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MSc/Postgraduate Diploma/Postgraduate Certificate

Automation and Computer Vision

Please note we are no longer offering this course to new applicants. If you would like information about our alternative courses, please visit the Engineering page.

About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Engineering Design and Mathematics
1 year full time, 2 years part time, 1 or 2 years work-based learning
Full-time, part-time, work-based learning
Programme leader:
Dr Khemraj Emrith
Key fact:
Developed by the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, this Masters gives students unique exposure to world-leading robotics research, real-life automation and computer vision projects, and the opportunity for placements in UK companies to work on topical industry problems.

Page last updated 15 January 2018


The last 20 years have seen a phenomenal growth in the development and application of computer and machine vision technology. With increasingly complex applications across diverse areas, including manufacturing, security and medicine, there is a growing need for professionals who can evaluate, design and implement technically appropriate and economically viable automation systems for enhancing quality and productivity.

The MSc in Automation and Computer Vision at UWE Bristol is one of the very few postgraduate courses that brings together both of these disciplines into one industry-focused, research-informed Masters.

Real-world focus

The course provides a unique combination of these two overlapping disciplines, with a strong emphasis on robotics hardware for solving 'real-world' problems. You will develop both the technical knowledge and the business skills needed to introduce advanced automation and machine vision techniques in the workplace.

You will also benefit from the University's close links with industry, with guest lectures on many modules and the chance to work on real-life automation and computer vision projects.

World-leading research

Alongside the strong industry-focus of the course, you will have the opportunity to be part of, and work on, projects in the world-leading Bristol Robotics Laboratory, which brings together influential researchers in service robotics, autonomous systems and bio-engineering.

Work-based learning

For those already working, we offer this course as a work-based learning course, as well as a standard full or part-time Masters. Employees of relevant industries can attend part of the course to supplement their existing skills or to be assessed on their current skills and knowledge of these highly topical subject areas.

Watch: The learning and teaching experience



You will study 180 credits made up of various taught modules and a 60 credit final project.

Automation and Control (30 credits) covers hardware for automation, sensing technology, mechanics, control types, programming for interfacing and system design.

Machine Vision (30 credits) covers image formation and processing, camera systems, and data extraction for automated inspection and decision making.

Managing finance (15 credits) covers managing accounting and information to support decision making in a global context. You will work with others from wide-ranging disciplines outside engineering, to add to your learning experience.

Project management (15 credits) offers a theoretical and practical perspective on critical factors for successfully managing projects and provides an insight into the realities of project management in a variety of contemporary organisational settings. Again, this module is shared with non-engineers.

Industrial applications (15 credits) includes guest lectures from industry experts and a short project on investigating real examples of automation and vision in industry.

Industrial case studies (15 credits) looks at real engineering management in a less specialised environment, with students from various engineering MSc courses.

You will also work on an individual project (60 credits), which forms a major part of the course and gives you the chance to work on real-world research or industry projects. Several companies currently provide us with industry supervised projects, from full placements with a bursary, to more basic advice and appraisals. More theoretically minded students will have an opportunity to study in one of the research areas carried out by UWE Bristol's Centre for Machine Vision.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved we will inform you.

Learning and Teaching

The primary modules on the course cover both the theory and practice of automation and machine vision. Through lectures, programming sessions, hardware design and control, and assignments, you will be introduced to state-of-the art developments in the field and gain hands-on experience of the latest hardware and software.

The business modules will cover the necessary skills for project management and finance to equip you to assess, design and implement these new technologies in an industry context.

You will attend research seminars and workshops at the University, and interact with researchers for your modules and projects. Experts from industry will also be invited to give guest lectures and to provide hands-on examples of how these approaches are currently being used in industry.

For more details, see our glossary of teaching and learning terms.

Study time

The Masters is available as both a full and part-time course.

The full-time route is delivered in three teaching blocks over 12 months. The taught modules are spread across the first six to eight months, before you undertake your 60 credit final project.

The part-time route is delivered over two years. In the first year, you take the core automation and vision modules and in the second year, the business and integration modules. The project will be distributed across the two-year period on a case-by-case basis.

You can also study the course as a work-based learning course, alongside your current employment.


We will make use of a range of types of assessment on the course, including written exams, oral assessments and presentations, reports and project work and written assignments.

For more detail, see our full glossary of assessment terms.



Some students may be able to do an industry placement as part of their dissertation. Projects will be focused on real problems companies are working on. Those that don't go down the industry route will work at UWE Bristol on a topical research problem.

Study facilities

As a student on this course, you will have access to a range of state-of-the-art imaging and control hardware through UWE Bristol's Centre for Machine Vision. This includes hardware relating to aerial robotics, healthcare technology, bioenergy and self-sustaining robotics, high-speed 3D data capture and printing, moving 3D face capture and automated skin lesion analysers.

Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE has to offer.

Centre of Machine Vision

The course has direct links with the Centre for Machine Vision (CMV) which is part of the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL), a major research collaboration between the UWE Bristol and the University of Bristol.

CMV aims to solve practical computer vision problems with direct application to the real world. The group's particular excellence lies in the sub-fields of three-dimensional reconstruction and surface inspection.

Find out more about the Centre of Machine Vision.


Careers / Further study

The global machine vision and vision guided robotics market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.1 percent over the period 2015-2020 (Read the Global Forecast to 2020 report). This  strong growth will provide  access to a wide  range of  career avenues for graduates, including automation, inspection, computer vision and security, metrology and advanced manufacturing.

The course is a good grounding for wider careers in engineering, science, information technology, management and medical imaging. For those wishing to pursue further study, the course is also good preparation for a career in academia or research in fields such as computer vision, robotics, medical imaging, or more general engineering, science and information technology.

You will have access to career planning and employability support while you are studying with us (and for three years after you graduate) through the University careers service. The service helps you develop your employment potential through career coaching, a vacancy service for internships, placements, jobs, global opportunities, volunteering and community activity, support for entrepreneurial activity, and access to employer events.


Full time course

FeesAmount (£)
Home/EU-Full Time-Award Fee7000
Home/EU-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)583
International-Full Time-Award Fee12500
International-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1042
Offshore-Full Time-Award Fee12500
Offshore-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit) 1042

Part time course

FeesAmount (£)
Home/EU-Part Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)583
Offshore-Part Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1042

Supplementary fee information

For information on fees, managing your money and determining your fee status, please go to our fees and funding pages.

For information about funding options visit our postgraduate funding and scholarships pages.


Students starting this course in September 2018 should follow this link to view their joining instructions.

We automatically send a message via your Welcome website plus an email to notify you once your joining instructions are available. It is important that you regularly check your Welcome website for new messages about your Registration and Enrolment. If you have not received the email please contact our Applicant Experience Team by email at so we may check that we have the correct address.

For more information about joining the University, please see our New Students pages.

Entry requirements

We normally require a first degree of 2:2 honours or above.

The course is designed to suit graduate engineers or scientists, mathematicians or statisticians. Graduates in other disciplines may be considered if they are able to demonstrate they have studied subjects containing a good level of numeracy.

We can consider applicants who do not meet the normal entry requirement, but who do have relevant professional experience or qualifications. In your application, you should describe in detail your professional experience and qualifications.

For further information

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