National Motorsport Academy

Pushing the Boundaries of Motorsport Engineering Education – The NMA MSc

In January this year we launched another world’s first – our online Master’s Advanced Motorsport Engineering. Demand for the course was high before it even got off the ground and we’ve been overwhelmed by the response from both applicants and industry employers who have identified the course as a way for their employees to refresh or improve their subject knowledge without having to take time away from work.

The MSc Advanced Motorsport Engineering has been designed to help those already working in motorsport to access higher level jobs and develop skills using the latest cutting edge technology and simulation tools. As mentioned recently by NMA Tutor Roger, the standard of work we’re already seeing has been phenomenal.

This week, we caught up with Director of Motorsport, Kieran Reeves to talk about the course, the students and the benefits it can bring to the motorsport industry.

Hi Kieran. Have you been surprised at the level of interest since the course launched in January?

To be honest, ever since we launched the BSc Motorsport Engineering five years ago we’ve been asked whether an MSc would be introduced at any stage. Before we even launched, we had quite a few students already ready and waiting to enrol. As it’s the only practical MSc for motorsport engineering, which is delivered entirely online, we knew it would be extremely popular with both students and motorsport businesses. That said, it’s always great when things exceed your expectations.

What is the profile of your average MSc student?

We’ve got Vehicle Performance Engineers, R&D Engineers, people who have just finished their BSc and are working in their first or second jobs in the industry but who are looking to improve upon certain skillsets. The programme caters for motorsport engineers who are already experienced but are looking to become (or already are) a Chief Engineer, Senior Data Analyst, Strategists and Aerodynamicists.

Age wise, we have students ranging from early 20s up to their late 50s. The course is great for people who haven’t studied for a while because it brings their knowledge up to date with modern methods and technology.

How does the course differ to other Master’s in motorsport engineering?

Team NMA at GT Cup Donington As our course is delivered online it offers extreme flexibility to those working in this demanding field. Not everyone can take a career break or time off work to attend a physical university. The racing calendar can see you in three different countries in a month, with little to no personal time to speak of. All of our modules and course content are in our Virtual Learning Studio and can be accessed from anywhere, at any time.

There’s also no defined start date – people can start the course in the off-season or when their workload is lighter and complete each module at their own pace, with a time limit of 55 days per module.

The course content is also incredibly progressive. Students get full access to the latest industry software and resources as well as having tutors on hand who have actually done the job they are training towards. You also get the opportunity to be hands-on as we’re the only MSc or BSc motorsport course provider who actually run their own race team.

Can you tell us a little more about the course content?

The course has been designed in consultation with some of the most well-respected employers within the industry. The modules cover areas which these employers identified as being desirable for those looking to improve their career prospects. The programme consists of 8 taught modules and a final dissertation:

  1. Research Methods
  2. Design, Modelling & Validation of Motorsport Systems
  3. Advanced Vehicle Dynamics
  4. Engineering Management Practices
  5. Multi-physics Analysis for Motorsport
  6. Driver Coaching
  7. Race car Applications
  8. Race Strategy
  9. Advanced Motorsport Project (Dissertation)

The course includes two academic and wider skills modules based on project management and business management skills. These will expose students to the processes and knowledge associated with the development of projects and day to day management duties within race teams.

The remaining six taught modules are the technical, mechanical engineering and motorsport industry modules. Students will be taught advanced vehicle dynamics and race vehicle behaviour. From the mathe matical calculations and understanding of the algorithms to applying these to mathematical models and simulations that enable the development of race strategies, race car set-up and race vehicle development paths.

The programme also contains thermal and multi-species analysis of race vehicles. This will allow students to explore the capabilities of thermodynamic manipulation to improve aerodynamics packages for race vehicles. They can also apply lean burn technologies within high performance internal combustion engines to study fuel efficiency and power development.

Students will also study driver coaching and analysis using driving simulators, data analysis, video analysis and coaching techniques. This will allow the student to become an engineer who both understands the race car limits and can set up various possibilities and driver improvements. This module will also ensure students develop the skills necessary to find those tenths that lie within the race driver’s technique via rigorous critical analysis of data and video.

Finally, students will conclude their studies with a project-based dissertation. They will have the chance to showcase their knowledge and skills by choosing the content and development path in order to fully explore the research area that they have chosen as their career. Throughout the course there are contributions from world experts in the motorsport industry, just as there are in the BSc (Hons) online degree.

How long does the course take to complete?

That depends a lot on the student and their other commitments. We have some students who have already completed half of the course already but as the course module content lasts 640 days in total, we imagine the average student will finish in around 21-24 months if they are working full time.

Can you tell us a little more about costs?

 The fee for UK students is currently set at £7500 or it can be paid in monthly instalments of £775. For international students it’s £8500 or £1800 on enrolment and x9 monthly payments of £800.

For UK students, our course fees are £1000 lower than other universities offering a ‘similar’ course. For international students, they are 50% lower! We’re proud to have a large number of international students because that’s the nature of motorsport. Keeping our fees as low as possible helps us attract the top talent from across the world. This is obviously a huge benefit to employers here in the UK and around the world.

We also try to make funding the MSc as easy as possible. In addition to the monthly instalment option, UK students can access a postgraduate student loan to cover all course fees. UK Armed Forces employees and service leavers can also apply now for ELCAS funding.

To anyone interested in applying, what are the entry requirements?

Anyone who has an engineering degree in any field is encouraged to apply, not just those with a motorsport engineering degree. We have students from aerospace backgrounds, with BSc’s and BEng but what they all have in common is a passion and dedication towards pushing the boundaries of motorsport technology.

Finally, any examples of student work to show?

The quality of work produced by students already on the course has been on a level which has surprised us all. It really has been extraordinary! As we have students completing modules at different times, it would be unfair to share full assignments but here’s an example of an assignment submitted by MSc student Timos Nicolaou – it really is a fantastic example of the level of work being completed on the Master’s Advanced Motorsport Engineering.

So, did this fuel a fire? Fancy getting your career back on track? Why not download our full MSc Motorsport Engineering prospectus or APPLY ONLINE TODAY!



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