Systems Design

  • 35 hours
  • 5 days


This five-day course will give you an appreciation of the design process within the systems engineering lifecycle.

The course covers the concepts and challenges of activities associated with:

  • requirements
  • functional analysis 
  • architectural design

You'll be introduced to techniques that help decision-making processes and will look at the creative as well as systematic elements of design.

The course is run by staff from the UCL Centre for Systems Engineering within UCL's Department of Space and Climate Physics (Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL).

Course context

One of the most important stages in system development is design. Typically, 80% of the final system cost is committed in the first 20% of the engineering activity, i.e. during the design phase.

Given the complexity of the task a series of methodologies, tools and techniques are used in order to manage the complexity and achieve the desired goals.

Although the process of design may be considered 'creative', many analytical processes also take place. In fact, many designers often make use of the various design methodologies in their creative process.

Complex systems design is necessarily a multidisciplinary activity and requires tailoring to adapt to the needs of the particular system complexity and organisation. 

Course structure

The course will run over five days.

It's delivered as a combination of interactive taught sessions and group exercises. 

You'll be given a hard copy of the taught material.

This course is an optional module within UCLse's MSc programme, but it can also be taken as this standalone course.

Learning outcomes

This course will help you to:

  • understand the importance of establishing good requirements at the earliest point in the systems development
  • choose appropriate modelling and analysis techniques 
  • understand the key principles of good design
  • apply the techniques of abstraction and architectural frameworks to create a set of system viewpoints
  • apply a variety of principles and techniques to support decisions between design choices

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Course team

Ian Raper

Ian is a project manager and tutor in the Technology Management Group. Prior to joining MSSL he had 22 years of industrial experience working on all aspects of the systems design lifecycle from user requirements through to integration, acceptance and deployment. Part of Ian’s career was in the defence sector, within Vickers Shipbuilding and BAE SYSTEMS. Following this, he worked in the space sector covering mission and system level activities at EADS Astrium. Ian is a Chartered Engineer and a member of the International Council on Systems Engineering. He holds an Master's degree in Systems Engineering from UCL.

Dr Raúl Leal Ascencio

Raúl holds a Master's degree in Science and a Doctorate in Engineering and is currently the Commercial Manager for the Centre for Systems Engineering at UCL. He has over 40 publications on engineering modelling and electronics. Previously he managed the research programme of a university’s engineering department for six years and has been a consultant in technology management and development for over ten years. He is involved in project management, systems thinking and systems engineering teaching at postgraduate level and provides training and consultancy for industry in the defence, aviation and space industries.

Simon Jackson

Simon is a Project Manager in the Technology Management Group. He has significant practical experience of project management and has been lecturing in the subject for the last eight years. He spent 20 years working in the defence industry at Rolls-Royce and British Aerospace on several aircraft. He has also managed several change projects including the development of new resource management systems. He is a chartered engineer, a member of the Royal Aeronautical Society and of the Association for Project Management.

Matthew Whyndham

Matthew is a practising project manager and research scientist in UCL’s Department of Space and Climate Physics (MSSL). Most of his work has been in the instrumentation field (radiation detectors and data handling systems). He is the Course Organiser for the Department's MSc programmes, in Systems Engineering Management and in Space Science/Space Technology. He teaches topics in space technology, technology management and project management within these programmes, and is a lead tutor in UCL's APM accredited project management course.

Benoit Pigneur

Benoit is a tutor in the Centre for Systems Engineering in Department of Space and Climate Physics (MSSL) at UCL. He is involved with teaching at MSc level as well as delivering industrial training. Some of his research interests include space systems, space mission design, systems architecting, system-of-systems, concurrent design, design management and design thinking. Before joining UCL, he worked in the space industry and also in academia in UK, Europe and USA. Through his career, Benoit has been involved with several space projects as well as teaching engineering courses at university. He holds a MSc in Space Mission Analysis and Design from the University of Glasgow and a MSc in Systems Engineering and Control from Purdue University.

Course information last modified: 19 Jun 2017, 11:31