Aerospace Engineering BEng

Aerospace EngineeringIn 2016, civil aviation was responsible for transporting 3.8 billion travellers worldwide. The number of passengers is expected to grow at a rate of 3.7% every year, doubling by 2035. Space transport is also becoming increasingly important: an ever larger number of companies is specialising in cheaper sub-orbital and orbital flights, both for leisure and to deliver state of the art satellites. This growing industry will require skilled graduates who will be centre stage in solving important technological challenges.

With this in mind, the University of Birmingham has decided to launch new undergraduate programmes for 2018 entry, based on our extensive experience on the wider field of aerospace engineering. Researchers, lecturers and professors at the University of Birmingham have been leading progress in a number of areas, from the LISA Pathfinder mission to higher-performing jet engines. This, alongside strong collaborations with Rolls-Royce, Airbus, and many other leading companies, will give our graduates a great start towards successful careers.

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The Aerospace Engineering degrees are structured to provide you with a broad coverage of engineering disciplines appropriate to the current and future aerospace industry and research area. These areas include mechanics, materials, fluids and sensors and control systems providing a basis for materials, structures and avionics.

You will be gaining skills required to successfully join the wider aerospace industry. In particular, you will be prepared to transform the emerging fields of satellite, deep space missions and unmanned aerial vehicles, where remote control and communications are required.

This is achieved by a common first two years where key aspects of aerospace engineering are covered before you specialise in Materials or Engineering (structures and avionics) for your final year. Aspects of space missions continue through years 2 and 3 for both specialisms.

The interdisciplinary nature of the subject is dealt with by shared modules in all years as well as Group projects (year 3) exercises. Graduates of the course will retain a specialism (materials, structures and avionics) but based on broad coverage to enable you to develop good careers in all engineering aspects of the aeronautical and space industries.

You could also pursue careers and research opportunities in non-aerospace areas where expertise in advanced materials, manufacturing, structures, aggressive environments and remote communication and control are important.


Year 1

Courses provide the fundamentals of materials behaviour as well as how these can be used to develop properties and shapes satisfying the structural requirements of aerospace vehicles. Quantitative description of these requirements will be covered in courses on Mathematics and Mechanics. Electrical engineering will be used to provide a basis for control systems in later years with fluid dynamics and energy transfer accomplishing the same for aerodynamic aspects and fluid dynamics.

  • Engineering Mathematics - 20 credits
  • Electrical Engineering- 20 credits
  • Mechanics 1 - 20 credits
  • Fluid Mechanics and Energy Transfer- 20 credits
  • Design for Structural Applications - 20 credits
  • Fundamentals of Materials Science - 20 credits

Year 2

The second year represents a deepening in the coverage of the core engineering disciplines involved in aerospace - mechanics, thermodynamics and fluids, mathematics and electrical engineering. The last of these specialises in control, which ties in with the introduction of space systems engineering as the first of the ‘space’ aspects of the course. The property development in materials from year 1 is extended to understand how materials fail under different stressing and environmental conditions – and, more importantly, to reduce the risk of such failure.

  • Space System Engineering - 20 credits
  • Engineering Mathematics 2 - 20 credits
  • Electrical Energy Systems and Control - 20 credits
  • Mechanics 2 - 20 credits
  • Fracture, Fatigue and Degradation - 20 credits
  • Thermodynamics and Fluids - 20 credits

Year 3

The concentration in this year is on the extremes of environmental attack – high temperatures for oxidation and creep in aeroengines which ties in with the coverage of high temperature materials and their manufacture along with the advanced characterisation techniques required to assess them. Degradation from ionizing radiation links to the space mission module whilst the group project reinforces the interdisciplinary nature of the subject.

You have the choice of two streams to follow, an engineering stream and a materials stream, both streams cover space mission analysis and design and undertake a group project. The Engineering stream covers the use of finite element software and computational fluid dynamics to simulate complex aerospace structures and aerodynamics.

Core modules

  • Space Mission Analysis and Design (Engineering and Materials Stream) - 20 credits
  • Group Project (Engineering and Materials Stream) - 20 credits
  • High Performance Materials and Advanced Manufacturing  (Engineering and Materials Stream) - 20 credits
  • Advanced Failure Analysis and Characterisation ((Engineering and Materials Stream) - 20 credits

Engineering stream option

  • CFD / FEA (Engineering stream) - 20 credits
  • Materials for Challenging Environments  (Engineering stream) - 20 credits

Materials stream option

  • Physical Materials Science (Materials stream) - 20 credits
  • Either CFD/FEA (Materials stream) or Materials for Challenging Environments (Materials stream) - 20 credits

Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2019. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees 2019/20

UK/EU £9,250
International £22,260

Visit our  tuition fees page for more information.


At Birmingham we ensure that fears about finance do not constrain prospective students from considering university and that excellence is rewarded.


Entry requirements

Number of A levels required:
Typical offer:
Required subjects and grades:
A level Mathematics and at least one Physical Science. You must also pass the practical element of any reformed science A levels which include Biology, Chemistry and Physics taught from 2015.
General Studies:
not accepted

International Baccalaureate Diploma

6,6,5 at Higher Level, including Mathematics and Physics, with a minimum of 32 points overall. Standard English language requirements apply.


BTEC only considered when combined with other qualifications. We would require 2 A levels (Mathematics and Physics) plus the BTEC.

Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements.

Additional information:

Foundation Year

Would you like to study for one of our degrees but lack the entry qualifications we require? Consider a Foundation Year programme which can lead to entry onto one of our courses.

International students:

Standard English language requirements apply, learn more about international entry requirements.

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

How to apply

Apply through the UCAS website using code H400

UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

View advice on ' How to apply for undergraduate courses', including advice for UK, EU and overseas applicants.

You will be taught by a mixture of professors, doctors and postgraduates, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience.You can find out more about the members of staff in the School of Metallurgy and Materials where you can read about their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest.

As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. At Birmingham we advocate an enquiry based learning approach, from the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers. We want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself.

Your learning will take place in a range of different settings, from scheduled teaching in lectures and small group tutorials, to self-study and peer group learning (for example preparing and delivering presentations with your classmates).

To begin with you may find this way of working challenging, but rest assured that we'll enable you to make this transition. You will have access to a comprehensive support system that will assist and encourage you, including personal tutors and welfare tutors who can help with both academic and welfare issues. You will be able to talk to your tutors about this and discuss if there are particular areas where you need support.

What you can expect
You can expect an average of about 20-25 hours of contact time per week, comprising approximately 5 hours of laboratory based activity, 14 hours of lectures and 4 hours of small-group teaching (tutorials). As you progress through the programme, an increasing amount of time will be devoted to project-based learning

Personal Tutor
At the start of your degree, you will be assigned a Personal Tutor who will remain with you throughout your studies to help you in three important areas: supporting your academic progress, developing transferable skills and dealing with any welfare issues.

Delivery of the course
In your first and second years, the course is delivered as lectures, small group workshops, laboratories, computer-based activities, enquiry-based learning and tutorials.  A strong emphasis is placed on design and research project work in your third and fourth years respectively.

Laboratory-based practical work forms an integral part of the School's degree programmes. Laboratory classes are embedded within a module and used, not only to develop your experimental practical skills, but also to reinforce concepts introduced in lectures or to explore a particular phenomenon.  First year practical sessions, typically, last two hours and increase in length in subsequent years to allow for more advanced experiments.

Small-group tutorials/personal tutorials run alongside the lecture course, addressing any individual problems you may have and allowing you to consolidate the lecture material, as well as test your understanding through problem-solving exercises.

Enquiry Based Learning (EBL) provides an environment where your learning process is driven by enquiry and the lecturer's role is purely as a facilitator. EBL is typically a group activity.

This requires working in a team and you can be assessed in a variety of ways: in either a group or individually, by written reports and/or oral presentations. EBL will give you a research-orientated approach to a problem, and has a synergy within research-led institutions like the University of Birmingham.

Project work: A strong emphasis is placed on project work in your final year. The range of projects includes practical work in the laboratory, or computer-based projects. You can choose the topic of your project from a pool of titles and work with your project supervisor to tailor the project to your particular research interests.

Contact hours

You can expect an average of about 20-25 hours of contact time per week, comprising approximately 5 hours of laboratory based activity, 14 hours of lectures and 4 hours of small-group teaching (tutorials). As you progress through the programme, an increasing amount of time will be devoted to project-based learning.

Assessment methods

The course modules are taught through lectures, tutorial problem classes, case studies, laboratory and/or project work. You will be assessed through a mixture of written examinations and continually assessed coursework.  Examinations are taken in May and June.

Assessment methods used include end-of-year examinations, written assignments, and oral presentations, computer-based tests, laboratory and project reports. Each module is assessed independently and most contain some components of continuous assessment, which usually account for 15% to 40% of the marks. Some modules are completely assessed by either examination or coursework.

We place strong emphasis on providing prompt and informative feedback on all pieces of work that you submit during your studies. Feedback comes in a variety of forms, including written feedback on pieces of assessment, class feedback sessions and one-on-one discussions with your tutors. In all cases, the feedback will highlight the good points as well as those areas that require more attention. 

As your degree progresses, you will attend fewer lectures and perform more independent studies and practical work in preparation for your final year project.

During your first year the University will require you to undergo a formal 'transition' review, mentioned above, to see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support. This is in addition to the personal tutor who is based in the School and can help with any academic issue you encounter. Our Academic Skills Centre also offers you support with your learning. The centre is a place where you can develop your mathematical, academic writing and general academic skills. It is the centre?s aim to help you to become a more effective and independent learner through the use of a range of high-quality and appropriate learning support services. These range from drop-in sessions with support with mathematics and statistics based problems provided by experienced mathematicians, to workshops on a range of topics including note taking, reading, writing and presentation skills.

At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed for your particular programme of study. You will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so that you can learn from and build upon what you have done. You will be given feedback on any exams that you take; if you should fail an exam, we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is made available to enable you to learn for the future.

The broad range of topics covered and the emphasis on problem solving activities in the later years will equip graduates for careers in design, manufacture and operation of aerospace structures from traditional airframes and aeroengines to emerging fields such as UAVs and satellites. The programme will prepare suitably able graduates for higher research degrees in these field as well.

University Careers Network

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

Visit the careers section of the University website for further information.

Professional accreditation

Birmingham has transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Clubs and societies

The Guild has over 200 Societies, community volunteering groups and associations for you to join; they cover every topic and activity that you can think of - there really is something for everyone.

The Materials Society is the society for the School of Metallurgy and Materials, you may also be interested in the Nuclear Society.


Coming to Birmingham might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and culture, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work.

Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.

International students

The University of Birmingham has been welcoming international students onto our campus since 1900.

We have one of the largest and most vibrant international student communities in the UK, with 5,000 international students from more than 150 different countries and 31% of our academic staff from overseas.

If you would like further information about entry requirements, how to apply and funding options, then you can visit our international students webpage. You may also wish to take a virtual tour of our campus and watch the video below to hear our international students say their favourite thing about the University of Birmingham.