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Automotive Electronic Engineering MSc

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.

This exciting and unique course enables graduates with appropriate backgrounds to cover a range of interrelated disciplines in the automotive electronics arena. The course includes many practical challenges as well as an individual project and dissertation.

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.  Details of this research group can be found at

The first 45 seconds of this video features the laboratories at Brighton:

How the course is delivered

The course begins in late September with the University’s “Welcome week” which gives you time to acclimatise to the University, its services, geography, course administration and management.  This is followed by four taught modules each week (each with a value of 15 CATS) until the Christmas vacation.  After the vacation there will be some examinations (some modules are assessed purely by coursework) and then the Spring Term commences.  Another four modules are taught each week with examinations after the Easter vacation. Note that the only start point for this course is September, because of the way that some term 2 modules build on the material in term 1 there is no January entry point.

Each taught module is between three and four hours contact with the lecturer each week with further self study tutorial and laboratory exercises requiring study outside of the class contact time.  The electronics and computer laboratories are open for students between 8:30 and 5:30 each day (some open longer) and, unless other classes are taking place in the rooms, students are encouraged to use these labs to build their skills and conceptual knowledge.

After all eight taught modules have been studied students then embark on their personal project and masters dissertation stage.  This final stage is full-time ie there are no classes during this phase which ends in early September.

Part-time study is possible by taking the modules at a slower rate.  This will depend on the individual’s employment pattern but a typical approach would be to take two modules in the autumn term, two in the spring term then the following year the other four taught modules will be studied followed by the project.  Thus the student would be studying for two years.  It should be noted that there is no evening teaching so part-time students would require release from their employment in order to attend the classes.  The final project phase could be conducted at the place or work in some cases.

Due to the practical nature of coursework assignments the module must be studied at the University hence they cannot be taken in distance mode.

Taught Modules

Click the module title for a summary of that module. Please note that thes e are indicative summaries and may change

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The Project and Dissertation Phase

After the taught modules students undertake an individual project on which they base their dissertation

Some examples of projects titles are:

Real-time power-train modelling for software in the loop testing”  - this is using our MATLAB xPC system
An experimental investigation of novel fuel injection and ignition systems for a spray-guided gasoline engine” – this project was carried out with Ricardo
Self Optimizing IC Engine Control” – this is about putting algorithms into an ECU to allow self calibration, tuning and optimization of fuel or performance
A Smart Grid System using Electric Vehicles as an Energy Storage Resource” – design, simulation and verification of a systems design
An investigation of sensor fusion in automotive applications” – using various proxies for positional information to investigate sensor fusion techniques
Smart wing mirrors” – investigates augmentation of display information.

The project is assessed at four stages, which are:
  • A feasibility study in May to make sure the complexities and constraints of the project are understood
  • A short progress presentation in July
  • A dissertation structure report in August
  • The final dissertation in September
Sources for project ideas can come from:
  • Yourself
  • The academic staff
  • Our industrial partners

Why choose the University of Brighton?

The University of Brighton has deep historical roots which go back to the middle of the 19th Century. Former Brighton graduates over more than 60 years have achieved highly successful careers across the world.  Yet Brighton also prides itself in being innovative and up-to-date with changes to meet industrial needs of today.  In the latest Research Assessment Exercise, RAE2008, results show that across the University of Brighton nearly 80% of its research was classed as international standing and 15% as world leading.  The Automotive Engineering research group achieved an excellent rating with 70% of its research rated internationally excellent or world leading and 95% deemed to be internationally recognised.

Career Prospects

This course aims to provide specific knowledge about the automotive electronics context, automotive issues that are current, future trends and important engineering skills but the knowledge and concepts covered are also very applicable to more general electronic engineering.  You could therefore use this degree as a stepping stone to a research career (possibly within our own research laboratories), automotive electronics design or to gain more advanced electronics design skills. 

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

Job functions are many but would include:
  • Design Engineer
  • Calibration Engineer
  • Software Engineer
  • Control Engineer
  • Modelling
  • Electronic Systems Integration
  • Research and Development
  • Communications Engineer
  • Project Management
Employment Prospects

Some of our students have gained the following employment:

  • Automotive Engineer at Daimler AG (Mercedes-Benz passenger cars)
  • Automotive Engineer at Lysanda (Fuel and CO2 prediction, using MATLAB modelling with DSpace)
  • Automotive Engineer at Delphi (ECU design)
  • Renewables Engineering at OST Energy (Irradiation analysis, yield and energy production modelling using MATLAB)
  • Product Application Engineer with IPETRONIK, India (Automotive data acquisition systems)

This year one of our students has been offered the following jobs before he has finished the degree:

  • Ricardo - Graduate Scheme
  • DENSO - Engine Management Systems
  • Jaguar Land Rover - Software Development
  • TRW - Power Steering System Engineer
  • Dearman Engine Company - Control Systems Engineer
He thinks that the MSc course has been the most significant contribution to this success.

Chartered Engineer Accreditation

The MSc is accredited by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) as fulfilling the educational requirements for registration as a Chartered Engineer (CEng) when presented with a CEng accredited Bachelors programme or equivalent.  The normal route to CEng status requires a total of four years of accredited education which is usually is made up of an MEng degree or a BEng degree plus further study.  This means that the MSc in Automotive Electronic Engineering is valid as the fourth year of education towards your CEng registration.


The Division of Engineering and Product Design is part of the School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics and is situated in the Cockcroft Building on the Moulsecoomb Campus, which is approximately 2 miles from the City Centre. This compact site has modern computing facilities with numerous specialist software packages, such as Code-composer studio, Code Warrior, MATLAB, Commsim, ImageJ, MPLAB, Multisim, Visual Studio and Wireshark.  As well as standard electronics laboratory facilities there are also specialist microprocessor and communications laboratories. These electronics facilities coupled with the high technology engine labs provide a superb resource for students to access. Research work in recent years in collaboration with industry, has brought in over £2 million worth of facilities into the Division. The facilities are in constant development, for example we are currently working on a hybrid vehicle experimentation laboratory.

Applicant qualifications

We would normally expect applicants to possess an undergraduate degree in either an electronic or mechanical engineering discipline (although other possibilities exist).  The modules are structured such that Automotive Control Engineering and Power Train Engineering are common between our MSc Automotive Electronic Engineering and the MSc in Automotive Engineering and provide an interdisciplinary context.  The module on sensors and interfacing provides detailed knowledge on sensors but also a more “gentle” introduction to some electronic circuitry so that students with non-electronic engineering backgrounds can acclimatise ready for the more demanding power electronics in term 2.  A similar approach is taken with the modules on embedded processors and engine control unit design.  The first gives a gentler introduction to microcontroller technology and real-time programming ready for the more demanding ECU module.

ATAS requirements

The JACS code for this course is H300 which means that some students will have to apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate before they apply for a visa.  Details of this process can be found on the University’s website section for International students under “visa and immigration advice”.  You can also go directly to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth website.

Further information

For further information about admissions please contact us using our online enquiry form.

Study for a Masters in Automative Electronic Engineering
Electronics Lab

Electronics Lab

Hybrid Test Facility

Hybrid Test Facility

The course leader

The course leader

Matthias working on his novel fuel injection project

Matthias working on his novel fuel injection project

Anil is using MATLAB xPC to model a hybrid for HIL testing

Anil is using MATLAB xPC to model a hybrid for HIL testing


The course has been very well balanced between practical and theoretical sessions. Lecturers were always very professional and available for clarification and assistance

Nicola, MSc Automotive Electronic Engineering in 2010

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