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Systems Engineering for Defence Capability (MSc/PgDip/PgCert)

Course Description

Course Description

All those involved in the wider defence enterprise, across government, military, industry, science and technology have changing needs and aspirations for defence. Agility, resilience, continuity of supply, skills and innovation now complement the continuing need to balance cost, time and performance in everything we do.

The Centre for Systems Engineering has been at the forefront of developing systems engineering education for the past fifteen years, blending the breadth of systems thinking with the rigour of systems engineering and closely integrating this within acquisition management.

You will develop knowledge and skills in understanding the wider context of defence capability and guiding the development of operational, support and enabling business solutions which both deliver cost effective outcomes and contribute to the attributes of defence as a whole.

Course overview

The course is modular and you will accumulate credits for each module you successfully complete:

- Full modules are each worth 10 credits.
- The Advanced Systems Engineering Workshop is worth 20 credits.

The course structure has been devised to give the maximum amount of flexibility for you to create your own learning pathway whilst ensuring that the fundamental principles of systems engineering are compulsory.

- The PgCert comprises 60 credits of which 40 are for compulsory modules and 20 are for elective modules.
- The PgDip comprises 120 credits of which 70 are for compulsory modules and 50 are for elective modules.
- The MSc comprises 200 credits of which 70 are for compulsory modules, 50 credits are for elective modules and 80 are for the thesis associated with the Individual Project.

Full-time MSc - one year, Part-time MSc - up to three years, Full-time PgCert - one year, Part-time PgCert - two years, Full-time PgDip - one year, Part-time PgDip - two years

(For MOD status students the duration may vary, subject to annual review.)

Individual Project

The Individual Project provides you with an opportunity to undertake an in-depth study of an area of particular interest to you or your sponsor which is written up as a thesis or dissertation. The study might include, for example:

- Application of Systems Engineering tools and techniques to a real world problem.
- Analysis of underpinning Systems Engineering theory and practice.
- Development of new or tailored Systems Engineering processes.


The Compulsory and Elective Modules below are as for the MSc and PgDip. For PgCert students Capability Context and Advanced Systems Engineering Workshop are Elective.

Core -

Advanced Systems Engineering Workshop (ASEW)
Applied Systems Thinking
Capability Context
Lifecycle Processes Introduction
Lifecycle Processes Advanced
Systems Approach to Engineering

Elective -

Availability, Reliability, Maintainability and Support Strategy (ARMSS)
Decision Analysis, Modelling and Support (DAMS)
Human Centric Systems Engineering (HCSE)
Introduction to Defence Capability
Model Based Systems Engineering
Simulation and Synthetic Environments
System of Systems Engineering
Thesis Selection Workshop
- Systems Engineering and Software
- Systems Engineering Workshop
- Networked and Distributed Simulation Exercise


Coursework, written examinations, oral examinations, portfolio and, for the MSc only, an individual thesis.


Funding is available to MoD students. For more information contact MoD Enquiries by calling 01793 314485 (Option 4) or Mil: 96161 4485.

For more information on funding for non-MoD students please contact

Career opportunities

Takes you on to impressive career prospects across a range of roles commensurate with your experience. This includes membership of multidisciplinary teams in acquisition, supply or research organisations. This could be in both general systems engineering roles or as a focal point for specific skills such as availability, reliability and maintenance (ARM), human factors, requirements, architecture test and evaluation, etc. It is also applicable to key roles in MoD acquisition such as Project Team leader, capability manager and requirements manager.

Further Information

For further information on this course, please visit our course webpage - http://www.cranfield.ac.uk/Courses/Masters/Systems-Engineering-for-Defence-Capability

Visit the Systems Engineering for Defence Capability (MSc/PgDip/PgCert) page on the Cranfield University at Shrivenham website for more details!

Student Profiles

Cranfield Postgraduate Loan Scheme (CPLS) - 20+ Awards

Cranfield University is now able to offer you a more affordable way to study an MSc with loans managed by Prodigy Finance.With a Cranfield Postgraduate Loan it is possible for you to take up your MSc studies with no repayments while you study. This will leave you free to concentrate on your course and enhance your career prospects.Launched in February 2014, the scheme is designed to support UK and EU students entering postgraduate study and is intended to attract those who may not otherwise progress to this level because of financial constraints.Loans of up to £15,000 are available (dependent on the tuition fees for your chosen course).
If you are a UK student, loans are available for tuition fees and maintenance. EU students can apply for a loan covering only tuition fees.
Loans are repaid over a seven year period and repayments start six months after you complete your degree. As a not-for-profit scheme, funded by Cranfield and HEFCE, the loans are competitively priced (6.92% APR representative) and considerably more affordable than a standard career development loan.

Value of Scholarship(s)

Loans of up to £15,000 total


You can apply for a loan if you:• are domiciled in the UK or EU and qualify for ‘Home/EU’ fees and
• have an admissions offer to a Cranfield full-time, taught MSc course in a STEM (Science, Technology Engineering or Mathematics) subject

Application Procedure

If you already have an applicable course offer you can apply online through Prodigy Finance. You will need to provide Prodigy Finance with details of your offer from Cranfield. Your loan application will be considered and responded to within a few days.If you are yet to secure an offer of a place you can register your interest in the scheme and we will keep you up-to-date.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A first or second class UK Honours degree (or equivalent) ideally in a related subject. Other recognised professional qualifications or several years relevant industrial experience may be accepted as equivalent; subject to approval by the Course Director. For further and specific information please visit the course page.

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