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    Aerospace Engineering

    Aerospace Engineering, Faculty of Engineering

    A carefully designed conversion course for engineering graduates looking to specialise in aerospace.
    Aerospace student using high-tech equipment

    Course description

    This is a fully immersive conversion course for engineering graduates, drawing upon expertise from six departments in the Faculties of Engineering and Science, as well as the University’s Management School. There are close ties with some of the world’s leading aerospace companies.

    Alongside traditional aeronautical subjects such as materials, structures, aerodynamics and propulsion necessary for the design of high-speed flight and lightweight aircraft, you'll also study concepts of systems integration and flight control. These are essential to the production of more efficient and environmentally friendly aircraft and aerospace systems.

    You’ll have the opportunity to tailor your studies to suit your individual interests and career aspirations by specialising in either aeromechanics or avionics. Our innovative programme of study includes having the chance to design, build and fly an Unmanned Air Vehicle as part of the group design project. You’ll graduate as a highly knowledgeable aerospace engineering specialist.


    A selection of modules is available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    Core modules:

    Aero Propulsion

    The aim of this module is to provide the students with an understanding of principles of operation of gas turbines, as applied to aero propulsion and power generation.The module introduces the theory of gas turbines and how they should function. The study is based on fundamental thermodynamic and fluid mechanic analyses and introduces methods for improving efficiencies and increasing specific work output. The effect of simple thermodynamics of combustion, jet engine losses and efficiences are considered, together with an analysis of turbojet and turbofan designs.Website Version:This module provides students with an understanding of principles of operation of gas turbines, pulse-jets, RAM-jets and solid and liquid fuelled rocket engines as applied to aero propulsion. The understanding is built upon fundamental thermodynamic and fluid mechanic analyses of components and systems for each propulsion method. Methods for improving efficiencies and increasing specific work output of components are also introduced as well as an introduction to combustion, losses and efficiencies.

    10 credits
    Aerodynamic Design

    This module aims to provide the students with a good understanding of basic theories in aerodynamics and its integration in the design process. It emphasises on the role that aerodynamics plays in engineering product design, where the forces exerted by the air flow around the geometries are crucial, e.g. for an aircraft or a racing car. The aerodynamic principles will be demonstrated through their roles in aeronautical and automotive vehicle designs. The students should be able to apply these basic principles to other areas of applications in broader engineering areas, such as the design of wind turbines, engine fans, buildings, sailing boats, etc.

    10 credits
    Aerospace Group Design Project: Build and Test

    The aim of this module is for you to realise the designs that you have previously developed to produce an unmanned air vehicle to meet the requirements of a client. The module will consist of the continued
    evaluation of the design, the realisation of the air vehicle and its subsequent testing, followed by a review and proposals for design improvements. The module will be largely self-directed - you will be expected to work outside of your current knowledge and understanding in solving this challenging engineering problem so considerable independence, initiative and creative and critical thinking will be required.

    10 credits
    Aerospace Group Design Project: Design

    The aim of this module is for you to solve a complex aerospace engineering design challenge. The project will be undertaken in groups and will require you to apply knowledge from your previous and current modules for the design on a unmanned aerial vehicle. You will also have to develop your project management and group working under realistic industrial conditions. You will apply systems engineering principles and your engineering knowledge and understanding to the design and development of an aircraft to meet client requirements. You will use industry related design tools (e.g. finite elements and computational fluid dynamics) to complete your designs. The module will be largely self directed and you will be expected to, at times, work outside of your current knowledge and understanding in solving this challenging engineering problem. Considerable independence, initiative and creative and critical thinking will be required.

    10 credits
    Aerospace Individual Investigative Project

    The project is designed to develop your technical knowledge and understanding, technical and personal skills and an appreciation of the wider context of their studies. It gives you the opportunity to apply and develop further their knowledge and skills by applying them to a specific problem area. It is also intended to develop a greater level of your independence. The specific aims of the project are to:-provide you with the freedom to explore possible solutions to real engineering problems, allowing you to demonstrate your understanding of practical aerospace engineering.-enable you to exercise independent thought and judgement in conducting a technical investigation.

    60 credits
    Aircraft Design

    This module provides a comprehensive knowledge about all elements of conceptual aircraft design and promotes the learning and application of the industrial procedure for designing an aircraft based on given requirements. Topics include: conceptual design and sizing, preliminary design, matching plot, wing design, propulsion system selection, fuselage design, etc. The teaching will be based on constructive alignment by making use of specific active learning techniques during teaching sessions.

    10 credits
    Aircraft Dynamics and Control

    Aerospace engineering is a fascinating area where knowledge from different disciplines is needed. The aim of this module is to provide you with a fundamental knowledge and understanding of the principles of aircraft performance, flight dynamics and the problems of controlling an aircraft's motion. Various aspects of aircraft performance including straight, level flight and manoeuvres are covered. The module introduces the equations of motion for a rigid body aircraft and the aerodynamic forces and moments are then determined. Static and dynamic stability and response characteristics are defined. Flying and handling qualities of an aircraft, and disturbances affecting its motion, are analysed.

    10 credits

    Optional modules:

    Advanced Aerospace Propulsion Technology

    This module enhances students' foundational knowledge by introducing a more specialist Level 7 understanding of major aero propulsion devices. For example, the rocket design will be mastered from the design lessons and innovations of the rockets of historical importance. The more in depth analysis of the alternative air breathing engines such as ramjet, scramjet, and synergistic air-breathing rocket engine will be investigated. Then the advanced gas turbine off-design performance will be analysed. The advanced gas turbine combustion will also be investigated. Finally, the recent explosive development of electric/hybrid propulsion and aircraft will be examined.

    15 credits
    Advanced Control

    The aim of this module is to provide you with an introduction to some of the advanced control techniques used in modern control engineering research and industrial applications. The module will cover both theory and practice, involving analysis and design.

    Different control techniques and applications may be covered in different years. In all cases, the basic principles and concepts of a particular control technique will be introduced, and comparisons and contrasts will be made with other techniques. Subsequently, the design, analysis and implementation of advanced controllers or control laws will be covered, starting from the requirements of the basic control problem for the application at hand (i.e. stability in the presence of constraints; disturbance and noise rejection). Controller design will be illustrated by industrially-relevant case studies.

    15 credits
    Advanced Engineering Fluid Dynamics

    The module introduces advanced subjects in fluid mechanics and focuses on the theory and applications of the fundamental physical laws governing fluid flows. The Navier-Stokes and the continuity equations are revisited and the energy and the general Scalar Transport Equations for fluid flows will be derived. Creeping flows, laminar/turbulent boundary layer flows, shock and expansion waves, drag rise and supersonic aerofoils, etc. will be discussed. A key skill developed is problem solving in the area of advanced fluid mechanics through how equations, models and boundary conditions may be adapted and simplified to describe a wide variety of engineering fluid flows.

    15 credits
    Advanced Dynamics

    In this module we will explore how linear/nonlinear structures vibrate and how we can model them in order to understand and optimise their complex behaviour both analytically and numerically. We will uncover the behaviour of theoretical nonlinear models and we will explore and evaluate the fascinating world of advanced dynamics, random vibration, nonlinear systems and chaos through lectures and dedicated reading. We link advanced engineering with concepts from physics and maths that are of core importance in the new era of engineering, considering structures from light aerospace structures to offshore wind turbines and space shuttles. Furthermore, we will discover the world of Hamiltonian mechanics by capturing its fundamental physics. The learning will be supported by dedicated tutorial sessions.

    15 credits
    Advanced Materials Manufacturing

    This unit introduces key concepts with regards to Materials 4.0, the fourth industrial revolution. Modelling and simulation is a key enabling technology within Aerospace Technology Institute's strategy to reach zero carbon emissions by 2050. Modelling allows for the rapid insertion of new materials and manufacturing processes, in addition to the improved understanding and optimisation of current methods. The course includes key drivers in reaching zero carbon emissions, covering lithium battery manufacturing and coating technologies.

    This unit aims to provide knowledge and experience of advanced manufacturing techniques that will underpin the UK's future advanced materials manufacturing base and obtain knowledge and experience of advanced manufacturing process and material modelling to solve industrial problems.


    15 credits
    Aviation Safety and Aeroelasticity

    This module covers the area of engineering related to aeroelasticity and safety by means of analytical techniques and study cases. The students will develop a fundamental knowledge of aeroelasticity and its implications for aircraft design and operation and evaluate aircraft loading; be able to analyse different manoeuvres using heave/pitch aircraft models; and be able to calculate internal loads in different manoeuvres. The course will provide students with an understanding of aeroelastic phenomena including flutter and divergence. This course provides the methodology and techniques for prediction/detection of a number of aeroelastic effects.

    15 credits
    Design and Manufacture of Composites

    This module is designed to provide you with an understanding of both the design and manufacture of polymer composites and is presented in two sections. First, the design of composites is taught via tutorials on classical laminate theory. An extended series of worked examples provides you with the basic tools you need to design effective composite parts. Second, the manufacture of composites is taught via lectures. You will learn multiple routes for making composite parts alongside practical issues such as defects, machining/joints, failure, testing and non destructive testing, repair and SMART composites.

    15 credits
    Electronic Communication Technologies

    This module aims to provide you with a range of skills that are required when designing circuits and systems at high frequencies. Topics covered will include: electromagnetic interference mechanisms, circuit design techniques, filtering, screening, transmission lines, S-parameters, Smith charts, equivalent circuits for passive and active devices, radio frequency (RF) amplifier design, noise performance and nonlinearities of RF circuits and systems.

    15 credits
    Energy Storage Management

    This module looks at the storage and management of energy in electrical systems. It will consider:

    (a) Fuel cells: the basic principles of hydrogen fuel cells, reaction
    rate, cell interconnection, the bipolar plate, fuel cell types, ancillary components of a fuel cell system, advantages and disadvantages of fuel cell technologies.

    (b) Batteries and supercapacitors: battery chemistries, energy/power densities of different batteries. Differences between electrochemical energy storage and electrical energy storage in supercapacitors, performance characteristics, charging, modelling, thermal effects, and measurement.

    (c) Mechanical: Principles of mechanical energy storage, flywheels / compressed air. Mechanics of energy storage, precession torques and counter-rotating systems for vehicles. Energy management will include the ancillaries required to connect energy storage to the grid, including dc-dc and dc-ac inverters in addition to battery modelling approaches commonly used for state of charge and state of health monitoring.

    15 credits
    Engineering Alloys

    This module covers engineering metallic alloys ranging from alloy steels, stainless steels, light alloys (i.e. aluminium alloys and titanium alloys) and high temperature metallic systems (intermetallics and nickel superalloys). The module centres on the physical metallurgy of such engineering alloys to demonstrate the effect of alloying and implications for the processing, microstructure and performance of structural components in a range of industrial sectors, but predominantly the automotive and aerospace sectors.

    15 credits
    Industrial Applications of Finite Element Analysis

    The module aims to provide students with a thorough understanding of the principles of finite element modelling and its application to solve industrial engineering problems. A set of industry-relevant problems will be provided to students along with experimental results for model validation. Students will be allocated one of their preferred projects and will have to devise a modelling strategy to solve their particular problem. Knowledge will be drawn from lectures introducing the theory behind finite element modelling of dynamic problems for modal and transient analyses, non-linear problems including contact, material behaviour and large deformation as well as fracture.

    15 credits
    Motion Control and Servo Drives

    This module investigates, in detail, the performance and operational characteristic of both modern a.c. and d.c. variable speed drives and actuation systems, as well as their applications in electric/hybrid vehicle traction.

    15 credits
    Multisensor and Decision Systems

    The ability to use data and information from multiple sources and make informed decisions based on that data is key to many applications, e.g. manufacturing, aerospace, robotics, finance and healthcare. Through effective use of multisensory data and decision making we can reduce uncertainty, improve robustness and reliability, enhance efficiency and ultimately improve the performance of systems. In this module you will develop an in depth knowledge and understanding of multisensor and decision systems and the underlying mathematics and algorithms. You will develop your confidence in solving complex problems requiring the application of multisensory and decision techniques to a wide variety of applications.

    15 credits
    Real-Time Embedded Systems

    Many systems, for example; a control system, fault detection system or health monitoring system are required to work in real-time. Such systems can be developed and implemented using a CPU and external devices in an embedded system application/device to perform the desired tasks in the 'real' world. This module covers the hardware associated with building an embedded system and how the desired functionality and thus real-time operation of an embedded system can be realised through software/hardware.

    15 credits

    The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

    Open days

    An open day gives you the best opportunity to hear first-hand from our current students and staff about our courses.

    You may also be able to pre-book a department visit as part of a campus tour.Open days and campus tours


    1 year full-time


    • Lectures
    • Laboratory classes
    • Tutorials and example classes
    • Design classes
    • Industrial and research seminars
    • Group projects


    • Exams
    • Coursework assignments
    • Oral and poster presentations
    • Class tests


    Aerospace Engineering

    We work with the biggest names in industry to shape the future of aerospace engineering. We have strong partnerships with the likes of Airbus UK, BAE Systems, Boeing, EADS, Qinetiq and Rolls-Royce. Our work with them will introduce you to developments and techniques that are still new to industry. You'll gain both breadth and depth of engineering knowledge, as well as the transferable skills employers demand.

    Like the industry, Aerospace Engineering at Sheffield is interdisciplinary. You'll be taught by experts in aerospace materials, aerodynamics, flight control systems, avionics, aircraft design, aero propulsion, management and applied mathematics. Our unique approach will give you the competitive advantage when you graduate.

    Our courses will give you both academic knowledge and practical experience. Analyse flight performance and stability on our unique flying day, solve real-world engineering problems on the Global Engineering Challenge, or design, build and fly your own unmanned air vehicle as part of the MEng group design project.

    Entry requirements

    Minimum 2:1 undergraduate honours degree in a relevant engineering subject (eg mechanical, materials science, automatic control systems or electrical and electronic engineering).

    You should have high performance in mathematics modules (eg mathematics, advanced mathematics, engineering mathematics).

    We also consider a wide range of international qualifications:

    Entry requirements for international students

    Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

    Pathway programme for international students

    If you're an international student who does not meet the entry requirements for this course, you have the opportunity to apply for a pre-masters programme in Science and Engineering at the University of Sheffield International College. This course is designed to develop your English language and academic skills. Upon successful completion, you can progress to degree level study at the University of Sheffield.

    If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.


    You can apply now using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

    Apply now


    +44 114 222 7837

    Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

    Our student protection plan

    Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.