Engineering and the Environment

H493 MEng Aeronautics & Astronautics / Spacecraft Engineering (4 yrs)

A four-year course covering the overall system design of spacecraft which also includes details of the subsystems and their interfaces. This course is aimed at students who may be interested in pursuing a career in the spacecraft industry.

Programme Overview

Spacecraft design draws on several engineering disciplines to meet specification requirements. You will be taught to design, examine and test spacecraft systems. We also teach you the principles of Concurrent Spacecraft Design and how to consider the environmental impact of designing and operating these systems.

The first two years will enhance your core knowledge of aerospace engineering subjects and develop your computational design skills, sharing the same content as the MEng Aeronautics & Astronautics. You will also take a practical short course in flight testing at Southampton International Airport, where experiments are performed on board a Jetstream aircraft.

In years three and four, the emphasis is placed on the overall system design of spacecraft. You will carry out an individual project and  group aircraft design project. Previous examples include the design and build of an unmanned air vehicle and a lunar hopper. In your final year, you have the option to specialise with more advanced aerospace topics or those outside the aerospace discipline.

View the specification document for this course

To Apply

All undergraduate applications should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Click on the How to Apply tab of the navigation menu on this page for detailed information on how to apply and further details about UCAS' website, phone and contact details. Specific application deadlines are available on the UCAS website.


  • Engineering Council

Accredited by the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) and the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) on behalf of the Engineering Council for the purposes of fully meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered Engineer.

Key facts

    • Number 4 in Guardian University Guide 2016 for Mechanical Engineering which includes our Aerospace degrees
    • 90% of our students said they were in a professional job six months after graduation
    • BAE Systems preferred course, preferred academic supplier to Airbus and an academic partner of Agusta Westland.
    • Deployed on the outside of the ESA Columbus laboratory (International Space Station),  there is an experiment package designed and built by our staff and students, which aims to monitor part of the space environment.
Lunar hopper design project

Students designed and built a lunar hopper for their final year project

Lunar hopper design project

National Student Survey 2015

National Student Survey 2015

MEng Aeronautics & Astronautics is also taught at our Malaysia campus

MEng Aeronautics & Astronautics is also taught at our Malaysia campus

Entry requirements

Typical entry requirements

A Levels:

A levels: A*AA, including mathematics and physics (A* in either). General Studies, Critical Thinking, Use of Maths, Thinking Skills not accepted


38 points overall, 18 at higher level including 6 in both Higher Mathematics and Higher Physics 

GCSE requirements

English Language, at Grade C or above

English Language requirements

If your first language is not English, we need to ensure that your listening, written and spoken English skills would enable you to enjoy the full benefit of your studies. For entry onto our courses, you will need an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 6.5 or an equivalent qualification.

Equivalent Qualifications

Qualification Entry criteria
Scottish Advanced Highers AAA including Mathematics and Physics
Welsh Baccalaureate (2014) + A Levels Pass in Core, A*A in Mathematics and Physics
Cambridge Pre-U D2D3D3 including Mathematics and Physics
D*DD overall and distinctions in Analytical Methods and Further Analytical Methods
Access to HE Diploma Not acceptable – refer to Engineering Foundation Year
European Baccalaureate 85% overall, minimum of 85% in Mathematics (level 5 or Advanced) and Physics
Irish Leaving Certificate AAAAA including Mathematics and Physics
French Baccalaureate 15/20 overall, Minimum of 15/20 in Mathematics and Physics

Selection process:

Intake: Intake 95-100 (total part 1 Aeronautics & Astronautics cohort)
Average applicants per place: 8

While the average level entry onto our degree courses is among the highest in the UK, we always look carefully at each individual application. In addition to your examination grades, we also take into account your personal statement and references. These give us an indication of your personal attributes and your enthusiasm for your chosen area of study.

All individuals are selected and treated on their relative merits and abilities in line with the University’s Equal Opportunities Policy. Disabled applicants will be treated according to the same procedures as any other applicant with the added involvement of the Disability Office to assess their needs. The course may require adaptation for students with disabilities (e.g. hearing impairment, visual impairment, mobility difficulties, dyslexia), particularly the practical laboratory sessions, and we will attempt to accommodate students wherever possible.

Visit our International Office website or the NARIC website for further information on qualifications.


Typical course content

Whichever course you choose, you will study a number of core subjects during the first two years. These provide sound preparation for the final part of the degree. You will concentrate on the fundamentals of engineering and gain the skills and understanding required to use information technology in an engineering context.

In Year 3, you will have the opportunity to specialise or retain a broad-based study path through a wide selection of subject modules. You will also undertake an individual project that usually takes the form of a design or research exercise, and involves the production of a formal report. A group aircraft (or spacecraft) design exercise is completed in Year 3.

In Year 4, MEng students participate in a Group Design Project (GDP). These projects are often linked to current research activities or topics that have practical relevance to industry.

Special Requirements - All Courses

Students are expected to take an exciting one-week practical course in Flight Testing following Semester 2 examinations. The course is usually arranged for candidates in their second year and is held at Southampton International Airport. The fees for this course are covered by the University, in normal circumstances.

Visits to industry and research establishments are organised for Part I and Part II candidates in the summer term. Candidates are required to attend the Part I Workshop Training Course unless exemption is given by the School.

Candidates are required to attend the Part II course in Library Search Techniques. This is normally held after the Semester 2 examinations. Assignments set in this course will be formally assessed as part of their examination requirements.

Year 1

The first year provides a background in engineering science, emphasising aerospace aspects. One example is mechanics of flight, involving the performance of an aircraft acted upon by aerodynamic, thrust and gravitational forces.

Semester One

All modules below are compulsory. No optional modules to be undertaken in Year 1


Semester Two

All modules below are compulsory. No optional modules to be undertaken in Year 1


Year 2

The second year covers the main aerospace engineering subjects. Towards the end of this year you will take a short course in flight testing, in which experiments are performed on board a Jetstream aircraft. A total of 120 credits across two semesters.

Semester One

All modules below are compulsory. No optional modules to be undertaken in Year 2


Semester Two

All modules below are compulsory. No optional modules to be undertaken in Year 2


Year 3

In the third year the course includes an individual project.

Semester Two


Year 4

In the fourth year the course includes a Group Design Project (FEEG6013), which is compulsory for this theme and totals 45 credit points at level M. This, along with further 60 credits of compulsory spacecraft modules leaves students with 45 credit points of Optional modules to undertake between Semester 1  and Semester 2, as follows: up to 45 credit points can come from the level M option list with a maximum of 30 credit points selected from the level H or level M option list below.

Learning and assessment

Teaching and learning

At Southampton, our students form knowledge and understanding through a combination of lectures, tutorials, classes, laboratory experiments, coursework and individual and group projects. You will broaden your formal learning by becoming an active student member of a professional institution and our student Engineering Society, SUES. We will also teach you the transferable skills to present written and oral presentations.

A practical approach

Practical experience is a strong theme on our course. You will attend site visits, put your theoretical knowledge to the test in labs and get involved in real-life project work. Analysis and problem solving skills will be developed through regular problem sheets and small group exercises by your module lecturers. Individual feedback is provided on all work submitted.

Ground-breaking research

Your education will be timely and relevant while you are taught by our world-leading academics who are at the forefront of their field. This is especially important in engineering where technology is advancing rapidly. We also have a global network of companies, shared facilities and expertise to draw on to advance your learning curve.

Assessment and examinations

Testing is conducted through a combination of unseen written examinations and assessed coursework in the form of problem solving exercises, laboratory reports, design exercises, essays, and individual and group projects. Experimental, research and design skills are assessed through laboratory reports, coursework exercises and oral presentations.

Student support

Every student on our MEng Aeronautics and Astronautics/Spacecraft Engineering course is assigned a personal tutor from the start of their degree, in addition to a course tutor.

Course Lead

Dr Jae Wook Kim

Career Opportunities

6 months after graduation

Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Survey

6 months after graduation

Our graduates can been seen in a variety of positions – mechanical design engineer, electric propulsion engineer and graduate trainee engineer. Some of the companies they work for include European Space Agency, Frazer Nash Consultancy and Rolls-Royce.

We provide you with a dedicated Employment Officer who will help build your skills profile and point you in the right direction. We also have connections with local, national and international employers as well as the University Careers Advisory Service.