Significant penetration of distributed generation (DG) and the increasing automation level available for distribution networks have opened an option of splitting a network into subsystems and operating each as an "autonomous island". This is particularly important when a major contingency occurs. However, there are issues and challenges that must be addressed before islanded operation becomes viable, among which, ensuring seamless switching of a distribution subsystem from grid-connected to islanded mode is critically important. Unless the subsystem is a predesigned microgrid, it is highly possible that the subsystem load demand will exceed the generation capacity of island DGs. Therefore, an appropriate load shedding scheme must be implemented to ensure the islanded subsystem is power balanced. In this thesis, a switching control strategy is designed to deliver seamless islanding switching. This strategy comprises a multiple-DG coordination method and a single-step load shedding scheme. Mathematical studies and time-domain simulations that investigate the transients observed during the islanding switching process are both conducted, and together, they are used to address the transient stability issues of an islanded subsystem. This thesis focuses on a distribution subsystem consisting of a mix of synchronous and inverter-based DGs and a combination of static and dynamic loads. DG modelling and control is first introduced, and based on that, various types of method to achieve multiple-DG coordination, including an innovative multiple-master strategy, are investigated. The widely accepted master-slave strategy is used to coordinate DGs when the subsystem is islanded. The strategy demands a single dispatchable and controllable DG, such as a synchronous generator, to be the master, whilst requires the others, such as intermittent renewable-based DGs, to be the slaves. Dynamic load modelling is another critical part of this thesis. The transient stability of dynamic loads after major disturbances is investigated and then used to design the stability-oriented load shedding priority. The single-step load shedding scheme calculates the load shedding amount based on the power flow at the point of common coupling (PCC) and the spinning reserve available in the island. This scheme is activated by the tripping event of the PCC circuit breaker between the grid and the island, and then priorities the load to be shed according to the priority predetermined from the stability perspective. Mathematical analysis is first conducted on a simple subsystem to investigate the impact of DG settings on the islanding transients. A full-scale subsystem is also simulated in PSCAD/EMTDC and used to verify the effectiveness of the switching control strategy. In time-domain simulations, the subsystem is islanded following either a routine switching event or a permanent grid fault. Various factors that may affect the transient performance are analysed, such as the severity of the fault, the DG penetration level, the fault clearance time and the switching control delay. This thesis concludes that based on the proposed switching control strategy, the concept of seamless switching from grid-connected to islanded operation is technically viable.