Drone Technology or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)

Drone Technology and Applications MSc

Course fees (2018/19 entry)

Option / fee Value
Home/EU full-time annual tuition fee: £7,050
Home/EU part-time tuition fee: N/A
International full time annual tuition fee: £14,450

Course type



Maritime and Mechancial Engineering

Study mode

Full Time

About your course

Completing this Masters degree at Liverpool John Moores University will give you the knowledge and practical skills to become a specialist in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or UAVs.

  • Complete this masters degree in one year full time
  • Secure understanding of legal and regulatory frameworks
  • Gain the expertise to exploit this exciting new technology in a wide range of industries in the UK, Europe and around the world
  • Curriculum informed by ongoing research in drone technology 


On the course you learn to mount UAV missions

You will build a multi-rotor drone under the direction of an experienced academic team.

Introduction to the School

The Drone Technology and Applications MSc is founded upon and continues to be informed by ongoing research at the University.

Thanks to this wide ranging and high quality research portfolio, you can be confident that the MSc programme is up-to-date and represents the latest thinking in drone technology, applications and operations.

In addition, your tutors' day-to-day experience of operating UAVs to solve practical industrial problems means that the course is founded on genuine ‘hands-on’ experience. Plus their contacts in academia and industry will help to open up exciting and challenging project opportunities during your studies.

Why study this course at LJMU?

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or UAVs are set to be one of the most disruptive technologies of the 21st century. This specialist masters programme is your route to being part of this technological revolution.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or UAVs will change our lives in so many ways - how we shop, how we find out about the place we are in, how we stay safe, and how we discover and explore our world in radical new ways.

Europe is gearing up to be the world leader in this technology and governments across the EU are putting in place empowering new legislation to help this new industry to grow. Organisations in a wide range of sectors – from utilities, retail and security to media, surveying and agriculture - are keen to exploit this new technology. This means demand for qualified experts in this field are growing day by day.

This programme is designed and delivered by active research staff. This ensures that the programme is up-to-date, based on state-of-the-art technical knowledge and informed by current operational experience.

Programme outline and structure

This taught masters degree will give you the practical, theoretical and regulatory knowledge to lead and undertake all aspects of the implementation and operation of UAV systems within a commercial enterprise in a safe, efficient and legal manner.

You will also secure essential practical skills in constructing, flying and operating drone systems. You will build your own, professional standard, multi-rotor drone system; test fly this system and then use it for practical assignments during the programme, including undertaking a research dissertation project. At the end of the course you can take your drone system with you and use as part of your career.

In today’s world, to be commercially successful in drone applications, you must be safe and operating totally with the aviation law. That’s why the programme includes a specialist module on UAV Operations and the Law. Not only will you know the legal and regulatory framework, more importantly you will learn how to interpret it so that you can design complex and challenging UAV operations within the current legal and regulatory framework.

What you will study on this degree

Please see guidance below on core and option modules for further information on what you will study.

Level 7
  • UAV Technology and Operations: This will teach you the basics of the technology at systems level. As part of this module you will learn to fly UAVs under experienced qualified instructors, first on simulators and then out in the field.
  • Drone Construction: You will build your own multi-rotor drone, complete with flight controller, GPS systems and radio control system. Under the guidance of the teaching team, you will test and then fly your drone in a series of increasingly demanding exercises.
  • Research Methods: In order to obtain your masters degree you will have to undertake an individual research project and write it up as a dissertation. In this module you will learn the research, presentation and critical appraisal skills you will need to successfully complete your project.

  • Advanced UAV Technology and Operations: Practical flying and operating experience, now in more advanced scenarios, is an important element of this module with further simulator exercises and another 5 full-day flying sessions.
  • UAV Operations and the Law: It is important to know the legal and regulatory framework within which UAVs operate, to become qualified for commercial UAV use it's essential. Here you will learn about the law, the guidelines and get to practice your understanding with 'moot' exercises – debating complex operational scenarios.
  • Optical Measurement and Sensing: Of all the data gathering devices carried by UAVs the overwhelming majority are optical and to get the best results you will need to understand this technology. It's not just video cameras; you need to fully understand technologies including stereo photogrammetry, LIDAR, structured light and shape from motion systems if you are to be effective in data gathering from drones.
  • Dissertation Project: On successful completion of the taught part of the programme you will complete an individual research or advanced practice project. Project topics can be self-generated, or drawn from a range of real-world applications originating from outside of the University among the research team’s industrial contacts.

Further guidance on modules

The information listed in the section entitled ‘What you will study’ is an overview of the academic content of the programme that will take the form of either core or option modules. Modules are designated as core or option in accordance with professional body requirements and internal Academic Framework review, so may be subject to change. Students will be required to undertake modules that the University designates as core and will have a choice of designated option modules. Additionally, option modules may be offered subject to meeting minimum student numbers.

Please email courses@ljmu.ac.uk if you require further guidance or clarification.

How will I be assessed?

As this is a very practical subject, most of the assessment is coursework based and of a practical nature. You will be assessed using a variety of methods, including:

  • themed essays
  • practical tasks
  • flying tests
  • reports
  • presentations
  • on-line blogs
  • mission plan scenarios

Entry requirements (Home)

The standard entry requirements are:

  • At least a lower second honours degree, or equivalent, in either an Engineering discipline, Physics, Mathematics or Computer Science
  • Applicants who hold at least a lower second honours degree, or equivalent, in another discipline which contains significant numerical and analytical content will be considered . Holders of such degrees might like to make informal contact with the programme team prior to application
  • We will also consider applications from individuals who may not hold any of the above qualifications but have significant relevant experience in the field or a related area. Anyone considering an application on such a basis should contact the programme team in the first instance for an informal discussion and advice

Entry requirements (International)

Applicants from non-English speaking countries outside of the EU must possess a current IELTS qualification at least at 6.0. If you have completed a programme at another UK university within the last 2 years you are exempt from this requirement. .

If you have applied to study a full-time taught Masters, MRes, MPhil or PhD at LJMU, you should check if you require an Academic Technology Approval Scheme or ATAS certificate. It can take four to six weeks to receive an ATAS certificate, so please make sure you apply as early as possible. You can find out more on the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website. Alternatively, contact LJMU’s International Admissions Team for guidance. Please note: international students entering on a Tier 4 visa cannot study part time. Students entering the UK on alternate types of visa may be in a position to study part time. Please contact LJMU’s International Admissions Team for further details before making your application.  In order to obtain a visa you will also need to show evidence that the money required to cover your tuition fees and living expenses has been in your bank account for at least 28 days prior to submitting your visa application. So please make sure that your finances are in place before applying. For more details, go to our international website

For advice on any aspect of the application process, please contact LJMU’s International Admissions Team.


Will I be interviewed?



6.0 (Minimum of 5.5 in each component)

Is RPL accepted on this programme?


Please Note: All international qualifications are subject to a qualification equivalency check via NARIC.

Financial support

Tuition fees

All students enrolled on postgraduate taught programmes at LJMU are liable to pay an annual tuition fee. You can opt to pay your tuition fees in full at the start of each academic year or in instalments. If you need advice about how to pay your tuition fees, please email LJMU’s Student Funding Team.

Funding sources

There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students. From Postgraduate Masters Loans and Professional and Career Development Loans (PCDLs) to International Scholarships and subject-specific funding, you’ll find all of the information you need on our specialist postgraduate funding pages.

Graduate employment

This programme is designed to produce individuals who will lead the rapidly expanding workforce needed in UAV applications and as a highly skilled, very knowledgeable specialist you will be in great demand around the world.

Did you know that there are as many commercial drones in Europe as there are in the rest of the world put together? The European Union have just published the Riga Declaration, clearing the way to make Europe a world leader in drone technology and operations. Here in the UK, the Civil Aviation Authority have published new routes to qualifying as a commercial drone operator. All of this means that commercial drone operations will be one of the fastest growing industries of the 21st century, and much of that growth will be here in Europe.

Current estimates for growth in the commercial drone market are at anywhere from 300 to 800% per annum. The Washington Post estimated that in the USA alone there would be 70,000 new jobs in the drone industry in the next ten years and that by 2020 that figure would be at 100,000 new jobs per annum.

The range of employment opportunities in the commercial drone market is huge, including: 

  • consultancy
  • utility companies
  • large company adoption
  • agriculture
  • retail
  • security
  • conservation
  • cultural heritage
  • media

If you don’t see yourself working in the UAV industry, completing this masters degree will give you major knowledge and skills in demand across the job market, including knowledge in specialist electronics, computing and mechanical systems.

In addition, drone operations teaches you:

  • team work
  • team leadership
  • communication
  • professional standard presentation skills
  • how to decision make under pressure
  • how to harness resources to a project
  • how to plan

International Study

International applicants are required to demonstrate equivalent qualifications to the standard requirements for entry when applying for courses at LJMU.

Students must also demonstrate a proficiency in communicating through English, for example via an IELTS tests or equivalent.

Please note: UK visa restrictions mean that international students are only permitted to study on a full-time basis.

Please contact LJMU’s International Team by visiting www.ljmu.ac.uk/international for more information and advice.


LJMU has launched a range of generous international scholarships for students enrolling at the University.

These prestigious scholarships take the form of tuition fee waivers and are available for outstanding international students applying for taught postgraduate programmes and research degrees.

You will need to complete an additional application form in order to be considered for these scholarships. Full eligibility criteria and the online application form are available here: www.ljmu.ac.uk/international

Applications for these scholarships are welcomed from:

  • new international applicants
  • current LJMU international students hoping to progress onto postgraduate study at the University
  • LJMU international alumni

The University reserves the right to withdraw or make alterations to a course and facilities if necessary; this may be because such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University. Where this does happen, the University operates a policy of consultation, advice and support to all enrolled students affected by the proposed change to their course or module.
Further information on the terms and conditions of any offer made, our admissions policy and the complaints and appeals process.

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