Student working on the bodywork of an aeroplane

Professional course

Foundations of Systems Engineering

About this course

Course code:
Professional/Short Course
Engineering Design and Mathematics
Five days
Programme leader:
Mr Paul Head and Dr Terry Winnington

Page last updated 14 December 2018


The aim of this course is to develop a critical systems approach to engineering processes and practices within the wider organisational context. It is aimed at you if you are an engineer or manager working in an increasingly complex environment who need to broaden your knowledge of systems engineering processes and applications.

By completing the optional course assessment, this course can contribute towards one or more of the Awards within our Engineering Capability Development Framework. This framework of engineering modules gives participants the opportunity to take a flexible route towards a named Postgraduate Award, such as MSc Aerospace, MSc Professional Engineering or MSc Engineering Management.

Careers / Further study

Foundations of Systems Engineering can be taken as a stand-alone short course, or used to build up to a named postgraduate qualification (PG Certificate, PG Diploma or Masters) within our Engineering Capability Development Framework. For a full list of short courses please see our Engineering and Aerospace course list.

Professional accreditation

This course contributes towards the MSc Aerospace Programme, which is accredited by the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAS) and the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). Both professional bodies also endorse the other professional engineering courses that we offer.

Our Engineering courses can also contribute to your portfolio of evidence for Chartered Engineering registration. Please refer to the Benefits of Professional Study for more information.

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements to undertake this course as a standalone short course without the optional module assessment.

If you wish to complete the module assessment are expected to have a first degree at 2.2 level or above (or equivalent) or alternatively have industrial experience. We strongly recommend that you speak to the course tutor prior to the course if you are unsure about your suitability to complete the assessment.



The course covers the following:

  • Issues and problems in current engineering practice: successes and failures in large engineering projects, scope and use of development and management methodologies
  • Organisation context: engineering socio-technical systems, strategies for process improvement, the role of standard process models, human factors in the adoption of new techniques, organisational models and architectures, managing change
  • Holistic systems engineering: scope of systems from engineering artefacts to human activity systems, systems thinking principles, lifecycle from problem formulation through design and manufacturing to maintenance and disposal, problem domain analysis, soft systems methods, systems dynamics
  • Systematic systems engineering: user requirements elicitation, validation and verification, derived and system requirements, model-driven development, risk analysis, configuration management, system integration

Learning and Teaching

The course is delivered as a one-week block and the assessment will be a project assignment to be submitted approximately 8 weeks after the end of teaching. The assignment will require demonstration of independent learning of theory and critical reflection of work both in the classroom and during the assignment period outside the classroom. Teaching will use a mixture of lectures, invited industrial speakers, workshops, discussions and attendee presentations.


You will be set a project involving a specific and agreed application within their workplace or such other project as may be appropriate.

Prices and dates

Supplementary fee information

£1530 (includes optional UWE module accreditation)

All course prices include course materials, car parking, lunch and refreshments.

Course dates

This course runs alternative years and hence will next be scheduled to run in our 2019-20 academic year. To be kept up-to-date with our course dates please complete the enquiry form below.


UWE Bristol, Frenchay Campus, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol BS16 1QY

How to find UWE Bristol

How to apply

How to apply

For all enquiries, please complete our online enquiry form or contact us on the number below.

For further information

  • Email: For all course queries, please complete the on-line enquiry form above.
  • Telephone: +44 (0)117 32 86304

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