Thermal power and propulsion technologies are at the core of the ongoing revolution to protect the environment while pursuing continuing economic growth and welfare. The Thermal Power and Propulsion MSc enables your pathway, as a talented individual, to crystallise the technologies currently being developed for air, land, sea and space applications.

Pursue your participation and career aspirations via specialist modules and the possibility of an industrial project through our focused options:


  • Start dateMarch or October
  • DurationFull-time MSc: one year; PgDip: up to one year; Part-time MSc by research (by arrangement): two-three years
  • DeliveryTaught modules 50%, individual research project 50%
  • QualificationMSc, PgDip
  • Study typeFull-time
  • CampusCranfield campus

Who is it for?

All specialist options are suitable for applicants with academic backgrounds in engineering, mathematics, physics or an applied science.

Why this course?

We have been at the forefront of postgraduate education in power and propulsion at Cranfield since its inception in 1946 and have a global reputation for our excellence in education, extensive research and applied continuing professional development.

The MSc in Thermal Power and Propulsion aims to provide both fundamental and applied knowledge applicable to the understanding of the design and operation of different types of gas turbines for all applications. Suitable for graduates seeking a challenging and rewarding career in an established international industry.

The course and its specialist options are structured to enable you to pursue your own specific interests and career aspirations. You may choose from a wide range of modules and select an appropriate research project. An intensive industrial management course is offered which assists in achieving exemptions from some engineering council requirements.

During the course you will benefit from a wide range of cultural backgrounds and you will become part of an exciting and internationally-recognised portfolio of power and propulsion activities, all of which significantly enhances your learning experience

Our graduates typically secure relevant employment within six months of graduation, and you can be sure that your qualification will be valued and respected by employers around the world.

Informed by industry

Our industry partners help support our students in a number of ways - through guest lectures, awarding student prizes, recruiting course graduates and ensuring course content remains relevant to leading employers.

The Industrial Advisory Panel meets annually to maintain course relevancy and ensure that graduates are equipped with the skills and knowledge required by leading employers. Knowledge gained from our extensive research and consultancy activity is also constantly fed back into the MSc programme. The Thermal Power and Propulsion MSc Industrial Advisory Panel consists of senior engineers from companies such as:

  • EASA,
  • EasyJet,
  • RMC,
  • Rolls-Royce,
  • Senior Consultant,
  • Uniper Technologies.

Course details

The course comprises taught modules, depending on the course option chosen. Modules for each option vary; please see individual descriptions for compulsory modules which must be undertaken. There is also an opportunity to choose from an extensive choice of optional modules to match specific interests.

Course delivery

Taught modules 50%, individual research project 50%

Individual project

You are required to submit a written thesis describing an individual research project carried out during the course. Many individual research projects have been carried out with industrial sponsorship, and have often resulted in publication in international journals and symposium papers. This thesis is examined orally in the presence of an external examiner.

Examples of individual student projects have included:

  • Techno-economic, Environmental and Risk Assessment Studies;
  • Centrifugal Compressors Simulations and Diagnostics for Oil and Gas Applications;
  • Advanced Power Generation Systems with Low Carbon Emissions;
  • Design of Turbines for Use in Oscillating Water Columns;
  • Design of a 1MW Industrial Gas Turbine;
  • Gas Path Analysis for Engine Diagnostics;
  • Procurement Criteria for Civil Aero-Engines;
  • Selection of Combined Heat and Power Plants;
  • Condition Monitoring Systems Instrumentation;
  • Repowering Steam Turbine Plants;
  • Combined Cycle Plant Technical and Economic Evaluation.

Some of our students now have the opportunity to participate in innovative research projects, including Enabling Cryogenic Hydrogen-based CO2-free air transport (Project ENABLEH2).

Teaching team

You will be taught by staff with many years of industrial experience. Our teaching team are active researchers as well as tutors and have extensive experience of aerospace propulsion, in both industrial and research and development environments. Continuing close collaboration with major engine manufacturers in both the UK and overseas, through teaching and research, ensures that this course maintains the relevance and professionalism for which it is internationally renowned. Knowledge gained working with our clients is continually fed back into the teaching programme, to ensure that you benefit from the very latest knowledge and techniques affecting industry. The course also includes visiting lecturers from industry who will relate the theory to current best practice. The Course Director for the March intake is Professor Pericles Pilidis. The Course Director for the October intake is Dr Theoklis Nikolaidis.

Arnold Gad-Briggs promo

I did my MSc in Thermal Power and it was very industry focused in terms of its theoretical application to everyday challenges, especially within industry. In doing my MSc it was natural progression that I was going to come back to do my doctorate. 

Arnold Gad-Briggs, Founder and Exec. Director at EGB Engineering


The Thermal Power and Propulsion MSc is accredited by Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) and the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) on behalf of the Engineering Council as meeting the requirements for further learning for registration as a Chartered Engineer (CEng).

Candidates must hold a CEng accredited BEng/BSc (Hons) undergraduate first degree to show that they have satisfied the educational base for CEng registration. 

Please note accreditation applies to the MSc award and PgDip do not meet in full the further learning requirements for registration as a Chartered Engineer.

Your career

Our graduates typically find employment soon after of course completion. Job titles that some of our graduates have gone into include:

Performance Engineer Aerodynamics Specialist
Doctoral Researcher Thermofluids Engineer
Transmission Systems Stress Engineer Transport Programme Manager
Turbine Aerodynamics Engineer Turbomachinery Development Specialist
Combustion Aerothermal Engineer Component Design Engineer
Machinery Engineer Rotating Equipment Engineer
Technology Innovation Manager Thermal Analyst

Companies that employ our graduates include:

ABB Accenture Aegean Airlines
Airbus Alstom ALTEN
Uniper RWE ITP
Amazon Avio Aero BAE Systems
Baker Hughes BASF Boeing
Bosch Capgemini Engineering Caterpillar Inc.
Civil Aviation Authority Collins Aerospace Dassault Aviation
easyJet Electrolux GE
Leonardo Rolls Royce Safran
Siemens Energy Tata Consultancy Services Thales
Uniper RWE ITP

Cranfield’s Career Service
is dedicated to helping you meet your career aspirations. You will have access to career coaching and advice, CV development, interview practice, access to hundreds of available jobs via our Symplicity platform and opportunities to meet recruiting employers at our careers fairs. Our strong reputation and links with potential employers provide you with outstanding opportunities to secure interesting jobs and develop successful careers. Support continues after graduation and as a Cranfield alumnus, you have free life-long access to a range of career resources to help you continue your education and enhance your career.