Aerospace Dynamics MSc


MSc in Aerodynamics

The aerospace industry in the UK is the largest in the world, outside of the USA. Aerodynamics and Flight Dynamics will remain a key element in the development of future aircraft; and in reducing civil transport environmental issues, making significant contributions to the next generation of aircraft configurations. In the military arena, aerodynamic modelling and flight dynamics play an important role in the design and development of combat aircraft and unmanned air vehicles (UAVs). The continuing search for aerodynamic refinement and performance optimisation for the next generation of aircraft and surface vehicles creates the need for specialist knowledge of fluid flow behaviour.

The MSc in Aerospace Dynamics aims to provide both fundamental and applied knowledge applicable to the understanding of air flows, vehicle dynamics and control and methods for computational modelling. The course will provide students with practical experience in the measurement, analysis, modelling and simulation of airflows and aerial vehicles.

The course is suitable for students with an interest in aerodynamic design, flow control, flow measurement, flight dynamics and flight control. Students have the choice of two course options:

Watch MSc course video: Course Director overview (YouTube)

Watch MSc course video: student perspective (YouTube)

Course overview

The MSc in Aerospace Dynamics consists of 18 optional taught modules, an individual research project and a group flight test. The group flight test project consists of two compulsory modules to offer an initial introduction to aerospace dynamics and provide grounding for the group flight test. 

In addition to management, communication, team work and research skills, each student will attain at least the following learning outcomes from this degree course:

  • To gain a fundamental and applied understanding of air flows, vehicle dynamics and control and methods for computational modelling.
  • To be able to relate the fundamental aspects of engineering and applied science to the engineering of air flows and aircraft dynamics.
  • To gain a broader knowledge of aerospace engineering and the skills for in-depth analysis of aerospace dynamics-related problems.
  • To receive practical experience in the measurement, analysis and modelling of aerospace dynamics, particularly in relation to airborne and land-based vehicles.

Group project

All students undertake the Group Flight Test Report during October to December. This involves a series of flight tests in the The National Flying Laboratory Centre (NFLC) Jetstream which are undertaken, reported and presented as a group exercise. This is an important part of the course as it enables candidates to experience the application of specialist skills within a real plane to a collaborative report/presentation.

Individual Project

The individual research project allows you to delve deeper into an area of specific interest. It is very common for industrial partners to put forward real world problems or areas of development as potential research project topics. The project is carried out under the guidance of an academic staff member, who acts as your supervisor. The individual research project component takes place between April and August.

If agreed with the course director, part-time students have the opportunity to undertake projects in collaboration with their place of work, which would be supported by academic supervision.

Recent Individual Research Projects include:

  • Spiked body instabilities at supersonic speeds
  • Aerodynamic loads on a race car wing in a vortex wake
  • Lateral/directional stability of a tailless aircraft
  • Aerodynamic drag penalties due to runback ice
  • Automotive flow control using fluidic sheets
  • Aerodynamic design and optimisation of a blended wing body aircraft.


The taught programme for the Aerospace Dynamics masters is generally delivered from October to April. Choice is a key feature of this course, with specialist modules available in your chosen option of either Aerodynamics or Flight Dynamics.


Assessment of modules is a mixture of written reports, examinations, practicals or presentations.

The taught modules (40%), the Group Flight Test (10%) and the Individual Research Project (50%).

Start date, duration and location

Start date: October

Duration: Full-time MSc - one year, Part-time MSc - up to three years

Teaching location: Cranfield


Cranfield University has been at the forefront of postgraduate education in aerospace engineering since 1946. The MSc in Aerospace Dynamics stems from the programme in Aerodynamics which was one of the first masters courses offered by Cranfield and is an important part of our heritage. The integration of Aerodynamics with Flight Dynamics reflects the long-term link with the aircraft flight test activity established by Cranfield. Graduates of this course are eligible to join the Cranfield College of Aeronautics Alumni Association (CCAAA), an active community which hold a number of networking and social events throughout the year.

Part-time study options are available for this course, please enquire for more information. Cranfield University is very well located for visiting part-time students from all over the world, and offers a range of library and support facilities to support your studies. This Msc programme benefits from a wide range of cultural backgrounds which significantly enhances the learning experience for both staff and students.

Accreditation and partnerships

This course is accredited by:

  • Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS).

Informed by industry

The Industrial Advisory Panel comprising senior industry professionals provides input into the curriculum in order to improve the employment prospects of our graduates. Panel members include:

  • Adrian Gaylord, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR)
  • Trevor Birch, Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL)
  • Chris Fielding, BAE Systems
  • Anastassios Kokkalis, Voith
  • Stephen Rolson, European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS)
  • Clyde Warsop, BAE Systems.

Your teaching team

You will be taught by Cranfield's leading experts with many years of industrial experience including:

  • Professor Kevin Garry, Course Director, Head of the Applied Aerodynamics Group.
  • Dr Nicholas Lawson, a Reader and Pilot in the National Flying Laboratory Centre who has completed research on projects  involving high lift flow control, transonic cavity aerodynamics, flight test laser instrumentation and the study of flapping wing aerodynamics.
  • Mudassir Lone, a Research Fellow, activities focus on modelling of manual control dynamics, aeroelastics and flight control activities.
  • Professor Ian Poll, research interests include aircraft performance, boundary layer transition and control, and high speed gas dynamics.

Teaching is supplemented by contributions from industry and other outside organisations which reinforce the applied nature of the modules. Previous contributors include:

  • Professor Allan Bocci, Aircraft Research Association (ARA)
  • Trevor Birch, Defence Science Technology Laboratory (DSTL) .

Facilities and resources

To ensure you develop the necessary skills, we have a wide range of facilities available for use during your studies. We use all three National Flying Laboratory Centre aircraft (Jetstream, Bulldog and Slingsby) as a practical means of reinforcing theory, with in-flight exercises and laboratories forming the basis of the assessment for core modules. We have nine wind tunnels, both low and high-speed, and an Autonomous Vehicles Laboratory. Our extensive computing facilities include industry-standard software.

Cranfield University offer a comprehensive library and information service, and are committed to meeting the needs of students, creating a comfortable environment with areas for individual and group work as well as silent study.

Experience and familiarity with using the more specialist industry resources will be recognised and valued by future employers. Developing skills to make the most of our rich information environment at Cranfield is not only important to you whilst you are studying, it is also vital for your future employability and career progression.

Entry Requirements

A first or second class UK Honours degree or equivalent in mathematics, physics or an engineering discipline.

Applicants who do not fulfil the standard entry requirements can apply for the Pre-Masters programme, successful completion of which will qualify them for entry to this course for a second year of study.

English Language

If you are an international student you will need to provide evidence that you have achieved a satisfactory test result in an English qualification. The minimum standard expected from a number of accepted courses are as follows:

IELTS - 6.5

TOEFL - 92 

Pearson PTE Academic - 65

Cambridge English Scale - 180

Cambridge English: Advanced - C

Cambridge English: Proficiency - C

In addition to these minimum scores you are also expected to achieve a balanced score across all elements of the test. We reserve the right to reject any test score if any one element of the test score is too low.

We can only accept tests taken within two years of your registration date (with the exception of Cambridge English tests which have no expiry date).

Students requiring a Tier 4 (General) visa must ensure they can meet the English language requirements set out by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and we recommend booking a IELTS for UKVI test.


Home EU Student Fees

MSc Full-time - £9,000

MSc Part-time - £9,000 *

Overseas Fees

MSc Full-time - £17,500

MSc Part-time - £17,500 *


Students will be offered the option of paying the full fee up front, or to pay in four equal instalments at six month intervals (i.e. the full fee to be paid over the first two years of their registration). 

Fee notes:

  • The fees outlined apply to all students whose initial date of registration falls on or between 1 August 2016 and 31 July 2017.
  • All students pay the tuition fee set by the University for the full duration of their registration period agreed at their initial registration.
  • A deposit may be payable, depending on your course.
  • Additional fees for extensions to the agreed registration period may be charged and can be found below.
  • Fee eligibility at the Home/EU rate is determined with reference to UK Government regulations. As a guiding principle, EU nationals (including UK) who are ordinarily resident in the EU pay Home/EU tuition fees, all other students (including those from the Channel Islands and Isle of Man) pay Overseas fees.


To help students in finding and securing appropriate funding we have created a funding finder where you can search for suitable sources of funding by filtering the results to suit your needs. 

Visit the funding finder.

Bursaries may be available, however please be aware that funding will, in most cases, only be discussed once you have secured a firm offer of a place on the course. Please contact the Enquiries Office for further details.

Cranfield Postgraduate Loan Scheme (CPLS)

The Cranfield Postgraduate Loan Scheme (CPLS) is a funding programme providing affordable tuition fee and maintenance loans for full-time UK/EU students studying technology-based MSc courses.

Conacyt (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia)

Cranfield offers competitive scholarships for Mexican students in conjunction with Conacyt (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia) in science, technology and engineering.

Application Process

Online application form. Applicants may be invited to attend for interview. Applicants based outside of the UK may be interviewed either by telephone or video conference.

Career opportunities

Industry driven research makes our graduates some of the most desirable in the world for recruitment in a wide range of career paths within the aerospace and military sector. A successful graduate should be able to integrate immediately into an industrial or research environment and make an immediate contribution to the group without further training. Increasingly, these skills are in demand in other areas including automotive, environmental, energy and medicine. Recent graduates have found positions in the aerospace, automotive and related sectors. 

Employers include:

  • Airbus
  • BAE Systems
  • Onera
  • Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR)
  • Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL)
  • QinetiQ
  • Rolls-Royce plc
  • Snecma
  • Thales
  • Selex ES
  • MBDA
  • Jaguar Land Rover
  • Tata
  • Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC)
  • Triumph Motorcycles.

A significant number of graduates go on to do research and higher degrees.