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The master’s programme in Control and Automation at Aalborg University is comprised by four semesters where you work with gradually more complex subjects. The 1st and 2nd semester focus on modelling and control of linearized systems, multivariable and optimal control, analysis of stability and controlled systems as well as control in networks. On the 3rd semester, you are introduced to more advanced methods for control and automation, and we focus on how systems may be made independent of human operators. On the 4th and last semester, you carry out your master’s thesis in a subject of your own choosing in cooperation with your supervisor.

See also the curriculum for the master’s programme in Control and Automation. Here, you may find details on courses and projects as well as information on the programme’s legal basis, etc.


All bachelors enrolled in the programme who have not obtained their bachelor's degree from Aalborg University must take part in a course on problem based learning (PBL) as part of the 1st semester project. In case non-AAU bachelors get credit transfer for the 1st semester, they will be asked to take part in a course ensuring that they are trained in working according to the PBL-model. Read more about PBL here.

1st SEMESTER; networked control systems

On the 1st semester, the main theme is scientific work with focus on writing scientific papers. The results must be presented at an internal conference at Aalborg University, and tradition holds that chosen projects will be presented at international conferences with scientists from all over the world.

1st semester courses

  • Stochastic processes
  • Distributed real-time systems
  • Multivariable control

The 1st semester adds to the competences you have attained via your bachelor’s programme. As mentioned, focus is on scientific papers. In addition, we include subjects such as designing networks for handling communication between e.g. the dashboard and transmission in a car. Or large distributed systems in robots where we consider that the network may in unreliable, causing the robots to lose their connection. 

2nd SEMESTER; multivariable control systems

On the 2nd semester, you will work on a project concerning automation of mechanical and energy converting systems. You will learn to understand and handle all the basic challenges in control of automatic systems.

2nd semester courses

  • Modelling of mechanical and thermal systems
  • Optimality and robustness
  • Robot vision (elective)
  • Fault detection, isolation and modelling (elective)

Focus is on automation of systems such as wind turbines, stable ventilation, ship antennas, refrigerated counters, robots, satellites and many more. The automation consists of two parts: actuators and sensors. The sensors measure the system, and measurement information is then used to control the system via the actuators.

Throughout the semester, you will spend half your time on the semester project where you can work with any kind of controlled system. You will face theoretical and practical challenges, e.g. which actuators and sensors you should choose or how to avoid a system bursting into self-oscillation.

3rd SEMESTER; control of complex systems

On the 3rd semester, the subject on automation of systems via modelling and control is continued, however, on this semester, we work with autonomous systems. Such systems must be able to account for changes over time; changes, which are impossible predict when designing the system.

3rd semester courses

  • Systems of systems/complex systems
  • Machine learning (elective)
  • Non-linear control systems (elective)

You will learn how systems may be made more intelligent, enabling them to handle many different situations without failure. You will be taught to calculate values which are almost impossible to measure. This could be for instance how much the blades on a wind turbine vibrate when they spin. In addition, you will learn how automatic fault detection works and how systems may reconfigure themselves in order to keep running.

The 3rd semester has a special tradition for students cooperating with companies – both Danish and international. Many of the large industrial companies work with automation such as Danfoss, Vestas, Maersk, Terma, Siemens, etc.

4th SEMESTER; master’s thesis

There are no courses on the 4th semester, because it is entirely reserved for working on your master’s thesis. You and your supervisor choose the subject for your thesis – there are many to choose from. We will suggest some, but perhaps you have a better idea yourself of exactly what you want to delve into.

When you have finished your master’s thesis, you are Master of Science in Engineering in Control and Automation.

Study Method at AAU - Problem Based Learning

Study Method at AAU - Problem Based Learning

The study method at AAU is called Problem Based Learning (PBL). Together with your fellow students you will work with real life problems by way of problem based project work.

learn more about Pbl at aau