Course Details

Course Code(s):
Course Start Date:
2 Years
NFQ Level 9 Major Award
Faculty: Science and Engineering
Course Type: Professional/Flexible
Fees: For Information on Fees, see section below.


Name: Philomena Kelly
Email: Telephone: +353 (0)61 237770
Name: Elaine.Butler
Email: Telephone: +353 (0)61 237798

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Brief Description

The Irish Manufacturing Sector is in transition from Industry 3.0 to Industry 4.0/5.0. To be successful, we must master the task of efficiently integrating complex cyber technologies into physical manufacturing equipment. With this in mind, University of Limerick, in conjunction with the ESE Academy have developed a suite of modules for manufacturing sector employees, which form the Masters level Equipment Systems Engineering (ESE) apprenticeship. 

Applicants must have a level 8 degree in a relevant field or significant industry experience to apply to the programme. 

Students must be living and working in Ireland on an Irish contract of employment and their employer must be willing to support them on the programme by completing an approval process and providing an industry mentor to the student. 

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This two-year programme is structured for blended delivery of online learning and face-to-face sessions, which minimizes time ‘off the job’. It includes: 

  • 1 day per semester on campus 

  • Weekly online lectures  

  • A dedicated Masters thesis supervisor 

  • Participation in a Community of Practice 

  • Support from an Industry Mentor within the company throughout the apprenticeship 

  • Completion of a major company project – the academic output of which is a journal article  

This programme is aimed at people who wish to: 

  • Procure, design, manufacture, commission, support or optimise Industry 4.0/5.0 equipment for the high-tech manufacturing sector in Ireland.  

  • Collaborate with others to broaden their overall access to emerging research, technologies, and best working practice to meet the challenges of Industry 4.0/5.0. 

  • Improve their problem-solving techniques in the high-tech manufacturing equipment domain.  

  • Be recognised as technical leaders in a topic relevant to Equipment Systems Engineering. 

  • Possess the skills to implement Industry 4.0/5.0 technologies in manufacturing. 

Year 1 


On campus Induction 

Manufacturing Equipment Cyber Technologies 

This module gives a high-level introduction to the relevant cyber technology providers for equipment in the manufacturing sector. This module will ensure that you are aware of the broad range of commercially available cyber technology options for integration in your equipment.  

By providing you with access to the latest software development licenses and learning assets, from one or more cyber technology providers, this module will enable you to significantly increase your familiarity of commercially available solutions. This approach will help you to accurately define and manage your specific learning path to improve your competencies in the aspects of the cyber technologies which are most relevant to you in your workplace. 

Automated System Design 

To introduce the student to the broad issues relating to the design and implementation of Automated and Mechatronic systems at a macro level. The module will examine the managerial, human and technological and economic factors involved in this process. 

Approaches to the technologies available to the automation of discrete part and continuous processes will be examined and evaluated. 

The aim will be to provide a broad, strategic overview of automation and mechatronics processes appropriate for management.  


Cyber-Physical Equipment Procurement 

This module aims to introduce you (the student) to robust processes, tools, and techniques, from the ESE Academy for the procurement of manufacturing equipment and associated cyber technologies. Through lecture and group activities, you will be introduced to industrial best practices for the procurement and integration of cyber technologies, which you can leverage in the workplace, for the procurement of your manufacturing solutions. You will learn about different models of equipment procurement and techniques for the design of your equipment procurement process. This will enable you to ensure that an appropriate level of cyber systems integration has been achieved to deliver the required functionality for your internal customers in your manufacturing organisation. This module will provide you with the opportunity to significantly develop your technical, project management and collaborative competencies.  

Cyber-Physical Manufacturing Solutions 

The challenge of rapidly transforming from Industry 3.0 to Industry 4.0, and onto Industry 5.0, cannot be comprehensively addressed by any single manufacturing organisation in isolation. Collaboration and knowledge sharing between industry let consortia and academia, using open licensing models such as Creative Commons (CC), will hold the key to success for Ireland.  

This module will provide an open forum where researchers, developers, visionaries and thought leaders share insights into Cyber-Physical manufacturing equipment solutions, which are currently in development, to solve real-world challenges, by The ESE Academy, UL, and others. This collaborative approach minimises the risk of duplication of effort, as we collaborate to rapidly diffuse and disseminate the competencies required to deliver the skills and culture transformation for the manufacturing domain. 


Equipment Systems Engineering Project Review 

The module will ensure that the student has engaged with their industry mentor in identifying a suitable masters-level research project within their organisation. This module will provide an opportunity for the student to present their proposed project to the programme board and student peer group for feedback. 

Apprenticeship Personal and Professional Portfolio 1 

Students must engage with their industry mentors throughout the year as part of their apprenticeship programme. Four mentoring meeting must be uploaded by the student to their learning management system as proof that they have engaged their mentor in their proposed research project. 

Year 2 


Equipment Systems Engineering Research 1 

Year 2 consists of three research modules. These modules will focus on the design and scoping of the student's research and identifying the supporting theory and practices to manage the implementation of Industry 4.0 innovations in their employer's equipment. As part of the research, they will undertake a series of workshops and seminars with industry experts and professionals that will run over the course of the apprenticeship programme. The students will produce a substantial piece of research work that will:  

1. Provide an opportunity to apply the breadth of knowledge and experience acquired during the apprenticeship to a suitable, conceptually challenging piece of procurement or optimisation work that is coherent and authoritative in its scoping, planning, and execution.  

2. Allow the student to consolidate their equipment systems engineering knowledge through a substantive piece of action research, which is informed by theory, research and practice that is at the forefront of the discipline.  

3. Enable students to evaluate methodologies, develop critiques, interpret knowledge and, where appropriate, propose new processes, practices and procedures for the procurement or optimisation of their employer’s equipment. 


Equipment Systems Engineering Research 2


Equipment Systems Engineering Research 3

Apprenticeship Personal and Professional Portfolio 2 

Students must engage with their industry mentors throughout the year as part of their apprenticeship programme. Four mentoring meeting must be uploaded by the student to their learning management system as proof that they have consulted with their mentor while conducting their proposed research project. 

Alongside your topics you will be engaged in ongoing Communities of Practice (CoP). This an integral part of your programme and includes:

  • Peer Learning
  • Mentoring - recording your meetings with your in-company mentor
  • Forums
  •  Employers must be willing to complete an approval process by UL & SOLAS, and commit to support the apprentice throughout the programme 
  • Support from an industry mentor within the company throughout the apprenticeship.
  •  Apprentices should hold a NFQ level 8 at minimum level 2.2 in a relevant area. Applicants who have completed a level 8 apprenticeship in a related field are also eligible to apply.
  •  Applicants with a lower qualification may also be considered provided they can prove to have considerable industrial experience as well as evidence of the ability to study at Masters Level.
  • If your qualifications have been obtained in a country where English is an official language this will suffice
  • If this is not available, the following additional documents must be provided:
    • English translation of your qualification(s)/transcripts
    • English language competency certificate

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Company Registration Process:  No Charge

Online Student Application Fee: €50

Annual Student Contribution Fee:  €900*

*It should be noted that these fees are subject to change depending on the programme of study and external funder’s requirements

For further information, please email Phil at 

Companies can also apply for the Apprenticeship Employer Grant of €2000 per annum if you meet the eligibility requirements. 

Please click here for information on funding and scholarships.