If math and science turn you on, you are inquisitive by nature, and you like to create things, then aerospace engineering is a great subject for your postgraduate study. Many institutions in India and abroad offer aerospace engineering both at the UG and PG levels
What is Aerospace Engineering?
Aerospace engineering involves the design, construction and science of airplanes and space vehicles. It branches into aircraft and aerospace engineering.
Aeronautical engineers perform a variety of engineering work in designing, constructing, and testing aircraft, missiles and spacecrafts. They conduct basic and applied research to evaluate adaptability of materials and equipment to aircraft design and manufacture and also recommend improvements in testing equipment and techniques.
Who should opt for this?
People who choose Aerospace Engineering are those who have a great passion for the technology. A strong foundation in basic Physics and Mathematics is required to enter into this field of study. Students can also go on to specialise in this discipline at a higher level, opening up avenues in research and development.
Opportunities in the industry
Aerospace Engineering is a niche field and job prospects are plenty considering the demand and the supply ratio of qualified engineers. With the entry of private airlines and the raging competition between them, the demand for Aeronautical engineers has only increased further. The field offers a wide range of roles in research, design, development, testing, manufacture and maintenance.
You have the option to work as a structural designer or gain expertise in navigational guidance and control systems or focus your work on a particular product such as a war plane or space missile etc. If you are into computers then there is scope for you in drawing up project plans using the computer aided design (CAD) software. There is always a lot of R&D happening in this field. You can make your valuable contributions to the never ending process of devising new fuel efficient parts like wings, engines etc. Aircraft maintenance is another challenging task. You can also get into the managerial domain of this industry. Another dream domain of any aeronautical engineer is the Air accidents Investigation Bureau which is responsible for finding out the cause of air mishaps. A high level of analytical ability and reasoning are required for this task and is a sought after job profile among the engineers.
Where to study:
Some of the leading universities which offer comprehensive masters programmes in Aeronautical Engineering are:
- Fulton School of Engineering, Arizona State University, USA
- Clarkson University, USA
- California Institute of Technology, USA
- University of Glasgow, UK
- Cranfield University, UK
- Loughborough University, UK
- University of Toronto, Canada
What the courses cover
The Master of Science in aeronautical engineering typically covers the following areas:
- aerospace vehicle design
- aerospace dynamics (with options in aerodynamics; flight dynamics; computational fluid dynamics)
- aircraft operations and systems
- astronautics and space engineering
- thermal power and wind engineering
- design of rotating machines
- flight testing
- automotive product engineering
The postgraduate programmes consist of a mix of taught courses and laboratory-based assignments.
Career opportunities are plenty in the defence and civilian sectors, especially in the USA and Europe – Boeing and Airbus employ aerospace engineers. In the context of employment in India, ISRO is a good place to start, as well as other government organisations like DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation), HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) or NAL (National Aeronautical Laboratories).