School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics

MSc Mechanical Engineering Design

Engineering design is the creative activity that forms technical solutions to everyday problems. This MSc is for graduate engineers who are motivated to advance their knowledge, skills and understanding of modern engineering design practice. You'll explore the methods, tools and technologies used by engineering designers, while advancing your professional competency and readiness to tackle complex engineering challenges.

Careers with this subject
This programme will enable you to develop your career to an advanced level of design management in most industrial sectors. It will also support your progression to registration as a Chartered Engineer. 
Course details
  • Year 1

  • The programme involves 180 credits of study at Level 7 with flexibility to meet your individual development needs. The core modules are complemented by negotiated study and a 60-credit design dissertation project. 
    During the first two semesters of this one-year programme you will explore systems design, product modelling, design management, and the strategies and tactics of modern design practice. You will develop competency in computer-aided engineering and design practice through a project-based learning approach and learn about design research and the methods used to create new insights and understanding of design science. 
    In the final semester you will complete a 60-credit dissertation project that allows you to carry out a substantial research investigation on a topic of your choice and demonstrate innovation and creativity in the development of novel solutions to challenging problems. 
    During the programme you will start recording and planning your professional development to assist any future application for CEng registration.

    Core modules

    • Engineering Research Methods and Professional Development (ENGR501)

      You will use a methodical approach to engineering research that helps identify and define projects that are practically realistic and academically worthwhile. You will plan your research project and select ethically suitable quantitative and qualitative research methods. Your progression towards professional registration will be appraised and plans made for your personal development.

    • Computer Aided Engineering (MECH539)

      This module will develop knowledge and understanding of contemporary finite element analysis (FEA), kinematic analysis, and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) techniques applied in the context of the engineering design process. The module will put emphasis on the importance of validated and verified approaches to computer aided engineering analysis and associativity with the CAD model of the technical system.

    • Advanced Materials Engineering & Nanotechnology (MECH551)

      This module develops an enhanced knowledge and understanding of contemporary engineering materials (metals and alloys, polymers, composites, rubbers, ceramics and glass and nanomaterials). Students will investigate product failure; critically evaluate a broad range of alternative materials; and use the principles of eco-design for sustainable development to optimise material usage.

    • Advanced Engineering Design Practice (MECH552)

      This module will develop your knowledge of Design Science - the knowledge base of engineering design that includes design thinking; design methodologies; theories of technical systems; and the strategies, tactics, and tools of contemporary engineering design practice. You will also develop proficiency in the use of industrial standard CAD tools through a team-based design task.

    • Advanced Engineering Design Project (MECH553)

      This module will further advance your knowledge and understanding of contemporary strategies, tactics, and tools of engineering design practice. Working in a team, you will develop environmentally sustainable solutions to a complex design challenge. You will demonstrate innovation and creativity in the use of technology and present your proposed solutions using industrial standard CAD tools.

    • MSc Dissertation (PROJ517)

      You will demonstrate practical skills and knowledge of research methods to plan and implement high quality research. You will carry out a substantial research investigation on a topic of your choice and report upon the aims, methodology, data analysis, interpretation, synthesis, and conclusions through a high quality, scholarly and professional write-up of the project, either as a formal dissertation or journal paper.

    Optional modules

    • Mechanics of ORE Structures (MAR536)

      This module will cover engineering aspects of offshore renewable energy conversion. The module comprises lectures and tutorials, invited industry lectures, a field trip visit to a marine engineering company and a wave energy converter performance experiment in the COAST lab.

    • Medical Engineering and Biomechanics (MECH549)

      This module will develop specialised knowledge and understanding required for designing medical devices and implants used in medical engineering applications and biomechanical systems; evaluate the selection of appropriate materials and appraise material-tissue interactions; develop computer aided analytical techniques to evaluate behaviour and performance of medical devices and biomechanical systems.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MSc Mechanical Engineering Design programme specification 7437

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.
Entry requirements
A 2:2 BEng (Hons) degree or a 2:1 BSc (Hons) degree in mechanical engineering or other closely related discipline, with a demonstrable aptitude for design from workplace experience or study.
If you have considerable professional experience and can evidence an academic ability to undergraduate degree levels you may also be considered.
If you have overseas qualifications you can check your comparability with the UK equivalent through ECCTIS, who provide an advisory service.
If your first language is not English then evidence of English proficiency is required. The level of proficiency that is required can vary with the type of programme for which you are applying. The minimum IELTS score for acceptable English proficiency for entry is normally 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each element.
We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Course requires ATAS

ATAS is the Academic Technology Approval Scheme which was introduced by the British government to certify students from outside the EU who wish to study or conduct research in Britain in certain sensitive technology-related fields. For selected courses, obtaining a valid ATAS certificate is a requirement for gaining visa approval so should be taken seriously as part of any application. Areas related to ATAS include chemistry, engineering, physics, biophysics, metallurgy and microbiology. ATAS is used at all British universities and is enforced by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. More information.
Fees, costs and funding
Student 2022-2023 2023-2024
Home £9,400 £10,200
International £16,700 £18,000
Part time (Home) £500 £570
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. More information about fees and funding.

Tuition fee discount for University of Plymouth graduates

If you studied your undergraduate degree at Plymouth, you may be eligible for a fee discount if you complete your postgraduate studies here as well.
  • 20% discount on tuition fees for home students
  • £2,000 discount on tuition fees for international students

Postgraduate scholarships for international students

We offer several scholarships for international students who wish to study postgraduate taught (PGT) degree programmes.

Find out more about your eligibility for a postgraduate loan

You may now be eligible for a government loan of over £11,000 to help towards the cost of your masters degree.
How to apply
When to apply
Most of our taught programmes begin in September. Applications can usually be made throughout the year, and are considered until programmes are full.
Before you apply
Familiarise yourself with the information required to complete your application form. You will usually be required to supply:
  • evidence of qualifications (degree certificates or transcripts), with translations if not in English, to show that you meet, or expect to meet the entry requirements
  • evidence of English language proficiency, if English is not your first language
  • a personal statement of approximately 250-400 words about the reasons for your interest in the course and outlining the nature of previous and current related experience. You can write this into the online application form, or include it as a separate document
  • your curriculum vitae or résumé, including details of relevant professional/voluntary experience, professional registration/s and visa status for overseas workers
  • proof of sponsorship, if applicable.
If you require further information take a look at our application guidance.
Disability services
If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by University of Plymouth, please visit our Disability Services.
International students
Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office. Take a look at our how to apply information or email
Submitting an application
Once you are happy that you have all of the information required you can apply using our online postgraduate application form (the blue 'Apply now' icon on this page).
What happens after I apply?
You will normally receive a decision on your application within four weeksof us receiving your application. You may be asked to provide additional information; two academic/professional references, confirming your suitability for the course; or to take part in an interview (which in the case of overseas students may be by telephone or video conference) and you will be sent a decision by letter or email.
We aim to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Admissions and Course Enquiries team is on hand to offer help and can put you in touch with the appropriate faculty if you wish to discuss any programme in detail. 
If you would like any further information please contact the Admissions and Course Enquiries team:
Telephone: +44 (0)1752 585858
Admissions policy
More information and advice for applicants can be referenced in our admissions policy which can be found on the student regulations, policies and procedures page. Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.
Progression routes

International progression routes

The University of Plymouth International College (UPIC) offers foundation, first-year and pre-masters programmes that lead to University of Plymouth degrees. Courses are specially designed for EU and international students who are missing the grades for direct entry to the University, and include full duration visa sponsorship. You can start in January, May or September, benefitting from small class sizes, top-quality tuition and 24/7 student support.
Find out more at or contact our team at

What is engineering design?

Programme leader Dr Antony Robotham shares insight into the principles and content of the popular programme with engineering design practice at its core.

Facilities and labs

New engineering and design facility

"The building will provide a state-of-the-art setting to inspire the engineers and designers of tomorrow, making it the ultimate place to bring together students, academics and industry in an environment that not only benefits them but also society as a whole." – Professor Deborah Greaves OBE
Situated on the western edge of our city centre campus, the landmark new facility will provide a home for the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics and additional space for the School of Art, Design and Architecture.
<p>New Engineering and Design Facility</p>

MAterials and STructures (MAST) Research Group

Our research group explores many aspects of structural, mechanical, marine, composites and civil engineering.

<p>Bridge courtesy of Getty Images</p>

Practical, research-based teaching helped me to grow and inspire change

The teaching method at the University of Plymouth was completely different to what I was used to, as it was more practical and research-based than theoretical.
MSc Mechanical Engineering Design allowed Ram Kushawaha to engage deeply with his interests and set him on a path to a PhD
<p>Ram Kushawaha, MSc Mechanical
Engineering Design 


Graduate profiles

Providing recyclable face shields for frontline staff

Academics in the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics have worked with Plympton-based Prestige Packaging to design and manufacture an initial batch of 20,000 face shields.

Each shield's frame and strap are made from a folding boxboard that is 100% recyclable, 100% compostable and made from FSC-certified wood products. The anti-fog, anti-glare, see-through visor is made from a type of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) that is 100% recyclable and can be returned back into the production cycle.

The shields comply with EU Commission Recommendation (EU) 2020/403 for PPE, meaning they have been approved for use by healthcare workers, first responders and other personnel involved in the efforts to contain the COVID-19 virus, and avoid its further spread, and can now carry the CE mark.

Read more about the project


</p><div>Recyclable face shields</div><p></p>
<p>athena swan bronze</p>

Athena Swan Bronze

The School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics was awarded an Athena Swan Bronze award in October 2020 which demonstrates our ongoing commitment to advancing gender equality and success for all.