The master’s programme in Aerospace Engineering fosters skilled engineers for work in the international aerospace sector. The job market is, however, not at all limited to that specific sector. Graduates from the programme will gain solid theoretical skills in aerospace modelling, analysis, and design, as well as a general ability to approach and solve complex engineering tasks and a habit of working in teams.
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 on projects, 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 Programme Advisory Board.
The Master 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 (at KTH).
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 provide the students with the opportunity of experiencing various aspects of aerospace engineering, as well as making an informed decision when choosing the 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 choose elective courses based on personal interests and future sought careers. 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 where both faculty and students are invited.
The Aeronautics track focuses on modelling, analysis, and design of aircraft. Students in the track will learn how to design and 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 characterized by a strong interaction between theory and practice. Students will, for example, plan, perform, and evaluate wind tunnel tests during their education.
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 education. A wider perspective is offered by courses in human spacecraft, space research, and space application. The space track can conveniently be combined with (parts of) the other tracks in the programme to create an attractive competence profile.
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.
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 in the robustness and performance of modern aircraft.
Flight mechanics, aerodynamics, aeroelasticity, space physics, spacecraft dynamics, mechanics and manufacturing of composite materials, lightweight design, control theory, numerical optimisation.
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, employing about 130,000 people, 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 the development, testing, and operation of satellites, launchers, sounding rockets, or other space systems.
The lightweight design calls for a systems approach to the choice of materials, manufacturing processes, and product solutions. Students taking the Lightweight Structures track are thus 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.
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 analyzing 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.
After graduation, you can become anything, really, and providing a list here would be limiting rather than illustrative. You will certainly be an engineer, and as such, you can become a scientist or a CEO, a stress analyst or a project manager, a technical support specialist, a salesperson, or an astronaut, all depending on the opportunities and decisions that you make.
"KTH values diversity and group collaboration. Students are divided into multi-cultural teams that are based on skills and proficiency."
Siwat Suewatanakul, Thailand
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:
7 Affordable and Clean Energy
9 Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
11 Sustainable Cities and Communities
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 the 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 heavy emphasis on lowering fuel consumption and thereby emissions and CO2 production.
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 orbiting the Earth in the low Earth orbit. Because space debris 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 junior and senior 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 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.
To be eligible for the programme, you must have been awarded a bachelor's degree, be proficient in English, and meet the programme-specific requirements.
A bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish bachelor's degree, or equivalent academic qualifications from an internationally recognized university, is required. Students who are following longer technical programmes, and have completed courses equivalent to a bachelor's degree, will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Students in their final year of undergraduate studies may apply and, if qualified, will receive a conditional acceptance. These applicants must include a written statement according to the instructions given by University Admissions. Students in the final year of undergraduate studies at a Swedish university do not have to provide a written statement in order, if qualified, to receive a conditional acceptance. They must, however, have completed 150 ECTS credits in the bachelor’s programme by 1 February.
English language proficiency equivalent to (the Swedish upper secondary school) English course B/6 is required. The requirement can be satisfied through a result equal to, or higher than, those stated in the following internationally recognized English tests:
TOEFL Paper-based: Score of 4.5 (scale 1-6) in written test, a total score of 575.
TOEFL ITP is not accepted.
TOEFL iBT internet-based: Score of 20 (scale 0-30) in written test, a total score of 90
IELTS Academic/IELTS UKVI: A minimum overall mark of 6.5, with no section lower than 5.5
Cambridge ESOL: Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Certificate in Advanced English or Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE) (Certificate of Proficiency in English)
Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB): Minimum score of 90
The University of Michigan, ECPE (Examination for the Certificate of Proficiency in English)
Pearson PTE Academic: Score of 62 (writing 61)
The language requirement can also be fulfilled through previous university and upper secondary school studies. More information on recognized English tests, previous studies, and required documents is provided by University Admissions.
Specific requirements for the master's programme in Aerospace Engineering
A Bachelor’s degree, or equivalent, corresponding to 180 ECTS credits, with courses in
Mathematics and programming: must include (i) differential and integral calculus in several variables, (ii) linear algebra, (iii) numerical analysis, (iv) ordinary and partial differential equations and integral transforms, (v) basic control theory, (vi) mathematical statistics, and (vii) basics of programming in a higher programming language equivalent to at least 25 ECTS credits in total.
Applied mechanics: must include (i) rigid body mechanics, (ii) solid mechanics, (iii) fluid mechanics, and (iv) thermodynamics, equivalent to at least 20 ECTS credits in total.
Your application is not complete without the required supporting documentation. The following general and programme-specific documents must therefore be included in the application in the specified order:
Certificates and diplomas from previous university studies
Transcript of completed courses and grades included in your degree
Proof of English proficiency
A copy of your passport including personal data and photograph, or other identification documents
Specific documents for the master's programme in Aerospace Engineering
Summary sheet *
*In order for your application to be considered complete, you need to fill out the online summary sheet. If you do not include a summary sheet, this will negatively affect your evaluation score. Be sure to fill out all of the required information before you submit the form. Please note that the summary sheet is the only specific document required when applying to the master's programme in Aerospace Engineering.
If you have questions regarding the summary sheet please contact the programme directly.