Example programme structure

Aerospace Engineering MSc

2017 example programme structure

The Aerospace Engineering MSc is studied for a full year. Semester 1 starts in September and you will study four units that are essential to getting a good start in your Aerospace Engineering MSc programme.

These units are:

  • Advanced Aerospace Design

The Advanced Aerospace Design unit provides an opportunity for Aerospace MSc students to undertake a two semester design, build and test group activity based around an autonomous unmanned air vehicle application. Groups of around 8 students take on a variety of roles depending on their area of interest, for example structures, avionics, aerodynamics, project manager, manufacturing. Students learn to apply theoretical knowledge in a practical engineering context culminating in demonstration of fully autonomous flight at the end of the unit.

  • Computational Fluid Dynamics

The CFD unit introduces the basic finite volume discretization techniques that are used in most general purpose computational fluid dynamics codes to simulate a wide variety of fluid flows.  The emphasis is on understanding the algorithms and approximations used, so that students will appreciate the strengths and limitations of different approaches and be able to make informed and sensible choices of which options to select when running most CFD software packages, in order to obtain reliable and accurate results.

  • Research Methods

This unit introduces MSc students to the Scientific Method with emphasis on relevance to research projects and dissertation writing. It equips students with the basic skills to design, implement and communicate research. Students will learn how to identify research questions, critically evaluate scientific literature, and apply appropriate methodologies. They will develop skills for the robust analysis of results. The unit covers academic writing skills for production of papers, reports and dissertations; as well as how to effectively deliver oral presentations to a range of audiences. Students will be introduced to the topics of Academic Integrity, Ethics and avoidance of plagiarism. Course appropriate Programming such as MATLAB and FORTRAN will also be included. Training in these essential research competences will be completed before the students embark on their projects to enable students to maximise their academic potential and produce high quality dissertations.

  • Experimental Methods

Experimentation in engineering is a crucial part of any design, research or production process. This unit contains both theoretical and practical aspects of experimentation including signal processing relevant to any engineering discipline. These skills will be reinforced in both a theoretical and a practical experimental sense through the design and implementation of an experiment. Specialist material focused on discipline-specific techniques and practices will also be covered. This unit, developed with input from industrial partners, will provide students with a set of desirable and transferable skills relevant to modern experimental engineering and will prepare them for a career in either research or industry.

Each unit is worth 15 credits and will take a total of about 150 hours of study time. You study will typically include attending lectures, tutorials and laboratory sessions. You will be assessed by submitting coursework and by taking examinations.

After a short break in teaching in late December/ New Year you will take your semester one examinations. In late January semester two commences and you will study four units (choosing three of the option units to go with the one compulsory unit:

  • Advanced Aerospace Design - compulsory (see description above)
  • Helicopters - option

Helicopters are heavier-than-air vehicles which have a variety of configurations (conventional, tandem rotors, compound helicopters, tilt-rotors, etc.). Helicopters have vertical take-off and landing capability and offer a wide performance envelope with utility, commercial and military operators. Helicopters operate around the world in challenging environments, day and night, and save lives every day on land and at sea, in mountain areas and in the arctic.

This is a multi-disciplinary unit in which we examine aspects such as rotor blade aerodynamics, flight dynamics, propulsion systems, mechanical systems, flight performance and stability, as well as helicopter design. The knowledge gained from this course can be equally applied to propellers and wind turbines, and more generally to the field of mechanical and aerospace design.

  • Advanced Computational Fluid Dynamics - option

Students will have been exposed to core concepts of Computational Fluid Dynamics prior to taking this course, and will have covered the numerical methods and tools in use by the majority of today’s industries, such as finite volume or finite difference methods. We extend this by focusing on ‘real world challenges’ and ‘emerging technology’. In the first instance we cast an industrial perspective on the topic, reviewing the range techniques for resolving turbulent flows and the problems posed in handing complex geometries. Subsequently this unit offers the opportunity to examine and experiment with more recently developed and emerging methods, such as Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics and the Lattice Boltzmann Method. The unit represents a unique opportunity to compare and contrast several emerging methods for CFD, which is rarely available in a single program. The School of MACE is able to call upon academics working across a broad range of CFD applications. Students will be exposed to methods and topics at the forefront of academic research and will be able to use this knowledge to inform their CFD-related decision making in their future career.

The detailed insight and applied knowledge of both workhorse and emerging technologies form key components of all future engineers, and the field of Computational Fluid Dynamics is no exception. The hands-on experience and the opportunity to assess and compare a suite of techniques and methods will provide students with a unique perspective of the role CFD has to play in the engineering world, both from an applied and a more blue-sky perspective.

  • Composites and Polymers - option

This unit introduces students to composite materials which are finding increasing applications in various engineering fields due to their advantages over their metallic counterparts.  It covers a wide range of topics, including materials, manufacturing techniques, quality inspection and mechanics of composite materials and structures.  The intended learning outcomes are focussed on the basic knowledge of composite materials and understanding of the design and analysis of composite structures.  The unit will enable students to consider the options of using composites and make a reasonable choice of composites for new design purposes taking account of appropriate manufacturing process. Students will develop skills for the design and analysis of advanced engineering composite structures (aerospace, naval, automotive, etc.) in the future.

  • Advanced Vibrations and Aero-acoustics - option

Noise and vibration is an important part of all engineering.  

Excessive noise can lead to severe restrictions of use, whilst vibration can affect the performance and, in severe cases, the integrity of components.  In this unit, you will study the noise and vibration in depth from simple 1D propagation to 3D propagation, generation and scattering of sound.  The unit also extends vibration from simple vibration problem to multiple degrees of freedom systems and advanced analysis.

During semester two you will also start to prepare for your dissertation.  This may involve laboratory or workshop activity as well as an extensive reading of academic literature using the resources of the University of Manchester library.

In late May to early June you will take your semester two examinations. You will then focus your remaining weeks of study on completing your dissertation. The dissertation is worth 60 credits which is about 600 hours work. You will meet with your academic supervisor for advice and feedback as your dissertation research develops. Your dissertation will be completed during the summer and submitted for assessment in early September. Successful students will graduate in December with a MSc in Aerospace Engineering at a formal ceremony on the historic campus of the University of Manchester, to which you may invite family or friends.   

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