Aerospace engineering is a complicated, yet fascinating field. It’s a subject that will teach you the science behind planes and rockets, which could lead to a fruitful and diverse career. If you’re considering a university degree in aerospace engineering, keep reading to find out more about what you’ll study and different career paths.

What is aerospace engineering?

aerospace engineering university degree

Aerospace engineering is a branch of engineering that deals with the design, development, testing, and production of aircraft and spacecraft. Aerospace engineers use principles of aerodynamics, thermodynamics, materials science, propulsion, and other disciplines to create vehicles that can fly through the Earth’s atmosphere and beyond. They work on a variety of projects, including commercial airliners, military aircraft, space shuttles, satellites, and interplanetary probes. The roles also extend to propulsion, guidance and control, or structural design. Overall, the goal of aerospace engineering is to create efficient, safe, and reliable aerospace systems that meet the needs of a rapidly advancing society.

Why study aerospace engineering at university? 

aerospace engineering degree uk

People study aerospace engineering for a variety of reasons. One of the leading reasons that many people are drawn to aerospace engineering is because they have a love of flight and the science behind it. They enjoy the challenge of creating vehicles that can fly efficiently, safely, and reliably.

Completing a degree in aerospace engineering also provides great career opportunities, both in the commercial and military sectors. There is a high demand for skilled aerospace engineers, particularly in areas such as commercial aerospace, military aerospace, and space exploration. There’s also a high earning potential too!

Aerospace engineering is a challenging field that requires a strong foundation in science, mathematics, and engineering. However, it can also be very rewarding, as aerospace engineers have the opportunity to work on cutting-edge technologies and contribute to the advancement of society. Moreover, Aerospace engineers have the opportunity to make a significant impact on the world by creating safe and efficient aerospace systems that can help improve transportation, communication, and scientific discovery.

Overall, people study aerospace engineering because it is a field that combines their love of science, technology, and flight into a challenging and rewarding career.

What do you study in an aerospace engineering degree?

study aerospace engineering

Some of the modules that students in an aerospace engineering program may study include:

  1. Aerodynamics: This module covers the principles of how airflows interact with solid objects and how this affects the performance of aircraft and spacecraft.
  2. Propulsion: This module deals with the design and performance of engines for aircraft and spacecraft, including internal combustion engines, jets, and rocket engines.
  3. Structures: This module covers the design and analysis of the structural components of aircraft and spacecraft, including wings, fuselages, and landing gear.
  4. Materials Science: This module explores the properties and behaviour of materials used in aerospace applications, including metals, composites, and ceramics.
  5. Flight Mechanics and Dynamics: This module deals with the mathematical modelling of flight, including stability and control of aircraft and spacecraft.
  6. Guidance and Control: This module covers the design of control systems for aircraft and spacecraft, including autopilot systems and navigation systems.
  7. Spacecraft Design: This module covers the design of spacecraft for various missions, including planetary exploration, Earth observation, and communication satellites.
  8. Aviation Systems: This module deals with the design and operation of aviation systems, including air traffic control, airport design, and aircraft maintenance.

Best universities for aerospace engineering

The University of Sheffield

According to The Guardian,  The Imperial College, The University of Sheffield, and The University of Bristol are some of the best universities where an aerospace engineering degree is available.

Put theory into practice in university-led projects. For instance, both universities in Sheffield are taking part in the Sunrlde Project, a must-join activity for those interested in rocket science.

Aerospace engineering apprenticeships

In the field of aerospace engineering, apprenticeships are plentiful. Usually, apprenticeships are a fantastic choice for those who prefer the manual aspect of the fields and would like to earn whilst working or studying. One of the best places to start looking for an apprenticeship is through True.

Instead, if you are enrolled in an aerospace engineering degree and are in the last year of your course, you can apply to a graduate scheme and gain first-hand experience.

What can I do with an aerospace engineering degree?

Studying aerospace engineering degree can lead to various careers ranging from working with key players in the industry such as Boeing and the military. Here are some examples of where aerospace engineering can bring you.

CAD Engineer

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This position involves using Computer-aided design (CAD) techniques to design engineering and manufacturing processes. Responsibilities include making accurate designs, keeping records of the designs, and applying engineering principles to make a successful design

At entry level expect to earn between £17,000 to £ 20,000, with experience salaries can increase up to £35,000, and at chartered level salaries are usually between £ 35,000 to £50,000. In terms of qualifications, all engineering degrees are a relevant entry point for this career.

Airline Pilot 

aerospace engineering degree

A career as an airline pilot is particularly competitive, yet rewarding. Indeed, the responsibility of an airline pilot includes flying passengers, ensuring that the flight plan is created, planning the route and the fuel needed for the plane, promptly reacting to emergencies, and being updated with the latest flight safety.

A degree in aerospace engineering, especially if combined with pilot studies is one of the many pathways to enter the profession. Then the next passage to enter the career is getting an Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL). An additional note is that pilots need to pass a rigorous medical check, and every six months need to retrain.

In terms of salaries at entry level expect to earn between £24,000 to £28,000, as a first officer salaries are in the region of £36,000 to £ 48,000. As a captain, salaries may fall between £54,000 to £75,000.

Aerospace Engineer

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The title is self-explanatory because aerospace engineers are responsible for maintaining systems such as missiles and rockets. Depending on the specialisation, the responsibilities of an aerospace engineer include creating and designing aircraft components and analysing the performance of aircraft.

What is the average aerospace engineering salary in the UK?

aerospace engineering salary uk

The typical entry salary is roughly  £25,000 to £ 28,000, experienced aerospace engineers can earn up to £40,000 and with chartered status, salaries can be over £ 60,000.

Interested in a career in engineering, but not sure what type? Check our article What can I do with a Chemical Engineering degree?