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Aeronautical Engineering with Foundation Year

BEng (Hons)

School - School of Computing, Science & Engineering

Subject area - Aeronautical Engineering

UCAS Code: H415

Start Date(s): September


Four years full-time

Five years full-time with industrial placement year


UK - £8,250 for Foundation Year, then standard UG fee per year.

In Brief:

  • Accredited by the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) and Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE)
  • Study essential elements of aircraft design
  • Undertake experimental and project work in aeronautical engineering
  • Work/industrial placement opportunity

Course Summary

We offer an accredited Foundation Year which provides the basis for further study on either the BEng (Hons) Aeronautical Engineering, or the BEng (Hons) Aircraft Engineering with Pilot Studies. It will cover essential mathematics, physical sciences and key skills to give the correct background for success in these courses.

The Foundation Year provides students with a broad introduction to the subject. It is ideal for students who may not have reached the required level in A levels or BTEC study or those who have chosen a new direction for their studies. On completion of the introductory Foundation Year you will go on to study the same curriculum as the standard degree course.

This course has been awarded accredited status by both the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) for 2010 to 2014 intake cohorts as meeting the exemplifying academic benchmark for registration as Incorporated Engineer (IEng) requirement in full, and the Chartered Engineer (CEng) requirement in part.

Why is accreditation important?

It provides external validation of the degree course content which recognises that it meets both UK and international standards required by the engineering profession.

Professional registration and Institution membership will enhance your career in the following ways:

  • Access to continuous professional development
  • Careers advice and employment opportunities
  • Increased earning potential over the length of your career
  • International recognition of your qualifications, skills and experience
  • Evidence of your motivation, drive and commitment to the profession
  • Networking opportunities.

This accredited degree covers the essential elements of aircraft design, including aircraft structures, flight systems, aerodynamics and design methodology.

You will undertake experimental and project work throughout your studies, culminating in a personal project in the final year. Other highlights of the final year include principles of advanced flight control, the aerodynamics of high speed vehicles, and structural analysis using finite element methods.

There is a flight test course just prior to the final year, which is delivered by Cranfield University’s National Flying Laboratory Centre using their specially instrumented Jetstream 31 aircraft.  During the flight, the aircraft will conduct specific manoeuvres during which flight data is gathered for later analysis by the students. This valuable experience allows you to link practical issues of aircraft behaviour to principles of flight taught in the classroom.

The modules are designed to develop effective interpersonal skills.

Year 1

An understanding and ability to use mathematics are essential skills for success in engineering. These modules will provide an introduction to mathematics and review the following subjects: algebra, trigonometry, functions, geometry, vectors, complex numbers and calculus, with some emphasis on their applications to engineering.
You will develop an ability to analyse basic structures using the main laws of physics. Simple introductory examples are used to extend your knowledge of analysis of basic structural elements such that you will have the ability to analyse structures. In addition you will also be able to analyse dynamical system performance  in the cases of  both constant acceleration and variable acceleration.
Study skills are the skills you need to enable you to study and learn efficiently – they are an important set of transferable life skills. This module will help you to develop your own study skill to suit your learning style. In addition, Information technologies are also developed. In this module you will be introduced to some of the elements of information technologies which will  provide you with the necessary skills to use in future (including writing reports and presentations).
This course covers the fundamental principles guiding the design of engineering experiments, including the methodology of physical  experiments, as well as statistical issues inherent to the design of experiments. It also provides an introduction to the standard statistical tools used in the analysis of  experimental  results.
Engineering projects have a lot in common with other engineering disciplines such as mechanical engineering.  This module, introduce some of the properties of material including fluids and provide the necessary information on energy transfer using mathematics and physics.

Year 2

An understanding and ability to use mathematics are essential skills for success in engineering subjects. This module will review and expand on the following subjects: algebra, trigonometry, functions, geometry, vectors, complex numbers and calculus, with emphasis on their applications to engineering.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the basic properties and applications of materials and of the principles of electronic and electrical engineering. This will include learning about the relationship between microstructure and mechanical properties of materials, mechanisms of corrosion and corrosion protection, the principles of electronic and electrical engineering, and the response of electrical elements in circuits to AC or DC supplies.
You will develop an understanding of the basic concepts of engineering thermodynamics and be given a introduction to the subject of fluid mechanics in this module. Skills in handing thermodynamic concepts enabling the definition and analysis of thermodynamic systems are vitally important to the mechanical engineer.
This module will develop your knowledge and understanding of the basic principles of structural behaviour and the nature of stress and strain and provide you with a foundation in engineering dynamics, allowing you to tackle simple engineering problems, and preparing you for subsequent modules.
This module will give you an insight into the complete process for the design or engineering of products and services. On completion of the module you will have basic marketing techniques and have an understanding of how to present information using both written and oral techniques. You will also be able to read and interpret engineering drawings, with particular reference to BS 308 and be taught skills in basic manufacturing processes and be able to create 2-dimensional orthographic engineering drawings. Your experience and learning are enhanced by the use of 3D CAD models viewed as projected images as well as ‘printed’ physical models.

This module will introduce you to the history of air transport systems leading to the current state of the aviation business.

You will study topics such as the:

  • Evolution of surface transportation systems – roadways, railways and waterways
  • Beginnings of air transport – first generation airships and winged flying machines
  • Development of technologies relating to improvements in civilian and military aircraft designs
  • Passenger facility enhancements such as in-flight catering, conveniences and entertainment
  • Birth of the modern airliner leading to the demise of the airships and the ocean liners.

Year 3

Topics and concepts covered in this module include fluid mechanics, boundary layer theory, sources of drag in particular aircraft drag, thin aerofoil theory, lifting line theory as it applies to the aerodynamic analysis of unswept wings in low speed flow and the apparatus used and techniques employed in wind tunnel testing.
This module will provide you with experience and learning in the interactive nature of aircraft design, including business and commercial influences, and to report outcomes effectively. You will also gain an appreciation of market requirements in the design process.
On completion of this module you will be able to establish the integrity of typical basic structural aircraft components and explain the process of material selection for the structural items of an aircraft.
This module will build on the engineering mathematics module from your first year by developing advanced knowledge and skills in mathematical analysis. It will enable you to tackle more advanced engineering problems. Subjects covered include partial differentiation, determinants and matrices, vector analysis, Laplace transforms and functions of a complex variable.
In this module you will learn the basic principles and theory of statics and dynamics as related to the static and dynamic behaviour of an aircraft and the theory of flight control as related to the dynamic behaviour of an aircraft.
This module introduces the basic concepts of aircraft performance by modelling aerodynamic loads and propulsion system performance, leading to key results in both steady and accelerated flight. You will be taught how to calculate and assimilate performance in cruise, climb and glide, and how to link the predictive methods to design issues. You will also cover the operating principles and performance analysis of major aircraft navigation systems, with emphasis on inertial navigation systems and the NAVASTAR global positioning system.

Year 4

This module is concerned with the analysis of gas turbine engines as used in aircraft propulsion and high speed aerodynamics. Emphasis is placed on the aerodynamic and thermodynamic aspects which influence the performance of a given engine design. Wherever possible, data for actual aircraft engines is used to support the analysis.
In this module you will learn about aircraft design, including detailed refinement of component design and major interactions that have a crucial influence on the overall effectiveness of the design. You will study the interactive nature of aircraft design, including business and commercial influences, and be able to report outcomes effectively. On completion you should also have an appreciation of market requirements in the design process.
This module will introduce finite element analysis as a tool for the solution of practical engineering problems. The finite element method is based on the premise that a complex structure can be broken down into finitely many smaller pieces (elements), the behaviour of which is known or can be predicted. These elements can then be assembled to model the behaviour of the full structure.
Following on from Flight Systems module in your second year, you will develop a deeper understanding of the theory of statics and dynamics and flight control as related to the dynamic behaviour of an aircraft.
This module has two main components: Industrial Management in which you will be introduced to the commercial issues which must be addressed by engineering businesses, and the principles of Quality Management Systems. Project preparation will develop your ability to work independently, become competent in analysing and assessing the value of information and develop effective communication skills both written and orally.

Please note, exact modules may vary in order to keep content current. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the modules you will study on or before the start of the programme.

Entry Requirements

Qualification Entry requirements
You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below.
English Language and Maths at grade C or above.
UCAS tariff points 64 points
GCE A level 64 points including Mathematics
BTEC National Diploma MPP including engineering and science, with Merit in Maths modules
Scottish Highers 64 Points to include Maths
Irish Leaving Certificate 64 points to include Higher Level Maths and Physics

Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.

There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.

English Language Requirements

This course is not suitable for international applicants.

Applicant profile

We are looking for students who have a keen desire to follow a career in aeronautical engineering. Good interpersonal skills and a strong work ethic are desirable. You should have a good understanding of linking theory to real life applications and an attention to detail.

We positively welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to successfully pursue a programme of study in higher education. Students who do not have formal entry qualifications are required to sit a written assessment which is designed for this purpose. Support in preparing for the written assessment is available from the University. Please contact Dr Philip Atcliffe for further information.

Fees and Funding


Fees 2019-20

Type of Study Fee
Full-time £8,250 for Foundation Year, then standard UG fee per year.

Fees 2018-19

Type of Study Fee
Full-time £6,165 for Foundation Year; £9,250 per year for subsequent years



  • Labs
  • Examinations
  • Reports


Career opportunities exist in the design, manufacture and operation of aerospace vehicles.

Openings may also be found in the many companies involved in designing and manufacturing major sub-units of aeroplanes and related aerospace vehicles such as engines, structural parts, avionics or environmental control systems. Other possibilities exist in technical engineering specialisms or general business management.

You may also consider going on to further study either on a Masters programme or in one of our Research Centres.

Career Prospects

Students who have completed this degree have gained employment with several leading companies such as Airbus, BAE Systems, Roll-Royce, Thales, and Royal Air Force.

Typical jobs profiles have included systems engineer, structures engineer, pilot and market analyst.

Alumni Profile

Imran M Khawaja - BEng (Hons) Aeronautical Engineering

After the customary university visits and some background research, I chose to study for a degree in Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Salford. Salford is renowned for its strong industrial links and has an outstanding graduate employment rate. These factors, combined with the support and diligence of the industrial tutor, helped me obtain a year out with subsequent sponsorship from a well known aerospace company. The placement was an invaluable opportunity to experience at first hand the challenges faced in the dynamic aerospace industry.

The degree programme was well structured and helped me develop all the essential skills, competencies and knowledge needed to start my career. I graduated with an excellent degree that made me very marketable to recruiters. I am now employed by Airbus as an aircraft structures engineer working on some of the latest and groundbreaking technologies. I am grateful for my time at Salford and to all the experienced academic and technical staff who have contributed to my success in the aerospace industry to date.

Links with Industry

Further Study


Mechanical Lab – This lab is used to understand material behaviour under different loading conditions and contains a tensile test machine and static loading experiments. Typical laboratory sessions would include tensile testing of materials and investigation into the bending and buckling behaviour of beams.

Aerodynamics Lab – Contains low speed and supersonic wind tunnels. Typical laboratory experiments would include determining the aerodynamic properties of an aerofoil section and influence of wing sweep on the lift and drag characteristics of a tapered wing section.

Composite Material Lab – This lab contains wet lay-up and pre-preg facilities for fabrication of composite material test sections. The facility is particularly utilised for final year project work.

Control and Dynamics Lab – Contains flight simulators (see details below) and programmable control experiments. Typical laboratory sessions would include studying the effects of damping and short period oscillation analysis, forced vibration due to rotating imbalance, and understanding the design and performance of proportional and integral controllers.


  • Merlin MP520-T Engineering Simulator
  • This simulator is used to support engineering design modules, such as those involving aerodynamics and control systems, by giving a more practical experience of aircraft design than a traditional theory and laboratory approach. You'll design and input your own aircraft parameters into the simulator before then assessing the flight characteristics.

    The simulator is a fully-enclosed single seat capsule mounted on a moving 2-degree of freedom platform which incorporates cockpit controls, integrated main head-up display and two secondary instrumentation display panels.

    An external instructor console also accompanies the simulator and is equipped with a comprehensive set of displays, override facilities and a two-way voice link to the pilot.

  • Elite Flight Training System
  • The Elite is a fixed base Piper PA-34 Seneca III aircraft simulator used for flight operations training and is certified by the CAA as a FNPT II-MCC Multi-Crew Cockpit training environment. It has two seats, each with a full set of instrumentation and controls, and European Visuals, so you see a projection of the terrain that you're flying through, based on real geographic models of general terrain and specific airports in Europe.

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