AAAdmissions Blog


This blog is maintained by the Undergraduate Admissions Tutors in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Bristol. Here you will find FAQ answers and news updates on our admissions process. For more information, visit the Department home page or the undergraduate admissions home page.

Monday, 23 July 2012

What's the difference between aerospace engineering and aeronautical engineering?

For our purposes, none. Our course was named Aeronautical Engineering many years ago, when that seemed to be the most suitable title. At a different time, our Department was named Aerospace Engineering.  From 2013 onwards, our degree course will also be titled "Aerospace Engineering".  The change is entirely cosmetic.  Our course still includes lots of aeronautical topics, like aerodynamics, as well as space topics, like spacecraft mission design.  

FAQ: Can you arrange work placements for students?

We don't provide this as an automatic service: it's up to individual students to do the ground work.  However, we can exploit our industrial links to help in various ways.  For example, companies often send us details of opportunities that we circulate amongst our students, and we can help make contact with the many companies we work with.  The Faculty of Engineering has an Industrial Liaison Office to bring all these contacts and opportunities together for easy access.


We encourage students to pursue industrial experience in parallel with their studies, either by taking a year or during summers.  Oddly, far fewer students actually go through with the full year than ask about it at admissions events.  One factor is that it typically means you finish your degree with a different cohort of peers than the one you started with.  That said, students who do gain experience often emerge in their final year as academically stronger, more mature, and having a good job lined up.

FAQ: What background in mathematics do I need?

We're looking for the equivalent of maths A-level.  You will need to have covered: quadratics; functions; coordinate geometry; trigonometry (including standard identities and their use); series; differentiation (including logarithms and exponentials, trigonometric functions, products and quotients); integration (including substitutions, presence of derivative and integration by parts); numerical methods for solving equations; differential equations; complex numbers; and vectors.  You should also have covered the following topics within mechanics: forces and equilibrium; motion in one dimension (including variable force problems); Newton's laws (used to solve particle motion problems); energy; work; power; projectiles; rigid body motion; and circular motion.  You should have been spending 1/3 to 1/2 of your time studying maths and be achieving the highest grades throughout.

FAQ: I'm doing a foundation programme at X / another qualification. Is it acceptable?

We cannot give a definite answer without seeing a complete application form.  The most important thing we will assess is your mathematical work.  See question: What background in mathematics do I need? for more details  If your foundation degree covers this material and you are achieving top grades, please go ahead and apply through UCAS.

FAQ: I'm part way through a different university degree and I'd like to change to Aeronautical Engineering at Bristol. Do I have to start again from the beginning?

Most likely, yes.  Our course has specialist content from the beginning and transferring into the second year or later is extremely demanding.  To avoid disappointment later on, we consider second year entry only in the most extreme circumstances.  You are welcome to apply, but if we choose to make you an offer, it is most likely that it will be for first year entry.

FAQ: Are you accredited by a professional institution?

Yes, our courses are accredited by the Royal Aeronautical Society.

FAQ: I don’t meet your entry requirements but I really want to study aerospace engineering. Can I do a foundation year to get in?

We regret we do not offer a foundation year. You could consider an Access to HE Diploma, which we could accept. See our Entry Requirements for details. Similar requirements regarding maths apply as for BTECs.

FAQ: I'm doing a BTEC National Diploma instead of A-levels. Will I get a place?

Possibly, but we're likely to ask you for some additional mathematics qualifications. Our course is highly demanding in mathematics, so you'll need equivalent to grade A in A-level maths to be prepared. A typical offer in terms of BTEC would be an overall result three Distinctions, with about a third of your units in mathematics. See question: What background in mathematics do I need? for more details.  Some people take A-level modules in addition to BTEC units to reach this standard.

FAQ: Should I study mechanical or aerospace engineering?

The focus on aircraft or spacecraft design is unique to aerospace, but that does involve some topics in common with mechanical engineering, such as mathematics, fluids, thermodynamics and mechanics.  Also, reflecting the nature of the aerospace industry, aerospace courses tend to have more coverage of integrating across disciplines, such as designing for both aerodynamics and structures.  We recommend you compare the course structures in the prospectus, and pick the one that captures your interest most.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

FAQ: What happens if I don't get the grades for my conditional offer?

It depends.  Once the results come out, we figure out how many offer-holders have achieved their grades.  If there are still places remaining, then we start to look at "near miss" candidates.  We'll take the top near-miss candidates until we either run out of places or of suitable people.  Ranking is done based on point scores or sometimes individual subjects - it's hard to say exactly without knowing the people and places available.  Historically, we usually take a single digit number of "near miss" candidates, but of course that's not a guarantee that there'll be any room left in the coming year.

In recent years (1617, 1718) competition for places has meant we have not generally been able to accept near-misses.