This MSc aims to build your knowledge of the design of flying vehicles such as aircraft, missiles, airships and spacecraft. Select from three specialist options in order to excel in a growing aerospace industry:

At a glance

  • Start dateOctober or March
  • DurationOne year
  • DeliveryRefer to option MSc course pages for breakdown of assessment
  • QualificationMSc
  • Study typeFull-time

Who is it for?

This MSc course provides a taught engineering programme with a focus on the technical, business and management aspects of aircraft design in the civil and military aerospace sectors.

Teaching integrates a range of disciplines required by modern aircraft design, for example:

  • Structural design and analysis
  • Aircraft systems design
  • Avionic systems design
  • Propulsion
  • Flight performance
  • Aspects of manufacture
  • Operations and cost.

Why this course?

We have been at the forefront of postgraduate education in aerospace engineering since 1946. Aerospace Vehicle Design at Cranfield University was one of the original foundation courses of the College of Aeronautics. Graduates of this course are eligible to join the Cranfield College of Aeronautics Alumni Association (CCAAA), an active community which holds a number of networking and social events throughout the year.

One unique feature of the course is that we have four external examiners, two from industry who assess the group design project and two from academia who assess the individual research project.

Cranfield University is very well located for students from all over the world, and offers a range of library and support facilities to support your studies. This enables students from all over the world to complete this qualification whilst balancing work/life commitments.

Informed by Industry

The course has an Industrial Advisory Committee with senior members from major UK aerospace companies, government bodies, and the military services. The committee meets twice a year to review and advise on course content, acquisition skills and other attributes desirable from graduates of the course. Panel members include:

  • BAE Systems
  • Airbus
  • Royal Air Force
  • Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform
  • Royal Australian Air Force
  • Messier-Dowty
  • Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces.

Your teaching team

You will be taught by Cranfield's leading experts in aerospace. The Course Directors for the MSc Aerospace Vehicle Design are:

The teaching on some taught modules is supported by lectures from visiting speakers from both industry and the military. Former speakers have included senior representatives from:

  • Boeing
  • Airbus
  • BAE Systems
  • Eurocopter.

Accreditation

The MSc in Aerospace Vehicle Design is accredited by the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) on behalf of the Engineering Council as meeting the requirements for Further Learning for registration as a Chartered Engineer.  The MSc in Aerospace Vehicle Design is also subject to ratification by Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) following accreditation visit in June 2015.  Candidates must hold a CEng accredited BEng/BSc (Hons) undergraduate first degree to comply with full CEng registration requirements.

Course details

The taught programme for the Aerospace Vehicle Design masters is generally delivered from October to March. Modules for each option vary - please refer to option MSc course pages for descriptions of compulsory modules which must be undertaken. Students have an extensive choice of optional modules to match specific interests.

Group project

The extensive group design project is a distinctive and unique feature of this course. This teamwork project takes place from October to March, and recreates a virtual industrial environment bringing together students with various experience levels and different nationalities into one integrated design team.

Each team member is given responsibility for the detailed design of a significant part of the aircraft, for example, forward fuselage, fuel system, or navigation system. The project will progress from the conceptual phase through to the preliminary and detail design phases. You will be required to run project meetings, produce engineering drawings and detailed analyses of your design. Problem solving and project co-ordination must be undertaken on a team and individual basis. At the end of the project, groups are required to report and present findings to a panel of 200 senior engineers from industry.

This element of the course is both realistic and engaging, and places the student group in a professional role as aerospace design engineers. Students testify that working as an integrated team on real problems is invaluable and prepares them well for careers in a highly competitive industry.

Students following the Structural Design option do not participate in the Group Design Project.

Watch past presentation videos to give you a taster of our innovative and exciting group projects

Individual project

The individual research project aims to provide the training necessary for you to apply knowledge from the taught element to research, and takes place from March to September. The project may be theoretical and/or experimental and drawn from a range of topics related to the course and suggested by teaching staff, your employer or focused on your own area of interest.  

Previous individual research projects include:

  • Fin structure aeroelastic warping effect
  • Modelling of helicopter crash behaviour
  • Shock load simulation on aircraft structures
  • Crack stoppers and fail safety in integral metal structures
  • Impact damage of composite laminates
  • Composite panel cut out and edge reinforcement
  • Repair of composite structures

Assessment

Refer to option MSc course pages for breakdown of assessment

University Disclaimer

Keeping our courses up-to-date and current requires constant innovation and change. The modules we offer reflect the needs of business and industry and the research interests of our staff and, as a result, may change or be withdrawn due to research developments, legislation changes or for a variety of other reasons. Changes may also be designed to improve the student learning experience or to respond to feedback from students, external examiners, accreditation bodies and industrial advisory panels.

To give you a taster, we have listed the core modules and some optional modules affiliated with this programme which ran in the academic year 2016–2017. There is no guarantee that these modules will run for 2017 entry. All modules are subject to change depending on your year of entry.

Fees and funding

European Union students applying for university places in the 2017 to 2018 academic year and the 2018 to 2019 academic year will still have access to student funding support. Please see the UK Government’s announcement (21 April 2017).

Cranfield University welcomes applications from students from all over the world for our postgraduate programmes. The Home/EU student fees listed continue to apply to EU students.

MSc Full-time £10,000

Fee notes:

  • The fees outlined apply to all students whose initial date of registration falls on or between 1 August 2017 and 31 July 2018.
  • 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.

For further information regarding tuition fees, please refer to our fee notes.

MSc Full-time £21,000

Fee notes:

  • The fees outlined apply to all students whose initial date of registration falls on or between 1 August 2017 and 31 July 2018.
  • 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.

For further information regarding tuition fees, please refer to our fee notes.

Funding Opportunities

To help students find and secure 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.

Future Finance Scholarship (March intake 2017)
Cranfield University is proud to partner with Future Finance to help ambitious students afford a great education. The Future Finance Scholarship worth £5,000 will be awarded in 2016/17.

ISTAT Foundation Scholarships
The ISTAT Foundation is actively engaged in helping young people develop careers in aviation by offering scholarships of up to $US10,000. One student will be nominated for a scholarship each year by Cranfield University.

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

Postgraduate Loan from Student Finance England
A Postgraduate Loan is now available for UK and EU applicants to help you pay for your Master’s course. You can apply for a loan at GOV.UK

Santander MSc Scholarship
The Santander Scholarship at Cranfield University is worth £5,000 towards tuition fees for full-time master's courses. Check the scholarship page to find out if you are from an eligible Santander Universities programme country.

Chevening Scholarships
Chevening Scholarships are awarded to outstanding emerging leaders to pursue a one-year master’s at Cranfield university. The scholarship includes tuition fees, travel and monthly stipend for Master’s study.

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.

Commonwealth Scholarships for Developing Countries
Students from developing countries who would not otherwise be able to study in the UK can apply for a Commonwealth Scholarship which includes tuition fees, travel and monthly stipend for Master’s study.

Future Finance Student Loans
Future Finance offer student loans of up to £40,000 that can cover living costs and tuition fees for all student at Cranfield University.

Erasmus+ Student Loans
This new loan scheme for EU students is offered by Future Finance and European Investment Fund and provides smart, flexible loans of up to £9,300.

Entry requirements

A first or second class UK Honours degree (or equivalent) in 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. Our minimum requirements are as follows:

IELTS Academic – 6.5 overall
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.

Applicants who do not already meet the English language entry requirement for their chosen Cranfield course can apply to attend one of our Presessional English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses. We offer Winter/Spring and Summer programmes each year to offer holders.


Your career

The MSc in Aerospace Vehicle Design is valued and respected by employers worldwide. The applied nature of this course ensures that our graduates are ready to be of immediate use to their future employer and has provided sufficient breadth of understanding of multi-discipline design to position them for accelerated career progression.

This course prepares graduates for careers as project design engineers, systems design, structural design or avionic engineers in aerospace or related industries, with the aim of progressing to technical management/chief engineer. Graduates from the MSc in Aerospace Vehicle Design can therefore look forward to a varied choice of challenging career opportunities in the above disciplines. 

Many of our graduates occupy very senior positions in their organisations, making valuable contributions to the international aerospace industry. Typical student destinations include BAE Systems, Airbus, Dassault and Rolls-Royce.

Airplane wing

During my time at Cranfield I met many people from all over the world from Canada to New Zealand. On my Aerospace Vehicle Design course alone there were over 20 nationalities. All these different nationalities on campus are what helped make Cranfield so unique.

Dariusz Kukowski , Student

Applying

Online application form. UK students are normally expected to attend an interview and financial support is best discussed at this time. Overseas and EU students may be interviewed by telephone.

Apply Now for 2017