Aeronautics with Spacecraft Engineering

Specialise in the design of space technologies in this professionally accredited, integrated Master's degree.

Key information

Award

MEng

Duration

4 years

full-time

Minimum entry

Three A-level offer: A* A* A

Four A-level offer: A* A A A

See full entry requirements

Applications : admissions ratio

8 : 1

Based on 2019 entry data

  • UCAS course code: n/a*
  • ECTS: 240
  • Start date: October 2021

* Apply initially for MEng Aeronautical Engineering (H401)

Overview

This professionally accredited course aims to provide you with a broad base of engineering, computational and analytical skills, alongside the specific knowledge required for careers in the aeronautical industry.

By joining this specialist spacecraft stream you'll be equipped with an analytical skillset appropriate to the design of spacecraft technologies and an understanding of the unique challenges when designing space systems for launch and operation.

Study programme

The first two years are the same across all of our Aeronautical Engineering courses. You will develop a strong grounding in the three disciplinary pillars of aerospace engineering; aerodynamics, lightweight structures and structural mechanics, and flight mechanics and control.

Year two includes further specialised aeronautical material such as mechatronics, flight mechanics, propulsion and turbomachinery, plus the chance to attend a flight testing course at the National Flying Laboratory Centre at Cranfield University.

Both years include laboratory-based coursework plus design, make and test exercises to develop your design and analysis skills.

Spacecraft engineering

The third year includes a broad selection of modules, including a group design project. Working in design teams, you are tasked with developing a particular design concept to the stage where feasibility has been fully explored. Projects in recent years have included a manned mission to Mars, and a horizontal and vertical launcher vehicle for small payloads.

A broad selection of optional modules gives you the chance to tap into cutting-edge aeronautics research activities being undertaken by internationally recognised experts within the Department. As a Spacecraft Engineering student, you will undertake a required number of space-related modules.

Your study reaches Master’s level in the fourth year, with further core modules relating to the design of spacecraft technologies and a choice of research-led modules.

You also complete a space-related individual research project in your chosen area, either working with one of the Department’s specialist researchers and academics and their research group or by undertaking an external project working with an internationally leading engineering company, typically at their site. External projects are assessed jointly by your industrial supervisor and academics from within the Department.

FacilitiesStudents in wind tunnel

Imperial’s Department of Aeronautics is at the cutting edge of aerospace teaching and research. Throughout the course, you will benefit from access to our first-class facilities, which include:

  • a Mach 9 hypersonic gun tunnel and a variable Mach supersonic wind tunnel
  • a range of low-speed wind tunnels for road vehicle studies
  • a large flight test arena for the development of next-generation aerial robots
  • a state-of-the-art flight simulator where you can test-fly your own aircraft designs

Transfer between courses

If you are interested in this course, you should initially apply to our standard Aeronautical Engineering course (H401).

At the end of your third year, if you are on target to achieve a 2:1 or above, you may apply to transfer to this course, our Year Abroad (four years) course, Year Abroad (five years) course or our Year in Industry course.

If you are an international student, transferring to a different course could have an impact on your Tier 4 visa. Please visit our International Student Support webpage for further information.

Structure

Find out more about the limited circumstances in which we may need to make changes to or in relation to our courses, the type of changes we may make and how we will tell you about them.

Year 1

Core modules

  • Aerodynamics 1
  • Computing and Numerical Methods 1
  • Engineering Practice 1
  • Introduction to Aerospace
  • Materials 1
  • Mathematics 1
  • Mechanics
  • Structures 1
  • Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer

Year 2

Core modules

  • Aerodynamics 2
  • Computing and Numerical Methods 2
  • Engineering Practice 2 – Project Development
  • Engineering Practice 2 – Technical
  • Flight Dynamics and Control
  • Materials 2
  • Mathematics 2
  • Mechatronics
  • Propulsion and Turbomachinery
  • Structures 2

Year 3

Core modules

  • Aerodynamics 3
  • Aerospace Vehicle Design
  • Control Systems
  • Group Design Project
  • Structures 3

Optional modules

You will choose two modules from below and one I-Explore module.

  • Aerothermodynamics of Launchers and Re-Entry Vehicles
  • Orbital Mechanics
  • Spacecraft Structures
  • Spacecraft Systems

Year 4

Core modules

  • Individual Project

Optional modules

You choose five optional modules. At least one of these must be from Group A.

Group A:

  • Aerothermodynamics of Launchers and Re-Entry Vehicles
  • Orbital Mechanics
  • Spacecraft Structures
  • Spacecraft Systems

Group B:

  • Aeroelasticity
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Advanced Propulsion
  • Applications of Fluid Dynamics
  • Applied Computational Aerodynamics
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • Computational Mechanics
  • Finite Elements
  • High Performance Computing
  • Innovation Management
  • Introduction to Turbulence and Turbulence Modelling
  • Lightweight Structures
  • Mathematics 3
  • Separated Flows and Fluid-Structure Interaction

Some of the modules above are available in other years, and it is not possible to take the same module again in this year.


Download the programme specification [PDF] – this is the most up-to-date version available for this course. It may change for your year of entry. If/when changes to this course are approved by the College, we will update this document and the information on this course page.


I-Explore

Through I-Explore, you'll have the chance to deepen your knowledge in a brand new subject area, chosen from a huge range of for-credit modules.

All of our undergraduate courses include one module from I-Explore's wide selection. The module you choose will be fully integrated into your course's curriculum and count as credit towards your degree.

Find out more about I-Explore

Professional accreditation

This degree leads to a Master’s level qualification. It is accredited by the following organisation on behalf of the Engineering Council:

Achieving a professionally accredited integrated Master's degree (MEng) means that you have satisfied the first step to becoming a Chartered Engineer (CEng) in your chosen field by meeting the educational requirements of professional registration. To gain Chartered status, you will need to demonstrate your ability to meet additional graduate level competences described in the Engineering Council's UK-SPEC.

A CEng is a highly respected qualification earned by professionals working in engineering, which can lead to higher earning potential and better career prospects.

Professional registration also brings international recognition of your qualification, which is particularly useful for students preparing for a career abroad.

Our accreditation agreement with RAeS is renewed every five years. The current accreditation agreements are due to be renewed for students starting their studies in the 2020–21 academic year. The Department expects to be accredited into the future.

Associateship

As well as your main Imperial degree, you will also receive the award of the Associateship of the City and Guilds of London Institute (ACGI) on completion of this course.

The City and Guilds of London Institute is one of three historic Colleges that came together to form Imperial College London in 1907.

Find out more about our Associateships.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning

You can expect to be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials and problem sessions. Further active learning sessions involving self-study, reinforcement and guided problem-solving sessions will build your learning experience.

Teaching, independent study and placement hours

 Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4
Lectures, seminars and similar 320 hours 320 hours 225 hours 125 hours
Independent study 1,180 hours 1,180 hours 1,275 hours 1,350 hours
Placement  
Based on the typical pathway through the course

Assessment

Assessment varies between modules, but for the majority, it involves a combination of written exams and continuous assessment of coursework and tutorial material. In the final years, interim and final oral presentations and progress reports are also assessed.

From the first year, you will take part in hands-on design exercises and laboratory tests using state-of-the-art equipment in the Department. This project work increases in complexity as you progress through the course.

Assessment types

 Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4
Coursework 20% 28% 37% 35%
Practical 9% 8% 21% 23%
Written 71% 64% 42% 42%
Based on the typical pathway through the course; percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole number
 

Staff expertise

At Imperial, you will be taught by a range of teachers of all levels from Professors to PhD students, including some who undertake groundbreaking research and are regarded as experts in their field.

You may also experience peer teaching and be taught by specialists external to the College.

Compare this course

Discover Uni compares things like student satisfaction and what graduates do after they finish the course.

Because acceptance onto this course is via in-course transfer, it does not have its own Discover Uni page.

However, there is a high degree of overlap with the main course in this Department. You should look at the Discover Uni data for that course instead.

Entry requirements

We welcome students from all over the world and consider all applicants on an individual basis – see selection process below.

For advice on the requirements for the qualifications listed here please contact the Department (see Contact us).

We also accept a wide range of international qualifications. If the requirements for your qualifications are not listed here, please see our academic requirements by country page for guidance on which qualifications we accept.

A-levels

Minimum entry standards

Our minimum entry standard for 2021 entry is A*A*A or A*AAA overall, to include:

  • A* in Mathematics
  • A/A* in Physics (A* is required if studying three A-levels. At least an A is required if applying with four A-levels)
  • A in a third subject

Further Mathematics is strongly recommended but not essential.

General Studies and Critical Thinking are not accepted.


Typical offer range

As a guide, here are the typical offers made to at least 80% of A-level applicants for 2019 entry:

  • Three A-level offer: A*A*A
  • Four A-level offer: A*AAA

Practical endorsement (practical science assessment)

If you are made an offer you will be required to achieve a pass in the practical endorsement in all science subjects that form part of the offer.

The practical endorsement is part of the reformed English linear A-levels.


Additional Mathematics support

Our new A-level Mathematics online course covers a range of key topic areas to help you gain a deeper understanding of the skills and techniques required to succeed in your A-level Mathematics exams.

This optional course has been built around the A-level syllabus with the aim of developing your thinking skills, fluency and confidence.

Please note: this course is not compulsory and does not form part of the entry requirements for this course. It is available free of charge via the EdX website. It is self-paced so you can start it at any time.

International Baccalaureate

Minimum entry standards

Our minimum entry standard for 2021 entry is 40 points overall, to include:

  • 7 in Mathematics at higher level
  • 7 in Physics at higher level

Typical offer range

As a guide, the typical offer made to at least 80% of IB applicants for 2019 entry was 40 points.


Mathematics Higher Level for award in 2021

For 2021 entry, the Mathematics Analysis and Approaches or the Applications and Interpretation syllabi will be accepted at higher level, but Analysis and Approaches is preferred.


Additional Mathematics support

We have recently launched an A-level Mathematics online course, which is available free of charge via the EdX website.

Although this optional course has been built around the A-level syllabus, it is relevant to your curriculum too.

Please note: this course is not compulsory and does not form part of the entry requirements for this course. It is self-paced so you can start it at any time.

Advanced Placements

The grades detailed below are the minimum requirements for students offering only Advanced Placements as their exams for entry to Imperial.

If you are studying a High School Diploma that is accepted by Imperial alongside Advanced Placements, requirements may apply to both your Diploma and Advanced Placements.

Please consult our country index to check whether we accept your High School Diploma programme for admission.

Our minimum requirement for this course is grades 5, 5, 5, 5 to include:

  • 5 in Calculus BC
  • 5 in Physics
  • 5 in two other relevant subjects

Additional Mathematics support

We have recently launched an A-level Mathematics online course, which is available free of charge via the EdX website.

Although this optional course has been built around the A-level syllabus, it is relevant to your curriculum too.

Please note: this course is not compulsory and does not form part of the entry requirements for this course. It is self-paced so you can start it at any time.

Selection process

Assessing your application

Admissions Tutors consider all the evidence available during our rigorous selection process and the College flags key information providing assessors with a more complete picture of the educational and social circumstances relevant to the applicant. Some applicants may be set lower offers and some more challenging ones.


Post-application open day and interview

The Department employs a two-stage admissions process:

  • Stage I: Online Mathematics Test (30 min)
    Stage II: e-Interview with a member of staff

On the day of your e-Interview, you'll have the chance to join us on a virtual tour of the Department and have the opportunity to converse informally with our students and staff in our topical/themed e-rooms.

The purpose of the interview is to enable us to explore your technical ability, your interest in the subject and your motivation to study aeronautics.

A decision on your application will be made as soon as possible after the interview day. However, it is sometimes necessary to defer a final decision until later in the admissions process but we strive to minimise this inconvenience to applicants wherever possible.


Pilot admissions schemes (Home students)

To consider the wider context of Home students from groups underrepresented at the College, we will be using information about our applicants in a number of new pilot admissions schemes.

More about pilot admissions schemes

Foundation programmes

A foundation course is a one-year preparation course, designed for international students, which leads to undergraduate programmes in the UK. Foundation programmes are normally for school-leavers who have studied a non-British curriculum but wish to pursue a degree at a UK university.

Foundation programmes are offered by many UK universities, but only two would be considered for entry to Imperial

  1. UCL’s Undergraduate Preparatory Certificate for Science and Engineering (UPCSE), and 
  2. Warwick’s International Foundation Programme (IFP) in Science & Engineering

UCL UPCSE

A year-long programme for international students whose school leaving qualifications do not allow them direct entry to UK universities. Students must complete four modules across the year – two compulsory and two elective modules:

ModuleStatus
Research and Academic Skills: Science and Society Compulsory
Academic English Compulsory
Biology Elective
Chemistry Elective
Mathematics Elective
Physics Elective
Information correct at time of publishing, but subject to change
Summary of the table's contents

To be considered for admission to the Department of Aeronautics, international students studying UCL UPCSE must achieve:

  • 80% overall
  • 80% Mathematics + Physics

Warwick IFP Science and Engineering

A year-long programme for international students whose school leaving qualifications do not allow them direct entry to UK universities. 

To be considered for admission to the Department of Aeronautics, international students studying Warwick IFP Science and Engineering must achieve:

  • 80% overall
  • 80% Mathematics + Physics 

To meet these requirements, students should choose from the following IFP pathways:

  • Engineering
  • Physical Sciences

English language requirement (all applicants)

All candidates must demonstrate a minimum level of English language proficiency for admission to the College.

For admission to this course, you must achieve the standard College requirement in the appropriate English language qualification. For details of the minimum grades required to achieve this requirement, please see the English language requirements for undergraduate applicants.

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

An ATAS certificate is required for all visa-nationals, with the exception of EEA/Swiss nationals and nationals of the following countries: Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the USA.

To apply for an ATAS certificate online, you will need your programme details and the relevant Common Aggregation Hierarchy (CAH) code and ‘descriptor’. For this course, these are:

CAH codeDescriptor
CAH10-01-04 aeronautical and aerospace engineering

Your Tier 4 visa application, or extension of stay, will automatically be refused if you need an ATAS certificate and cannot provide one.

For further guidance on obtaining an ATAS certificate please see the information on our International Student Support website.

View our terms and conditions on visas.

Tuition fees and funding

We charge tuition fees for every year that your course lasts. The fee you will be charged is based on your fee status, which is determined by government regulations.

Home rate of tuition

2021 entry

£9,250 per year.

For each subsequent year, you should expect and budget for your tuition fee to increase by an amount in line with inflation. The measure of inflation used will be the Retail Price Index (RPIX) value, taken from April in the calendar year in which the academic session starts. For example, the RPIX value in April 2022 will apply to fees for the academic year 2022–2023.

Whether you pay the Home fee depends on your fee status. Your fee status is assessed based on UK Government legislation and includes things like where you live and your nationality or residency status. Find out more about how we assess your fee status.

Government funding

If you're a Home student, you can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan from the UK government to cover the entire cost of tuition for every year of your course.

You can also apply for a means-tested Maintenance Loan to help towards your living costs.

EU/EEA students

The Government has confirmed that EU students who begin a course in the 2020–21 academic year (until the end of July 2021) will be eligible to pay the same fee as Home students and have access to student finance for the duration of their course, as long as they meet certain requirements which are unchanged from previous years. This includes students who begin the course remotely.

Students from the EU, other EEA country and/or Switzerland starting a course on or after 1 August 2021 will no longer be eligible for the Home fee rate, and so will be charged the Overseas fee. Please note this does not apply to Irish students or students with Citizens Rights benefitting from Citizens’ Rights under the EU Withdrawal Agreement, EEA EFTA Separation Agreement or Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement respectively.

For regular updates for EU students, please see our Imperial and the EU webpages.

Overseas rate of tuition

2021 entry

£33,750 per year.

For each subsequent year, you should expect and budget for your tuition fee to increase by an amount in line with inflation. The measure of inflation used will be the Retail Price Index (RPIX) value, taken from April in the calendar year in which the academic session starts. For example, the RPIX value in April 2022 will apply to fees for the academic year 2022–2023.

Whether you pay the Overseas fee depends on your fee status. Your fee status is assessed based on UK Government legislation and includes things like where you live and your nationality or residency status. Find out more about how we assess your fee status.

EU/EEA students

The Government has confirmed that EU students who begin a course in the 2020–21 academic year (until the end of July 2021) will be eligible to pay the same fee as Home students and have access to student finance for the duration of their course, as long as they meet certain requirements which are unchanged from previous years. This includes students who begin the course remotely.

Students from the EU, other EEA country and/or Switzerland starting a course on or after 1 August 2021 will no longer be eligible for the Home fee rate, and so will be charged the Overseas fee. Please note this does not apply to Irish students or students with Citizens Rights benefitting from Citizens’ Rights under the EU Withdrawal Agreement, EEA EFTA Separation Agreement or Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement respectively.

For regular updates for EU students, please see our Imperial and the EU webpages.

Additional course costs

This section outlines additional costs relevant to this course. These are not included in your tuition fees. It's possible that all, or only some, of these will be relevant to you.

Figures are approximated, usually based on costs in the most recent academic year. They are likely to change each year but it's useful for you to be aware of the things you may have to pay for. This can help you budget for life at Imperial.

Mandatory costs are those that you will need to pay to fully participate in and complete your studies. Optional costs are not essential to your studies so you can opt-out of these.


Summary
DescriptionMandatory/optionalGuide to cost
Field trip (flight testing course) Optional £50
Insurance for provided tablet and accessories Optional £40 per year
Personal Protective Equipment Mandatory Provided
Research project (at the College) Mandatory Free
Research project (elsewhere in the UK) Varies
Research project (outside the UK) - return economy flight Varies - Provided
Please review the information below for more information on the costs listed in the table.

Flight testing course

The Easter break of second year includes an optional flight testing course at the Cranfield Institute of Technology.

The cost of this trip to the Department is approximately £320 per student. Students wishing to take part will be asked to pay £50 towards this cost. Payment is required before the end of the spring term (March), via bank transfer.

Individual Research Project and Laboratory work

A four-month individual research project and laboratory work is a mandatory part of your final year assessment. You can choose to complete this in the Department, in industry, at a research establishment or at a different university either in the UK or overseas.

You should expect to budget for travel and/or accommodation costs if you choose to complete your project in industry, at a research establishment or at another university.

The Department will cover the cost of a return economy flight where the project is completed outside of the UK.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Wearing personal protective equipment is compulsory for some activities on this course. Where this applies, we will provide you with the necessary PPE free of charge.

Accommodation and living costs

Living costs, including accommodation, are not included in your tuition fees.

Most Imperial undergraduates choose to live in our halls of residence in their first year. You can compare costs across different accommodation options.

Read our rough guide to university spending in London.

Careers

All of our undergraduate courses lead to an integrated Master's degree, which includes study at postgraduate level. This makes our graduates highly sought after for a range of careers in the aerospace industry, manufacturing, consultancy, research and development, and in other fields as diverse as teaching or finance.

Recent graduates of the Department have become:

  • Simulation and Analytics Engineer, Red Bull Technology
  • Aerodynamist, McLaren
  • Technology Analyst, Goldman Sachs
  • Graduate Engineer, Airbus Defence and Space
  • Technical Service Engineer, Singapore Airlines

How to apply

UCAS key information

  • UCAS course code: n/a*
  • UCAS institution code: I50

UCAS Apply system

To apply to study at Imperial you must use the online application system managed by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

* Apply initially for MEng Aeronautical Engineering (H401)

Application deadlines

All applications, other than those which include choices for medicine at Imperial, must be submitted to UCAS by 18.00 (UK time) on 15 January 2021 for entry in October 2021.

The deadline for medicine courses at Imperial starting in 2021 is 18.00 (UK time) on 15 October 2020.

Tracking your application

Once you’ve completed and submitted your application through UCAS’s online Apply service, you can use UCAS’ Track system to follow its progress and manage your choices.

See our How to apply section for further guidance.

You may also be interested in the following related departments and the courses they offer:

Contact us

Aeronautics students

Got a question?

T: +44 (0)20 7594 5047
E: aero.admissions@imperial.ac.uk

Department of Aeronautics

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Further information

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Terms and conditions

There are some important pieces of information you should be aware of when applying to universities. We've put together this information in a dedicated section of our website.Makerspace

Read our terms and conditions for these areas: