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UCL Mechanical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering Sciences


Submarine Design & Acquisition Course

Next course will run 11th October 2021 to 10th December 2021

Key Information

Short Course
9 Weeks

Course Introduction

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.

Contact and Apply

For further information please contact:

Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering Office

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University College London,
Torrington Place,
London WC1E 7JE

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