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Course content

Modern vehicles are often taken for granted and yet they represent an incredibly complex and diverse set of disciplines. The automotive electronics engineer has to bring together real-time software, safety critical constraints, sensor electronics, control algorithms, human factors, legislation and ethics into a working package that satisfies multiple stakeholders.

The Ricardo engineering consultancy helped to develop this course, ensuring MSc students come away equipped with industry-relevant skills. Their continued involvement includes offering the use of pioneering industry equipment through the Ricardo Universities IC Engines research facility. They also help to cultivate future engineering talent, both locally and internationally.

On this MSc course you'll explore a range of topics including interconnected communication networks, entertainment systems, safety critical software, diagnostics, alternative fuels and hybrid technologies.

In the latest Research Assessment Exercise (RAE2008), our automotive engineering research group achieved an excellent rating, with 70 per cent of its research rated as internationally excellent or world leading, and 95 per cent deemed to have been internationally recognised.

Our reputation has enabled us to invest more in our facilities.

This MSc is accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology 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 or BSc(Hons) undergraduate degree to comply with full CEng registration requirements.

Course structure

The course starts in September. You will study four modules each term and will take exams after your Christmas and Easter vacations.

For each taught module you will have between three and four hours' contact with the lecturer each week, alongside further self-study tutorial and laboratory exercises requiring study outside of the class contact time.

After all eight taught modules have been completed you will then begin your individual project and masters dissertation stage. This final stage is full-time, but there are no classes during this phase, which ends in early September.

It is possible to study part-time study, by taking the modules at a slower rate. This can be tailored to fit around any personal or professional commitments that you may have. Please note, however, that there is no evening teaching so if you wish to study part-time then you will need to agree on study leave with your employer in order to attend the classes. The final project phase could be conducted at your place of work in some cases.


You will study eight modules and embark on an individual project. This project will form the basis of your dissertation.

Core modules

  • Engineering with MATLAB
  • Sustainable Automotive Power Technology
  • Automotive Communication Systems
  • Embedded Processor Systems
  • Power Train Engineering
  • Sensors and Interfacing
  • Power Electronics and Actuators
  • An individual project on which you base your dissertation

Option modules

  • Advanced Computer Systems
  • Secure Information Systems Engineering

Individual projects have included real-time power-train modelling for software in the loop testing, a smart grid system using electric vehicles as an energy storage resource and an experimental investigation of novel fuel injection and ignition systems for a spray-guided gasoline engine.

Our research labs

The Division of Engineering and Product Design’s research and teaching laboratories house a number of engine test cells in which world leading research is carried out. Although these labs centre on cylinders, pistons and valves they are surrounded by complex electronic equipment to control the mechanics and to monitor pressures, temperatures, chemistry and capture high speed events on computer for real-time and post-run analysis.

MSc students often carry out projects in these labs and make their contribution to research or commercial innovation. For details of these state of the art laboratories see Sir Harry Ricardo Laboratories.

Professor Stipidis and his team provide valuable state-of-the-art research into automotive communications architectures and also provide infrastructure for some of the laboratory exercises in the Automotive Communications Systems taught module.  


This course serves as a training and proving ground for the next generation of researchers. It is ideal for those hoping to be employed as development or research engineers.

The MSc can also serve as the basis for further study at a doctoral level.

The nature of graduate work varies; it could be with OEM’s (Original Equipment Manufacturers) like Ford, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover; it could be with consultants such as Ricardo, Lotus or AVL; or Tier One suppliers such as Delphi, Infineon or Denso.

Employment Prospects

Our students have secured roles including:

  • Automotive engineer at Daimler AG (Mercedes-Benz passenger cars)
  • Automotive electronic components research engineer at Car Parts Industries UK
  • Automotive engineer at Lysanda (fuel and CO2 prediction, using MATLAB modelling with DSpace)
  • Automotive engineer at Delphi (ECU design)
  • Renewables engineer at OST Energy (irradiation analysis, yield and energy production modelling using MATLAB)
  • Product application engineer with IPETRONIK, India (automotive data acquisition systems)
  • Automotive application engineer at Dearman Engine Company (engine control unit design)
  • Consultant engineer at BMW Munich (assembly process planning)
  • Production engineer at BMW (glazing automation processes)
  • Chassis control engineer at Ford Dunton Technical Centre
  • Diesel engine control diagnostic validation engineer at Ford Dunton Technical Centre

Potential job roles include:

  • Design engineer
  • Calibration engineer
  • Software engineer
  • Control engineer
  • Modelling
  • Electronic systems integration
  • Production engineer
  • Research and development
  • Communications engineer
  • Project management

Visit the Automotive Electronic Engineering (MSc/PGCert/PGDip) page on the University of Brighton website for more details!




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