About this course
Develop your expertise in spacecraft engineering on this MSc Space Systems Engineering course, unique to the University of Southampton. Developed by world-class experts from our Astronautics Research Group and endorsed by the UK Space Agency, it will give you the skills and knowledge to pursue further specialism, whether you’re a recent engineering, science or maths graduate or already working in the aerospace industry.
On this UK master's degree, MSc degree you'll gain a detailed overview of how to design a total space system. You’ll learn how the various component subsystems function and integrate with one another, and gain advanced knowledge of space systems engineering.
Drawing on content from the professional courses we run for the European Space Agency and spacecraft industry, this master's course is ideal for both graduates and those who already have some professional experience of astronautics or aerospace engineering.
The degree has a strong practical focus. You’ll take part in individual and group design projects as well as conducting your own critical research project, allowing you to develop your expertise in spacecraft engineering.
You’ll be able to put theory into practice with the help of world-class facilities such as our spacecraft propulsion laboratory, autonomous systems test bed and shaker table.
Your course leader is Dr Zhiwei Hu, Reginald Platt Lecturer in Civil Aviation within Engineering and Physical Sciences. His research interests include turbulence simulations, computational fluid dynamics and high-speed train aerodynamics. Visit Dr Hu's staff profile to read more about his work.
This course is based at Highfield.
This qualification is awarded by the University of Southampton.
Download the programme specification
The programme specification sets out the learning outcomes of this course and details how the course is taught and assessed.
In light of COVID-19, we’ve made changes to some elements of course delivery for 2020-21. For details as to how this has changed delivery for this course, please view the Addendum to the Programme Specification PDF.
You’ll need a 2:1 degree in engineering, maths, physical sciences or a related subject.
Find the equivalent international qualifications for your country.
Recognition of professional experience
If you don't have the exact entry requirements, but you have significant work experience in this sector we’ll assess your relevant professional experience, your subject knowledge and your aptitude for learning.
Your application will be considered on individual merit and you may be asked to attend an interview.
Got a question?
If you're not sure that you have the right experience or qualifications to get onto this course please contact our enquiries team; we're very happy to help.Email: email@example.com
Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5000
COVID-19: we've made some changes to the structure of the course for this academic year. Download the programme specification addendum in 'About this course' to learn more.
This full-time master's course runs for a whole year.
For the first 8 months (semesters 1 and 2) you’ll focus on the taught part of the course. Exams take place at the end of each semester.
You'll spend the last 4 months of your course working full-time on your research project. You’ll be able to do some preparation for this in semester 2.
Want more detail? See all the modules in the course.
COVID-19: we've made some changes to our modules for this academic year. Download the programme specification addendum in 'About this course' to learn more.
For entry in Academic Year 2020-21
You must study the following modules in year 1:
You must also choose from the following modules in year 1:
Learning and assessment
COVID-19: we've made some changes to our learning and assessment methods for this academic year. Download the programme specification addendum in 'About this course' to learn more.
Learning methods depend on your choice of modules, but could include:
- practical laboratory work
- individual and group projects
Your learning will be enhanced by our industry-standard facilities, including spacecraft propulsion laboratory, autonomous systems test bed and shaker table.
We'll assess you through:
- written exams
- problem-solving exercises
- laboratory reports
- design exercises
- individual and group projects
You'll carry out a research project and complete a dissertation, focusing on an area you've studied in the taught part of the course.
The project is a chance for you to show the skills and knowledge you've gained in the first 2 semesters.
- past research projects include:
- designing a very low Earth orbit (VLEO) satellite constellation
- the development of a microwave electron cyclotron resonance gridded ion thruster
- an ultra-small nano-Hall effect thruster for operation on CubeSats
You’ll be assigned a personal academic tutor at the start of your degree. They’ll provide you with personal support and advice throughout your course.
Endorsed by the UK Space Agency, this course has a strong industry reputation and will equip astronautics and aerospace engineering professionals for further specialisation in spacecraft engineering.
Roles you'll be qualified for include spacecraft systems engineer and aerospace software engineer. Our graduates have gone on to work at organisations including:
- Canadian Space Agency
- Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
You’ll also be in the perfect position to continue your studies at PhD level.
Careers services at Southampton
We're a top 20 UK university for employability (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2019). Our Careers and Employability Service will support you throughout your time as a student and for up to 5 years after graduation. This support includes:
- work experience schemes
- CV/resume and interview skills workshops
- networking events
- careers fairs attended by top employers
- a wealth of volunteering opportunities
- study abroad and summer school opportunities
We have a vibrant entrepreneurship culture. You'll be able to take advantage of:
Fees, costs and funding
Fees for a year's study:
- UK/EU students pay £9,250.
- International students pay £23,136.
What your fees pay for
Your tuition fee covers the full cost of tuition and all examinations.
10% alumni discount
If you’re a graduate of the University of Southampton you get a 10% discount on your postgraduate tuition fees.
Postgraduate Master’s Loans (UK and EU nationals only)
This can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate master's course. Find out if you're eligible.
Funding your postgraduate studies
A variety of additional scholarships, grants and bursaries may be available to help you fund your master’s study, both from the University and from other organisations.
How to apply
You can apply directly through our online form by using the apply button on this page.
Applications must be received no later than 4 weeks before the start of the course. You must supply all supporting documentation at least two weeks before starting your course.
We recommend you apply at least 6 weeks before the start of the course to ensure you're able to meet our requirements and apply for a visa in time.
We cannot guarantee students who do not meet these deadlines will be able to begin their course.
When you apply you’ll need to submit a personal statement explaining why you want to take the course.
You’ll need to include information about:
- your knowledge of the subject area
- why you want to study a postgraduate qualification in this course
- how you intend to use your qualification
You'll also need to send 2 academic references.
Please include the required paperwork showing your first degree and your IELTS English language test score (if you are a non-native English speaker) with your application. Without these, your application may be delayed.
Learn more about how to apply with our postgraduate application guide.
What happens after you apply
You'll be able to track your application through our online Applicant Record System.
We will assess your application on the strength of your:
- academic achievements
- relevant professional experience
- personal statement
- academic references
We'll get back to you within 6 weeks with a decision about your application.
Equality and diversity
We treat and select everyone in line with our Equality and Diversity Statement.
Got a question?
Please contact us if you're not sure you have the right experience or qualifications to get onto this course.
Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5000