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Australia: Subject Guides

Study Aerospace / Aeronautical Engineering in Australia

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If you’re fascinated by the history and methodology behind flying machines – from Leonardo Da Vinci’s early conceptual sketches and the Wright brothers’ famous flight of 1903 through to the sophistication and progress of modern jets – aeronautical engineering could be the degree for you.


What is aeronautical engineering?

Aeronautical engineering builds on the science of flight to show how aircraft are designed, constructed and powered, how they are used and how they are controlled for safe operation. In recent years, aeronautical engineering has become one of two major and overlapping branches of aerospace engineering, with astronautical engineering being the second.


Study route

You’ll usually find aeronautical engineering degrees referred to as a BEng (Bachelor of Engineering) and MEng (Masters in Engineering). Aeronautical engineering degrees at the undergraduate level usually last three or four years, but many institutions allow students to progress directly into a Masters in Aeronautical Engineering, extending the course length by an additional year or two.

In such cases, BEng and MEng students take the same courses for the first two or three years, and suitably well-performing students then continue with the BEng for one more year or progress to the more advanced MEng for two years. Some institutions may also allow for this transfer in the first or second year of the BEng degree program while others allow post-secondary candidates to enroll in a MEng straight away.

A few institutions also offer associate degree programs, but these usually are reserved for practicing engineering professionals who have already graduated in a related field, and want to change careers into aeronautical engineering.


Key skills required for aspiring aeronautical engineers

Given the frequency of international partnerships in the development of new technologies and products, language skills are useful and the ability to work as part of a team is crucial. Also vital are:

  • Strong mathematical, analytical and problem solving skills
  • Technical expertise
  • Creativity and innovative thinking
  • Attention to detail
  • A strong awareness of safety issues
  • Communication skills, both verbal and written
  • Project and time management skills
  • Commitment to keeping up to date with technical developments


What do you study?

Whilst programme outlines in different universities vary, students are most likely to study some of these subjects – mathematics and the fundamentals of aerospace engineering, dynamics, electronics, materials, statics, thermodynamics and ultimately, gain engineering skills. As you move on to their third and fourth years, you’ll learn about the design of aircraft. You’ll analyse and understand the aircraft behaviour, predict its performance, understand its propulsion systems and begin to perform detailed analysis of aircraft structural components.


Qualifications and training required

Relevant qualification and work experience are widely valued by employers. To gain valuable work experience, search for vacation placements and sandwich placements. Employers often identify graduate recruits through this route.


Why Australia?

  • Australia offers some of the best facilities to get an engineering education in order to qualify as an aeronautical engineer.
  • A university degree in Aerospace Engineering or Aeronautical Engineering offers career opportunities in aircraft and aviation parts and components manufacturing and engineering maintenance industries.
  • Salaries are lucrative with lots of challenging work in place.
  • Graduates have a wide choice of career opportunities, with many moving into other fields like Avionics, IT, Mechanical engineering and other non- engineering areas like banking.


Typical employers of aeronautical engineers

  • Aerospace and aero-engine companies
  • Airline operators
  • Research and development organizations
  • Contract agencies
  • Further and higher education
  • Consultancies
  • The Civil Service
  • The Armed Forces


Find out here what universities offer Aeronautical/Aerospace Engineering in Australia.

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