Smart Manufacturing


This MSc Smart Manufacturing degree aims to integrate the technological revolution into the mindset of engineers, equipping you with the skills needed to design and develop innovative technologies that address the evolving challenges of future manufacturing.

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

Course type
Entry requirements

One year

Start date

Course overview

Designed in collaboration with The Greater Birmingham & Solihull Institute of Technology this course will help you understand and develop in the growing field of smart manufacturing. Smart manufacturing is becoming increasingly important in the manufacturing industry and is considered the way forward. The factors contributing to this growth include the widespread adoption of the fourth industrial revolution, government support, complexities in supply chains, industrial automation in manufacturing, and the use of software systems that reduce time and costs in the market. If you want to stay ahead in technological advancements, this course is suitable for you.


"Smart manufacturing has brought me into the future world, allowing me to understand the changes brought by the aggregation of many subtle technologies in production from a macro perspective. I can't wait to apply this knowledge to the existing factory, connect microelectronics with macro planning, combine reality and theory, and bring the future forward".

Sheng B
Smart Manufacturing MSc
Current student

Why Smart Manufacturing at Aston University?

Developed with industry in mind
Tailored to incorporate emerging technologies manufacturing of the future
Excellent Facilities
You will have access to multi-million pound faciltiies
Collaboration with GBSiOT
The Greater Birmingham & Solihull Institute of Technology, is a prestigious institution known for its focus on technology and innovation

Course description


You'll engage with a dynamic curriculum that integrates the latest advancements in smart manufacturing practices that will enable you to develop your career within a market that is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12.4%. 

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What we will provide
First-class teaching, in the UK's second-largest city, delivered by academics and researchers, who are actively involved within the smart manufacturing field working on similar technologies with companies including Siemens and Festo. You will have access to  our multimillion pound facilities, including industry software packages.  Our partnership with GBSioT which is known for its focus on technology and innovation will prepare you for your career within engineering, digital technology, and advanced manufacturing.

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What you will provide
We are looking for students who have a background in mechanical engineering, manufacturing, computer science and artificial sciences. You will need to be innovative and have a willingness to learn, in order to apply theory to practical solutions.

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What skills we teach
This programme will embed the technological revolution deep within the mindset of engineers and teach you the skills to design and develop new technologies that embrace the challenges of future manufacturing. 

You'll acquire essential skills in smart manufacturing and various software applications. The program covers advanced hardware and manufacturing processes. Emphasising communication skills through presentations is crucial. You'll develop into a technical problem solver for the evolving manufacturing industry. Exploring diverse digital technologies in manufacturing will enhance your competitiveness in the job market.

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Professional Practice Year
If you meet satisfactory academic performance and have secured a suitable professional experience, you will have the option to be transferred onto our Msc Smart Manufacturing including Professional Practice programme. Taking the Professional Practice route allows you to extend the duration of your Masters to 22 months and gain valuable working experience to support your career aspirations. The placement commences after the completion of your MSc dissertation and can be paid work. study abroad exchanges or unpaid research projects or even a mix of these options. You will return to Aston the following May for an intensive period on campus to draw all your learning together and finalise the assessments.

How you will learn

Learning will encompass lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical projects, and presentations. You'll hone management skills, apply engineering principles in team settings, and understand smart manufacturing project management. In addition to traditional lectures and seminars, you'll engage in practical sessions through group work, presentations, and hands-on exploration of industrial case studies.

You will also benefit from our small staff to student ratio allowing you to take advantage of a personalised approach to learning. 

We're part of two EU-funded projects: RECLAIM focuses on resource-efficient manufacturing, aligning perfectly with our MSc Smart Manufacturing program. It emphasises sustainable, data-driven manufacturing, offering students a chance to explore cutting-edge sustainable production methods.

Another initiative we're involved in is H2GLASS, aiming to decarbonise the glass industry through hydrogen-based technologies. This opportunity allows you to contribute directly to the development of advanced technologies, aligning with our mission to prepare future leaders in smart manufacturing and sustainable industry practices.


What you will learn

With an emphasis on practical experience, you’ll have the opportunity to design innovative and cost-effective smart manufacturing solutions using artificial intelligence techniques to solve complex manufacturing problems currently faced by the manufacturing industry such as production scheduling, equipment fault diagnostics, and predictive maintenance. You’ll undertake various lab work in advanced manufacturing process where you will explore robot software programming. In manufacturing, we use Digital Twin, a digital copy of a physical system, to enhance efficiency.

This involves simulating production processes, finding possible issues, and optimising equipment performance. Our course will teach you how to apply digital twin technology for better production scheduling, predicting equipment issues, and optimising maintenance plans. You'll get hands-on experience planning, implementing, testing, evaluating, and documenting solutions, preparing you for future career challenges.


Following a multi-million pound investment, we are now home to extensive engineering facilities. From an entire engineering model shop and exclusive Maker Lab to specialist computer labs and more. You will have access to Europe’s biggest cyber physical lab, where you will be able to work on applications in machine learning and digital twin on an original set up.

You will also benefit from access to our model shop which has multiple 3d printers, our robot labs where you can test materials and computer labs which are available 24/7. As part of the program, you will have the opportunity to apply Digital Twin technology in a real-world manufacturing setting at the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Institute of Technology (GBSIoT) located on our campus.

GBSIoT is a leading centre for advanced manufacturing and engineering and is equipped with a state-of-the-art Cyber Physical Manufacturing Rig. Additionally, you will have access to Aston University's advanced 3D printing facility to further enhance your learning experience. Our facilities and equipment have been designed to enhance your learning and allow you to conceive, design, build, and operate device prototypes, giving you the skills

Course objectives

1. Bridge the knowledge gap required to address modern industrial challenges by covering wide range of topics in smart manufacturing.
2. Transfer wide range of skills required to analyse and critique the manufacturing related data and propose innovative solutions to complex manufacturing problem through state-of-the-art technological solutions.
3. Provide the professional skill set of critical thinking, effective communication and leadership to meet evolving technological challenges.
4. Embed technological revolution deep within the mind- set of engineers in order to develop the skills to design and develop new technologies that embrace the challenges of future manufacturing.


Modules and learning outcomes

Taught stage modules

In the taught stage, you will study the following core module:

Module TitleCredits
Advanced Manufacturing Processes15
Machine Learning15
Computer Integrated Manufacturing15
Digitalisation of Manufacturing Systems15
Research Project15


Choose two modules from the options below:

Module TitleCredits
Smart Sensors and Control Systems15
Robot Software15
Applied Industrial Robotics15
Design for Manufacturing Assembly15

Dissertation stage modules


Module TitleCredits

Programme outcomes

On successful completion of both the taught and dissertation stage, you will be able to:

  • Critically reflect on the strategic role and underlying principles of smart manufacturing, Industry 4.0, digitalisation, and servitisation of manufacturing, and systematically identify and evaluate the related methodologies, enabling technologies, standards, and techniques.
  • Plan, assess, and select appropriate techniques, resources, and modern engineering and ICT tools, including prediction, modelling, simulation and analysis to complex smart manufacturing activities, with an understanding of the associated limitations.
  • Design innovative and cost-effective smart manufacturing solutions using AI techniques to solve complex manufacturing problems currently faced by the manufacturing industry such as production scheduling, equipment fault diagnostics, and predictive maintenance
  • Study complex smart manufacturing problems in a methodical way including literature survey, design and conduct of experiments, analysis and interpretation of experimental data, and synthesis of information to derive valid conclusions.
  • Develop and practice management skills and apply engineering principles to one’s work, as a member and/or leader in a team, to manage smart manufacturing projects.
  • Communicate the research findings to a wide circle of audience from different backgrounds in the form of a report, research paper and poster.
  • Successfully complete the work placement and communicate how the work placement has enhanced the student’s employability skills and awareness of professional practice, related to their chosen career pathway.

Entry requirements

You will need to have obtained a first or second-class Honours Degree from a UK academic organisation or an equivalent overseas degree recognised by Aston University.You must also provide two professional references – at least one must be from an academic referee, and an completed application form

We recognise the value of extensive professional experience. If you do not have the academic qualifications but have extensive and relevant professional experience and a proven ability to succeed, we would welcome your application.

The information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly offered qualifications. Applicants with alternative qualifications may wish to enquire with the relevant admissions teams prior to application whether or not their qualifications are deemed acceptable. For less commonly encountered qualifications this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the academic admissions tutor.

See international student information below for international equivalent information.

International students

Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students on many of our undergraduate programmes. Students from over 120 countries choose to study with us every year. Based in the centre of Birmingham, Aston is not only a great place to study, it’s also a great place to live.

Qualifications in your country

For details of equivalent qualifications in your country, use our area pages below:

English language requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification.

English language requirements

How to apply

Aston University provides a range of opportunities for international students to join our community and study on our campus. A key part of our strategy is our relationships with teaching partners, providing multiple pathways to Aston.

Aston’s professional work placements can improve your chance of securing a graduate job. Placements give you experience, confidence and opportunities and, as an Aston student, you’ll be better prepared for your future career. One of the great things about Aston is our focus on employability. Our close links with businesses, industries and professions make this possible.

Find out more about applying

Post-study work visa

Aston University welcomed the creation of a new Graduate Immigration Route which enables international students to remain in the UK for two years after you complete your studies to find work. This new post-study work visa applies to international students completing full-time undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Graduate Immigration Route

Pathway Programmes

If you don’t meet our entry requirements, we have a range of pathway programmes offered by our partner, ONCAMPUS Aston, which you can complete to progress onto one of our degrees.

Masters Foundation programmes

If you don’t meet our entry requirements, we have a range of pathway programmes offered by our partner, ONCAMPUS Aston, which you can complete to progress onto one of our degrees.



Speak to our Admissions Team

If you have any questions about the application process please get in touch with our postgraduate admissions team:


Call: 0121 204 3200 (Please note this line is open Monday-Friday between 09.30am-4.30pm)

Fees and scholarships

Course fees

UK students

Annual tuition fees:£11,150

International students

Annual tuition fees:£21,500

More information on fees

The United Kingdom government has confirmed that European Union (EU), other European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals commencing academic courses in England from August 2021 will no longer be charged the same tuition rates as UK students.

Tuition fees for students are reviewed annually and may increase in subsequent years in line with inflation linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) to take account of the University’s increased costs of delivering the Programme. Any such increase shall always be in accordance with the law. When undertaking a placement year, a placement year fee applies.


At Aston University we are committed to supporting the most talented and hardworking students to achieve their potential by providing a range of scholarships to help lower tuition and living costs.

Automatic Revolutionary Technologies Scholarship 

Emerging technologies such as autonomous vehicles, robotics, and smart manufacturing are rapidly changing the world around us. From the way we travel to the way we work, these technologies have the potential to transform our lives.

We are offering automatic scholarships of £5,000 to students wishing to study MSc Smart Manufacturing.

If you also accept your place and pay your deposit before your deadline you can also claim your automatic £3,000 Early Acceptance Discount, bringing the total fee reduction to £8,000. If you are eligible for the Automatic Merit Scholarship you will be awarded the Revolutionary Technologies Scholarship as it is the higher value award.


You'll acquire the skill of effectively communicating your research findings to diverse audiences through reports, research papers, and posters. Course assessments will involve a combination of coursework and practical evaluations tailored to each module's objectives. Various assessment methods will gauge your understanding of module content and its real-world application. You'll benefit from weekly one-on-one sessions with a personal tutor to address academic concerns, and you can also book personal technician sessions to discuss software-related matters.

Career prospects

After graduating you will be well-positioned for roles in the mechanical industry or consulting, serving as a Manufacturing engineer, Industrial engineer, or Consultant. Additionally, you can pursue specialised roles in research, such as digital transformation solutions and smart manufacturing. Opportunities include senior process technologist and quality engineering within automation.


Be part of our community

Once you have joined us at Aston University, you’ll always be part of our community, even beyond graduation.

Frequently asked questions

Why should international students choose Aston University?

Study at Aston University and you will be part of a multi-cultural community located at the heart of the dynamic city of Birmingham. Our courses are practical, inspired by industry and many have internationally recognised accreditations. Renowned for our employability prospects and connections to business and industry, we provide outstanding career support, advice and placement opportunities.

For those interested in working in the UK after they have graduated, the UK Government has created a new post-study work visa.

Is Birmingham a good place to study?

Our campus is based in the centre of Birmingham, the youngest major city in Europe and a great place to live, work and study.

  • Great music and entertainment with a vibrant nightlife. Bars, clubs, pubs, live music, festivals, concerts. Whatever your tastes, there's something here for everyone.
  • Fantastic food. Birmingham's diverse community means you can try anything from the famous Balti triangle, the Chinese Quarter, high street chains, halal and vegan food, and Michelin-star dining.
  • World-class shopping. The Bullring and Grand Central is a shopper's paradise. From the world's biggest Primark to luxury brands at the Mailbox.
  • Arts and culture. Museums, galleries, theatres, concerts and Birmingham's art collection is as wide as it is impressive - not to be missed.
  • Green, open spaces. One of the greenest cities in Europe, Birmingham has hundreds of publicly accessible parks and green spaces across the city.
  • Sporting action. Birmingham has some of the most exciting venues for watching or participating in sport in the UK.

Discover Birmingham

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