Aerospace Engineering

More than a century since Bristol produced its first aircraft, the south-west of England is now one of the largest centres for the aerospace industry in Europe.

Our department has close links with major industrial companies; previous partners have included Leonardo, Airbus and Rolls-Royce. Our curriculum is linked closely to our research and our academics are world leaders in aerodynamics, composites, control, vibrations and systems.

By specialising in aerospace from the very start you will study a wide range of technical subjects, all contributing to the design of future aircraft and spacecraft.

Why study Aerospace Engineering at Bristol?

Our degrees combine theory with practical experience and are tailored to give you the skills needed to design an aircraft or spacecraft. You will study a range of subjects - aerodynamics, structures, materials, systems, design, control - and gain experience of making them work together through projects.

In your research project during your third and fourth year you will tackle a specific problem in much greater detail, such as automated landing of an Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) or design of a potential space mission. If you choose the MEng, as part of a group design project you will work on the concept for a new commercial aircraft, presenting your design to relevant industrial partners for assessment.

Engineering students at Bristol benefit also from a dedicated Industrial Liaison Office, which develops engineering-specific industrial links for students.

Download the Aerospace Engineering leaflet (PDF, 147kB)

What kind of student would this course suit?

If you are fascinated by the details of how things work and the innovation required to make them better you will enjoy our aerospace degrees.

Our degrees are especially suited to students who are strongly motivated to learn about aerospace with an interest in aviation, space or a related area. The course will also suit those looking to engage with a broad range of technical material; although aerospace systems are highly specialised, their success is dependent on a wide range of disciplines.

You will need strong skills in mathematics and physics, confidence in using maths as a tool to model the physical world, and you will enjoy the challenge of developing those skills.

How is this course taught and assessed?

Teaching is primarily lecture based throughout the course, complemented by laboratory exercises to aid understanding. Independent study is also expected, combining lecture notes with textbooks and other materials.

Assessment in the first two years is approximately 75 per cent examinations and 25 per cent coursework. Examples of coursework include:

  • analysing your findings on experiments;
  • reporting on your design of a wing;
  • using modelling software to predict stresses in a fuselage;
  • developing control laws for a rotorcraft.

Later years involve a greater coursework element, including group and individual project work.

What are my career prospects?

Our graduate employment record is excellent and our links to industry and Royal Aeronautical Society accreditation ensure that our graduates are highly regarded in the commercial sector.

Our Industrial Liaison Office organises company engagement from year one, which continues through all years of the course, making the most of nearby aerospace companies.

Many graduates enter careers in other high-technology sectors, such as Formula 1, wind and marine power generation and defence contracting, while others go into further research.

Find out more about what our students do after graduating.


Important disclaimer information about our courses.

Every day my inbox is flooded with opportunities – internships, research projects, extra-curricular activities – all of which are the University getting students involved. The University is constantly updating its facilities, which reinforces its friendly and inclusive environment.

Alexandra (LLB Law)

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