2021/22 Full-time Postgraduate course
Master of Science
Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment
School of Engineering
MSc Mechanical Engineering is a specialist programme, providing knowledge & understanding of concepts & methods required to solve industrial problems.
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Driven by the School's industrial work and research, this programme has been designed in response to demand from industry to deliver the skills required to develop new technologies and meet the engineering challenges of the future.
The programme draws upon the heritage of Mechanical Engineering in the region and internationally recognised research within the school in areas such as Aerospace Composites, Polymers, Advanced Metal Forming and Nanotechnology. Such research within the school has led to several successful spinout companies and collaboration with a broad range of industrial sectors such as aerospace, automotive, materials handling, marine and energy. Staff teaching on the course have a wealth of industrial experience working with a wide range of companies.
In addition, the MSc programme seeks to allow graduates to demonstrate an advanced depth and integration of specialist Mechanical Engineering knowledge by successfully undertaking and completing a major dissertation based on original research or the implementation of new and advanced processes, procedures and technologies into the industrial environment.
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The programme will prepare for employment in Northern Ireland’s thriving advanced manufacturing, materials and engineering sectors. For those already working in the sector, the MSc is an effective step to career progression or as preparation for PhD studies or research positions.
What this course provides:
Highly sought-after skills which are in-demand locally and globally - graduates will be more employable across the broad Advanced Manufacturing, Materials and Engineering sectors.
Strong links with the vibrantadvanced manufacturing sector in Northern Ireland
Access toa team of internationally recognised mechanical engineering researchers and academics
In addition to the core modules below, students can tailor the course to their needs and interests by selecting from a wide range of optional modules.
Full-time students take four modules per semester for semesters 1 and 2 and then undertake the dissertation during the summer. Part time students generally take two modules per semester but this can be altered as required. Part time students typically attend on Fridays during term time and some of the modules run in the evening.
The course is delivered through lectures, tutorials and laboratory classes and is supported with extensive online content. The small class sizes provide an excellent learning environment and the material is assessed thorough formal examinations, coursework, class tests and presentations.
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.
Calculation of the Final Award
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
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Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.
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Two of the most important developments in manufacturing in the 21st century are Additive Manufacturing and the 4th Industrial Revolution (Industrie 4.0). In this module, students will be introduced to these two strands of advanced manufacturing and will develop the skills and knowledge to engage with these concepts in an industrial context.
An introduction to continuum modelling approaches will enable students to understand the concepts and applications of finite Element Analysis (FEA) and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modles. Specific skills will be developed using commercially available software in both FEA and CFD.An introduction to continuum modelling approaches will enable students to understand the concepts and applications of finite Element Analysis (FEA) and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modles. Specific skills will be developed using commercially available software in both FEA and CFD.
In this module students are engaged in applying their knowledge of entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial process in resolving some of the practical problems inherent in enterprise development and new venture creation.
The Research Based Learning module is defined as a period of project work within a research environment, normally of not less than 150 hours, supervised by a member of academic staff of the University. It is designed to inculcate a spirit of critical enquiry coupled with a rigorous academic approach to problem solving in research and enhance the personal, managerial, commercial and technical capabilities of the student. For MSc students this is one of three consecutive research modules, in Research Project 1 the projects are allocated, literature review is undertaken, some initial training/testing is completed and the students develop a plan for the remaining modules. In Research Project 2 the students undertaken a defined piece of work which they then write up in the form of a publication report. The prior literature review, training and practical work completed in Research Project 1&2 will enable the students to make good early progress in their final dissertation (MEC868).
A Work Based Learning module is defined as a period of work based learning, normally of not less than 150 hours, supervised by a member of academic staff of the University. Part-time students working as professionals in industry are often involved in work which is entrepreneurial in nature. As a result they frequently gain knowledge, techniques and skills, and acquire expertise, which is equivalent to work at post-graduate level. This module is designed to provide a framework within which such personal development and achievement can be recognised by the award of academic credit.
This module is designed to enable students to develop and demonstrate the appropriate research and project management skills needed to complete a Masters level dissertation.
This module is optional
This module provides a concise review of modern manufacturing, time compression methodologies and current manufacturing systems - their specification, implementation and development. The flow of data within a product lifecycle is analysed from design through to manufacture and the effective utilisation of advanced manufacturing technology addressed.
This module is optional
This module considers modern approaches to Quality Improvement. The context of product or service is set for the interpretation of Quality from different perspectives. The Quality topics are considered under the themes of definition, measurement, actions, improvement and control. Modern and traditional management approaches are evaluated and techniques appropriate to product or service characteristics and organisation performance are considered.
This module is optional
This module provides a concise and application based overview of current computer aided engineering systems by providing a detailed summary of current rapid-prototyping and manufacturing processes, multi-axis advanced manufacturing technologies, digital inspection and simulation. The application of CAE to enhance the product lifecycle will be the fundamental objective of this module. The integration of these systems from new product introduction (NPI) through to digital inspection will be addressed.
This module is optional
At the end of the module the student should be able to critically appraise alternative thermoplastic conversion and fabrication processing routes. Through analysis of processing behaviour, they should be capable of developing appropriate strategy for selection of conversion routes for a range of representative material systems and applications in terms of total economics and quality enhancement.
This module is optional
At the end of the module the student should have acquired a high level of competence the many facets of composite materials and their processing methods leading to an active role as a member of a Production Management or Research team. The student should have the ability to select between competing 'composite' technologies for specific applications and hence be in a position to devise conversion systems and associated quality assurance procedures, having regard to maximising cost effectiveness and product reliability.
This module is optional
At the end of the module the student should be capable of critically assessing the complete polymer or composite system. Using modelling and analysis techniques, they should be capable of designing the complete system to meet a specific performance requirement, thus removing much of the trial and error from the practice.
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
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PgDip - Normally, an Honours or non-Honours degree or postgraduate diploma/certificate in a relevant engineering, technology or science discipline. In exceptional circumstances, where an individual has substantial and significant working/industrial experience, a portfolio of written evidence may be considered as an alternative entrance route. It is possible to transfer onto the MSc version of the course after successfully completing the PGDip. MSc - Specific details on the admission criteria can be found at the course webpage provided below. Normally, a second class honours degree or better in a relevant engineering, science, physics or technology discipline. Or a postgraduate diploma/certificate in a relevant engineering or technology discipline. In exceptional circumstances, where an individual has substantial and significant working/industrial experience, a portfolio of written evidence may be considered as an alternative entrance route.
English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
Students can apply for exemptions for specific modules based on prior learning.
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Upon successful completion of the programme, students will be more employable, particularly in Northern Ireland’s thriving advanced manufacturing, materials and engineering sectors. For those already working in the sector, the MSc is an effective step to career progression or as preparation for PhD studies or research positions.
Another important opportunity for MSc students is the academic career and/or research career through a PhD programme such as those offered in the Engineering Research Institute (ERI) which hosts the MSc programme.
Part-time students can undertake work based learning modules.
Course Director: Dr Eddie Archer
Admissions Contact: Kerry Moran
The MSc in Mechanical Engineering is a new course available for entry from September 2019.