Race car at Knockhill

MSc/PgDipMechatronics & Automation

Why this course?

Robots and automated machines never get tired. They can work 24 hours a day, in hazardous places and are much more accurate and consistent than any human. The exciting world of mechatronics and automation engineering has the important task of bringing these machines to life, maintaining them, fixing them when they malfunction and designing and building new models.

This course provides you with a broad introduction to the issues encountered and techniques required in developing advanced mechatronic products and automation systems.

Mechatronics and automation is becoming an increasingly important discipline in today’s digital society. New products have been designed applying mechatronic principles. Consumers and society have benefited tremendously from these new intelligent products that include:

  • the latest mobile phones with mechatronic features
  • intelligent robotic vacuum cleaners
  • intelligent wheelchairs

This course trains you to:

  • lead mechatronic and automation product development
  • contribute as team members to future mechatronic product development
  • provide expertise as mechatronic “specialists”

The course is aimed at:

  • graduates from relevant courses, who wish to study mechatronics and automation as their chosen career
  • those currently working in mechatronics and automation who wish to enhance their theoretical grounding and practical skills

Industrial experience

During the programme, you'll undertake an individual and group project.

For group projects, you'll have the opportunity to work with fellow students and an industrial client to address a practical problem. You'll gain direct industry experience to add to your CV, develop skills, manage a project through to completion and practice working in a multidisciplinary group preparing you for collaborative work throughout your future career.

We work with on average 50 organisations per year and previous students have worked with organisations such as:

2018/19

  • Adidas
  • Airlie Ice Cream
  • Drink Baotic
  • Promedics Orthopaedics
  • Rolls Royce
  • Spirit AeroSystems (Europe), Inc
  • Unilever

2017/18

  • Adidas
  • Alexander Dennis
  • Belle Bridal
  • Chivas Brothers Ltd
  • HATSUN Agro Products (India)
  • Johnstons of Elgin
  • Terex Trucks

2016/17

  • Adidas
  • Allied Vehicles
  • Jaguar Land Rover
  • NCR
  • RSPB Scotland
  • Weir Group
  • WEST Brewery

Major projects

Haptic Sensing & Display for Telepresence, VR and Design

This project consists of an investigation and design of simple haptic sensing and display system.

Periscopic & Flexible Camera Extension

This project involves the design and building of a camera or camera extension.

Facilities

The course is supported by a state-of-the art digital design and manufacture studio and prototype workshops (find out more about all of our facilities). They provide:

  • the latest 3D visualisation technology
  • digital modelling
  • a computer-aided engineering systems development environment
  • digital model rapid prototyping machines

As a Masters student in DMEM you will also have access to a private postgraduate student community area, including collaboration work areas and social areas, as well as a kitchen.

Accreditation

Accreditation by a professional body is a mark of assurance that programmes meet the standards set by a profession. It's an accepted and rigorous process that commands respect both in the UK and internationally.

Accreditation helps students, their parents and advisers choose quality degree programmes. It also confers market advantage to graduates from accredited programmes, both when they are seeking employment and also when they decide to seek professional qualification. Some employers require graduation from an accredited programme as a minimum qualification.

Our Mechatronics & Automation programme has been awarded academic accreditation from three institutes. This demonstrates the degree meets the UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC) as outlined by the Accreditation of Higher Education Programmes (AHEP).

This accreditation is achieved through a panel of trained and expert accreditors looking closely at our programme’s content and delivery, including its relevance, coherence, challenge, assessment, staffing, quality assurance and resources.

The Accreditors also monitor that the programme is continually improving and in line with the latest best practice, providing assurance to our students that they are getting a relevant and quality degree.

Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)

Accreditation has been awarded for this programme from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) on behalf of the Engineering Council as meeting the requirements for further learning for registration as a Chartered Engineer. Candidates must hold a CEng accredited BEng/BSc (Hons) undergraduate first degree to comply with full CEng registration requirements.

Gaining accreditation isn’t just about ensuring the quality of our programmes, it also benefits you as a student. For example, being accredited by IET means that our graduates will benefit from a more straightforward process when applying for professional registration. Also, being part of an IET accredited programme is part of the eligibility criteria for many IET Scholarships and Prizes, including the Diamond Jubilee, Belling and BP Scholarships and IET Grants.

Institution of Engineering Designers (IED)

Accreditation has been awarded for this programme from the Institution of Engineering Designers (IED) on behalf of the Engineering Council as meeting the requirements for further learning for registration as a Chartered Engineer. Candidates must hold a CEng accredited BEng/BSc (Hons) undergraduate first degree to comply with full CEng registration requirements.

Accreditation by IED means students would automatically be offered free IED student membership for the duration of their studies, would receive a bi-monthly journal ‘Engineering Designer’ in which they can submit articles for print and their final year projects would be eligible for entry into the IED Student Prize competition held annually.

These prizes are prestigious and are only awarded for outstanding engineering design projects. Student members can also place their CV on the IED website and have access to the Job Board which gives details of current vacancies within the field of Engineering Design. In addition, students will also be able to use the IED’s on-line CPD system.

Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE)

Accreditation has been awarded for this programme from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) on behalf of the Engineering Council as meeting the requirements for further learning for registration as a Chartered Engineer. Candidates must hold a CEng accredited BEng/BSc (Hons) undergraduate first degree to comply with full CEng registration requirements.

Our programmes being accredited by IMechE mean that you can become an Affiliate member, giving you access to the library, support network and members-only content. Once you have finished your degree you can apply to be an Associate member, and start progressing to professional registration as an Ieng or Ceng. IMechE also run challenges and competitions for students such as Formula Student, the Railway Challenge and the Design Challenge.

Teaching staff

The course is delivered by leading internationally-renowned researchers in the fields of:

  • computer aided engineering design
  • computer modelling
  • system integration
  • rapid prototyping
  • computer visualisation
  • product development

Examples of such high-profile teaching staff include:

Course content

180 credits are required for for a Masters.

Compulsory classes

Manufacturing Automation (10 credits)

This module aims to introduce students to the concepts and basic technology of manufacturing automation and to be able to select suitable applications and specify the type of automation to be used in specific cases.

The module covers: Automation in manufacturing industry, why and where; Industrial robots, automation and typical applications; Open and closed loop control; Problems in robot design and control; Types of motion control; Control system functions; Advantages and disadvantages of electric and fluid power systems; Types of electric motors and their control techniques, simple actuators for hydraulic and pneumatic systems; Methods of programming robots; Relative economics of human labour, reprogrammable and hard automation and Safety considerations for industrial robots and other automated systems.

At the end of this module students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of why manufacturing automation is used
  • Describe the conditions under which manual and/or automated production methods would be applied
  • Analyse the configuration and technical specifications of an automation system suitable for a specified task
  • Synthesise a manufacturing task suited to a specified automated system
  • Analyse and understand the technological elements of drive and control, and machine vision, systems
  • Critically appreciate the kinematic and dynamic problems associated with the control of automated systems
  • Understand the implications of applying automation in human terms
  • Demonstrate knowledge of safety factors that must be considered when installing automation

Assessment and feedback is in the form of one coursework submission showing technical analysis of an aspect of automation and critical thinking on the design of systems (40%), an exam (50%) and in-class participation (10%).

Mechatronic Systems Design Techniques (10 credits)

This module introduces design techniques and mechatronic systems at an advanced level in order to enable students to understand the application of advanced design techniques and development platforms for modern products and engineering systems. It provides opportunities for students to develop technology-focused products/systems by using the state-of-the-art hardware platforms and industry-standard software development tools within the class environment.

The module covers: Mechatronic system design process (including Product/system design specifications (PDS), concept generation and selection, mechatronic system design and flow chart diagrams); Sensing and actuation (including sensing theory, sensor selection, drive design and motor control); Control systems (understanding and applying control theory in a mechatronic system design); Hardware and software design (including software design basics, algorithm and code design, programming tools and software engineering principles); Prototyping and evaluation (prototyping methods and tools including rapid prototyping and computer modelling).

At the end of this module students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of advanced design methodologies, design process models and techniques for mechatronic systems
  • Demonstrate the design process to generate mechatronic design solutions and prototyping skills
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of state-of-the-art processor architecture on modern embedded computing platforms
  • Describe processor architecture and the interface with real-world interactions
  • Apply knowledge to the modern embedded computing platforms, including selection of sensors and actuator to formulate a basic control system in mechatronic product design
  • Apply design basics and tools to the development of software for mechatronic products

Assessment and feedback is in the form of two assignments. Both are carried out in groups and assessed in terms of the quality of report and presentation/demonstration (50%/50%).

Product Modelling & Visualisation (10 credits)

This module aims to enable students to understand the concepts of virtual product modelling and techniques used to visualise products before they are fully designed and manufactured.

The module covers: an introduction to basic modelling, visualisation and evaluation techniques creating models, parts and assemblies; The representations that underpin modern CAED systems (wireframe, surface, CSG and BRep), basic computer graphics (homogeneous transformations), data exchange, information integration, product data management, economics of CAD/CAM systems (cost breakdown, potential benefits, improving cost/benefit ratio), basic systems selection and justification and organisational impact and system management.

At the end of this module students will be able to:

  • demonstrate the ability to use a commercially available CAD system by creating 3-D product models and appropriate visualisations for evaluation
  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of product modelling and visualisation by demonstrating an ability to provide 2D/3D part and assembly drawings, and a variety of sectioned/dimensioned views of part/assembly models
  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of product evaluation techniques by identifying and describing suitable product evaluation techniques such as FEA and utilise for evaluation
  • describe and discuss the functionality and benefits that CAED systems can bring to product development by identifying and justifying a CAED solution for an industrial problem

Assessment and feedback is in the form of coursework (100%).

Engineering Risk Management (10 credits)

This module aims to introduce the basic principles and techniques of engineering risk management and demonstrates the appropriate application of this knowledge within an engineering context.

The module covers: Risk definitions and basic risks in engineering; Risk management processes; Reliability - achieving reliability; Reliability, Availability, Maintainability and Safety (RAMS) cycle; failure rate; Mean Time Between Failure; Mean Time to Fail; Mean Life; failure stages within bathtub distribution; downtime; repair time and availability; Risk classification - failure rate; severity and detection; As Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP); Risk identification - Failure Modes and Affects Analysis; Hazard and Operability Study; Fault and Event Tree Analysis; Risk-based decision making – uncertainty, decision trees, Pareto optimality, Analytic Hierarchy Process and Risk legislation and litigation in engineering.

At the end of this module students will be able to:

  • demonstrate awareness of and ability to make general evaluations of risk issues in the context of the particular specialisation, including health & safety, environmental and commercial risk
  • demonstrate awareness of relevant regulatory requirements governing engineering activities
  • demonstrate ability to work with information that may be incomplete or uncertain, quantify the effect of this on the design and, where appropriate, use theory or experimental research to mitigate deficiencies

Assessment and feedback is in the form of a group coursework to show understanding of the risk management process in practice (100% for group contribution and submission of main reports).

Project Management (10 credits)

This module aims to provide students with skills and knowledge relating to the use of engineering practices in Project Management with particular respect to the project triple constraint: time, cost and quality.

The module covers: project management principles, concepts and processes; organisational influences, project stakeholders and project life cycle; project scoping such as project definition, project objectives, project deliverables, and work breakdown structure; Project planning and scheduling: definition of events, activities and nodes, network diagram, analysis of critical path, PERT method and use of industry standard software packages; Project controlling: cost estimate, budget setting, risk identification and assessment and contingency planning.

At the end of this module students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a good understanding of project management practices and practical skills to manage project scope – including translating project specifications into work packages
  • Define and schedule project activities using tools such as critical path and PERT methods; estimate cost and determine budget using analogous and three-point estimating methods; identify and control quality standards using cost of quality and other tools
  • Develop a good understanding of the inter-dependency between various project management knowledge areas, such as managing projects under constraints; identifying and assessing risks and developing contingency plans
  • Understand the importance of project stakeholders and their impact on project management, including managing stakeholder relationships

Assessment and feedback is in the form of a group report (50%) and an individual project (50%).

Postgraduate Group Project (40 credits)

This module aims for students to integrate and apply design, manufacturing and engineering management knowledge and skills to an industry based product and process development project and to develop project management skills.

The module consists of a team-based industrial project where an outline project brief is set by an industrial client. The team is expected to manage all aspects of the project through to a finished solution. This can be a product, system or process depending on the nature of the project. Teams meet with academic staff and industrial clients regularly through the project.

At the end of this module students will be able to:

  • have in-depth understanding and knowledge of products and management practices in industry
  • critically review and evaluate products and management practices of the particular company and the business impact of proposed solution
  • demonstrate knowledge and ability in applying and using various analysis and modelling tools and techniques
  • demonstrate project planning and management, presentation, consulting and team working skills
  • plan, control and lead an industrial project from inception to completion
  • evidence achieving deliverables which meet the client company requirements

Assessment and feedback includes a project report, a presentation to the client and any other deliverables specified in the project brief.

Postgraduate Individual Project (60 credits)

The aim of the individual project is to allow students to combine the skills learned in other modules of the course and apply them within a significant project in a specific area of design, manufacture, or engineering management. This will be achieved through students carrying out work into a particular topic relating to their course and preparing a dissertation that documents the project.

On completion of the module the student is expected to be able to:

  • define a valid project in a cutting-edge field of study relevant to the student’s degree – with an appropriate methodology and work plan for the project
  • plan, manage and complete project, involving where appropriate technical analysis and independent critical thinking. This involves giving a thorough, logical and critical review of the subject matter; using appropriate tools, processes and levels of analysis in the project and applying project management techniques to manage a successful project
  • document their project using suitable presentation techniques (such as language, figures, writing, layout, structure etc.); showing clear evidence of the value of the project and its outcomes and describing the project with clarity

Based on the work of a project, a student will submit an individual dissertation that will account for 90% of the final mark for the class. An interim project justification report will account for the remaining 10% of the mark.

Elective classes

Pick 30 credits from the list below.

Design Methods (10 credits)

This module aims to enable students to select and apply appropriate design methods as a part of the design process.

The selection and use of design methods within the context of modern design practices and the new product development process will be explored. Emphasis will be placed on recently developed product independent design methods and their application within industrial environments. Specific topics include the design process management frameworks, user understanding methods, product specification methods, creative methods, design for production and cost methods, design for safety and reliability methods and design for the environment.

At the end of this module students will be able to:

  • select and apply appropriate design methods for a design project to solve product design oriented problems by understanding specific design methods and recognising their strengths and weaknesses
  • integrate appropriate design methods into a design process to ensure fitness of purpose of all aspects of the problem/context by demonstrating how manufacture, costing, environmental, disposal and customer needs may be addressed in the design process through design methods
  • analyse literature sources to identify design methods suitable for a particular situation by undertaking a critical literature review to identify current developments in design methods in research and practice and synthesise the results of the literature review into a report

Assessment and feedback will be in the form of an exam (60%), a report (35%) and a presentation (5%).

Systems Thinking & Modelling (10 credits)

This module aims to introduce students to the theories and principles of Systems Thinking. The module also introduces the methods, tools and techniques for modelling, analysing, improving and designing systems in a variety of organisations including industrial, commercial and public sector.

The module covers: Systems theory, concepts and approaches; Hard and soft systems analysis and systems dynamics; Systems and organisational performance – including leadership in a systems environment and ‘design’ in a systems environment and Practical application of Systems Thinking.

At the end of this module students will be able to:

  • show clearer understanding and knowledge of hard and soft approaches and how they can be used to deal with complexity and system behaviour in a business context
  • develop understanding of fundamental cybernetic principles that form the foundations of Checkland’s Soft System Methodology and Beer’s Viable System Model
  • develop knowledge and skills in systems analysis and business process modelling.
  • critically evaluate the most appropriate methodology to model, analyse and design engineering/business systems across a range of organisations
  • demonstrate an understanding of how to model a business system and to develop a solution to solve a business system problem
  • cevelop an awareness of the importance of system approaches in management interventions

Assessment and feedback is in the form of a group presentation and one coursework in the form of a reflective diary.

Robotics: Systems and Control (10 credits)

This module aims to provide an introduction and overview to the various core aspects of robotics which include design, control, sensing and localisation. It provides a solid base of understanding through theory and examples. Intuition is encouraged through numerous hands-on examples.

The module covers: Robotic systems including background, classification of robots based on design construction, control systems; Performance characteristics of typical robots; forward kinematics of robots including Denavit-Hartenberg (D_H) algorithm and inverse kinematics; Robotic control including principles of system modelling, Matlab implementation, time and frequency domain analysis and control system analysis; Bayesian robot localisation including linearization and Kalman Filtering; Robotic computer vision in particular when applied to mapping and localisation.

At the end of this module students will be able to:

  • describe types of robotic systems, their dynamic and mechanical architecture and associated sensor technology
  • describe appropriate path-planning techniques taking into account ways to perform collision avoidance and speed up optimal path evaluation
  • understand standard camera models and common approaches to image registration
  • use computer-based tools to evaluate designs, measure, record and report experimental and numerical data relevant to robotic and other computer control systems
  • formulate models from given relevant information and design control systems to drive these models to specified positions and within required accuracy, speed and other performance-related parameters

Assessment and feedback is in the form of a final exam (60%) and coursework which will be a mixture of multiple choice quizzes and laboratory work (40%).

Control Principles (20 credits)

This module aims to introduce the basic concepts, mathematical tools and design methods of classical control theory. It also introduces students to advanced control methods and provides a basic understanding of a time-domain approach to control analysis and the design of industrial processes.

The module covers: First and second order systems, delay process, simple saturation models; Simulation tools such as GUI, SIMULINK, MATLAB; Control system performance, transient and steady-state figures of merit, time domain step response, reference tracking and disturbance rejection in time domain; Simple control principles; State space representation of linear systems; Continuous time and discrete-time system fundamentals: eigen-values & eigen-vectors, stability, controllability & observability, canonical forms for systems; State-space control methods: pole placement state feedback control with/without observer design and linear quadratic optimal control.

At the end of this module students will be able to:

  • model simple systems with transfer function and state space representation, create simulations using MATLAB and Simulink
  • analyse linear open loop and closed loop systems both in frequency and time domain
  • understand the theoretical and practical implications of feedback control systems, design control systems using simple PID tuning methods
  • assess control performance, make analytical calculations and critical evaluation of control performance-related metrics
  • apply and understand the advanced control methods, principles and applications in an industrial context

Assessment and feedback is in the form of a coursework and class test in Semester 1 (15%), a project report (15%) and exam (70%) in Semester 2.

Entry requirements

MSc

First or second-class Honours degree, or equivalent, in any discipline.

PgDip

Degree, or good HND plus relevant industrial experience, may be considered for entry to the Postgraduate Diploma. Depending on satisfactory progress, students may transfer from the Diploma to the Masters course.

English Language Requirements

IELTS (for international students)
6.0 overall with no individual component below 5.5

Pre-Masters preparation course

The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course held at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre, for international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde. The Pre-Masters programme provides progression to a number of degree options.

Upon successful completion, you will be able to progress to this degree course at the University of Strathclyde.

Fees & funding

2019/20

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.

Scotland/EU

  • £8,100

Rest of UK

  • £9,250

International

  • £20,050

How can I fund my course?

Scholarship search

Faculty of Engineering Excellence Scholarship (FEES) for International Students

If you're applying for an MSc course you'll be eligible to apply for a Faculty of Engineering Excellence Scholarship offering up to £3,000 towards your tuition fees.

The scholarship is available for application to all self-funded, new international (non-EU) fee paying students holding an offer of study for an MSc programme in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Strathclyde. Please note you must have an offer of study for a full-time course at Strathclyde before applying.

You must start your full-time MSc programme at Strathclyde in the coming academic year (2019-20).

Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students

Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students may be able to apply for support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). The support is in the form of a tuition fee loan and for eligible students, a living cost loan. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Students coming from England

Students ordinarily resident in England may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance England. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Students coming from Wales

Students ordinarily resident in Wales may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance Wales. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Students coming from Northern Ireland

Postgraduate students who are ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland may be able to apply for support from Student Finance Northern Ireland. The support is a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

International students

We have a large range of scholarships available to help you fund your studies. Check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Please note

The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

Careers

Mechatronics and automation are everywhere in industry. Robots are a key part of most production and manufacturing companies and many other organisations across the world. Consequently, mechatronics and automation career opportunities are appearing quickly, looking for skilled, specialist staff.

Working in this type of engineering can bring an immense sense of fulfilment. If you take a project from inception to completion, the rewards can know no bounds. Projects in your role could often be complicated and push your own ability, especially when so many different components are involved. You can also get a great deal of satisfaction from knowing that you are helping less humans have to work in potentially dangerous places. 

In terms of technological advancement, automation and robotics engineering is progressing quickly in its traditional home of automotive industries, but also in other areas too. Automation and mechatronics engineering are now being used in almost every sector, including within the emergency services, the military and medical professions.

Using concepts and tools provided, you will develop the skills to analyse and implement solutions for organisational competitiveness.

Potential graduate job titles include:

  • Mechatronic Automation Engineer
  • Mechatronics Engineer
  • Automation and Robotics Engineer
  • Robotics Engineer

According to PayScale, the average Robotics Engineer salary is £31,129* and the average Automation Engineer salary is £34,882*.

*Last accessed 15 February 2019

Contact us

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Mechatronics and Automation

Qualification: PG Diploma, Start date: Sep 2019, Mode of delivery: attendance, full-time

Mechatronics and Automation

Qualification: PG Diploma, Start date: Sep 2019, Mode of delivery: attendance, part-time

Mechatronics and Automation

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2019, Mode of delivery: attendance, full-time

Mechatronics and Automation

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2019, Mode of delivery: attendance, part-time

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