Course overview

  • This course is a new mode of delivery of our well established on-campus MSc in Electrical Power Systems Engineering
  • There is much greater flexibility - most of the material can be completed at a time that suits you through our online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)
  • You receive weekly contact with a tutor (via a small group video conference), where you will be given feedback and can ask questions
  • The course has been designed to support those working in the industry. Multiple entry points exist and the course can be completed in a timescale that suits your needs

Course description

Study when it's convenient for you

Electricity is playing an increasing role as we look to develop low carbon sources of energy. The design of electrical power systems is becoming increasingly complex, to manage intermittent sources of generation, and increased levels of demand from new types of load such as electric vehicles.

The Distance Learning MSc in Electrical Power Systems Engineering allows engineers working in the sector to enhance their skills. It provides them with the tools and techniques to keep pace with the rapidly evolving electricity industry. The course covers the latest developments in the electricity industry and delivers up-to-date training in all aspects of electrical power systems.


The course will develop your understanding of how these future electrical networks will be designed and operated. It will provide you with a solid understanding of the characteristics of components such as generators, lines, cables, transformers and power electronics devices. It will provide you with the skills you need to carry out power flow and fault calculations, learning how these techniques are used to study the behaviour of large systems. The course also covers a range of other topics such as HVDC, how renewable generation is integrated into a power system, the increasing importance of smart grids, and how to assess and remedy power quality problems. The course is based on the long-running MSc in Electrical Power Systems Engineering delivered by The University of Manchester. On graduation, you will be a member of a network of global alumni, many in senior positions in the electricity supply industry.

The course has been designed to support those working in the industry. Multiple entry points exist and the course can be completed in a timescale that suits your needs. Your dissertation project will ideally be based on a problem you and your company need to resolve, ensuring the programme delivers value for both you and your employer.

Teaching and learning

Once you register for the course, you will be assigned a Course Advisor, who will stay with you throughout your studies and can be contacted by phone or email whenever you have a question or a concern.

Your Course Advisor will be able to guide you through your choice of units and help you to schedule and register for them. They will be familiar with all aspects of your course and your own progress and timetable and will be able to provide support on a wide range of issues or refer you to University specialist support services if necessary - such as the Careers Service, Counselling Service or Disability Support.

For each technical unit, you will be assigned an Academic Tutor with expertise in the particular subject area you will be studying. Your tutor will introduce themselves at the start of each unit to outline the material and plans for assessment. They will host regular online group discussions to review the content being presented that week and to give you the opportunity to engage with other students. They will also maintain and monitor a range of other tools including forums, blogs and live chat sessions, in case you have any questions about the course content.

You will typically need to commit around 15 hours per week during each unit taken when studying for your distance learning MSc. It is important to make sure your employer supports you by allowing a suitable time to be spent on your studies.

Coursework and assessment

Each unit will require you to submit one or more pieces of coursework and a final assessment. Your Tutor will provide the exact details of how each activity contributes to your final marks for a given unit. The coursework will often involve using specialist software packages which we will make available to you.

You will also be provided with regular opportunities to assess your progress through self-tests that do not count towards your final mark. Your Tutor will seek to support you if you are having difficulty with a particular subject area and your Course Advisor will be there to help if there are any other issues affecting your studies.

Course content for year 1

Electrical Energy Systems

  • Structure of electrical energy systems
  • Basic analytical skills for electrical energy systems
  • Components associated with electrical energy systems

Analysis of Electrical Power and Energy Conversion Systems

  • Linear modelling and numerical techniques
  • Power flow techniques and control
  • Symmetrical/asymmetrical fault calculations

Power system plant, asset management and condition monitoring

  • Function, structure and design of power system plant (transformers, cables, switchgear, lines)
  • Asset management/ageing mechanisms of plant
  • Condition monitoring / Electrical measurement techniques and condition diagnostic methods

Power system operation and economics

  • Optimisation (economic dispatch, unit commitment, nonlinear optimization, KKT)
  • Market and economics (microeconomics, restructuring, electricity marketplaces)
  • Security (ancillary service, N-x, OPF)
  • Investment (generation and transmission)

Course content for year 2

Smart grids and sustainable electricity systems

  • Distributed low carbon technologies (DG, electric vehicles, photovoltaic panels, storage)
  • Smart grids (active network management, smart appliances)
  • Sustainable energy systems (carbon capture, biomass, wind energy, emissions, CHP, heat pumps)

Power system dynamics and quality of supply

  • Dynamics (loads, excitation systems, governors)
  • Modelling and control
  • QoS (voltage flicker, transients, sags, etc.)
  • Harmonics
  • Reliability (Monte Carlo simulation)

Power system protection

  • General protection issues
  • Relay types and designs (overcurrent relays, differential relays, protecting rotating machines)
  • Advanced protection systems (intelligent electronic devices, fault location algorithms, etc.)

Techniques for Research and Industry

  • Project/team/business planning
  • Health and safety (COSHH, risk analysis)
  • Ethics & professional responsibility
  • Intellectual property
  • Report writing (information sources, literature reviews, structure and presentation)

Students will work in groups of three to four and will review the state of the art in a specific technology area each producing an individual 5-page technology brief.

Course content for year 3

Dissertation Project

Your dissertation project will ideally be based on a problem you and your company need to resolve, ensuring the programme delivers value for both you and your employer.

This is presented as a 15,000 - 20,000-word report based on the research programme selected.

Academic entry qualification overview

You must hold a first-class / upper second-class honours degree, or international equivalent, in a relevant technical discipline (e.g. electronic/electrical engineering, mechatronics) or its equivalent from a reputable institution. The degree must have been completed within the last 5 years. Students must also be able to complete an appropriate worked-based dissertation.

Students who meet most but not all of the above criteria may be considered for an alternative entry route into the MSc, where the first two units are taken as training courses. When assessing you for this we will take into account relevant industrial experience, as well as the relevance and grades of your taught units. If these are passed then transfer to the MSc will be considered by the exam board (exam boards sit every 6 months, hence students will have to take a break from studies, normally for 3 months, while waiting for the exam board¿s decision).

English language

You will need to be able to demonstrate competency in the English language and if do not already possess a recognised English Language qualification will need to take a test such as:

  • IELTS score of 6.5 overall with no sub-test of less than 5.5
  • TOEFL iBT score of 90 overall with no sub-test of less than 22
  • Pearson PTE score of 59 overall with no sub-test of less than 51
  • Cambridge CPE grade C

English language test validity

Some English Language test results are only valid for two years. Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Career opportunities

This distance learning course is an extension of the longstanding full-time Electrical Power Systems Engineering MSc at the University of Manchester. Over the last thirty years, hundreds of students from around the world have come to the University to obtain an MSc in Electrical Power Engineering or similar. After graduation, graduates went on to work for renewable energy and power systems, electric utilities, equipment manufacturers, specialised software houses, universities and consultancy companies.

Many of our applications are from people already working in the industry (but this is by no means a requirement) who are aiming to use this course to further propel their career. The majority of our applicants have come from system/network operators, manufacturers of power system components, consultancies, the oil & gas industry, and large construction companies.

Program taught in:
  • English

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Last updated December 21, 2018
This course is Online
Start Date
Mar 2020
30 - 60 months
3,500 GBP
UK/EU students (per annum). International students (per annum): £24,500 over 3 years.
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