MSc in Advanced Lightweight and Composite Structures


Program Description


There are no other courses that provide dedicated specialist training in design and analysis of advanced lightweight structures in aerospace, automotive, marine and renewable energy industries. This is with respect to structural integrity and health monitoring over service life, which can be tailored to your career aspirations.

Delivered with a unique focus on industry challenges and concerns, this course will equip you with strong experimental, numerical and analytical skills in structural mechanics for both composite and metallic components. This will help you to practically apply this knowledge to solve real engineering problems.

Who is it for?

Students who enrol come from a variety of different backgrounds. Many have specific careers in mind, such as working in automotive or aerospace disciplines (structural design or crash protection), materials development for defence applications, or to work in the field of numerical code developments/consultancy.

Why this course?

Designing advanced structures through the novel, lightweight materials is one of the key enabling technologies for both aerospace and automotive sectors to align with national targets for the reduction of carbon. In reducing inherent structural weight, it is essential not to compromise the safety, as structural integrity and designing for crashworthiness become key design drivers.

Understanding how aluminium or composite structures and materials perform over their life cycles under static and dynamic loading, including crash and bird strike, requires expertise in a range of areas. As new simulation and material technologies emerge, there is a continuing need for talented employees with a strong, applied understanding in structural analysis, together with competent technical skills in numerical simulation.

Informed by Industry

Established in 2003, this course is supported by close ties with industry, through student projects, specialist lectures and more importantly, by employing our graduates.

The MSc in Advanced Lightweight Structures and Impact is directed by an Industrial Advisory Panel comprising senior engineers from aerospace sectors. This maintains course relevancy and ensures that graduates are equipped with the skills and knowledge required by leading employers.

The Industry Advisory Panel includes representatives from:

  • Airbus
  • Rolls-Royce
  • Jaguar


The MSc in Advanced Lightweight and Composite Structures is accredited by Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) & Royal Aeronautical Society (RAes) 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/BSc (Hons) undergraduate first degree to comply with full CEng registration requirements.

Course details

You will complete eight compulsory modules.

The course employs a wide range of teaching methods designed to create a demanding and varied learning environment including structured lecture programmes, tutorials, case studies, hands-on computing, individual projects, and guest lectures.

Compulsory modules

All the modules in the following list need to be taken as part of this course:

  • Advanced Composite Analysis and Impact
  • Introduction to Continuum Mechanics
  • Thin-walled Structures
  • Finite Element Methods
  • Materials Characterisation and Failure Simulations
  • Structural Stability
  • Crashworthiness
  • Advanced Simulation for Impact

Entry requirements

A first or second class UK Honours degree or equivalent in mathematics, physics, computing or an engineering discipline. Candidates with a degree in less applicable discipline or mature applicants with alternative qualifications may be accepted subject to the discretion of the course director.

Last updated Jan 2020

About the School

Cranfield's distinctive expertise is in our deep understanding of technology and management and how these work together to benefit the world.

Cranfield's distinctive expertise is in our deep understanding of technology and management and how these work together to benefit the world. Read less
Cranfield , Swindon + 1 More Less