This programme provides graduates interested in the automotive industry with knowledge and technical expertise in a wide range of automotive disciplines.

Programme information

Created in partnership with companies such as the Ford Motor Company and Jaguar Land Rover, the programme is also aimed at existing or prospective product development engineers and those working in manufacturing, particularly those working alongside product design personnel in the context of cross-functional teams and simultaneous working practice.

Students study six taught modules from a choice of nine. In addition, full-time students undertake a university-based project and part-time students undertake an industry-based project

An online study support system provides additional information and materials to facilitate student discussion. 

The programme is accredited by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (towards Chartered status).

Study Details:

MSc 1 year full-time, or 2½ years part-time

Module Details:


Compulsory modules
  •  Project
Optional modules (select six)
  • Body Engineering
  • Manufacturing Systems and Integrated Design
  • Powertrain Calibration Optimisation
  • Sustainable Vehicle Powertrains
  • Vehicle Aerodynamics 
  • Vehicle Dynamics and Control (for full time programme only)
  • Vehicle Electrical Systems Integration
  • Vehicle and Powertrain Functional Performance
  • Vehicle Systems Analysis


Body Engineering

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


Calibration and Emissions


  • 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.


Manufacturing Systems and Integrated Design
  • Computer Control of Manufacturing Systems: The evolution of real-time control methods. The meaning and importance of standards, open systems and inter-operability. Hardware design and configuration including examples of decentralised control systems. Sequence logic design and programming. Communications, networking and the use of fieldbus based I/O systems. 
  • Manufacturing layout; line-balancing; inventory management and control.
    Computer Aided Manufacturing Systems: CNC machine tools, the major types, axis labelling, design principles, operation of a controlled axis, types of machine tool, part description, programming.
  • Manufacturing Processes: Introduction to Manufacturing Processes related to the production of automotive components. Rapid prototyping, tooling and manufacturing systems, processes and practices.
  • Integrated product/process development (IPPD) and systems engineering tools and techniques. Approaches to flexibility and modularity for both product and process. Application of some design to manufacture tools and techniques such as design for dimensional control, DFMA. The control of dimensional variation on assembly build through the methods of dimensional management including an introduction to dimensional variation analysis (using VisVSA or CETol). Case study presentation and work by way of examples of above.


Sustainable Vehicle Powertrains

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.


Vehicle Aerodynamics

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, characteristics 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


Vehicle and Powertrain Functional Performance

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.


Vehicle Dynamics and Control

Vehicle Dynamics Analysis

  • introduction to modelling in the vehicle context 
  • modelling limitations 
  • use of signal analysis tools 
  • sources of ride excitation 
  • quarter vehicle ride model
  • frequency response 
  • powertrain component modelling 
  • time to speed modelling 
  • objective testing methods 
  • vehicle test specification, data collection and analysis


Automotive Control
  • Introduction to autonomous vehicle systems

– Recent developments

– System integration (sensors, actuators, communications, etc.)


  • Vehicle dynamics, control and simulation

– Modelling vehicle dynamics and their environment

– Classical and state feedback control

– Computer based design and simulation in MATLAB/Simulink 


  • Autonomous vehicle path planning/following

– Path planning principles

– Path following algorithms


  • Sensor fusion and situation awareness

– Kalman filtering methods

– Vehicle localisation (position and orientation)

– External environment sensing (object detection and tracking)


  • Autonomous functions

– Applications and case studies


Vehicle Electrical Systems Integration
  • Vehicle safety and crashworthiness; use of passive and active safety systems
  • Requirements for vehicle electrical systems; analysis of circuits; basic design principles for electromagnetic compatibility; design principles for systems integration; introduction to vehicle electrical architecture; introduction to application of power electronics
  • Introduction to functional safety methods; principles of software design and application
  • Application of design methods to control of vehicle body functions
  • Introduction to state-transition methods.


Vehicle Systems Analysis

Vehicle Noise Vibration and Harshness

  • Single and multi-degree of freedom systems
  • Noise sources and transfer paths
  • Basic acoustics
  • Structural acoustics
  • Noise path analysis
  • Continuous systems
  • Signal analysis
  • Sound quality

Vehicle Braking Systems

  • Fundamentals of Braking Dynamics of single vehicles and vehicles with trailers.
  • Braking systems: Drum brakes, Disc brakes, actuation
  • Braking performance and friction material parameters
  • Advanced braking systems: Anti-lock, traction control, electronic braking distribution, stability control, brake assist, electronic braking control

Introduction to Materials

  • Structures, Processing, Properties of Metals, polymers and composites.
  • Application of materials in Vehicles.

Student Destinations

Graduates work primarily in product design and development groups and are sought after by a wide range of automotive companies. Students that wish to pursue other careers are well-equipped to work in a wide range of sectors within the vehicle industry.


UK/EU £6,600; International £18,950

Entry Requirements

First or upper second class (2:1) honours degree or equivalent in engineering or physical sciences.

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Loughborough University

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