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UCL Mechanical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering Sciences


MECHGR91 Ship Design Exercise

To course aims to develop team working and project management skills and to improve technical writing and critical analysis ability. Each student will be required to contribute to a group design project over an extended period of time and to produce a coherent body of work to a deadline. The objective is to take the group through each stage of design a ship from initial customer requirements to a fully worked up concept design.

The aim of the module is to provide the student with an understanding of the procurement and design process for a large marine artefact, by requiring the students to synthesise a design concept from a set of operational requirements. He/she will have to balance conflicting requirements such as cost and performance, and learn how to resolve interdisciplinary technical issues with other team members.

A small engine-propeller matching exercise is set at the start of the main part of the module. This ensures that all students experience the design of a mechanical transmission system and provides feedback early on during the module.

Code: MECHGR91
Alt Codes: None
Title: Ship Design Exercise
Level: MSc
UCL Credits/ECTS: 45/18
Start: March
End: June
Taught By: Professor Alistair Greig (Module Coordinator)
Professor Richard Bucknall


This module is normally only taken by students enrolled on the MSc Marine Engineering however students with a suitable marine engineering background will be considered for CPD at the MSc Marine Engineering Programme Director’s discretion.

Method of Instruction

Introductory lectures followed by regular design reviews. Guidance is provided by academic staff but it is expected that the work and effort is driven and managed by the student group.


  • Coursework: Engine-Propeller Matching exercise (5%)
  • Presentation and question and answer session (15%)
  • Thesis (80%)


The course comprises an interdisciplinary Group Design Project supported by a series of lectures/seminars on Project Management, Ship Design, and Marine Engineering. The Design Project is undertaken in small groups of students combining students from the Marine Engineering MSc (MECHGR91) and students from the Naval Architecture MSc (MECHGN05). Groups are typically 3 to 4 students. Marine Engineers also have a separate Engine-propeller matching exercise early in the exercise.

Students design ships from a customer’s outline requirements; the ships ranging from frigates and escort carriers to diving support vessels and cruise ships. Advanced marine vehicles are designed as well as monohulls. The exercise is supervised by the Professor of Naval Architecture and other staff members with particular experience of ship design practice. The design work includes use of a suite of preliminary design computer programs together with a computer aided design systems for ships (PARAMARINE) for the more detailed design work. The Marine Engineers are expected to concentrate on specifying the propulsive machinery and all auxiliary equipment.

Students are issued with outline requirements for the Ship Design Exercise during the January, this enables them to start the ship design whilst finishing the formal lecture courses and preparing for the written exams. The students start work full time on their ship design once the written exams are finished towards the end of March. The design exercise then runs until the middle of June. Design lectures, which support the Ship Design Exercise, are given from the start of the course in October and run right through to the completion of the exercise in June. These supporting lectures include those from visiting lecturers in the ship design community, as well as attendance at IMarEST Technical Meetings and Symposia. The designs are assessed both through meeting specific design tasks and by regular reviews via design presentations to the staff. Final presentation of the designs is by a written report and formal presentation to external examiners who are eminent in the field of ship design.

MECHGR91 Ship Design Exercise

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