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Lightweight Structures and Impact Engineering MSc

Brunel University London is proud to offer a Lightweight Structures and Impact Engineering degree for the future leaders of industry.

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Located just outside the City of Cambridge at the 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.


Course Content

Fees and funding

Entry requirements




Brunel and NSIRC have been providing graduates to industries like Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin, McLaren, and Rolls-Royce for over 15 years. They offer a postgraduate engineering degree programme that focuses on two main areas.

Firstly, the programme aims to help students understand the behaviour of materials and structures under different operating conditions. This includes large or rapid deformation, failure (static and transient), and high strain rate loading (inertial effects, wave propagation and shockwaves). The programme also covers composite construction, advanced composite engineering, and composite structures.

Secondly, the programme teaches students advanced simulation methods (mesh-based and meshfree) and their application to lightweight structural design. This is crucial because as industries like aerospace and automotive race to find novel solutions that meet the needs of structural integrity, structural engineering and impact response under extreme loading, advanced lightweight structures that have less structural weight need to be designed and analysed in a way that never compromises on safety. The programme also covers advanced composites.

The Masters programme has a number of key features that make it stand out from other programmes. For example, prestigious scholarships are available for students. The programme is industry-based and delivered at NSIRC (Cambridge), providing access to specialist equipment and CPD (Continuing Professional Development) training opportunities through TWI (CSWIP). Internship and placement options are also available.

The programme is accredited by NAFEMS (International Association for the Engineering Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Community) for Finite Element Analysis training and is aligned with Engineering Council accreditation. It is taught in condensed blocks to support full-time/part-time study. Students also get to work on industry-led dissertation projects, which provide significant networking opportunities through direct contact with the industry at NSIRC and contribution to NSIRC annual PhD conference. Finally, the programme provides students with a laptop that has full access to engineering software for the duration of their studies.



Course Content

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

Note that all modules can be subject to change.

  • 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
  • Dissertation

Optional Modules

  • Automotive Integral Vehicle Structures
  • Thin-Walled Structures

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.

 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

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

Full-Time   £13,750  £25,000
Part-Time  £6,875  £12,500
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 2024/25 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.


Entry Requirements


A 2:2 (or above) UK Honours degree or equivalent in Mathematics, Physics, Computing or an Engineering discipline*.
Engineering disciplines include: Mechanical, Civil, Automotive, Aerospace and Materials Science.
*Applicants with alternative qualifications and / or relevant work experience are recommended to apply. 

EU and International

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