High calling: 10 best aeronautical engineering universities in the UK

22nd Aug 2022
High calling: 10 best aeronautical engineering universities in the UK

Safe and efficient vehicles are an integral part of our travels on Earth and beyond. Today, civil aviation makes more than 120 thousand flights daily, the number of orbital launches has doubled over the past ten years, and both sectors continue to grow steadily. This makes aviation and aerospace engineers one of the most sought-after professionals in the world, with excellent career prospects and high salaries.

If you are ready to devote your life to this field, we will reveal some professional secrets and tell you about the 10 best aeronautical and aerospace engineering universities in the UK where you can master this profession.

Is aeronautical engineering difficult?

At first glance, it may seem that building airplanes and spaceships is a calling for the elite, and not everyone can do it. In fact, things are not that difficult. Of course, you must study hard, have a good memory and attention to detail, and have a predisposition to the exact sciences. But the success of your future career will ultimately depend on the acquired knowledge and your desire to put it into practice.

Do aeronautical engineers fly planes?

No. This is another misconception shared by many people outside the profession. An aeronautical engineer does not pilot the aircraft; he designs it, organises production, operation, onboard equipment, flight calculations, and “autopilot” programming. Such broad specialisation has its advantages, as you can choose an area closest to your heart.

Which country is best for aeronautical engineering?

The US has been a world leader in aviation and space for many years. American Boeing, Lockheed, and Cessna are some top passenger aircraft examples in the world, and the legendary Space Shuttle and Saturn V super-heavy rocket, created in the 60-80s of the last century, still have no analogues worldwide. This is why American universities rank so high in the Aerospace Engineering universities world top rank. If you graduated with honours from California, Massachusetts, Georgia Institutes of Technology, Stanford or Purdue University, consider a career in leading international companies secured.

Which subject is best for Aeronautical Engineering?

Maths and physics are of utmost importance. You really have to love these two subjects to become a good aerospace engineer. Also, for obtaining an aeronautical engineering degree in UK universities, you may need chemistry and IT skills. An experience in programming and software development is a big plus since most modern production and management processes are computerised, and you have to be a real tech geek to become a good specialist.

Is aeronautical engineering in demand in the UK?

There are more than 50 universities offering aeronautical engineering degrees and courses in the UK, and the supply is growing. And it’s no secret that the supply is caused by the demand. Like in the United States, teaching in British universities is at a fairly high level, and the qualifications obtained are highly rated not only domestically but also abroad. After all, our aerospace achievements are quite impressive. Our international airports Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Luton, and Bristol are known all over the world, our engineers are involved in many NASA and ESA programs, and Glasgow has been the European leader in the production of small satellites for several decades. And this is not the limit.

The new space strategy, adopted in 2021, aims to increase the UK’s share of the global space market from 6% to 10% by 2030. This will create new job opportunities, particularly for aerospace engineers.

How many years do you study aeronautical engineering in the UK?

Aeronautical engineering degrees at undergraduate level usually last three or four years, but some universities allow students to progress directly into masters, extending the course length by an additional year or two.

What is after graduation?

Many respectable universities cooperate with British and international companies and organisations ready to hire new specialists. The average salary for an aerospace engineer is £48,000 gross per year, which is above the national average. A beginner will earn around 25 thousand a year, and the reward for experienced professionals can reach 135 thousand pounds.

Which university is the best for aeronautical engineering in the UK?

Everyone dreams of choosing the best university, but this does not mean that other establishments will be any worse. As promised, here are the 10 best aeronautical engineering universities in the UK chosen based on rankings and their aerospace research output. Try your luck in any of these venues, and perhaps soon, Great Britain will acquire a new space genius to be rightfully proud of.

Top 10 aeronautical engineering universities in UK

Rating compiled by EduRank.org


UK Rank

Euro Rank

World Rank

Student:Staff ratio



University of Cambridge





Based on entrance examinations and students’ past academic record and grades

Cranfield University





A first or second class UK Honors degree or the equivalent

University of Southampton





Passes in either two subjects at ‘A’ Level with passes in three further subjects at AS Level or in three subjects at ‘A’ Level with one further subject at AS Level, or equivalent; Ordinary Certificate or Higher National Certificate or Diploma awarded before the establishment of BTEC, pre-GCE; International Baccalaureate; European Baccalaureate

University of Glasgow





Based on students’ past academic record and grades

Imperial College London





General Certificate of Education (GCE) with 3 subjects at Advanced (‘A’) level, or recognized equivalent

The University of Sheffield





General Certificate of Education (GCE), at Advanced (‘A’) level, or equivalent. English proficiency, IELTS, minimum score of 6.0; TOEFL test for foreign students, minimum score of 550-575

University of Oxford





General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) with passes in English, Mathematics, Science, and a language other than English, and 3 Advanced (‘A’) levels

University of Surrey





General Certificate of Education (GCE)/GCSE, or equivalent, with either: passes in 5 subjects of which either 1 is at Advanced ‘A’ Level, and 2 at Advanced Supplementary (‘AS’) level, or 2 are at ‘A’ level, or passes in 4 subjects of which either 2 are at ‘A’ level and 2 at (‘AS’) level, or 3 are at ‘A’ level. Passes at GCSE or GCE.

Loughborough University





General Certificate of Education (GCE) and General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) with passes in 5 subjects, of which 2 must be of Advanced (‘A’) level or passes in 4 subjects, of which 3 must be at (‘A’), no subject to be counted at both Ordinary (‘O’)/(GCSE) and (‘A’)/Advanced Supplementary (‘AS’) levels

University of Nottingham





General Certificate of Education (GCE) with 2 Advanced (‘A’) level passes and 2 Advanced Supplementary (‘AS’) level passes or equivalent. General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) obtained from 1994 onward, National Curriculum attainment levels 10, 9, 8 and 7 are accepted. Decisions regarding acceptability of qualifications rest with admitting departments or faculties, from whom further advice is available

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