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Aerospace Vehicle Design - Structural Design option (MSc)

  • Study Type

    Full time available

  • Subject Areas


  • Start Date


  • Course Duration

    Full-time: 1 year

  • Course Type


  • Last Updated

    14 July 2017

Course content

Course Description

Structural Design aims to provide an understanding of aircraft structures, airworthiness requirements, design standards, stress analysis, fatigue and fracture (damage tolerance) and fundamentals of aerodynamics and loading. The suitable selection of materials, both metallic and composite is also covered. Manufacturers of modern aircraft are demanding more lightweight and more durable structures. Structural integrity is a major consideration of today’s aircraft fleet. For an aircraft to economically achieve its design specification and satisfy airworthiness regulations, a number of structural challenges must be overcome. This course trains engineers to meet these challenges, and prepares them for careers in civil and military aviation.


This course is suitable for students with a background in aeronautical or mechanical engineering or those with relevant industrial experience.

The Structural Design option consists of a taught component and an individual research project.

In addition to management, communication, team work and research skills, each student will attain at least the following outcomes from this degree course:
- To build upon knowledge to enable students to enter a wide range of aerospace and related activities concerned with the design of flying vehicles such as aircraft, missiles, airships and spacecraft
- To ensure that the student is of immediate use to their employer and has sufficient breadth of understanding of multi-discipline design to position them for accelerated career progression
- To provide teaching that integrates the range of disciplines required by modern aircraft design
- To provide the opportunity for students to be immersed in a 'Virtual Industrial Environment' giving them hands-on experience of interacting with and working on an aircraft design project.

English Language Requirements

If you are an international student you will need to provide evidence that you have achieved a satisfactory test result in an English qualification. The minimum standard expected from a number of accepted courses are as follows:

IELTS - 6.5
TOEFL - 92
Pearson PTE Academic - 65
Cambridge English Scale - 180
Cambridge English: Advanced - C
Cambridge English: Proficiency - C

In addition to these minimum scores you are also expected to achieve a balanced score across all elements of the test. We reserve the right to reject any test score if any one element of the test score is too low.

We can only accept tests taken within two years of your registration date (with the exception of Cambridge English tests which have no expiry date).

Core Modules

The taught programme for the Structural Design masters is generally delivered from October to March. After completion of the four compulsory taught modules, students have an extensive choice of optional modules to match specific interests.

- Fatigue Fracture Mechanics and Damage Tolerance
- Finite Element Analysis (including NASTRAN/PATRAN Workshops)
- Design and Analysis of Composite Structures
- Structural Stability

- Loading Actions
- Computer Aided Design (CAD)
- Aircraft Aerodynamics
- Aircraft Stability and Control
- Aircraft Performance
- Detail Stressing
- Structural Dynamics
- Aeroelasticity
- Design for Manufacture and Operation
- Initial Aircraft Design (including Structural Layout)
- Airframe Systems
- Aircraft Accident Investigation
- Crashworthiness
- Aircraft Power Plant Installation
- Avionic System Design
- Flight Experimental Methods (Jetstream Flight Labs)
- Reliability, Safety Assessment and Certification
- Sustaining Design (Structural Durability)

Individual Project

The individual research project aims to provide the training necessary for you to apply knowledge from the taught element to research, and takes place from January to September.

Recent Individual Research Projects include:
- Review, Evaluation and Development of a Microlight Aircraft
- Investigation of the Fatigue Life of Hybrid Metal Composite Joints
- Design for Additive Layer Manufacture
- Rapid Prototyping for Wind Tunnel Model Manufacturing.

Group project

There is no group project for this option of the Aerospace Vehicle Design MSc.


Taught modules (20%); Individual Research Project (80%)

Career opportunities

The AVD option in Structural Design is valued and respected by employers worldwide. The applied nature of this course ensures that our graduates are ready to be of immediate use to their future employer and has provided sufficient breadth of understanding of multi-discipline design to position them for accelerated career progression.

Graduates from the have gone onto pursue engineering careers in disciplines such as structural design, stress analysis or systems design. Many of our former graduates occupy very senior positions in their organisations, making valuable contributions to the international aerospace industry.

Many of our graduates occupy very senior positions in their organisations, making valuable contributions to the international aerospace industry. Typical student destinations include BAE Systems, Airbus, Dassault and Rolls-Royce.

For further information

On this course, please visit our course webpage - http://www.cranfield.ac.uk/Courses/Masters/AVD-Option-in-Structural-Design

Visit the Aerospace Vehicle Design - Structural Design option (MSc) page on the Cranfield University website for more details!






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