Engineering and the Environment

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

A four-year programme covering the overall system design of spacecraft which also includes details of the subsystems and their interfaces.

Programme Overview

This programme is aimed at students who may be interested in pursuing a career in the spacecraft industry. It retains the breadth of the H401 MEng Aeronautics & Astronautics programme, with which it shares the same content in Years 1 and 2. In Years 3 and 4 elements of the aerospace design content of the H401 programme are retained, but the emphasis is more on the overall system design of spacecraft. Therefore this programme offers great flexibility for graduates in terms of future career options within the aerospace industry.

In Year 3, instead of Aircraft Design you will study Concurrent Spacecraft Design as well as Spacecraft Systems & Design. In Year 4 you will have a choice of more advanced spacecraft systems and design modules, such as Spacecraft Propulsion, Spacecraft Instrumentation and Spacecraft Structural Design, in addition to a Group Design Project. You will also have the opportunity to choose from our wide range of engineering and multidisciplinary modules.


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.


  • In collaboration with AGI

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.

Programme Structure

The teaching is structured on a semester pattern. You study modules comprising 120 credits in each of Parts I (level 4), II (level 5) and III (level 6), and 150 credits in Part IV (level 7).

There are two degree possibilities in the programme of study:

  • Three years full-time, leading to a Bachelor of Engineering (BEng).
  • Four years full-time, leading to a Master of Engineering (MEng) in one of several specialist themes.

In addition there are the following exit points:

  • Certificate of Higher education, following successful completion of Part I.
  • Diploma of Higher education, following successful completion of Part II.
  • Ordinary Degree of Bachelor of Engineering BEng (Ordinary), following successful completion of at least 300 credit points, including 60 points at level H.

A University credit is the equivalent of 10 notional study hours. Each module is a self-contained part of the programme of study and carries a credit rating. The duration of all the programmes may be extended by one year through enrolment on the Engineering Foundation Year.

Key facts

  • Number 2 in the Sunday Times University Guide 2014 for Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering.

  • 90% of our students said they were in a professional/ managerial job at 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 staff and students within Engineering Sciences, which aims to monitor part of the space environment.

“The reputation and content of my degree gave me a fantastic foundation for my future career. After graduating, I worked for Airbus before moving on to work at the British Microlight Aircraft Association (BMAA), where I’m Chief Technical Officer. I am involved in all aspects of aircraft design, approval and continuing airworthiness, including flight testing and accident investigation. Many of my course notes are on the shelf by my desk and are frequently consulted.”

Jon Viner, Chief Technical Officer | BMAA

Entry requirements

Typical entry requirements


GCSE English Language, at Grade C or above


A Levels:

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


International Baccalaureate 38 points overall, 18 at higher level including 6 in both Higher Mathematics and Higher Physics
European Baccalaureate 85% overall, minimum of 85% in Mathematics (level 5 or Advanced) and Physics
French Baccalaureate 15/20 overall, Minimum of 15/20 in Mathematics and 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.

Equivalent Qualifications

We are always happy to receive applications from candidates with equivalent qualifications. If you are unsure about our entry criteria, please contact our admissions staff who would be happy to provide advice in advance of your application.

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 programmes 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 programme 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 programme 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.

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

Educational aims of the programme

The aims of the programme are to:

  • provide you with a sound understanding of the fundamental principles, methods, analysis and synthesis in engineering design and applications appropriate to the Aeronautics, Astronautics and Space Systems disciplines that comprise Aerospace Engineering
  • provide you with a range of specialist modules integrated within the structured learning environment, reflecting the internationally-renowned research expertise within Engineering Sciences, in order to broaden and deepen your educational experience
  • train you to enable you to become professional aerospace engineers that meet the requirements of the Engineering Council (i.e. UK-SPEC), and to have a broad range of knowledge and skills (including IT and communication) capable of meeting the present and future demands of industry and commerce
  • offer you a degree structure that is relevant to industry and responsive to changes in technology and the needs of the community
  • provide you with a supportive and intellectually stimulating environment that encourages an attitude of independent learning and enquiry, and fosters an ethos of lifetime learning and professional development
  • offer you individual and group projects and assignments which are supported by the research activities within Engineering Sciences and stimulate individual innovation, selfassessment and teamwork skills required in engineering design

Teaching and learning methods

Knowledge and understanding

Knowledge and understanding is gained through a combination of formal and special lectures, tutorials (small group teaching), example classes, laboratory experiments, coursework and individual and group projects at all Levels. Throughout the programme you are encouraged to use additional recommended reading material for private study to consolidate the formal learning process, and to broaden and deepen your understanding. You are encouraged to become student members of the professional institution, to use their libraries and resources, and attend meetings.

Intellectual skills

These are developed through the teaching and learning activities. Analysis and problem solving skills are further developed through regular problem sheets issued by module lecturers and through small group teaching. Experimental, research and design skills are further developed through coursework exercises, laboratory, and design and research projects. Individual feedback is provided on all work submitted. Appreciation of the practical applications of these skills is provided by interaction with industry through visiting lectures and industrial visits.

Assessment methods

Testing of the knowledge base is 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.

Analysis and problem solving skills are assessed through unseen written examinations and problem based exercises. Experimental, research and design skills are assessed through laboratory reports, coursework exercises, project reports and oral presentations.

The tutorial system

Every student is assigned a personal tutor when they start their university degree. Your course tutor changes every semester, but your personal tutor will stay the same throughout your time here. Your personal tutor will meet you when you enrol, and you will see him/her three or four times a term in the first year, for academic as well as pastoral support. She or he is accessible throughout your time in Southampton.


Our research is relevant to your undergraduate course because you will be taught by people who are experts in their area of research. This is especially important for science subjects, where knowledge is advancing rapidly. This is particularly true for your final year. In your third year, you have the opportunity to do an individual research project.


We have our own team of administrators who act as a point of contact for day-to-day advice and information for undergraduate students. They are also responsible for collecting assignments and issuing the documents and forms which are required during your period of study.

Programme leader

Dr John S Shrimpton

Career Opportunities

Our Aeronautics and Astronautics degrees open up a wide range of exciting career opportunities. Previous graduate jobs have included aerospace engineer, pilot, race car designer, IT and management consultant, software and systems engineer, as well as roles in research and postgraduate study.

If you are considering a career in the armed forces, Southampton is one of the universities designated for the Defence Technical Undergraduate Scheme, which provides sponsored places to students on specific courses, including Aeronautics and Astronautics, and has active Army, Navy and Air Force units.

Among our many successful Aeronautics and Astronautics graduates is Adrian Newey, who has worked as an F1 designer for Williams and Mclaren, and is now the chief technical officer of the Red Bull F1 racing team. Top motor racing teams look to Southampton for the best new aerodynamics talent for the future.