MSc Automation and Control

Postgraduate, Full-Time

Gain the advanced knowledge necessary to devise innovative solutions and systems in the broad field of automation and control.

  • Napier code:

    52754MM

  • Course type:

    Full-Time

  • Duration:

    1 year, or 18 months for January start

  • Award:

    MSc

  • Location:

    Merchiston campus

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Course introduction

Automation and control are important aspects of modern manufacturing and utility supply. Many manufacturing assembly lines and processes utilise programmable control systems.

It is essential to equip the prospective engineer in this field with the appropriate theoretical and practical knowledge. This course will extend your skills across essential areas in the field of automation and control.


Worker using a control system

You’ll use your existing knowledge of engineering theory and practice as the base to build new skills in this field such as embedded systems and control system design.

Using specialist equipment in our dedicated laboratories, you’ll learn to use Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, the industry standard for the development of effective control systems.

Combined with a suitable accredited undergraduate degree, the MSc degree would then satisfy the academic requirements of the UK Engineering Council for Chartered Engineer (CEng) status.

Subjects include

  • Sustainable energy technologies
  • Embedded system applications
  • Automation and robotics
  • Research skills and project management
  • Control engineering
  • Mechatronic systems
  • MSc project

Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information on this is available in our disclaimer.

Think of any modern manufacturing or utility supply process and you’re seeing automated assembly lines, robotic systems and programmable controls. These services need to be created, updated and maintained by skilled workers with the right qualifications. After graduation future roles include:

  • automotive industries
  • automation and control industries
  • renewable energy industries
  • engineering research
  • engineering design and development
  • engineering management
  • engineering consultancy

Our entry requirements indicate the minimum qualifications with which we normally accept students. Competition for places varies from year to year and you aren't guaranteed a place if you meet the minimum qualifications.

International students

If your qualifications aren't listed above, visit our country pages to get entry requirements for your country.

Please note that non-EU international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:

BN Nursing/MN Nursing (Adult, Child, Mental Health or Learning Disability)

BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery

Admissions policies

We are committed to being as accessible as possible to anyone who wants to achieve higher education.

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures and how decisions are made.


The entry requirement for this course is a Bachelor (Honours) Degree at a 2:2 or above, or equivalent. We look for applicants to have a background in a relevant engineering field such as electrical, electronics, electrical & electronics, automation, control, automotive or mechatronics in order to be eligible for the programme. 

Mechanical Engineering as a degree subject will not be considered for this programme. 

We may also consider lesser qualifications if you have sufficient relevant work experience within the industry.

English language requirements

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test and our minimum English language requirements will apply.

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English, or your undergraduate degree was taught and examined in English (within two years of starting your postgraduate course). Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

Tuition fees
Students from 2016/17 2017/18
Home/EU £3,750 £3,750
Overseas £14,690 £14,690

Frequently Asked Questions about Fees
Information of Bursaries and Scholarships

Modules that you will study as part of this course*

Automation and Robotics ( MEC11107 )

The work covers the various aspects of automation and application of robots in industry in particular in the area of automatic assembly. Dedicated and Flexible automation systems; criteria for selection of automation systems; Robotics : Mechanical elements ; co-ordinate systems; drive mechanisms. Robot programming and control; software function; interfaces to controller; position /motion/ hybrid control. Programming robots: On -line using proprietary robot programming languages e.g. VAL3 directly and using the teach pendant emulator; Off - line programming languages e.g. GRASP. Applications: choice of robot; robot tooling; ancillary equipment; performance specifications. Use of sensors in automation; sensor types contact, proximity, force, vision systems. Dedicated automation systems: materials handling; analysis and control functions. Assembly: Part feed systems; orienting devices e.g. vibratory bowl feeder; tooling; Materials handling devices e.g. indexing devices; conveyors. Placement devices: Pick and place; Workheads: Fixing methods General: Line balance of assembly systems; Reliability in automation; Cost justification of automation; Job analysis; Implementation of automated systems

Further information

Control Engineering ( MEC11101 )

Programmable Logic Controller hardware. Programming Languages: IEC61131-3, LD, IL, ST, FBD & SFC. PLC Software Design Methods Combinational, Sequential and Continuous Control . Analogue Value processing. Cyclic & Interrupt processing. Design in Fault Diagnostic Techniques. Sensors and measurement systems selection. Discrete: Proximity, limit switches. Analogue.Transducers, amplifiers, signal conditioning. Closed Loop Control, ON/OFF, P, PI & PID. Controller Tuning methods: Reaction Curve, Ultimate Cycle. PID digital control algorithms. Simple Software filter. Safe design. BS EN 60204-1, BS en 954-1, PUWER 98. Control Panel design. Industrial Communication Systems. Fieldbus systems, OPC Servers, Human Machine Interfaces (HMI). Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) Systems. Distributed Databases, I/O Drivers, Tags, Alarm Handling, Trending, Historic Data, HMI Design.

Further information

Embedded Systems Applications ( ELE11108 )

The module begins by evaluating the features of embedded systems. All the main features of embedded systems are analysed. The applications will be based around an Intel 8051 based device. All the main aspects of embedded systems in terms of real time operating systems, peripheral control, error handling and hardware interfacing will be examined and analysed in detail. The C programming language for use in embedded systems will be used as the high level programming input. MCS 51 assembler will also be used to provide low level programming of the 8051

Further information

Mechatronic Systems ( MEC11114 )

The mechatronic approach will be stimulated and rewarded by applying it to the design of a practical product or process that would offer some enhanced performance compared with other alternatives. Mechatronic design process: Definitions of Mechatronics, advantages of microprocessor system control, Mechatronic design process: product and process design applications, advantages of Mechatronic design approach. Evaluate current technology developments that have improved mechatronic design of products or processes. Design a product or process using a Mechatronic design methodology: Conceptual design: user requirement specification, embodiment design, standards, safety regulations: selection of measurement system, controller hardware and software, actuator system, signal conditioning, human-machine interface; design of application program; integration of components. Evaluate a Mechatronic design application: Reliability, accuracy, speed of response, productivity, robustness, ease of maintenance, minimisation of capital and running costs, ease of manufacture, product quality, minimisation of pollution and waste products. Evaluation of design procedure.

Further information

MSc Project ( ELE11109 )

The student will learn about important elements of project management, such as planning, control, cost, problem solving skills, report writing and defend the outcome during a viva session. The project is normally completed during 13 weeks of full time research or part time equivalent, 26 weeks.

Further information

Research Skills and Project Management ( MEC11117 )

- Managing a research project: selecting, planning and execution - Team work. - Information searching, information sources. - Data: organising, processing and presenting. - Reports: evaluation and review, structuring and writing. - An overview of project management. - Quality management. - Time management and cost control. - Performance monitoring and difference resolution. - Project implementation, completion and evaluation.

Further information

Sustainable Energy Technologies ( MEC11123 )

Review, mathematical analysis and application of renewable energy resource data for the detailed design of appropriate renewable energy systems; including autonomous off-grid systems, and methodology and rationale for grid connection. Systems control and energy storage on both a micro and macro scale will be considered. Economic and environmental impact of Biomass energy systems will be covered. Hydro electric systems design, including water turbine selection and Flow Duration Curve analysis for optimisation of energy yield will be presented Methods of estimating life cycle carbon emission and ecological impacts will also be considered.

Further information

* These are indicative only and reflect the course structure in the current academic year. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.