MSc Drone Technology and Applications

Study mode

Full-time (1 year)

Part-time (2 years)

Start date(s)

September 2018

Tuition fees 18/19
Home (full-time, per year): £7,050
International (full-time, per year): £14,450

Contact details

General enquiries:

0151 231 5090

Engineering and Technology

0151 231 2777

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About this course

LJMU’s innovative Drone Technology and Applications MSc will give you the knowledge and experience to become a specialist in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or UAVs.

  • Embark on this highly practical programme of study
  • Secure understanding of legal and regulatory frameworks
  • Gain the expertise to work in a wide range of industries in the UK, Europe and around the world
  • Follow a curriculum informed by ongoing research and consultancy in drone technology 
  • Build and test fly your own multi-rotor drone

Developed by leading experts in the industry, this Masters in Drone Technology and Applications is your chance to be at the leading edge of a technological revolution.

The programme is designed and delivered by research-active UAV operators, who provide a fundamental insight into this fast-developing industry. During your study, you will acquire the skills to construct, fly and operate drone systems, as well as a sound understanding of the legal and regulatory frameworks surrounding this technology.


The programme focuses on preparing you for a successful and fulfilling career in the industry, by conveying 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.

Fees and funding

There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students


The fees quoted at the top of this page cover registration, tuition, supervision, assessment and examinations as well as:

  • Library membership with access to printed, multimedia and digital resources
  • Access to programme-appropriate software
  • Library and student IT support
  • Free on-campus wifi via eduroam

Additional costs

Although not all of the following are compulsory/relevant, you should keep in mind the costs of:

  • accommodation and living expenditure
  • books (should you wish to have your own copies)
  • printing, photocopying and stationery
  • PC/laptop (should you prefer to use your own)
  • mobile phone/tablet (to access online services)
  • field trips (travel and activity costs)

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  • placements (travel expenses and living costs)
  • student visas (international students only)
  • study abroad opportunities (travel costs, accommodation, visas and immunisations)
  • academic conferences (travel costs)
  • professional-body membership
  • graduation (gown hire etc)


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


Further your career prospects

LJMU has an excellent employability record with 96% (HESA 2017) of our postgraduates in work or further study six months after graduation. Our applied learning techniques and strong industry connections ensure our students are fully prepared for the workplace on graduation and understand how to apply their knowledge in a real world context.

Europe is quickly becoming the world leader in drone technology, which offers a range of employment opportunities in different sectors. 

With an estimated growth rate of between 300% and 800% per annum, the commercial drone market offers an excellent opportunity for you to develop a successful career. The range of employment opportunities in the commercial drone market is huge, including options in: consultancy, utility companies, large company adoption, agriculture, retail, security, conservation, cultural heritage and media.

If you don't see yourself working in the UAV industry, completing this Masters degree will provide a range of knowledge and skills that are in demand across

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 the job market, including expertise in specialist electronics, computing and mechanical systems.

In addition, drone operations teach: team work, team leadership, communication, professional standard presentation skills, how to make decisions under pressure, how to harness resources to a project and how to plan.

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Course modules

Discover the building blocks of your programme

Your programme is made up of a number of core modules which are part of the course framework. Some programmes also have optional modules that can be selected to enhance your learning in certain areas and many feature a dissertation, extended report or research project to demonstrate your advanced learning.

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Core Modules

UAV Technology and Operations

This module provides knowledge of UAVs at systems-level and basic skills in safe UAV operation. It aims to:

  • provide a comprehensive overview of drone technology at a conceptual and practical level
  • help you acquire the skills to safely operate a UAV system

UAV Construction

This module provides experience in the practice of drone construction. It will enable you to acquire the knowledge and practical skills needed to create, test and fly a functional UAV system.

Research Methods

This module provides a grounding in the skills required to formulate a project plan, design experiments, mitigate against uncertainties and deliver a comprehensive description of the results. It aims to prepare you to undertake your own research projects and deliver the required skillset for successful completion of your investigations.

Advanced UAV Technology and Operations

This module provides an advanced understanding of UAV sub-system technology and a comprehensive skillset for the safe execution of more advanced operations. It aims to:

  • provide an in-depth, quantitative, qualitative and critical understanding of the technology deployed in UAV systems
  • help you be able to model such systems and design elements of them
  • let you fully comprehend the boundaries and limitations of such systems
  • safely deliver well-planned UAV missions

UAV Operations and The Law

This module provides a comprehensive coverage of the legal and regulatory factors involved in UAV operations. It aims to:

  • provide a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of legal issues, relevant regulations and responsibilities relating to UAV operation
  • give a sound current picture of the status of pan-European regulations
  • present an awareness of the worldwide situation

Optical Measurement and Sensing

This module provides an overview of non-contact measurement and optical inspection in an applications environment. It aims to provide an overview of optical systems capable of performing measurement and sensing in an applications environment with special reference to the UAV, automotive and aerospace industries.

Masters Project

The main aims of the project module are to demonstrate your ability to drive your own deep/thorough investigation, undertake high quality academic research and demonstrate critical evaluation of your results.


An insight into teaching on your course

Teaching methods

The course offers a range of approaches to learning, including lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops. Workshop activities and tutorials facilitate formative feedback to enable you to work on your weaknesses and build on your strengths.

Applied learning

This Masters will provide you with a range of skills to understand fully this technology both on a practical and theoretical level. Throughout the course you will undertake all aspects of the implementation and operation of UAV systems using industry standard procedures and facilities.  

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Person sat using laptop


How learning is monitored on your programme

To cater for the wide-ranging content of our courses and the varied learning preferences of our students, we offer a range of assessment methods on each programme. Assessment techniques vary from module to module to reflect relevant assessment approaches and the key learning points of each topic.

Being a very practical subject, most of the assessment for the course comprises coursework and practical tests. You will be assessed using a variety of methods, including: themed essays, practicals, flying tests, reports, presentations, online blogs and mission plan scenarios.

Course tutors

Our staff are committed to the highest standards of teaching and learning

Christian Matthews

Christian Matthews

Programme Leader  

Christian Matthews received his MEng degree in Mechanical Systems & Design Engineering from the University of Liverpool in 2003. He subsequently joined the Powertrain Control Group as a postgraduate research student. He received his PhD from the University of Liverpool in December 2007 for his thesis entitled 'Identification and Robust Control of Automotive Dynamometers'. In November 2006, he joined add2 Ltd where he was a Senior Systems Engineer specialising in Hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) and Rapid Control Prototyping (RCP) technologies and applications. In August 2009, Christian was appointed as a Lecturer in engineering at Liverpool John Moores University where he is responsible for teaching mechatronics, dynamics and control. In August 2013 he was appointed as Principal Lecturer in Engineering and Technology. Christian is a member of the national steering committee of the ‘Network for New Academics in Control Engineering’ (New-ACE), a Chartered member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers and the Society of Automotive Engineers and a fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

During your study, you will acquire the skills to construct, fly and operate drone systems.

School facilities

What you can expect from your School

The Department of Maritime and Mechanical Enginering is located in the Byrom Street site of LJMU’s City Campus. In addition to specialist engineering facilities, Byrom Street has high quality lecture theatres, meeting and seminar rooms plus a large café and social spaces. The Avril Robarts Library, open 24/7 during semesters, is just minutes away on Tithebarn Street.

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Entry requirements

You will need:

  • a minimum 2:2 an Engineering discipline, Physics, Mathematics or Computer Science


  • an equivalent professional qualification in another discipline containing significant numerical and analytical content

Additional information:

  • IELTS English language requirement: 6.0 (minimum 5.5 in each component)
  • RPL is accepted on this programme

If you have any specific queries, please contact

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

View country specific entry requirements

Contact LJMU's International Admissions Team for guidance on visa information. Further information is also available from our international web pages.

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Application and selection

Securing your place at LJMU

You will apply for the majority of postgraduate courses using our online application form. You should complete the form thoroughly and provide a detailed personal statement which reflects your suitability and aptitude for the programme.

You need to demonstrate that you have a sufficient level of knowledge to embark on the programme and to complete it within the time limits. You should provide evidence, at the interview stage, of your learning capabilities and commitment to a postgraduate programme of study.

Applications from non-standard applicants are welcomed. In exceptional circumstances applications by mature healthcare practitioners without sufficient qualifications will be considered.

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.