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Aeronautical Engineering

MEng (Hons)

School - School of Computing, Science & Engineering

Subject area - Aeronautical Engineering

UCAS Code: H404

Start Date(s): September



UK - £9,250 per year

International - £14,820 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
  • International students can apply

Course Summary

Aeronautical Engineering is primarily the application of scientific and technological methods to research, design, development, maintenance and performance testing of both civil and military aircraft including the structural components and on-board systems. Typical areas of specialism include disciplines such as propulsion, computational fluid dynamics, aerodynamics, materials and structures.

This accredited engineering degree is designed to produce graduates who display technical and commercial leadership with a personal commitment to professional standards, recognising obligations to society, the profession and the environment.

You will be encouraged to use our three flight simulators to enter national competitions. Salford have won such competitions twice.

Aeronautical Engineering can be studied with an optional industrial placement year between levels 5 and 6. Successful completion of an industrial placement year will add 'with Professional Experience' to your degree title.

The sandwich year can also be pursued in Europe if you have the appropriate language qualifications.

Awards and Accreditation

Course Details

This course has been awarded accredited status by both the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) 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 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 d.c. or a.c. 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 introduce project management techniques, particularly in the areas of project planning, organisation and control.  You will develop an understanding of project timings and resource allocation and a broad understanding of quantitative methods used for decision making in industry. You will gain experience and learning in the interactive nature of engineering, including business and commercial influences, and report the outcome effectively including additional computer skills and applications of IT in support of communication and the analysis/presentation of data.      

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 2                

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 Three                

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, and Project Preparation which 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.            
The aim of the Final Year Project is to develop your ability to work with a significant degree of independence on a structured programme of activity. You should demonstrate your competency in analysing and assessing the value of information derived from the programme, be able to communicate effectively (both through written reports and orally) the details of the programme and conclusions that can be drawn together with suggestions of further work.            

Year Four                

This module introduces you to Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) methods for the numerical prediction of aerodynamic flows. You will study finite-difference and finite-volume techniques, the vortex-lattice method, the modern CFD method for the prediction of transonic aerofoil flows and be given an introduction to the requirements for turbulence modelling and review classes of turbulence models.            
This module provides a systematic understanding of knowledge on finite element analysis as a tool for the solution of practical engineering problems.  You will develop a comprehensive understanding of the development of appropriate finite element models of physical systems, and how to interpret the results of the analysis.  The module also covers advanced aspects of finite element analysis including harmonic vibration analysis and will give practical instruction in the use of an industry-standard finite element analysis program.      
In this module you will develop an in-depth knowledge of design of unmanned aerial vehicles and their associated systems. You will develop a critical understanding of aerospace system developments for future system requirements.
You will then choose one option from the below:      
This module looks at the processes associated with the assembly of very large aircraft structures, including the techniques of forming, joining and fixturing. You will be taught about the relevant regulatory and design standards that have to be met and the processes that must be used to ensure conformity with those standards.            
To give a comprehensive understanding and systematic understanding of knowledge in the analysis of flight dynamics and the design of flight control systems.

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
UCAS tariff points 128 - 136 points
GCE A level 128 - 136 points Mathematics at grade B and Numerate Science at grade B. A Pass in the Practical Element of Science A levels must be achieved.
BTEC National Diploma DDM including Engineering or Science - must include Distinctions in Maths modules.
Scottish Highers 128 - 136 points; Advanced Higher Mathematics at grade B and Numerate Science at grade B.
Irish Leaving Certificate 128 points including A1 in Higher Level Mathematics and Numerate Science.
International Baccalaureate 35 Grade 6 in Numerate Science and Maths at Higher Level.
Access to HE A minimum of 45 credits at level 3, 60 credits overall. Pass with 128 to 136 UCAS points achieved. Distinctions in numerate modules required.

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.

International Students and Students who are Non EU/EEA/UK Nationals - Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

International Students and student who are not EU, EEA or UK nationals are required by the Home Office and/or the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) to apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Certificate before they begin studying their course. You may need to obtain an ATAS Certificate before you come to the UK in order for you to comply with Home Office regulations. Please refer to your offer conditions.

You can find out if your programme requires an ATAS by checking the FCO website at with your JACS code which will be on your offer letter should you choose to make an application. If you cannot find it please contact International Conversion team at

If you have any queries relating directly to ATAS please contact the ATAS team on

You can apply for your ATAS Certificate via this link:

English Language Requirements

English Language Requirements

  • IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any one component
  • ESOL Skills for Life Level 2/Certificate in Advanced English/Certificate of Proficiency in English

University of Salford English Language Test with an overall score equivalent to IELTS 6.0 (70 – 79)

Applicant profile

The type of person who would be interested in this course would ideally have studied mathematics or physics based subjects at college and would like to gain a deeper knowledge in these and other related subjects with particular bias towards aeronautical applications. You would ideally already have a keen interest in aerospace related matters and desire a future career in this field.

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 £9,250 per year
Full-time International £14,820 per year

Fees 2018-19

Type of Study Fee
Full-time £9,250 per year
Part-time Your annual fee will be calculated pro rata to the full-time fee according to the number of credits you are studying.
Full-time International £14,400 per year

Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.


You will be taught in:

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Practical activities


  • 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.

Melissa Ahmed - BEng (Hons) Aeronautical Engineering

I chose Salford University because it's in a great location, being a campus university in the city. The university has a great reputation for the course and the programme structure, group projects and Aeronautical lab attracted me to the course. The lecturers are friendly and always willing to help. The lectures are interactive and show practical applications of the work taught. My highlight has to be the Flight test course at Cranfield. My favourite project was designing a jet aircraft in my second year of university. I love going to Piccadilly Gardens in the middle of Manchester as there's so much to do there. Salford Quays is also very picturesque. Both places are a stone’s throw away from university. I think that my industrial placement has given me a lot of practical experience learning new design packages and being able to apply my engineering knowledge and passion.

Muhammad Faizan - BEng (Hons) Aeronautical Engineering

The best part about this course was hands-on experience and working on several projects. Final year project to design and manufacture a wind turbine blade made of carbon fibre has been the best experience and it has given me essential manufacturing and analytical skills necessary to become a successful engineer.

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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