Why choose this course?
- Study at one of the largest engineering schools in the UK
- Access fantastic facilities, from flight simulators to wind tunnels
- 1st in the East of England for Aeronautical & Aerospace Engineering (2023 Complete University Guide)
You’d like to design aircraft and have a passion for flying.
We’ll teach you how to design from a pilot’s perspective. We’ll train you up in everything you need to know, from aircraft structures and materials to aerodynamics. There’ll also be opportunities to fly. We’re passionate about aerospace, and it’s an important part of our institution’s history. It’s how we began. Working with the de Havilland Aircraft Corporation and BAE Systems, the first aerospace engineers started their training back in 1952. As a result, our degree has an excellent and well-established reputation within the aerospace industry.
University of Hertfordshire aerospace engineers graduate with practical experience of design and development for future aerospace systems. You’ll get hands-on with our flight simulators, wind tunnels, specialist laboratories and CAE software. We have an open-access laboratory policy for students doing experiments in their own time. With an emphasis on Computer Aided Engineering, you’ll be using industrial standard software wherever possible.
We’re members of the CDIO Initiative (Conceive Design Implement Operate), a worldwide network of academic professionals, industry representatives and engineering leaders who have a passion for engineering education and engineering leadership. The CDIO framework has been embedded into our undergraduate degree programme, ensuring you’ll put into practice what you learn through “Design and Build” projects during your studies.
You’ll be taught by experienced aerospace staff, who’ll share their industry knowledge with you. There's plenty of support on offer to help you gain the skills you need to succeed. You'll get a personal tutor for the duration of your course, who can guide you all the way to graduation. You can also access our specialised Centre for Academic Skills. Our Learning Resources Centre is open 24/7, so you can study whenever suits you best, plus you’ll have access to online resources and online discussions with staff and students.
Like the students before you, you’ll benefit from our strong links to industry. Our students have had work placements at companies such as Airbus, Virgin Atlantic Engineering and BAE Systems. Recent Aerospace Engineering graduates have gone on to work at organisations including The Royal Air Force, Jaguar Land Rover and BAE Systems.
What's the course about?
In your first year, you’ll learn the fundamental skills and knowledge required by a modern engineer, including principles of flight and aircraft operations. You’ll be introduced to computer packages commonly used in the aerospace industry. You’ll also have the opportunity, at an additional cost, to sign up for a Flight Experience course at our partner flying school, Northwestern Michigan College in the USA and fly over the great lakes.
In your second year, the first-year core themes are developed for use in aerospace engineering. You’ll learn about the components and the electronics inside the airframe that enable the aircraft to be so widespread and the safest form of transport available. You’ll learn how aircraft are designed for their handling qualities, and expand your knowledge of aerodynamics, with wind tunnel experiments. You’ll also build your pilot skills by studying elements of PPL Ground School.
Additionally, you’ll learn about the design process through our practical CDIO modules. In a group, you will design and manufacture a model aircraft. The best models of the year will be taken to compete at the University Challenge organised by the British Model Flying Association. Your aircraft may be the winner!
Work placement/study abroad option: Between your second and final year, you can choose to take a work placement or a study abroad year. Both are valuable experiences and something you can add to your CV to make you stand out.
In your final year, in addition to your flight training you’ll work on two projects:
- The Aerospace Design group project - is where you’ll showcase your engineering skills. You will be allocated to a team to design a full-size aircraft and test fly it using our flight simulator. Every year the design task is different – in previous years, our students designed wide body commercial airliners, heavy cargo aircraft, fire-fighting aircraft and even strategic bombers.
- The Individual Project - is where you’ll immerse yourself in an area of aerospace engineering, you’re passionate about, using either the University or industrial facilities. This is a rewarding part of your degree that can lead to future employment.
Flying training is supported further by a Pilot Studies and Flight Analysis module and our flight simulation facilities.
Your main campus is College Lane
This is where the creative arts, science and health-related subjects are based. This means you’ll share the campus with future nurses, scientists, artists and more. You can use the common rooms to relax with friends, work out in the 24-hour gym or have a drink in our on-campus pub or cafes. We also have restaurants for you to eat in or grab something on the go. Our Learning Resources Centres are open 24/7, which means you can study whenever suits you best. Want to pop over to the other campus? You can take the free shuttle bus or walk there in just 15 minutes.
What will I study?
Degree programmes are structured into levels, 4, 5 and 6. These correspond to your first, second and third/final year of study. Below you can see what modules you’ll be studying in each.
Pratham - A day in the life on my aerospace engineering course
My name is Pratham Dharu and I am currently a Level 5 BEng Aerospace Engineering with Space Technology student at Herts.
I will be taking you through my average daily schedule on the most productive day of the week which would be Monday this semester 😀
A typical Monday
I usually start my day around 6am and wake up and start preparing all meals for the day. Once I am done cooking, I brew myself a cup of coffee and start walking towards The Oval for my morning gym session. After a sweaty session I go back to my room for a shower. After finishing my breakfast, I leave my flat at around 8.45am and go for my 9am Aerodynamics lecture. Aerodynamics is the study of objects under fluid flow - this module mainly covers fluid dynamics and mechanics. At Herts, we use multiple wind tunnels for aerodynamic testing such as CRM, Subsonic and Supersonic, also using industry-grade software such as CATIA and XFLR5 for computational simulations.
I always carry my charger and iPad with me so I can take notes and charge my phone anywhere on campus. After finishing the three-hour lecture, we get a one-hour break, after which I have my weekly appointment with my research mentor to discuss my progress in the research I am doing this year under the University’s undergraduate pathway research programme. After a great discussion with my mentor, I head back to my flat as it is already 1pm and I am hungry by this point in time 😋
After lunch, I clean my room and do my laundry then head to my 3pm practical session for Materials Science module - it's easy for me to get to the classes as it is just a five-minute walk from my flat. Materials is one of the most important topics for aerospace, as it deals with strength and testing different types of material for aircrafts and spacecrafts.
The University has various active student sessions suitable for both freshers and pro league players. The reason I go for active student sessions is not just the fitness, but the free merch you get for just participating in sports such as shirts and hoodies! After practice on my way back to College Lane on my bike, I stop at Aldi which is a two-minute walk from de Havilland Campus, pick up my weekly groceries and head back to my flat. I head to the LRC, which again is just a five-minute walk from my flat.
I finish my homework and work emails on the silent floor as I am the ‘do not disturb’ kind of person when it comes to work or academics. I complete all my work by 10pm and head back home.
This was a productive day in my weekly schedule but usually it is not this busy!
I enjoy going out with my friends to The Forum for Friday lights or karaoke nights on campus. I participate in a lot of active student and society events and am currently a committee member for four societies at Herts SU. I do occasionally spend my time on the Cessna 172 full scale flight simulators, especially a few days before when I must go for my flying classes so I can complete my 20 hours of flying before I graduate.
This was a typical day in the life of an average aerospace engineer 👨🎓
Pratham - About the aerospace learning facilities and how I use them on my course
Hello everyone! My name is Pratham and I’m currently studying BEng Aerospace Engineering with Space Technology at Herts.
I have already talked about the theory-based learning in a separate blog, but the real joy of engineering comes from making things happen and bringing things to the real world. I'm going to talk here about the engineering facilities I have benefited from at the University of Hertfordshire so far during my 18 months of studies.
The most important facility for any aerospace engineer would be simulators, both for pilot studies and engineering students. Herts has a variety of simulators such as the four-axis merlin simulator that is used for engineering model simulation in the final year projects, but students are trained on all the simulators in the first year. The University has two types of pilot studies simulators running on industry grade X plane software for training pilot studies students on navigations, communications and control systems. These labs are open access which means after appropriate training is done, students can book them to get their hours on the simulator.
Let’s talk about the facilities I used in my second year during the Materials module: the structural and materials lab that has various tensile testing machines. A particular highlight would be the SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope) which is one of the most amazing machines available to engineering students, for final year projects only.
The next lab I use a lot is the electronics and circuit fabrication labs which have thousands of different types of resistors, wires, circuits and so on. There is a soldering and fabrication room in the lab that students can use for both academic and personal projects (after approval).
So now it's time to talk about my favourite: the 3D printing and fabrication workshop! This lab has five different types of 3D printers, laser cutters and all the power and hand tools you could think of. My personal choice is 3D printing - it’s like giving candy to an engineer 😊
There are many students who like making the parts by themselves by using powered machines such as the lathe, grinder and CNC.
The primary tool of an aerodynamicist! The University has a total of four different wind tunnels - sub-sonic, transonic, closed return and supersonic which are helpful in your second and third years.
So, these are just a few facilities that engineering students at Herts are able to use on a day-to-day basis.
I hope to see all of you at Herts soon 👋
Pratham - aerospace engineering projects
Hello everyone! I'm Pratham, currently a second year BEng Aerospace Engineering with Space Technology student here at Herts.
Today, I would like to give an insight into the projects we do in the first year.
All the modules for BEng Aerospace are the same in the first year as students tend to be unclear about the field that they want to work in. It's then possible to specialise at the end of the first year based on what you learned and liked throughout the year.
Conceive Develop Implement and Operate (CDIO)
The first CDIO project that I came across in my first semester was in the Projects and Design module. The aim of the module was to get students familiar with Computer Aided Design (CAD), Project Timeline and Management and Aeromodelling. The task was simple: to make a long-range glider with foam and balsa wood. The challenge was justifying every design aspect and maintaining a dynamic engineering project timeline as all engineers must do in the industry.
At the end of the semester, there was a glider competition judged by industry professionals as well as a justification presentation graded by the faculty members based on your justification, delivery and design. Aeromodelling is the most common prototyping method still being used in aviation as it is cheap and gives a great idea about actual aircraft performance. Of course, there are more advanced tools used such as 3D printing and CNC in the industry, but you get to use these in your second year.
Robotics and microcontrollers
The second semester project we had was for Robotics and Microcontrollers: this module takes the CAD skills of students to a higher level by asking them to use CATIA V5, a standard industry software developed by Dassault Systems (a leading aviation and defence manufacturer). Students develop an ultrasonic sensor rover that can change direction when encountering an obstacle. Coding was an important aspect for this module, with tutorial help sessions available to students. At the end of the module, there is an obstacle track for the rover competition. This assignment tests the capability of students to work simultaneously on various parts of a standard engineering project such as CAD, programming, planning, management and testing.
So, this was a look at the first-year projects I did at the University! Do keep in mind that projects change every year, so you always have something fresh to make from your engineering skills.
Hope to see you all soon at School of SPECS!
Meet Temitayo Adedipe who has followed her passion for aviation at Leonardo in the helicopters divisionRead more stories Find out more about this course
|Current job role||Mechanical Engineering Graduate at Leonardo|
|Year of graduation||2020|
|Course of study||BEng (Hons) Aerospace Engineering|
Temitayo graduated in 2020 and was able to secure a graduate role soon afterwards. She takes up the story,
‘I am a Mechanical Engineering Graduate at Leonardo in the helicopters division. My passion for the aviation sector has existed for as long as I can remember. My role is particularly exciting as I have the opportunity to explore many aspects of the business through a variety of placements which means I am able to encounter different challenges. It always leaves me thinking, what's next, and with the sector being so vast, there is always more to learn.’
It wasn’t a straightforward path for Temitayo as she felt that gaps in her learning would mean she would find it hard to realise her dreams of working in the aviation industry. However with the support of her lecturers she flourished academically.
‘When I received my A-Level results, I didn't think that any university would accept me. I naturally excelled in humanities subjects including English and Sociology but in Maths and Physics, both of which were crucial for my the path I had chosen, my performance was lacking.
Herts accepted me however and after completing my foundation year, my grades reflected a new person entirely and continued to do so over the years that followed.
I found the subjects challenging, but I was consistently supported by lecturers who were not only endowed with a wealth of knowledge and experience but also with a capacity to communicate and, where necessary, translate that knowledge in a way that I could not only understand but also apply to real world problems.’
The key to success
Temitayo feels that the different aspects of the course were key to her success and says,‘My course connected me with lecturers and gave me the resources that helped me get where I am today. I was able to develop and enhance my problem solving skills and teamwork efforts. Herts was also important in helping build my confidence in asking questions and viewing problems from different angles to arrive at the best possible solution.’
'I would love to say I chose Herts but instead I am honoured to be able to say that Herts chose me and looking back on the years I spent at the University and the years that have followed, where and who I am now, the opportunities and experiences, the friendships and connections, there is no place I would have rather spent those years.'
Temitayo has clear ambitions and is very keen to remain in the industry she enjoys so much. 'I am excited for the future and I intend to remain curious. In doing so, I hope to take on key roles in helping achieve a greener, more sustainable aviation sector.'
Meet Kennedy Ameh who has explored his passion for the aviation industry since graduating. He currently works as the Head of Operations Strategy at Collins Aerospace.Read more stories Find out more about this course
|Current job role||Head of Operations Strategy|
|Year of graduation||2010|
|Course of study||BEng (Hons) Aerospace Engineering|
Since graduating, Kennedy has gone on to work for Collins Aerospace, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. He currently holds the role Head of Operations Strategy within the organisations Mechanical Systems Business Unit. 'I joined through the graduate development programme, and I have held roles of increasing responsibility throughout my career here. In my role, I am responsible for creating, developing and executing manufacturing strategy across six global sites in Asia and Europe.' Kennedy credits being ‘results driven’ and always rising to the challenge as the driving factors that have gotten him to where he is today.
University experience and opportunities
Kennedy recognises the impact the University made on his career, having been exposed to many fantastic opportunities during his time as a student. He says, 'During my time at the University, I was exposed to a faculty of experts that drew from industry experience and transferred this knowledge to the classroom. I also acquired a plethora of information through the Learning Resources Centre during my placement year in the industry. During my studies, I was challenged to think differently, identifying solutions before problems. I was taught to use my initiative and leverage on teamwork.'
A key factor that made Kennedy choose the University was the diverse community. He says, 'As an international student, the vibrant international community at the University was important to me. However, the real attraction was the rich aviation heritage of the University of Hertfordshire.' Kennedy took advantage of the University’s industry connections to propel himself forward in the sector.
Aspirations for the future
Looking forward, Kennedy intends to stay at Collins Aerospace yet still remains ambitious. He says, 'I want to run an aviation business in the future and I am very conscious of the opportunities emerging in markets like Africa. I hope to be an employer on the continent to enhance, enable and empower young minds like mine to operate globally.'