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Lightweight Structures and Impact Engineering MSc

Subject Area: Mechanical and Automotive Engineering

An Industry Focused Advanced Lightweight Structures Masters

Brunel University London is proud to offer a Lightweight Structures MSc degree with scholarships for the future leaders of industry in lightweight structures and impact engineering.

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Located just outside the City of Cambridge at the world-renowned National Structural Integrity Research Centre (NSIRC), this Lightweight Structures and Impact Engineering masters degree produces graduates with advanced design and analyse skills devoted to lightweight structures that can support carbon capture and cardon dioxide reduction goals for industries such as transportation, offshore and marine, defence and many more sectors.


Advanced lightweight structures that have less structural weight need to be designed and analysed in a way that never compromises on safety.

With these priorities to design and analysis, industries like aerospace and automotive are racing to find noval solutions that meet the needs of structural integrity, structural engineering and impact response under extreme loading.

Skilled in Simulation and Materials Technologies

New simulations and advanced lightweight and composite material technologies are emerge all the time.

The impact is that the need for CAE specialists is increasing with highly skilled work across multiple engineering fields.


Course Content

Fees and funding

Entry requirements

How to Apply



With over 15 years' experience providing graduates to industry, including: Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin, McLaren, and Rolls-Royce, this postgraduate engineering degree programme targets two key areas;

Firstly, understanding the linear and non-linear material and structural response over different operating conditions, which may include large or rapid deformation, failure (static and transient), and high strain rate loading (inertial effects, wave propagation and shockwaves).

And secondly, providing specialist training and competency in advanced simulation methods (mesh-based and meshfree) and application to lightweight structural design.


Key Features of this Masters Programme

  • Prestigious scholarships available
  • Industry based programme delivered at NSIRC (Cambridge), providing access to specialist equipment and CPD training opportunities through TWI (CSWIP)
  • Internship and placement options
  • NAFEMS accredited Finite Element Analysis training
  • Aligned with Engineering Council accreditation
  • Taught in condensed blocks to support full-time/part-time study
  • Industry-led dissertation projects
  • Significant networking opportunities through direct contact with the industry at NSIRC and contribution to NSIRC annual PhD conference
  • Laptop provided with full access to engineering software for the duration of your studies


Course Content for this Masters

Delivered in blocks that run across two week periods, with exceptions, students will also gain the benefit of extra tutorial support via timetabled self-study time.

For students that may not have a direct mechanical engineering background, a formative study block in structural mechanics and stress analysis will provide appropriate support.

To encourage group achievements and nurture the experience of working collaboratively towards goals, working in groups will for a part of the programme where students will take personal responsibility for learning.

Group design projects will be student-led and supported by industry connection with TWI.

This will develop the ‘soft’ skills of graduates towards communication, problem-solving, planning, and project management, while also giving students of the programme vital experience at dealing with real complexities of working within a professional design team.

Students of this course have an excellent opportunity to undertake an internship or placement after completion of the taught modules and the dissertation.

From September, the course can be studied 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time or 24 months full-time with placement.

vibration-testingYear 1 Compulsory Modules

  • Advanced Transient Simulation Methods
  • Applied Continuum Mechanics 1: Fundamentals
  • Applied Continuum Mechanics 2: FEA
  • Composite Materials and Structures
  • Fracture Mechanics and Fatigue Analysis
  • Impact and Crashworthiness
  • Metallurgy and Materials
  • ME5XXX – Dissertation

Optional Modules

  • Automotive Integral Vehicle Structures
  • Thin-Walled Structures

Note that all modules can be subject to change.


Ideal MSc for Careers in Transport, Energy and Defence

The Lightweight Structures and Impact Engineering degree with Brunel University aims to equip graduates with the high level knowledge and many transferable skills demanded by global organisations across the transportation, offshore and defence sectors.

Through the programmes collaboration with TWI, students will be train in advanced simulation across different operating conditions. Highly desirable to potential employers.



This MSc programme is very well suited for graduates to to be recruited as:

Research and Development Engineer

Manage, or contribute to industry-relevant research or development in areas concerning engineering structures

Design and Development Engineer

Design and develop engineering solutions, covering: safety engineering (crashworthiness and impact protection); structural integrity; structural analysis; stress analysis

 NSIRC and Brunel also run a Structural Integrity PhD Programme based at TWI in Cambridge.

Many graduates of NSIRC and Brunel Masters course have joined the doctoral training programme. Through NSIRC, they continue working and networking in a professional environment as their education for PhD takes place.


Programme Teaching and Learning

An engaging learning environment is achieved through specialist lecture modules (assessed and non-assessed), including software training and invited industry speakers.

Online self-study training videos will supplement and enhance your learning experience. This includes access to CSWIP training opportunities.

CSWIP Colour


The industry-supported, student-led Group Design Project provides training in problem solving and project management as well as experience in dealing with the complexities of working within a design team.


Your Individual Research Project (thesis) allows you to deepen your knowledge in a specific subject.


Assessment and Feedback for the Course

Applied assessments and examinations help prepare you to successfully submit your individual dissertation. You’ll be given opportunities for experiential learning in project management and working individually (and as a team) on an initially unfamiliar problem to improve your communication skills.

You will develop your communication skills through technical report writing, oral and poster presentations.


Fees and Funding for 2022/23 Entry

Fees Table
 United Kingdom and EuropeInternational 
Full-Time   £9,935  £20,450
Part-Time  £4,965  £10,225
Placement Year  £1,385  £1,385

Fees quoted are per year and are subject to an annual increase. 

Fees for EU applicants – For entry in 2022/23 academic year, eligible EU applicants will have the same tuition fees as UK students to continue our support during this transition period. These fees will be applied for the duration of the course.

See our fees and funding page for full details of postgraduate scholarships available to Brunel applicants.


UK Applicant Entry Requirements

First or 2.1 UK honours degree (or equivalent) in mathematics, physics, computing or an engineering discipline. 

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EU and International Applicant Entry Requirements

If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, you must prove knowledge of the English language so that we can issue you a Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS). To do this, you will need an IELTS for UKVI or Trinity SELT test pass gained from a test centre approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and on the Secure English Language Testing (SELT) list. This must have been taken and passed within two years from the date the CAS is made.

English Language Requirements

  • IELTS: 6 (min 5.5 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 59 (59 in all sub scores)
  • BrunELT: 58% (min 55% in all areas)
  • TOEFL: 77 (min R18, L17, S20, W17) 

You can find out more about the qualifications we accept on our English Language Requirements page.

Should you wish to take a pre-sessional English course to improve your English prior to starting your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider for the same reason. We offer our own BrunELT English test and have pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet requirements or who wish to improve their English. You can find out more information on English courses and test options through our Brunel Language Centre.

Please check our Admissions pages for more information on other factors we use to assess applicants. This information is for guidance only and each application is assessed on a case-by-case basis. Entry requirements are subject to review, and may change.


How to apply

Apply Here

To enquire about the course and ask for more information about MSc with Brunel, please email Hannah Stedman via


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