In 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.
Graduates will be gaining skills required to successfully join the wider aerospace industry. In particular, our graduates 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 all aspects of aerospace engineering are covered before the students specialise in Materials or Engineering (structures and avionics) for their final year. Aspects of space missions continue through years 2 and 3 for both specialisms. Graduates 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.
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The Aerospace Engineering degrees are structured to provide students with 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 when specialism into either an engineering or materials stream takes place for year 3. Students will cover space missions and environments in year 2 and for both streams in year 3. 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 them to develop good careers in all engineering aspects of the aeronautical and space industries.
The course offers a modular programme of study which normally leads to the award of Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) in three years.
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.
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.
Both streams cover space mission analysis and design and undertake a group project. 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. The Engineering stream covers the use of finite element software and computational fluid dynamics to simulate complex aerospace structures and aerodynamics.
Year 1 compulsory modules
|Fluid Mechanics and Energy Transfer
|Design for Structural Applications
|Fundamentals of Materials Science
Year 2 compulsory modules
|Space System Engineering
|Engineering Mathematics 2
|Electrical Energy Systems and Control
|Fracture, Fatigue and Degradation
|Thermodynamics and Fluids
Year 3 compulsory modules
|Space Mission Analysis and Design (Engineering and Materials Stream)
|Group Project (Engineering and Materials Stream)
|High Performance Materials and Advanced Manufacturing (Engineering and Materials Stream)
|Advanced Failure Analysis and Characterisation (Engineering and Materials Stream)
|CFD / FEA (Engineering stream)
|Materials for Challenging Environments (Engineering stream)
|Physical Materials Science (Materials stream)
Materials stream choose 20 credits from the example modules below:
|CFD/FEA (Materials stream)
|Materials for Challenging Environments (Materials stream)
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 2018. 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.
- 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Accredited by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) on behalf of the Engineering Council for the purposes of fully meeting the academic requirement for registration as an Incorporated Engineer and partially meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered Engineer.
Learn more about accreditation.
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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.
Materials Society is the society for the School of Metallurgy
and Materials, you may also be interested in the Nuclear
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