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. Students can also take the Industrial Placement Year, providing the opportunity for a year-long placement with an engineering-based organisation.
This integrated masters degree programme is aimed at students who are fascinated by spacecraft design, systems and operation. The first two years are identical to the BEng and MEng Aeronautics and Astronautics, where you will gain a solid foundation in aerospace engineering such as aerodynamics, astronautics and propulsion along with a wider appreciation of the economic, legal and environmental issues associated with aircraft operations and aircraft performance. In the final two years of the course, the emphasis is on system design and the operation of spacecraft. This course offers great flexibility for graduates who wish to keep their options open for careers within the aerospace industry.
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 design project. Previous examples include the design and build of a small satellite or cubesat 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.
You can also take the Industrial Placement Year, which is an additional year-long module that allows you to apply for a placement with an engineering-based organisation. The successful placement will be recognised on your Degree Certificate.
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.
Ranked fifth in the Complete University Guide 2016
92% of our students were in a professional job or further study six months after graduation (DLHE, 2013/14)
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
100% of students agreed that staff are good at explaining things (NSS, 2016)
“The University of Southampton is listed everywhere as a highly ranked university and it’s one of the few in the UK with an actual spacecraft specific degree. I feel that the facilities, such as the vacuum chamber, have given us great insight into what the actual industry uses. It’s been a great experience.”
English Language and Mathematics at Grade C or above
A*AA (A*A in Mathematics and Physics with a pass in Physics Practical)
GCE A-level and EPQ A*AB (A*A in Mathematics and Physics with a pass in Physics Practical) with grade A in the Extended Project Qualification
38 points overall, 18 at higher level including 6 in both Higher Mathematics and Higher Physics
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 programmes, you will need an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 6.5 or an equivalent qualification approved by the University.
Scottish Advanced Highers / Highers
Scottish Advanced Highers - AAA including Mathematics and Physics Or Scottish Advanced Highers – AA (Mathematics and Physics) and Scottish Highers AA (non-compulsory subjects)
Welsh Baccalaureate (2014) + A Levels
Grade A in Skills Challenge Certificate, A*A in GCE A Levels, Mathematics and Physics with a pass in physics practical
D2D3D3 with D2D3 in either Mathematics or Physics and D3 in third subject
Distinction overall with distinctions in Analytical Methods and Further Analytical Methods
Access to HE Diploma
Not acceptable – refer to Engineering Foundation Year
85% overall, minimum of 85% in Mathematics (level 5 or Advanced) and Physics
Irish Leaving Certificate
AAAAA including A in Mathematics and Physics
15/20 overall, Minimum of 15/20 in Mathematics and Physics
The University of Southampton is committed to widening participation and ensuring that all students with the potential to succeed, regardless of their background, are encouraged to apply to study with us. The additional information gained through contextual data supports our admissions teams to recognise a student’s potential to succeed in the context of their background and experience. Students who are recognised in this way will be made an offer which is lower than the typical offer for that programme.
A typical contextual offer is AAB (AA in Mathematics and Physics with a pass in the Physics practical) from three A levels or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University.
If you want to study for a degree in Engineering, Physics, Mathematics, or Geophysics but you did not choose mathematics and physics at A level, our Foundation Year may be of interest to you. The Engineering/Physics/Maths/Geophysics Foundation Year is a one-year full-time course integrated with a further three or four-year degree course. Find out more about the Foundation Year.
Intake 95-100 (total part 1 Aeronautics & Astronautics cohort)
Average applications per place:
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.
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 spacecraft 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.
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.
All modules below are compulsory. No optional modules to be undertaken in Year 1
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.
All modules below are compulsory. No optional modules to be undertaken in Year 2
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.
Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the
programme and the learning outcomes that a typical
student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage
of the learning opportunities that are provided.
More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide
Fees & funding
Course fees for 2017/18 full-time UK and EU undergraduate students are typically
£9,250 per year.
Tuition fees for international students differ between each course. Most
part-time courses cost 50% of the full-time fee.
Scholarships, bursaries or grants may be available to support you through your
Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or
your country of origin.
These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.
Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such
essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the
academic requirements for each programme of study.
There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the
Approved calculators: Candidates may use calculators in the examination room only as specified by the University and as permitted by the rubric of individual examination papers. The University approved models are Casio FX-570 and Casio FX-85GT Plus. These may be purchased from any source and no longer need to carry the University logo.
You will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
Where a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source.
Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
Design equipment and materials: Standard construction/modelling materials will be provided where appropriate, unless otherwise specified in a module profile.
For customisation of designs/models calling for material other than standard construction/ modelling materials, students will bear the costs of such alternatives.
Field equipment and materials: A number of essential items will be provided to you e.g.: field notebook(s); compass-clinometer; geological hammer; steel tape measure; map case; pocket lens (x 10); safety helmet; safety goggles; bottle of dilute hydrochloric acid.
However, you will need provide yourselves with a ruler; a pair of compasses; set squares; protractor; pencils (including coloured); eraser; calculator, penknife. These can be purchased from any source.
Field course clothing: You will need to wear suitable clothing when attending field courses, e.g. waterproofs, walking boots. You can purchase these from any source.
Printing and copying
In some cases, coursework and/or projects may be submitted electronically. Where it is not possible to submit electronically students will be liable for printing costs, which are detailed in the individual module profile. Students are responsible for the printing costs of their poster for the Poster Presentation Day. This may range from approximately £5 - £20.
Optional visits: Some modules may include additional optional visits. You will normally be expected to cover the cost of travel and admission, unless otherwise specified in the module profile.
In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated
with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also
ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and
Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.
98% of students entered graduate-level jobs or further study within six months of graduation (Guardian University Guide, 2016). 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 and Employability Service.
Learning & 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 application is integral to our courses, providing students with hands-on engineering experience in our world-class facilities.
You will attend site visits to experience engineering in practice, put your theoretical knowledge to the test in our laboratories and undertake project work to develop your management, communication and team working skills. Your analytical and problem solving skills will be developed through regular problem sheets, individual and small group exercises.
Design projects in each year offer the opportunity for you to develop unique engineering solutions. Visit the Design Show blog to see examples of our students’ design work.
Our annual Design Show celebrates the innovative and ambitious design projects produced by our undergraduate students during the academic year.
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.
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.