Postgraduate MSc/PgDip

Advanced Control Systems

School of Science, Engineering and Environment





One year

Two year

Next enrolment

September 2020


In a nutshell

Enrich your first degree and previous relevant experience by developing a focused, integrated and critically aware understanding of underlying theory and current policy and practice in the field of control systems engineering.

The specialist postgraduate degree course blends control systems theory with a practical exploration of range of control applications, including industrial control (SCADA), intelligent control, flight control and robotic control.  This control system approach provides continuity in learning throughout the course.

This programme is designed to meet the requirement of the Engineering Councils Accreditation of Higher Education Programmes (AHEP).

You will:
  • Gain a critical awareness and understanding of current problems in control engineering
  • Learn how to deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively
  • Make sound judgments in the absence of complete data
  • Communicate your conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialists

students accepted

This is for you if...


You're an engineering graduate seeking a career in the automation and control sector


You're a practising control systems engineer and want to extend and update your skills


You're excited by robotics and automation and want to help shape future development

Course details

All about the course

This MSc programme is delivered over one year full-time, or two years part-time. The course consists of four 30-credit modules and one 60-credit project module. A nine-month PgDip pathway is also available.

In trimester one, you'll explore automation, robotics and control. In the second trimester, you'll study mobile robotics, and choose to study either artificial intelligence or flight dynamics. In trimester three, you'll bring together all of your learning to conduct high-level coordinated academic and practical work to form your final dissertation assessment.


Automation and Robotics

You will be provided with a comprehensive understanding of current industrial control technology and practices, including Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC), Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) and Distributed Control System (DCS) systems. Subjects include discrete event system control, programming PLCs, manipulator theory and manipulator practice.

Instrumentation and Control

This module will give you a comprehensive understanding and systematic understanding of knowledge in the design and analysis of both measurement and feedback control systems.

Mobile Robotics

This module will teach you to critically review and analyse current autonomous intelligent robots, consolidate and extend knowledge in robotics applications and provide a practical understanding of robotic navigation and locomotion. You will also be taught the theory and practice of autonomous intelligent mobile robots and how these techniques and technologies impinge on research and industrial activities.

MSc Project and Dissertation

The project module is to give you the opportunity to bring together what has been done in all of your other modules, working under the direction of an academic supervisor to carry out high-level coordinated academic and practical work. On completion of the project, you should have demonstrated the following:

  • Ability to apply multiple theories (educational, technical and project management) learnt elsewhere to a real-world research-driven project.
  • Application of an appropriate software development methodology, using principles of planning, design, usability and scalability.
  • Critical and evaluative appraisal and discussion, arriving at relevant conclusions.

You will then select one module from the below:

Flight Dynamics and Control

On completion of this module you will have a complete understanding of how to analyse flight dynamics and the design of flight control systems.

Artificial Intelligence

The aim of this module is to give you a comprehensive understanding of the role of artificial intelligence in control applications, and provide you with practical experience of using techniques such as fuzzy logic, artificial neural networks, and evolutionary computing in engineering applications.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What will I be doing?






Teaching and learning is delivered through a combination of lectures, tutorials, computer workshops and laboratory activities. Students benefit from the supply of a range of high-quality teaching materials and software. Interaction is face-to-face wherever practical, but we also use web-based learning support packages (databases of materials, discussion boards etc.) and there is a strong focus on guided self-learning.


  • 35% examinations
  • 65% coursework (labs, reports, dissertation)

School of Science, Engineering and Environment

From cyber security to biomedicine to architecture, our expanding suite of multidisciplinary courses shapes the next generation of scientists, engineers, consultants and conservationists. Through advanced research, we’re pioneering robotics and AI, smart environments and the appliance of data. With a team of over 200 dedicated academic, technical and administrative staff, you’ll experience a supportive, professional environment where you can realise your potential.


As a leading centre of aeronautics,robotics and control engineering study and research, Salford is equipped with advanced, specialist facilities including:

Aerodynamics Lab 

This features low speed and supersonic wind tunnels. Typical experiments determine the aerodynamic properties and influence of wing sweep on the lift and drag.

Control and Dynamics Lab 

This features flight simulators and programmable control experiments. Typical experiments study damping and short period oscillation analysis, forced vibration and controller performance.

Merlin MP520-T Engineering Flight Simulator 

This incorporates cockpit controls, integrated main head-up display and two secondary instrumentation display panels.

Elite Flight Training System

A fixed base Piper PA-34 Seneca III aircraft simulator certified by the Civil Aviation Authority as a FNPT II-Multi-Crew Cockpit training environment.

Employment and stats

What about after uni?


Robotics and automation is a dynamic field, and a wide-range of opportunities are emerging in areas such as robotics design, control system integration and design, factory automation engineering management and research. Due to the rapid integration of new technologies, course graduates can expect to find employment across many industries.


Some of our graduates choose to progress to postgraduate and doctoral research in our Salford Innovation and Research Centre (SIRC). The Centre aims to build on our world-class research and provide industry with guidance and expertise in 21st-century technology for business success and economic growth. Research at the Centre is supported by EPSRC, TSB, DoH, MoD, Royal Society, European Commission funding, as well as direct investment from industry.  

The Control and Systems Engineering (CASE) hub brings together a wealth of expertise that covers broad areas of advanced control and system engineering, and the core academic members of staff are internationally-recognised researchers. We excel in a number of strategic areas of leading research in mechanical, electrical, civil and aeronautical engineering.

A taste of what you could become

A robotics designer

A control systems engineer

An automation specialist

A robotics engineer

And more...

Career Links

Salford has strong links with industry covering companies that span the aerospace industry. These links have developed through collaborative research and development projects, or via the commercial testing of products/components. The knowledge gained through these engagements all feed into teaching and learning, and help to connect learning to real-world scenarios.


What you need to know


This course is recommended for engineering graduates seeking a career in the automation and control sector, or practicing control systems engineers who want to extend their skills. 


International applicants are required to demonstrate proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0 (with no element below 5.5) is proof of this.


International students are required by the Home Office and/or the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) to apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Certificate before they begin study. To comply with Home Office regulations, you must obtain an ATAS Certificate before you come to the UK. Please refer to your offer conditions. 


Candidates who do not hold an appropriately accredited BEng Honours degree will gain partial exemption for CEng status; these candidates will need to have their first qualification individually assessed if they wish to progress onto CEng registration.

Standard entry requirements

Undergraduate degree

Typically a minimum of 2:2 honours degree with significant numerate content comparable to first degrees in engineering.

Alternative entry requirements

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home/EU 2020/21 £7,920per year
Full-time international 2020/21 £14,670per year
Part-time 2020/21 £1,320 per 30 credits
Additional costs

You should consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Scholarships for International students 2020/21

To celebrate the University of Salford's expertise and industry links, high achieving international students may be eligible for our Computing, Science and Engineering International Excellence Scholarship of £3,500.

For more information go to International Scholarships.

Apply now

All set? Let's apply

Enrolment dates

September 2020

January 2021

September 2021