Automation & Control MSc

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


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.

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.

Typical entry points to this course are in January and September. Please enquire for more information.

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Mode of Study:



1 year

Start date:


Course details

The course is accredited by the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET). 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.


  • Sustainable energy technologies
  • Instrumentation systems
  • Automation and robotics
  • Research skills and project management
  • Control engineering
  • Mechatronic systems
  • MSc project
  • calendar

    How you’ll be taught

    You will be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, seminars and also through practical hands on experience using relevant laboratory equipment.

    This is a full-time course and is split up into three trimesters. You can choose to start in either January or September.


    • September starts: 12 months
    • January starts: 18 months with a three-month break over the summer (after the first taught trimester)
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    Assessments will primarily be in the form of written coursework submissions and examinations.  Other form of assessments are presentation, demonstration, class test and dissertation viva.
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    Work placement

    You are encouraged to take an optional industrial placement in addition to taught modules. Though this is non-credited, our Placement team will provide support to find placement opportunities.

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    You will have access to control and automation equipment such process control rig, robotic arm, various microcontroller hardware, programmable logic control (PLC) and sensors. In addition, you have access to a number of technical software such as Siemen PLC and Matlab. 


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

Instrumentation Systems ( ELE11114 )

The module content will be based on three main areas of instrumentation systems. The first section will consider the use and application of modern smart sensing devices to cover a range of measurements. These will then be used in distributed systems to put together complete instrumentation systems. The final stage will be the integration of instrumentation systems into the control of industrial plant.

Further information

MSc Project ( ENG11100 )

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

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. Evaluation of design procedure.

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 )

This module will review the field of sustainability. Firstly, we will conceptualise sustainability, its history and the challenges to sustainable development. Methods of estimating life cycle carbon emission and ecological impacts will be critical analysed. The process of risk assessments in the context of the renewable energy industry, will also be discussed.

Next the module will consider the topic of energy consumption and usage, most notably in the heating of buildings and transportation (both of which represents the bulk of final energy consumption). This shall include estimating the energy consumption of buildings depending on climate conditions and the options for improving building performance and estimating of heat load, boiler requirements, etc. Transportation shall also consider the environmental impact of transportation as well as the design of urban areas, public transport, its benefits and limitations.

Finally, we will review the application of renewable energy resources for the design of appropriate renewable energy systems; including autonomous off-grid systems, as well as the methodology and rationale for grid connection. Systems control and energy storage on both a micro and macro scale will be considered next. This shall include Economic and environmental impact of energy systems. Hydro electric systems design, including water turbine selection and Flow Duration Curve analysis for optimisation of energy yield will be presented. Wind energy design shall also be considered, including the site selection and estimation of performance.

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.



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

Full information is available in our disclaimer.

Entry requirements

What are the entry requirements for Automation and Control?

The entry requirement for this course is a Bachelor (Honours) Degree at 2:2 or above. We are looking for an academic background in a relevant engineering field e.g. electrical, electronics, electrical & electronics, automation, control or mechatronics. We may also consider other degrees related to Mechanical Engineering.

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

Please note that nationals of particular countries would be required to apply for an ATAS certificate, if they receive an offer for this course. More information about this can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Can I get admission into Automation and Control based on my working experience in this sector?

This course has academic entry requirements which are assessed alongside relevant work experience. Full details of any relevant work experience, including references should be submitted with your application and may be considered for entry where the minimum academic entry requirements are below those required.

Usually, unrelated work experience is not considered sufficient for entry without meeting the minimum academic entry requirements. Please contact us with your specific circumstances by submitting an enquiry form above and we will be happy to discuss your options.

Can I make an appointment with an advisor to discuss further about the admission process?

If you want to get more information on the admission process, please get in touch with the postgraduate admissions team by submitting an enquiry form above.

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.

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
Entry requirements by country

Please note that international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery
  • All Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

See who can apply for more information on Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

We’re committed to admitting students who have the potential to succeed and benefit from our programmes of study. 

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures, and how we use the information you provide us in your application to inform the decisions we make.

Undergraduate admissions policies
Postgraduate admissions policies

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you will depend on a number of factors including your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. We also have a number of bursaries and scholarships available to our students.

Tuition fees
Students from 2023/24 2024/25
Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland £6,930 £7,280
Overseas and EU £ £20,395
Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual review and may increase from one year to the next. For more information on this and other Tuition Fee matters please see Frequently Asked Questions about Fees Click this link for Information of Bursaries and Scholarships
The University offers a 20% discount on Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes to its alumni. The discount applies to all full-time, part-time and online programmes. The discount can only be applied to year one of a full-time Postgraduate degree, any additional years are exempt from the discount. For part time Postgraduate degrees the discount will apply to years one, two and three only and any additional years will be exempt from the discount.
Please note that the tuition fees liable to be paid by EU nationals commencing their studies from 1 August 2021 will be the Overseas fee rate. The University offers a range of attractive Tuition Fee bursaries to students resident in specific countries. More information on these can be found here.

Please note:

The discount for Edinburgh Napier alumni can only be applied to year one of a full-time Postgraduate degree, any additional years are exempt from the discount.

For part time Postgraduate degrees the discount will apply to years one, two and three only and any additional years will be exempt from the discount.

Please read our full T&C here


What can you do with a MSc Automation and Control degree?

Automation and control technologies are increasingly integral across various industries, including manufacturing, energy, transportation, and healthcare. As automation continues to advance, there is a growing demand for skilled professionals who can design, implement, and optimize automated systems. Studying MSc Automation and Control degree from Edinburgh Napier University offers several career benefits and opportunities. This includes working in the following sectors:

  • Automotive Industries
  • Automation and Control Industries
  • Renewable Energy Industries
  • Engineering Research
  • Engineering Design and Development
  • Engineering Management
  • Engineering Consultancy

The MSc curriculum provides students with in-depth knowledge of automation technologies, control systems, instrumentation, and data analytics. This specialized expertise is highly valued by employers seeking professionals who can drive innovation and efficiency in automated processes.

Automation and control are global industries, offering opportunities for employment and career advancement worldwide. The programme includes lectures, tutorials, practical laboratory sessions and projects, allowing students to gain hands-on experience with state-of-the-art automation equipment and software tools. This practical experience enhances students' technical skills, transferable skills and prepares them for global challenges.

What does an Automation Engineer do?

The daily responsibilities of an Automation Engineer can vary depending on the industry, company, and specific projects they are working on. You may often design and develop automated systems, including robotic systems, industrial control systems, and process automation solutions. This involves analyzing requirements, specifying components, and creating detailed designs to meet project objectives. You might also have to write code and develop software programs to control automated equipment and systems.

You will conduct testing and debugging activities to ensure that automated systems function correctly and meet performance requirements. This may involve simulating real-world conditions, troubleshooting hardware and software issues, and optimizing system performance.

As an Automation Engineer, you will ensure that automation systems comply with relevant industry standards, safety regulations, and quality assurance procedures. You have to stay informed about changes in regulations and standards to ensure compliance and mitigate risks.

Undergraduates wearing high visibility safety clothing while repairing a railway line