ACS6200 Control Systems Project and Dissertation

Module Description (subject to change)

The aim of the project is to give you the opportunity to develop further your advanced knowledge and skills and apply these to a specific problem or set of problems. It builds on the taught modules and develops a greater level of independence. You will be allocated a project supervisor with whom you will develop the project specification and who will provide overall guidance on the project. However, you are expected to demonstrate a high level of initiative and independence. You will also develop skills in creative and critical thinking, analysis, reflection, effective project management and communication.

The project is very different from many of your taught modules where the lecturer takes the lead in your learning. In the project you are expected to take the lead and the supervisor is expected to provide overall guidance and help.

Credits: 60 (Academic Year)

Please note that this module is exempt from the University’s General Regulations relating to Intellectual Property

Module Leader

JA Profile Pic

Dr Jonathan Aitken
Pam Liversidge Building

If you have any questions about the module please talk to me, or contact your project supervisor.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module students will be able to:

  1. Adopt a methodical approach to solving a major advanced task relating to appropriate theory taught in the course, emerging technologies and the appropriate scientific, industrial and societal context. [ET1fl, ET2fl, ET3fl, ET4fl, ET5fl, ET6fl, EP1fl, EP2fl]
  2. Formulate and define an advanced problem with clarity and within the appropriate scientific and societal context. [D1fl, D2fl, ET2fl, EP1fl]
  3. Demonstrate extensive knowledge of state of the art in engineering and evaluate, assess and criticize previous work relating to the problem. [SM1fl, SM2fl, SM3fl, EP4fl]
  4. Show initiative in the search for a variety of emerging technologies; propose, plan and develop advanced solutions to a given unfamiliar and advanced problem. [SM1fl, SM2fl, SM3fl, EA1fl, EA2fl, EA3fl, D3fl]
  5. Compare and evaluate solutions to the given problem involving comprehensive analysis or experimentation and a critical assessment of the results. [SM2fl, SM3fl, EA1fl, EA2fl, EA3fl, D3fl, EP1fl, EP2fl, EP3fl, EP4fl]
  6. Practice good organisation, communication, planning, time management and ethical conduct throughout the project. [ET1fl, ET5fl, ET6fl]
  7. Write documentation of the major achievements of work with good practice in report writing and putting your work into a larger context. [EP1fl, EP2fl, EP3fl, EP4fl, ET2fl]
  8. Give a clear project presentation of the major achievements of the work using audio-visual aids. [ET1fl]

This module satisfies the AHEP3 (Accreditation of Higher Education Programmes, Third Edition) Learning Outcomes that are listed in brackets after each learning outcome above. For further details on AHEP3 Learning Outcomes, see the downloads section of our accreditation webpage.



The student undertakes to carry out a significant item of work under the supervision of a teaching staff. The work is reported via the final project report and oral presentation.

Typically, students spend 600 hours working on the project, which includes 24 hours of timetabled tutorial sessions during the teaching semesters.

Regular meetings are held with the supervisor and it is recommended that these should be held at least every 2 weeks during the project.

Teaching Methods

Learning and Teaching Methods

NOTE: This summary of teaching methods is representative of a normal Semester. Owing to the ongoing disruption from Covid-19, the exact method of delivery will be different in 2020/21.

The student undertakes a substantial piece of work under the supervision of a member of the academic or academic related staff. The work is reported in a dissertation and the student is required to make an oral presentation of the work.

Teaching Materials

Learning and Teaching Materials

A project handbook including all guidelines of this module can be found on Blackboard (MOLE). Please make sure you study it and follow it when necessary. This includes a list of deadlines, the respective mark sheets and a list of penalties which can be applied.



The supervisor and a second reader will independently grade the project. In the event of a large divergence in the grade, a third reader will act as a moderator.

The assessment will be made on the basis of monitored project progress, written report and the oral presentation.

The assessment scheme aims to examine students on their attainment (i.e. learning outcome)with respect to key competencies (i.e. learning objectives), assessed in the following way:

Assessment of performance and professional skills (Supervisor and Leader of Research and Professional skills tutorials) 20 %

Assessed based on: learning activities in Research and Professional Skills tutorials, record keeping, intellectual input, supervision required, communication skills, organisation and planning, understanding of project objectives, student effort, experimental competency, results, and analysis.

Assessment of dissertation (Supervisor and Second Reader) 70%

This final report should include, in an explicit section, the initial literature review which is expected to have been extended or have evolved according to the direction of the project in its later stages. The maximum length for dissertations is 70 pages for an MSc project. This page limit does not include title, abstract, contents, references and appendix pages. The students must use the word template provided and conform to the formatting constraints which are described within. The penalties for exceeding the page limit are summarised in the table over the page.
Two independent assessments based on: organisation and structure of report; results; understanding of results and analysis; production standard; and observance of scientific conventions (such as referencing).

Assessment of oral presentation (session chairs – a single report) 10 %

30 minutes per student; 15-18 minutes (students will not be allowed to overrun into the questioning period) of which is a presentation and the remainder is for in-depth questioning of the student. Assessed by the two independent session chairs based on: organisation and structure of the presentation; delivery; use of visual aids and answering questions.

Resits are at the discretion of the exam board.



  • Regular meetings with supervisors
  • Aims and objectives planning
  • Feedback on oral presentation by assessors
  • Feedback on professional skills and performance by supervisor
  • Feedback on dissertation by supervisor and second reader
Student Evaluation

Student Evaluation

Students are encouraged to provide feedback during the module direct to the lecturer. Students will also have the opportunity to provide formal feedback via the Faculty of Engineering Student Evaluation Survey at the end of the module.

You can view the latest Department response to the survey feedback here.

Recommended Reading

Recommended Reading

  • Greenfield T, 2002, Research Methods, Arnold.
  • Reading materials as directed by supervisor