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    Advanced Control and Systems Engineering

    Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering, Faculty of Engineering

    This masters course will advance your knowledge and understanding of modern control and systems engineering for a career in industry or research.
    Two postgraduate ACSE students with equipment

    Course description

    This course is designed for anyone looking to specialise in control and systems engineering. You may not have studied it before, or you may be an experienced professional thinking about updating your knowledge.

    You will learn systems modelling, optimization and signal processing, system identification, digital control systems and industrial automation.

    You will learn practical skills using MATLAB and programme logic controllers (PLCs).

    You’ll be able to take optional modules to further develop your skills in areas that interest you, including cybersecurity and an opportunity to work with companies on real problems experienced by industry.

    You will also complete a research-level dissertation project where you will take the lead to advance your knowledge and skills in systems and control engineering.


    Accredited by the Engineering Council UK, Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Institute of Measurement and Control.


    A selection of modules is available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    Core modules:

    Foundations of Control Systems

    This is an introductory module on the foundations of control systems engineering. The aim of this module is to consolidate fundamental control and systems engineering aspects as well as introduce relevant topics to those new in the discipline. The module is separated in four (4) distinct themes: 1. introductory maths and MATLAB; 2. systems modelling and simulation; 3. control systems analysis and design; 4. digital control systems.

    30 credits
    Optimisation and Signal Processing

    This module aims to provide detailed presentations to the use of the theory and methods of optimisation and signal processing for a wide range of engineering problems. In the optimisation part, in additional to traditional optimisation methods, topics based on recent developments in heuristic methods, such as evolutionary computing (e.g. swarm intelligence) will also be presented. While in the signal processing part, the concepts of sampling, digital filters and digital image processing will be introduced; the analysis methods of discrete signals and systems in both the time and frequency domain, and basic digital image processing methods will be delivered.

    15 credits
    Modern Control & System Identification

    This module introduces you to advanced state-space control systems analysis and design methods for multivariable systems. The focus is linear time-invariant (LTI) systems in the continuous-time domain, although an introduction is also provided to discrete-time cases and nonlinear cases. You will also be introduced to system identification techniques. System identification uses observations of inputs and outputs from physical systems and estimates dynamical models directly. The theoretical framework and the computational algorithms are explored using synthetic and real problems to show how models can be estimated and validated for future use.

    15 credits
    Advanced Control

    The aim of this module is to provide you with an introduction to some of the advanced control techniques used in modern control engineering research and industrial applications. The module will cover both theory and practice, involving analysis and design.

    Different control techniques and applications may be covered in different years. In all cases, the basic principles and concepts of a particular control technique will be introduced, and comparisons and contrasts will be made with other techniques. Subsequently, the design, analysis and implementation of advanced controllers or control laws will be covered, starting from the requirements of the basic control problem for the application at hand (i.e. stability in the presence of constraints; disturbance and noise rejection). Controller design will be illustrated by industrially-relevant case studies.

    15 credits
    Industrial Automation

    Industrial automation has become an important feature today, especially in this age of rapid production and high
    precision. Knowledge and skill in this area has therefore become increasingly necessary. This module aims to give you the opportunity to interact directly with devices such as sensors and actuators through Human Machine Interfaces (HMI) and PC; gather, process and monitor data locally or at remote locations; configure the hardware and program the latest version of Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) used in industries. You will have the opportunity to learn PID controllers and their applications in industry.

    15 credits
    Control Systems Project and Dissertation

    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.

    60 credits

    Optional modules - examples include:

    Multisensor and Decision Systems

    The ability to use data and information from multiple sources and make informed decisions based on that data is key to many applications, e.g. manufacturing, aerospace, robotics, finance and healthcare. Through effective use of multisensory data and decision making we can reduce uncertainty, improve robustness and reliability, enhance efficiency and ultimately improve the performance of systems. In this module you will develop an in depth knowledge and understanding of multisensor and decision systems and the underlying mathematics and algorithms. You will develop your confidence in solving complex problems requiring the application of multisensory and decision techniques to a wide variety of applications.

    15 credits
    Industrial training programme (ITP) in Advanced Manufacturing

    This module will provide an insight into advanced manufacturing systems via industry-relevant project work. This will be in collaboration with an industrial partner. The industrial partner will set a real technical challenge and your group will undertake practical and theoretical work and present a report that will also require an in-depth literature review. To supplement the main technical challenge there will be focused technical seminars on relevant topics. These topics will be provided by both academics and industry engineers. In addition, the industrial partner will provide seminars relevant to both professional and technical skills to help you complete the project.

    15 credits
    Optimal Control

    The module teaches how to design optimal controllers. It starts by explaining the main ideas of infinite-dimensional optimization. In particular, it introduces the Calculus of Variations, a field of mathematics used to find maxima/minima of mappings defined on functions e.g. it allows you to find a trajectory corresponding to the minimum energy/fuel waste. This theory is then used to develop tools for designing optimal controllers. Namely, the maximum principle and dynamic programming are introduced. The module is supported by extensive examples and home assignments that will help you to learn how to apply all the covered techniques.

    15 credits
    Cybersecurity for control systems

    The increase of sensing, computing, and communication technologies on control systems is enabling a host of new applications and services but it also opens the door to cybersecurity threats. Realizing the promise of secure control systems requires the development of analysis tools and design guidelines that integrate security guarantees in the performance characterization of the control system. This module aims to lay the theoretical foundations for secure control system design problems while explicitly teaching students how to account for the operational and practical constraints posed by real control systems.

    15 credits

    The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

    Open days

    An open day gives you the best opportunity to hear first-hand from our current students and staff about our courses.

    You may also be able to pre-book a department visit as part of a campus tour.Open days and campus tours


    1 year full-time


    You can expect a mix of lectures, tutorials, laboratory work and individual assignments.

    Your career

    Our courses are informed by our strong links with industry and our world-leading research. 

    Graduates of this course go on to work for companies such as Tesla, Siemens, Amazon, Huawei, Intel and Network Rail. They go into roles in advanced manufacturing, software engineering, robotics and controls and automation systems engineering.

    Some graduates choose to follow up their studies with a research degree.


    Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering

    Photo of the Amy Johnson building 2023

    We are the only department in the UK dedicated to Control and Systems Engineering.

    Our engineering graduates imagine, design and develop the advanced technologies and solutions that address big societal challenges.

    We have a diverse and vibrant community of students and staff from all over the world and we are committed to provide an inclusive and supportive learning and working environment. 

    As a student of the Faculty of Engineering you’ll be able to participate in student-led teams and societies where you can apply your engineering skills for example; SunrIde which launch rockets to record altitudes, MarsWorks who develop a Mars rover and Sheffield Bionics who create new technology for healthcare. All of this will help you develop skills for your chosen career. 

    We are home to the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre and we’re an integral part of Sheffield Robotics and the Insigneo Institute. We have research contracts with major institutions like the European Space Agency, as well as our many academic and industrial partners. These connections mean our teaching is based on the latest thinking.

    Entry requirements

    Minimum 2:1 undergraduate honours degree in an engineering or mathematics subject. We may also consider science subjects with a significant amount of programming modules.

    We may also consider your application if you have a considerable level of relevant professional experience.

    We also consider a wide range of international qualifications:

    Entry requirements for international students

    Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

    Pathway programme for international students

    If you're an international student who does not meet the entry requirements for this course, you have the opportunity to apply for a pre-masters programme in Science and Engineering at the University of Sheffield International College. This course is designed to develop your English language and academic skills. Upon successful completion, you can progress to degree level study at the University of Sheffield.

    If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.


    You can apply now using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

    Apply now


    +44 114 222 5644

    Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

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