Learning in motion: an introduction to our Automotive MScs

Posted in: Department of Mechanical Engineering, Opinion, postgraduate courses, Teaching

Author: Dr Daniel Coren CEng MIMechE FHEA, Director of Studies for Automotive MSc Courses

In this first post of the series, Daniel discusses how our Automotive MScs respond to the demands of industry now and in the future.

What was the first car you ever drove? What car will you be driving in 2030? Will people still drive cars in 2050? The last car built on Earth will surely be a sports car, is a quote attributed to Ferry Porsche. If you had the opportunity to design a car, what features would it possess and what would it look like? Where would you drive it and who would you want to take with you? 

We’ve designed our suite of automotive MSc courses to help a new generation of professionals tackle some of the worldwide environmental and societal challenges that characterise our times. We’ve incorporated some of the best attributes of the automotive sector like finding practical routes to bring about positive change at pace. Smiling female student leans over engine cell and adjusts wires in lab setting.

If the car can be seen as an embodiment of an innate human thirst for adventure, exploration, and new experience, it should be no surprise that these core attributes have influenced how we deliver our courses. They feature:

  • practical and immersive lab sessions
  • collaborative tutorial and problem-based learning workshops
  • interaction with our IAAPS research community

This is all backed up by lecture-based exploration of theory, involving worked examples. Collectively, a fertile environment for inquiring minds. 

Explore the critical issues

Preparing for the challenges of a brave new automotive industry requires a well-tailored approach to education. So we address key topics including:

  • low-carbon propulsion technologies (from component to vehicle system level)
  • vehicle body design packaging to accommodate new propulsion systems from a clean sheet approach
  • aerodynamic bodywork incorporating low-drag external surfaces and internal airflows for heat flow management
  • suspension systems to support the new payload and weight distribution characteristics
  • connected vehicles (long since mechanically untethered from horses, but now digitally tethered for data sharing and congestion management)
  • artificial intelligence (AI) as an engineering challenge and opportunity, from both technical and ethical perspectives
  • agile and ethical professional working practices
  • project and change management
  • innovative automotive business practices

Each of our automotive MSc courses has its own unique flavour, but they are designed to work together as a whole. We bring all four cohorts together for group-based teaching units. The built-in networking aspect is reflected in our course pathway diagram, which was inspired by the London underground map (which fittingly, was itself designed by an electrical engineer, Harry Beck). This integrated approach nurtures community cross-course interaction and prepares students for industry practice. Will you be working alongside some of your coursemates after you graduate? To help keep you on track, we have a personal tutoring system in place to help develop personal study plans and to help you realise your potential.

Course features

Semester one

Focus on structured learning in immersive environments. An annual course theme related to future transport and mobility is set at a course launch meeting. You'll explore the fundamentals of propulsion and the future purpose of the car. Best practices for AI as a learning aid are shared.

Semester two

Focus on application and consolidation of knowledge and understanding, with tutor guidance. You'll work on group projects, including whole vehicle performance modelling using industry-standard tools, and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). You'll explore systems thinking and specialise in technical or business management topics.

Semester three (summer project period)

Focus on student-led innovation. You'll undertake an industry-linked project (‘mini-placement’ experience) with either engineering technology or business management themes. You'll work on live projects and applied engineering challenges, and learn personal professional development skills, but with a friendly campus support network.

Let past successes inspire you to engineer the future

The city of Bath is a beautiful world UNESCO heritage site, with a rich cultural history. It's a natural fountain of inspiration to develop well-balanced perspectives across the evolution of not only the automobile, but also the practice of teaching and learning engineering, technology, and business management. So we can take the best of long-standing fundamental principles in science, business, and learning, and combine them with modern best practices in digital and physical learning, to produce a unique approach to science-informed practical problem solving. This is how we journey towards cleaner and more sustainable future mobility and transport systems and, by the same token, healthy human lifestyles too.

Drive on!

As a follow-on to this introduction, we’ll be sharing a series of notes that explore some of the challenges around net zero carbon mobility in the context of the evolving automotive sector, our Automotive MSc courses, and the timely career opportunities of a technology-neutral approach to the task of engineering sustainable mobility. 

Posted in: Department of Mechanical Engineering, Opinion, postgraduate courses, Teaching


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