Aerospace Engineering

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Run by Faculty of Engineering
Awards available PhD , MSc by research
Programme length MSc: One year full-time; two years part-time
PhD: Three years full-time; six years part-time
Both programmes (part-time and full-time) then have one further year to write up.
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available Yes
Open to international students Yes
Number of places Not fixed
Start date Not fixed

Programme overview

Research within the department and faculty is organised via cross-faculty research groups. Research interests are pursued via three major interest groups:

  • Fluid Flow and Aerodynamics
  • Advanced Composites Centre for Innovation and Science (ACCIS)
  • Dynamics and Control

This work is supported by 30+ academic, 50+ research staff and 150+ postgraduates, plus a highly experienced administrative and technical support team.

There is a wide range of research in the department, spanning experimental, numerical, theoretical, and computational, and all is applied to aerospace-related problems, for example fixed-wing aircraft, rotorcraft, wind turbines and UAVs. All postgraduates would expect to publish in high-quality journals and present at international conferences. Hence, research programmes are aimed at independent and self-motivated applicants. Applicants are advised to contact a potential academic adviser to discuss available projects before submitting an application.

Fees for 2017/18

Full-time fees


Part-time fees


Fees quoted are provisional, per annum and subject to annual increase.

Funding for 2017/18

A number of funded studentships are available each year, supported by research council, industry, University or other funds. Check the faculty website for a list of currently available funded projects or check Self-funded or sponsored students are also very welcome to apply.

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class honours degree (or international equivalent) in science, mathematics or engineering.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Application method Online application form
English language requirements Profile E
Further information about English language requirements
Admissions statement Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Research groups

Research within the department and faculty is organised via cross-faculty research groups. This work is supported by 60+ academic and research staff, and 100+ postgraduates, plus a highly experienced administrative and technical support team.


Graduates from the department leave with a breadth of technical and personal skills and expertise, far beyond their particular degree specialism. They progress into a wide variety of careers within engineering (eg aerospace, automotive/motorsport, transportation, consulting engineering), academia, public services (eg civil service, air traffic management) and commerce (eg IT, finance). A higher degree can accelerate your career significantly, particularly into positions of greater responsibility. Furthermore, it increasingly provides entrepreneurial opportunities, exploiting skills and knowledge acquired during the programme.

Staff profiles

Aerospace Department

Dr Byung-Chul (Eric) Kim PhD(KAIST), (Lecturer in Composites Design, Processing and Manufacture), Automated composites manufacturing axiomatic design ; composite design & manufacturing; computer aided design.

Professor Christian Allen MSc(Bristol), PhD(Bristol), (Professor of Computational Aerodynamics), Numerical solutions of unsteady fluid flows.

Dr Lucy Berthoud MEng(Bristol), PhD(Toulouse), (Senior Teaching Fellow), Space platform design and systems integration.

Professor Ian Bond BSc, PhD(Bath), (Head of Department of Aerospace Engineering and Professor of Aerospace Materials), Development and performance of novel and multifunctional composite materials.

Dr Stephen Burrow MEng, PhD(Bristol), (Reader in Avionics and Aircraft Systems), Aircraft systems; electrical energy; low-power systems.

Professor Jonathan Cooper BSc(London), PhD(London), FRAeS (Royal Aeronautical Society), Royal Academy of Engineering, Airbus - Sir George White Professor of Aerospace Engineering, (RAEng Airbus Sir George White Professor of Aerospace Engineering), Aeroelasticity; flight flutter testing; morphing structures; optimisation; structural dynamics.

Dr Ian Farrow BSc(Soton), PhD(CranIT), (Senior Lecturer in Aerospace Structural Design), Design of aerospace composite structures.

Dr Ann Gaitonde BSc(Exon), PhD(Bristol), ACE (Bristol), (Senior Lecturer in Aerodynamics), Computational methods to calculate unsteady fluid flows.

Professor Stephen Hallett BSc(Cape Town), DPhil(Oxon), (Professor in Composite Structures), Composite failure mechanisms and numerical modelling.

Dr Ian Hamerton BSc in Chemistry (Surrey), PhD in High performance polymers (Surrey), (Reader in Polymer and Composite Materials), developing new closed loop recycling methodology for advanced composites; developing novel monomers, polymers and blends; developing novel process technology for 3-dimensional composite structures; examining materials of significance in cultural heritage.; examining polymer stability and degradation mechanisms; Introducing or enhancing the functionality of advanced polymer composites and nano composites

Dr Paul Harper MEng, PhD, MSc, (Lecturer in Engineering Design), Design and analysis of composite structures; renewable energy systems.

Dr Dmitry Ivanov BSc(Perm), PhD(Leuven), (Lecturer in Composites Manufacturing), Innovative approaches to composites manufacture and modelling.

Dr Dorian Jones MSc(Lond), BSc, PhD(Bristol), (Senior Lecturer in Aerodynamics), Direct numerical simulation of incompressible turbulence; parallel processing and CFD for unsteady viscous flows.

Dr Luiz Kawashita BEng, PhD(Lond), (Lecturer in Composite Mechanics), Composite failure mechanisms and numerical modelling.

Professor Mark Lowenberg MSc(Eng)(Witw), PhD (Bristol), (Professor of Flight Dynamics), Application of bifurcation theory to aircraft stability analysis and controller design (fixed and rotary wing); non-linear flight dynamics; real-time controlled dynamic wind tunnel testing.

Dr Andres Marcos BSc(StLouis), MSc(Minn), (Senior Lecturer in Dynamics and Control), Advanced techniques for control and fault diagnosis; autonomy of aerospace systems via the use of model-based approaches for self-diagnosis/self-repair.

Professor Ivana Partridge BA(Cantab), MA(Cantab), PhD(Cran), (Professor of Composites Processing), Polymer composites; processing for high performance.

Professor Kevin Potter PhD, CEng, BSc, (Professor in Composites Manufacturing), Innovative approaches to composite materials, manufacture and structures.

Dr Sameer Rahatekar BE(Pune), MS(Mississippi), PhD(Cantab), (Lecturer in Nanomaterials), Carbon nanotube and graphene-based nanocomposites, multiscale composites; cellulose and natural polymer-based composites; molecular-scale and continuum-scale modelling of composite manufacturing.

Dr Tom Rendall MEng, PhD(Bristol), (Lecturer in Aerodynamics), CFD for moving objects; computational optimisation of aerodynamic designs.

Dr Djamel Rezgui MEng, PhD (Bristol), (Lecturer in Rotorcraft Dynamics), Aeroelastic stability of smart nonlinear helicopter rotor structures.

Dr Arthur Richards MEng(Cantab), SM(MIT), PhD (MIT), (Reader in Dynamics and Control), Path planning; robust predictive control; vehicle control and autonomy.

Dr Tom Richardson MEng, PhD(Bristol), (Senior Lecturer in Flight Mechanics), Classical flight control; high-level decision-making and autonomy.

Dr Pia Sartor BEng, PhD, (Lecturer in Aerospace Engineering), Uncertainty modelling: dynamic structural analysis

Professor Fabrizio Scarpa Laurea, PhD(Torino), (Professor of Smart Materials and Structures), Auxetic materials; morphing structures; multi-domain design of components; smart materials and structures; structural dynamics.

Dr Mark Schenk PhD(Cantab), MSc(Delft), (Lecturer in Aerospace Engineering), Deployable structures; solid mechanics.

Dr Raf Theunissen BSc(Delft), MSc(Delft), MSc(VKI), PhD(Delft), (Lecturer in Aerodynamics), Image-based flow velocity measurements experimental aerodynamics and fluid dynamics.

Dr Brano Titurus MSc, PhD, (Lecturer in Aerospace Dynamics), Damage detection in vibrating systems; helicopter dynamics; semi-active dampers; vibration control and damping.

Dr Carwyn Ward BEng (Hons), MRes(Wales), PhD (Bristol), (Lecturer in Composites Design, Processing & Manufacture), Composites manufacturing, virtual manufacture.

Professor Paul Weaver BSc, PhD(N'cle), (Professor in Lightweight Structures), Cellular structures and morphing composites; composite plates and shells, buckling structures; materials performance.

Dr Shane Windsor BEng(Auck), PhD, (Lecturer in Aerodynamics/Aeroelasticity), Bio-inspired fluid dynamics, sensing and control.

Professor Michael Wisnom BSc(Lond), PhD(Bristol), MIMechE, (Professor of Aerospace Structures), Application of finite element methods; predicting the behaviour of composite structures and materials.

Dr Ben Woods BS (Maryland), MS (Maryland), PhD (Maryland), (Lecturer in Composites Design), Adaptive and active structures ; Cellular structures; Compliant morphing aerostructures; Continuous fibre composite 3D printing; Human powered flight; Negative stiffness mechanisms ; Pneumatic artificial muscles; Ultra-efficient wound composite truss structures ; Wind turbines

How to apply
Application deadline:

We welcome applications at any time of year.

International students

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, and the support we offer to international students.

I chose Bristol because of its outstanding academic reputation. It's reassuring to be taught by people who truly love their subject - their passion becomes contagious.


REF 2014 results

  • 38% of research is world-leading (4 star)
  • 55% of research is internationally excellent (3 star)
  • 6% of research is recognised internationally (2 star)
  • 1% of research is recognised nationally (1 star)

Results are from the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality, conducted by HEFCE. More about REF 2014 results.

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Postgraduate Admissions
Faculty of Engineering
University of Bristol
Queen's Building
University Walk
Bristol BS8 1TR


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