Aerospace Engineering

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Run by Faculty of Engineering
Awards available PhD, MSc by research
Programme length MScR: 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
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 sections:

  • Fluid Flow and Aerodynamics
  • Bristol Composites Institute (ACCIS)
  • Dynamics and Control
  • Robotics.

This work is supported by at least 40 academic staff, more than 50 research staff and over 240 postgraduate students, 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 should contact a potential academic adviser to discuss available projects before submitting an application.

Fees for 2021/22

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2021/22 are as follows:

UK: full-time
UK: part-time
Overseas (including EU): full-time
Channel Islands/Isle of Man: full-time

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to a five per cent increase in fees each year. Find out more about tuition fees.

Alumni scholarship

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a ten per cent reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni scholarship.

Funding for 2021/22

A number of funded studentships are available each year, supported by research council, industry, University or other funds. View the faculty website for a list of currently available funded projects or visit

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

PhD applicants must hold/achieve a minimum of a master’s degree (or international equivalent) in a science, mathematics or engineering discipline. Applicants without a master's qualification may be considered on an exceptional basis, provided they hold a first-class undergraduate degree. Please note, acceptance will also depend on evidence of readiness to pursue a research degree. 

MSc by Research applicants must hold/achieve a minimum of an upper second-class honours degree (or international equivalent) in science, mathematics or engineering and demonstrate readiness to pursue a research degree.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you need to meet this profile level:
Profile E
Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Admissions statement

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Admissions statement

Research groups

Research within the department and faculty is organised via cross-faculty research groups.


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, which build on the skills and knowledge you acquire during the programme.

Staff profiles

Aerospace Department

Dr Giuliano Allegri MSc, PhD, (Reader in Composite Structures, Visiting Fellow in Aerospace Engineering)

Professor Christian Allen MSc (Bristol), PhD (Bristol), (Head of Department of Aerospace Engineering, Professor of Computational Aerodynamics), Numerical solutions of unsteady fluid flows

Dr Karen Aplin PhD, BSc, (Senior Lecturer in Space Engineering), Electrical measurements; History of science and technology; Ionisation in gases; Novel instrumentation for space and atmospheric deployment; Planetary analogue experiments

Dr Lucy Berthoud MEng (Bristol), PhD (Toulouse), (Senior Teaching Fellow), Space platform design; Systems integration

Professor Ian Bond BSc, PhD (Bath), (Dean of Engineering, 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

Professor Stephen Eichhorn BSc in Physics (Leeds), MSc in Materials (Manchester), PhD in Materials (Manchester), (Professor of Materials Science and Engineering), multifunctional materials (e.g. energy storage, structural colour); nanocellulose; nanocomposite materials; Natural fibres; stress and strain sensing using spectroscopy; sustainable materials

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

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

Dr James Kratz B Eng (Carleton), MEng (McGill), PhD (McGill), (Lecturer in Materials Engineering), The manufacturing process of composite structures

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 Terence Macquart MSc, PhD, (Lecturer in Aeroelastics), Servo-aeroelastic tailoring of wind turbines using new active-to-passive control systems

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

Dr Alberto Pirrera MSc(Palermo), PhD, (Senior Lecturer in Composite Structures), Design and optimisation; Structural analysis

Dr Daniel Poole MEng, PhD, (Lecturer), Optimisation Methods for Engineering Design

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

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 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),, (Professor of Aerospace Structures, MIMechE), 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:

Not fixed.

Open days and visits

Watch on-demand recordings from November's virtual open week.

Get in touch

Graduate Administration Manager Phone: +44 (0) 117 394 0582 Email:

School of Civil, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
University of Bristol
Queen's Building
University Walk
Bristol BS8 1TR
School website: School of Civil, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
Department website: Department of Aerospace Engineering

International students

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

Bristol Doctoral College

The Bristol Doctoral College facilitates and supports doctoral training and researcher development across the University.

REF 2014 results

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

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


Important disclaimer information about our programmes.

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