Taught course

Advanced Manufacturing Systems

Brunel University, London · Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering

Entry requirements

A UK first or second class Honours degree or equivalent internationally recognised qualification in an engineering, science or technology discipline. Other subjects with relevant work experience will be assessed on an individual basis. Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.

Months of entry


Course content

About the course

The Advanced Manufacturing Systems MSc course is designed to address the challenges of modern manufacturing and enterprise systems. It covers a breadth of subjects that enable candidates to appreciate and deal with complexities of modern industrial environments.

There are two locations for this course:

  • Brunel’s main campus in Uxbridge, West London, where the course is offered as a 1-year full-time, or 3-to-5 years distance learning programme.
  • Esslingen Technical Academy (TAE) in Baden-Württemberg, southern Germany, where the same curriculum is only available as a full-time programme.

The programme has been designed after extensive consultation with industry and is suitable for:

  • Recent engineering and technology graduates who have decided to move into manufacturing and related disciplines.
  • Established manufacturing engineers working in industry and faced with the challenge of new areas of responsibility.
  • Managers and designers working in manufacturing organisations who need to invest in their personal career development.
  • Professionals from engineering, technology or appropriate business backgrounds working in advisory, consultancy or research roles, who need to familiarise themselves with advanced manufacturing systems.


  • Demonstrate how the technological and human resources of manufacturing are organised to make products in the most competitive way.
  • Provide a thorough knowledge of the potential and limitations of new manufacturing technologies.
  • Illustrate the essential role of the human resource and its effective integration into the manufacturing system.
  • Give the sound theoretical underpinning necessary to exploit the potential of modern manufacturing systems.
  • Fit management and strategic theories into the realities of modern manufacturing by demonstrating a positive applications approach.
  • Encourage work on real industrial problems, giving confidence in the ideas underlying manufacturing and the practicalities of implementing these ideas.

If you choose to take the course in Esslingen, you benefit from proximity to southern Germany’s industrial heartland near Stuttgart – home to leading firms including Bosch, Porsche, Maybach and Daimler.

Since 2012 we have introduced new optional modules and a more flexible, industry-focused programme for MSc students in advanced manufacturing and enterprise engineering. You have the option to study on a full or part-time basis on our four MSc programmes, giving you a highly relevant and versatile degree that also improves your job prospects.

Course Content Modes of Study

1 Year Full-Time:

  • The taught element of the course (September to April) includes eight modules
  • delivery will be by a combination of lectures, tutorials and group/seminar work
  • a further four months (May to September) is spent undertaking the dissertation.

3-5 Years Distance Learning:

  • The distance learning programme is designed to enable you to conduct most of your studies at home, in your own time and at your own pace.
  • There is no requirement to attend lectures at Brunel University - instead, you follow a structured programme of self-study at home or at work. Students are supplied with a study pack in the form of text books and CD-ROMs which are supported by e-learning web based lecture materials.
  • You can take between three and five years to complete the course, it is entirely up to you how long you take but usually the minimum is three years, with students taking four modules in the first year, four modules in the second year and the dissertation in the third year. However, depending on your other commitments you can take longer up to a maximum of five years.

Compulsory modules

* indicates modules also delivered at TAE Esslingen

Systems Modelling and Simulation*: Main topics of study:

  • Principles of systems engineering; modelling and analysis of discrete systems.
  • Material flow systems (assembly lines, transfer lines, serial systems, shop scheduling, flexible manufacturing, group technology, facility layout).
  • Machine setup and operation sequence.
  • Material handling systems.
  • General modelling approaches (queuing models).
  • Process simulation and data analysis, enterprise operations.
  • Supply chain and logistics-reverse logistics modelling concepts.

Manufacturing Systems, Design and Economics*: This module looks at advanced aspects of:

  • Manufacturing Processes including description, analysis and classification of basic manufacturing processes; process capabilities, recent advances and developments, assembly systems, automation, robotics and CNC machines, CAD/CAM application.
  • Production Operations including Plant layout, Group Technology, Cellular Manufacturing and Flexible Manufacturing Systems. Lean manufacturing techniques, Kaizen, KANBAN, JIT, 5S, seven wastes, Poke Yoke, Value Chain, supply chain management and outsourcing and design reuse. Inventory control and MRP, and quality control.
  • Design for Manufacture and Process selection: including the relationship between design features and process capabilities, manufacturing system selection to produce a given design.
  • Economics for Manufacture: including Inventory Costing, Economic Order Quantities, Costing machine tool selection and cost of production strategy.

Sustainable Design and Manufacture*: Students will be taught methodologies for assessment sustainability of a product design, and methodologies for assessing the sustainability of manufacturing procedures and operations. The module has a practical orientation, and at the same time offers common analytical tools for assessment to be used in the design and manufacturing environment.

Advanced Manufacturing Measurement*: The module will provide an understanding and critical awareness to designing and controlling modern automated manufacturing systems, and employs a systems approach in doing so. The module provides an exposure to a variety of industrial and factory automation practices, and also an understanding in selecting appropriate automation and control methods for the equipment or process at hand. You will be able to:

  • Understand the criticality and importance of automation and robotics in the modern industrial environment, and will also understand the issues and differences in automation practices between discrete and process industries.
  • Apply current technical knowledge in, and operating a modern manufacturing system.
  • Critically analyse manufacturing systems and specify select suitable approaches for control, and to evaluate and justify an automated system.

Robotics and Manufacturing Automation*: The module aims at providing an understanding and critical awareness to designing and controlling modern automated manufacturing systems, and employs a systems approach in doing so. The module provides an exposure to a variety of industrial and factory automation practices, and also an understanding in selecting appropriate automation and control methods for the equipment or process at hand.

Computer Aided Engineering 1*: In this module students will be taught:

  • How to constitute entities of physical object, points, edges, surfaces and solids which are modelled for CAE, and the skills to implement them using a contemporary CAE software to create a computer model of a part, or assembly [Pro/Engineer, CATIA, Solidworks).
  • Theory and useful applications of computer models in mechanism synthesis and analysis, using contemporary CAE packages [MATLAB, SIMULINK].

Dissertation*: Following the taught part of the programme and reflecting individual interests, the dissertation is an in-depth study of a manufacturing problem or situation, requiring a high standard of investigation and presentation. The analysis of a ‘real’ problem is expected, frequently involving a company or workplace. Close liaison between you, the University, and the company is essential when selecting a topic which has a suitable academic content and an appropriate scope, relevance and timescale. Some students may wish their dissertations to be considered by the Chartered Engineering Institutions to satisfy requirements for corporate membership. In this case, a further set of criteria will have to be satisfied and you should contact the appropriate institute on the best way to proceed.

Optional modules (choose two modules)
Design of Mechatronics Systems (full-time students only): In this module the students will be taught how to:

  • integrate mechanical, electronic and control functions
  • critically analyse and use mechatronic design concepts
  • apply multiple discipline expertise in an integrating mechatronic process
  • use advanced software to simulate power electronic circuits (PSPICE).

Project Management: This module aims to give you a comprehensive understanding and critical awareness of the latest advanced techniques and strategies for project management, including management tools, management and reporting methods and team building. Opportunities are provided to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills and other attributes in these areas. A number of specific areas are covered including contract law and health and safety. The module ends with project auditing to establish performance and project closure.

Quality Management and Reliability*: This module aims to provide an in-depth understanding of the principles of modern quality assurance which underpin the discipline, and their applications in engineering, manufacturing and enterprises. Topics covered include the history and nature of quality management; views of the gurus and ISO 9000; problem solving tools; benchmarking; quality function deployment; Poka Yoke; statistical process control; failure modes and effects analysis; significance testing; design of experiments and Taguchi methods. The module also aims to:

  • Provide a professional working knowledge of the reliability engineering techniques that the students can apply to improve the maintenance, the maintainability and the safety of an industrial plant.
  • Explain the purpose of maintenance within an organisation and to review the development of its principles and techniques, thus enabling the students to develop a structured strategy for maintaining complex industrial plant.

Logistics and Global Supply Chain Management (distance learning only): Main topics of study: logistics and supply chain management – an introduction; managing material flow (the physical distribution and control of goods); the role of information systems (eCommerce) in developing and enhancing supply chain management; supply chain relationships; the customer service dimension; time based competition; the global supply chain; managing the supply chain of the future.

Managing People and Organisations (distance learning only): Main topics of study: nature of organisations and their development and effectiveness; the role of the engineering manager and the contingency theory of management; the nature and strategic role of human resource management; developments in management theory for business performance management; learning organisations and the role of innovation; managing innovation including organisational culture in a global business environment; motivation and managing high performing teams; managing change and designing organisations that support creativity and innovation.


The course is accredited by the Institution of Mechanical Engineering (IMechE) and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). This will provide a route to Chartered Engineer status in the UK, if you have a qualifying first degree. Please check with the relevant professional body.

Information for international students

English Language Requirements •IELTS: 6 (min 5.5 in all areas) •Pearson: 51 (51 in all subscores) •BrunELT: 60% (min 55% in all areas)

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

You may be eligible for Brunel bursaries, as well as external funding and other support.

Overseas students often obtain external funding, and may be eligible for Brunel bursaries studentships and scholarships and prizes and other support.

Qualification and course duration


distance learning
36-60 months
full time
12 months


AssessmentWhat kind of work will I be doing? (proportionally)
Written/ formal examinations33
Written coursework / continuous assessment34
Dissertation33 (20000 words)

Course contact details

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