaviours that may arise in modelling and simulation; v) understand the importance of model verification and validation; and vi) gain some practical experience of modelling, simulation and visualisation through use of appropriate tools. The student will develop an appreciation of the methods/techniques for modelling and simulating a range of systems and processes. On the basis of their understanding they will be able to suggest ways to interpret the results from the simulation using a range of visualisation techniques. The student will also develop an understanding of the rationale behind the need to seek evidence to support any modelling/simulation activity rather than relying on calculated/computed results. Assessment is via a coursework that links theory and practice using a case study of the student’s own choice.

Engineering and Management of Capability

The aims of this module are: i) to give students an understanding of capability provision and the Systems of Systems concepts that underpin it; ii) to give students an understanding of the challenges of capability management and the business transformation they imply; and iii) through case studies and group project work, to give students insight into the Systems of Systems Engineering through which suppliers and users provide and support capability. This module explores the complicated nature of sophisticated technology within the social, political, and commercial environment to consider the practical aspects of managing large-scale, complex systems. There will be a capability scenario running through the module and a group case study project culminating in an assessed final day project presentation.

Validation and Verification

The aims of this module are to give students: (i) practical knowledge of verification and validation (V&V) for testing and acceptance of systems from a systems and model based viewpoint; (ii) understanding of the relation between design and V&V with the objective of concurrent V&V and design of robust systems; (iii) an introduction to hardware and software in the loop testing; and (iv) an introduction to and practice with software and systems modelling languages and methods using commercially available tools. Students will learn V&V procedures and tests aligned to ISO/IEC 15288 and IEEE 1516 from a systems and model based viewpoint and how to use V&V to influence system design and analysis. Assessment is via coursework, part of which is completed during the contact study week.

Holistic Engineering

The aim of this module is for students to understand the range of challenges thrown up by complex engineering projects and the techniques that can be applied to overcome them. Whilst the nature of the role of engineering has evolved markedly over recent decades, it is the ability to take that role's holistic perspective that the module aims to develop in the student. A range of case studies from the military aircraft domain provides the focus of the module, but the content, the systems approaches taken and the learning achieved are sufficiently transferable to other engineering domains and industrial sectors for any student to benefit from taking this module. The case studies from real programmes will be used to illuminate a range of critical topics including requirements definition, problem analysis, system architecture, the product lifecycle, engineering organisation design etc, which will then be subject to rigorous exploration in the theory and practical sessions. Assessment is via coursework that applies the full range of holistic engineering methods to a systems intervention of the student’s choice.

How you will be assessed

You will be assessed via a variety of different methods, including coursework, written reports and project presentations.

How you'll study

Independent study
Group work
Field trips

Your personal and professional development

The School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering is committed to helping you develop the skills and attributes you need to progress successfully in your chosen career.

Future career prospects

Graduates of Systems Engineering MSc will gain capabilities that are in global demand across a range of sectors and which can be applied to the challenges and issues posed by any complex system design and operation. Promotion within their company for sponsored students is common since the programme enables them to match higher job expectations and demands. Employed students often bring a work-relevant topic to their individual project giving the opportunity to display newly acquired skills.

Your personal development

The curriculum stimulates thinking and extends the capabilities of technical managers and engineers to handle complexity and remain effective in the workplace by providing:

  • An integrated systems engineering view of inter-related technologies, processes, tools, techniques and their effective use
  • Essential systems skills such as model-based systems architecture and design, against a background of the need for traceability in managing complex projects
  • Knowledge and technical expertise in a range of systems technologies
  • Experience of the importance to ultimate success of effective, integrated, multi-skilled project teams working in extended enterprises beyond the confines of any particular organisation
  • Increased depth of technical and management knowledge through elective modules

The ability to transfer systems skills and knowledge into the workplace through an individual project.

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

Caroline Flohill


Every professor/lecturer is at the forefront of their areas and ultimately drives Systems Engineering forward, which I find inspiring and exciting!