Mechanical Engineering


Submarine Design & Acquisition Course

Next course is running Monday 7 October – Friday 6 December 2024.

The UCL Submarine Design Course introduces Naval Architects and Marine Engineers to the basic elements governing the design and acquisition of submarines and underwater craft.  Starting from a consideration of the operating requirements, it provides an approach to developing conceptual solutions and thence to establishing the feasibility and preliminary design details of the selected option.

The course shows how the various mobility elements of the vehicle, speed, endurance, diving depth and control interact and how the demands of the equipment required to perform a vessel’s operational function govern the choice of vehicle and its configuration.

Whilst primarily intended for students at the beginning of their career, it provides an overview of the total design influences for those with some previous experience in submarine system and equipment design and development.

Course Content

Operational Scenarios and Requirements Weight and Volume Relationships
 Sensors and Equipment Arrangements Operating Systems
 Form and Arrangements Production and Building
 Philosophy of Design Pressure Hull Structures
 Propulsion Systems Environmental Control Systems
 Trim and Buoyancy Control Test Procedures
 Design Procedures and Methods Propulsion and Endurance
 Electrical Power Systems Escape and Safety Arrangements
 Dynamics and Manoeuvring Cost Conscious Design

Course Structure

The course is arranged for a nine-week period in the First Term starting in mid-October and ending in mid-December.  The first four weeks are mainly devoted to lectures on various topics given by UCL staff and visiting expert lecturers.  From assigned scenarios the students, usually in groups of four, develop a set of operational requirements and cost budgets.  After agreement with staff, the students use the remainder of the course to produce a feasible design to satisfy the requirements.  Advice and guidance is provided continuously by the permanent staff and a number of informal presentations attended by experienced designers are made by the teams to assess progress.  In the final week students make a formal presentation of their designs to an invited audience of senior designers and representatives of the student sponsors.


The course is open to all nationalities whether sponsored by government, commercial company or as private individuals.  No specific qualifications are required however students are expected to be at least of graduate level in engineering.  The course is conducted in English and overseas students would be expected to have a good working knowledge of this language.