MSc Aerospace Engineering
The master's programme in Aerospace Engineering fosters skilled engineers for careers in the international aerospace sector and related fields. The programme offers specialisation in Aeronautics, Space, Lightweight Structures and Systems Engineering. Graduates have a solid theoretical foundation in aerospace modelling, analysis and design, as well as teamworking skills and a general ability to approach and solve complex engineering tasks.
Aerospace Engineering at KTH
The master’s programme in Aerospace Engineering offers students a broad, challenging and internationally acknowledged education. It provides skills in aerospace modelling and design, solving complex engineering tasks, collaboration with others in project work, and communicating results and findings in a professional manner. The programme at KTH is highly international with contacts and students from all over the world. The astronaut and KTH alumnus Christer Fuglesang acts as the chairman of the Progamme’s Advisory Board.
The master’s programme in Aerospace Engineering is a two year programme (120 ECTS credits) given in English. Graduates are awarded the degree of Master of Science. The programme is given mainly at KTH Campus in Stockholm by the School of Engineering Sciences.
During the autumn semester of the first year of study, all students take one fundamental mandatory course in each of four tracks: Aeronautics, Space, Lightweight Structures and Systems Engineering. In addition, there is one course that is mandatory for all master’s students at KTH: Theory and Methodology of Science. The objective is to the provide the students with the opportunity of experiencing various aspects of aerospace engineering, as well as of making an informed decision when choosing their preferred track.
Towards the end of the autumn semester, students choose one of the four available tracks. Each track has a selected number of mandatory courses, with the majority being elective. A set of recommended courses are also provided, but students may also choose elective courses entirely based on personal interests and future sought career. There are also many possibilities to combine courses between the tracks. The specialisation tracks start during the spring semester of the first year of study.
The spring semester of the second year of study is usually spent on a five-month degree project required to complete the course of study. The project is conducted either in the industry or at a university, in Sweden or abroad, and provides the students with the opportunity of working on open-ended, complex engineering problems, either in an industrial setting, or in a research oriented setting. The degree project is presented and discussed at an open seminar.
The track focuses on modelling, analysis and design of aircraft. Students in the track will learn how to estimate the performance of an aircraft, compute its aerodynamic properties, simulate its motion in flight, and analyse how the aerodynamic and structural properties influence stability and control. The track is characterised by a strong interaction between theory and practice. Students will, for example, plan, perform and evaluate a wind tunnel test during their education.
The Lightweight Structures track focuses on the analysis and development of lightweight materials and structures for more efficient mechanical solutions and products. Functionality per weight is a simple but highly relevant measure of efficiency since reduced weight can enable improved performance, more cost-effective production and reduce material consumption and environmental impact. The track has the main emphasis on fibre composites, including non-metallic materials and sandwich structures, since such materials are often used in applications with extreme requirements. Students following the track develop knowledge and skills in analysis, design, optimisation, materials, manufacturing and testing of lightweight materials and structures.
Space technology plays a key role in modern society, enabling telecommunication and navigation services, weather forecasting, Earth observation and much more. The space track focuses on applications related to rocket and satellite technology, with particular emphasis on propulsion, trajectory analysis, spacecraft dynamics and systems perspective. The space environment and its impact on the design and instrumentation of satellites is another central theme in the education. A wider perspective is offered by courses in human spacecraft, space research and space application.
Aircraft, trains and satellites are examples of complex systems that have to be designed with reliable control systems and efficient maintenance plans to be competitive in today's global market. Upon graduation, students will be able to develop mathematical models of systems to analyse and optimize their performance. Control theory has a crucial role in the design of space missions as well as for robustness and performance of modern aircraft.
Find out what students from the programme think about their time at KTH.
The employment market for aerospace engineers in Europe is strong and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future. Airbus is the main European aerospace company with more than 130,000 employees, but a large share of the work is performed at various subcontractors all over Europe and worldwide. Students taking the Aeronautics track are particularly attractive to companies working in aerodynamics and aeronautics.
The space sector is dynamic and evolving, with major projects such as navigation satellite systems and challenging scientific missions. The European space industry employs about 40,000 people. As a space engineer, you can, for example, work with development, testing and the operation of satellites, launchers, sounding rockets or other space systems.
Students taking the Lightweight Structures track become well prepared for a future in the development of new products or applications where more sustainable air transportation likely will be a key societal issue for the coming decades. There is a constant need for skilled structural engineers within aerospace, naval and automotive engineering, as well as in other businesses working with more niched manufacturing or innovative design solutions, making the employment market huge.
Today, Systems Engineering is increasingly important in areas like the aerospace sector, the automotive industry and communications systems. A systems engineer could work with the design of the control of the damping in an aircraft’s landing gear, how to find the least costly spare parts management system for an air fleet, or in analysing the reliability of a radar system. A systems engineer is attractive to a large number of industries in various fields.
A master’s degree in the aerospace field from KTH is a mark of quality and opens a wide range of career opportunities in industry and research, as well as within areas outside the aerospace sector.
Graduates from KTH have the knowledge and tools to move society in a more sustainable direction, as sustainable development is an integral part of all programmes at KTH. The three key sustainable development goals addressed by the master's programme in Aerospace Engineering are:
The aerospace sector has always been driven by high aerodynamic efficiency, low weight and state-of-the-art usage of new materials, and improvements in efficiency of propulsion systems. There are considerable and continuous developmental work and effort both in small details and at a systems level. For commercial aircraft, there has also always been a strong emphasis on lowering fuel consumption and thereby emissions and release of CO2.
With increased travelling in recent years, the aerospace sector has become the focus of many debates about CO2 emissions and air pollution, with considerable positive progress being made in the application of fossil-free fuels and initiatives in the direction of electrified flight and carbon-free propulsion. These are interesting times, with most people agreeing that flying as we know it today cannot increase without serious environmental implications. At the same time, there are no indications of our flying habits diminishing – or that they are likely to do so in the future. On the contrary, one of the more likely applications for electrified flight is for short distance travels where we do not currently fly. The air-travel business and modern society thus face great challenges for the future, which makes education in aerospace engineering more relevant and interesting than ever. Transition into sustainable flying is key to maintain the current level of mobility in the world, and as an aerospace engineer you can contribute to the task of global development in that direction.
Satellites are crucial for a sustainable world, but millions of non-operational satellites or parts of satellites are still flying in low Earth orbit. Because such “space junk” endangers operational satellites, active space debris removal missions are planned to prevent its uncontrolled growth. Liquid fuels for satellite propulsion have previously been not only extremely toxic but also expensive to handle safely. Now, the Swedish space industry has developed "green" fuels with performance characteristics similar to those of the toxic fuels. Until recently, launch vehicles have mostly been expendable but, after the retirement of the space shuttle, new reusable launch vehicles have been developed by private space companies enabling cheaper access to space. The guidelines and rules on sustainable space activities are being updated to reduce risks and to ensure access to space for future generations.
Faculty and research
The compulsory part of the master’s programme in Aerospace Engineering is taught by faculty who are also active as international researchers within their fields. The programme is also broad in the sense that courses are taught by several departments and schools at KTH. In addition to the education in theory, several research labs are also engaged in the teaching of computations, manufacturing, tests and measurements.
KTH is a member of the European aerospace education network PEGASUS . When you graduate from PEGASUS university you can be awarded a PEGASUS certificate to prove that you have completed a programme with a well-defined aerospace curriculum.