Postgraduate study

Power Electronics and Drives MSc

This course provides a specialist education in power electronics and drives techniques, and current practices.
1 year full-time
Entry requirements
A high 2:2 or equivalent in Electrical and/or Electronic Engineering, or other relevant degree
6.0 (no less than 5.5 in any element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses may be available
Start date
UK/EU fees
£7,785 - Terms apply
International fees
£22,815 - Terms apply
Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)
University Park Campus



This training programme has been developed to provide an up to date and dynamic course in power electronics and drives and their applications.

The control and conversion of electric power using solid-state techniques are now commonplace in both the domestic and industrial environments. A recent estimate suggested that over 40% of all electric power generated passes through silicon before reaching its final destination.

A knowledge and understanding of the diverse disciplines encompassed by power electronics - devices, converters, control theory and motor drive systems - is therefore essential to all power engineers.

This course aims to provide a specialist education in power electronics and drives techniques, covering key fundamental principles along with modern applications and current practices.

Key facts

  • The Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Nottingham has long been at the forefront of research and teaching in the area of power electronics and drives.
  • The Faculty of Engineering is ranked 3rd in the UK for research power under REF 2014, the British Government’s Research Excellence Framework. More than 98% of engineering research ranked of international quality, with 85% graded as world leading or internationally excellent.
  • This course is accredited with the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) to meet the further learning requirements of a Chartered Engineer.

Full course details

Applicants must have a high 2:2 degree or equivalent in Electrical or Electronic Engineering, or other relevant degree.

This course is taught on a full-time basis over 12 months and consists of 120 credits of taught modules and a 60 credit independent research project.

This course has a strong core of modules with some optional elements to be selected based on individual interest. Core to optional taught module weighting is 75/25.

Planning and preparation for the project is undertaken during the spring semester.

You will be taught using up to date practice including use of appropriate electronic resources. Teaching is a mix of lectures, workshops, lab work, tutorials and projects, with assessment usually performed through formal examinations and coursework.

Learning outcomes

Key learning outcomes of the course are for students to:

  • become competent users of relevant equipment and software
  • develop problem solving skills
  • develop ability to think logically and critically
  • develop a thorough understanding of current practice and its limitations and appreciation of likely new developments in the field of power electronics and electrical engineering.
  • develop appreciation for the challenges related to power electroncics, its control and realisation

This course is based in Nottingham's University Park campus in the UK. Find out more about University Park campus or take a virtual tour.


Academic English preparation and support

If you need additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress to postgraduate study without retaking IELTS or equivalent.

A specialist engineering course is available and you could be eligible for a joint offer, which means you will only need to apply for your visa once.




Core modules

Advanced AC Drives with project: 20 credits
Summary Of Content: This module addresses the control of AC drives and consists of a lecture component (10 credits) and a design and assessment project (10 credits)

The lecture component covers vector controlled induction motor drives and permanent magnet motor drives. Vector control is covered in depth covering the concept of space vectors, dq representation of 3-phase machines, dynamic equation structure and the concepts of direct and indirect flux orientation. Implementation of Indirect Vector Control, including current flux and speed control is covered in some detail and includes the effect of incorrect parameters.

Both AC and Brushless DC permanent magnet motor drives are introduced. The vector control concepts learned for induction machines are applied to AC PM machines. The concept of salient and non-salient AC PM machines are covered leading to the vector control using maximum torque per amp control strategies. Finally the field weakening control of both non-salient and salient PM machines are considered.

The project component is a design and simulation exercise using MATLAB/Simulink. The student is required to design an indirect vector controlled induction motor drive, implement the design in Simulink, and undertake evaluative tests covering current and speed loop performance, including field weakening for high speed. The exercise covers investigating the effects of parameter variation and designing engineered solutions to reducing the sensitivity.

Method and Frequency of Class:

ActivityNumber of WeeksNumber of sessionsDuration of a session
Lecture 12 weeks 1 week 2 hours

Method of Assessment:

Assessment TypeWeightRequirements
Coursework 1 50.00 50hrs of student work
Exam 1 50.00  
Advanced Control System Design: 20 credits

Summary Of Content: This module introduces the state-space representation of physical systems and the control design of multi-input multi-output systems using multi-variable control techniques for both continuous and discrete implementation. The module then covers both full and reduced observer design for those cases when state variables are not measurable. The module finishes with an overview of optimal control design. A more detailed design experience using advanced CAD will be acquired by means of a specialized coursework.

Method and Frequency of Class:

ActivityNumber of WeeksNumber of sessionsDuration of a session
Computing 7 weeks 1 week 1 hour
Lecture 11 weeks 1 week 2 hours

Three hours of lectures per week, supplemented by printed notes, example classes and project work supervision.

Method of Assessment:

Assessment TypeWeightRequirements
Coursework 1 50.00 50 hours of student time
Exam 1 50.00 2 hour exam
Electrical and Electronic Fundamentals for Masters: 20 credits
Summary Of Content: The module expands students lifelong learning skills by developing their proficiency in self- assessment of their knowledge. This will be achieved by asking students to identifying gaps in their knowledge in the core areas of electrical and electronic engineering, development and implementation of an improvement plan.

To supplement, the student self-learning, problem/project based learning will be used to reinforce the fundamental skills of an electrical and electronic engineer. These problems will be introduced in student led small group seminars where students will discuss the problem and discuss what background knowledge is required and suitable resources. A member of academic staff will aid the students identify appropriate learning material where students finds it difficult to do so. As part of the learning experience, students will keep a weekly online log detailing the learning activities undertaken, what they have learnt and the areas they still need to develop.

To provide formative feedback during this learning period, there will be 4 compulsory on-line tests. Although the mark attained is not used in the calculation of the module mark, failure, without good cause to complete 3 of the 4 tests within the given time window, will result in a zero module mark.

Method and Frequency of Class:

ActivityNumber of WeeksNumber of sessionsDuration of a session
Seminar 10 weeks 1 week 2 hours
Seminar 1 week 1 week 3 hours
Un Assign 4 weeks 1 week 1 hour

The formative progress tests will be on-line for completion within a 24 hour period.

Method of Assessment:

Assessment TypeWeightRequirements
Coursework 1 25.00 Self Assessment/reflection and of additional learning requirements to complete the course.
Coursework 2 25.00  
Exam 1   2 hour on-line Formative Examination( Required to attend).
Exam 2 50.00 1 hour on-line examination.
MSc Project: 60 credits
Summary Of Content: In this module a student will be assigned to an individual supervisor who will be a staff member in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. The student will carry out a practical or theoretical project chosen from the current interests of the staff member concerned. The student will be expected to conduct a literature survey, undertake practical or theoretical work and write a dissertation on this work.

Method and Frequency of Class: The Project will take place at the end of the Spring semester and during the summer.

Method of Assessment:

Assessment TypeWeightRequirements
Dissertation 80.00 Final Thesis 100 pages
Oral 10.00 Bench Inspection
Report 10.00 Interim Report
Advanced Power Electronics: 20 credits
Power Systems for Aerospace, Marine and Automotive Applications: 10 credits

Summary Of Content: This module considers the design and operation of Power Systems in a range or transport related applications.

Method and Frequency of Class:

ActivityNumber of WeeksNumber of sessionsDuration of a session
Lecture 5 weeks 1 week 4 hours

All teaching takes place in 5 weeks, with a single 4 hour session per week, giving 20 hours of timetabled lectures and demonstrations. 

Method of Assessment:

Assessment TypeWeightRequirements
Exam 1 100.00 1 hr 30 min exam
Research Project Organisation and Design: 10 credits

Summary Of Content

A project-oriented module involving a review of publications and views on a topic allied to the chosen specialist subject. The module will also involve organisation and design of the main project. Skills will be acquired through workshops and seminars that will include:

  • Further programming in MATLAB and /or MSExcel Macros
  • Project planning and use of Microsoft Project
  • Measurement and error analysis
  • Development of laboratory skills including safety & risk assessment

Students will select a further set of specialist seminars from, e.g.:

  • Meshing for computational engineering applications
  • Modelling using CAE packages
  • Use of CES Selector software
  • Specific laboratory familiarisation
  • Use of MSVisio software for process flow
  • Use of HYSYS process modelling software
  • Use of PSpice to simulate analogue and digital circuits

The specialist seminars will be organised within the individual MSc courses.

Taught Semesters: Spring UK 

Delivery: 3-hour seminars in 12 weeks 

Method of Assessment:

Assessment TypeWeightRequirements
Coursework 1 40.00 2000 word literature review on a topic relevant to MSc programme.
Coursework 2   Formative health & safety risk assessment
Coursework 3 60.00 2000 word max planning report; topics to be specific to individual MSc courses and specialist training

Optional modules

Sensing Systems and Signal Processing: 10 credits

Education Aims: To provide students with the necessary background knowledge so that they can understand sensors and their applications.

Method and Frequency of Class:

ActivityNumber of WeeksNumber of sessionsDuration of a session
Lecture 12 weeks 1 week 2 hours

Method of Assessment:

Assessment TypeWeightRequirements
Coursework 1 50.00  
Exam 1 50.00  
Systems Engineering: 10 credits
Renewable Generation Technologies: 10 credits
Summary Of Content: This module covers the analysis and design of renewable and sustainable energy systems. It covers the various types of renewable energy and the resources available. It uses an understanding of the physical principles of various types of energy resources in order to develop analytical models which can be applied to the design of renewable energy systems, including energy conversion and storage, especially for electrical power generation. It includes:
  • Wind power: wind probability distributions, wind turbine performance and control, comparison of generator types
  • Hydro and tidal power: resource assessment, turbine types and principles
  • Solar power, including PV cell equivalent circuit, analysis of losses, matching to DC and AC power systems
  • Wave power systems, including wave energy characteristics, types of energy converter
  • Characteristics of synchronous and induction generators
  • Embedded generation; types of generator and operation of RE within the power system
  • Economic and environmental assessment of energy conversion technologies.

Taught Semesters: Spring UK 

Method and Frequency of Class: 

ActivityNumber of WeeksNumber of sessionsDuration of a session
Lecture 11 weeks 1 week 2 hours

The module will comprise a series of lectures, seminars, tutorials and visits during the Spring Semester.

Method of Assessment: 

Assessment TypeWeightRequirements
Coursework 1 25.00 Sustainable energy case study: A written report.
Exam 1 75.00 Two Hour Paper. The examination will be based on the whole of the course.
Power Networks: 10 credits

Summary Of Content: This module provides students with an understanding of power system apparatus and their behaviour under normal and fault conditions. This module covers:

  • concept and analysis of load flow
  • voltage/current symmetrical components
  • computation of fault currents
  • economic optimisation
  • power-system control and stability
  • power system protection

Method and Frequency of Class:

ActivityNumber of WeeksNumber of sessionsDuration of a session
Lecture 11 weeks 1 week 2 hours
Practicum 11 weeks 1 week 1 hour
One 2-hour lecture per week. Students will spend time in the computing laboratory working on CAD problems.

Method of Assessment:

Assessment TypeWeightRequirements
Coursework 1 25.00 25 hours of student time
Exam 1 75.00 2 hour exam

For more details on our modules, please see the Module Catalogue.

The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.



See information on how to fund your masters, including our step-by-step guide.

Please visit the faculty website for information on any scholarships currently available through the faculty.

Faculty of Engineering Postgraduate Scholarships

UK/EU Students

Funding information can be found on the Graduate School website.

Please visit the faculty website for information on any scholarships currently available through the faculty.

Government loans for masters courses

The Government offers postgraduate student loans for students studying a taught or research masters course. Applicants must ordinarily live in England or the EU. Student loans are also available for students from Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

International and EU students

Masters scholarships are available for international students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure your course application is submitted in good time.

Information and advice on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study is available on our website, as well as country-specific resources.


Careers and professional development

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2016, 94.2% of postgraduates in the faculty who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £31,959 with the highest being £100,000.

*Known destinations of full-time home higher degree postgraduates, 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Our postgraduates generally progress to exciting roles in design and development with major international companies or government agencies, obtain consultancy posts with leading contract consultant companies or move into successful academic careers.

Career destinations for our graduates in the department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering include IT business analysts, systems designers, programmers, software development professionals and production technicians, as well as electrical engineers and engineering professionals.

Career prospects and employability

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers* and can offer you a head-start when it comes to your career.

Those who take up a postgraduate research opportunity with us will not only receive support in terms of close contact with supervisors and specific training related to your area of research, you will also benefit from dedicated careers advice from our Careers and Employability Service.  

Our Careers and Employability Service offers a range of services including advice sessions, employer events, recruitment fairs and skills workshops – and once you have graduated, you will have access to the service for life.

* The Graduate Market 2013-2017, High Fliers Research.

Boost your earning potential

Which university courses boost graduate wages the most? Studying with us could help you to earn more.

  • We are second highest in the UK for female engineering graduate earnings, five years after graduation
  • We are second highest in the Midlands for male engineering graduate earnings, five years after graduation

(Source: Institute for Fiscal Studies data:



This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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Caroline Dolby
Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering
The University of Nottingham
University Park
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