Do you have a knack for maths and science? Not sure how that passion will take off as a career? Perhaps, studying the design and development of aircraft through RMIT Aerospace Engineering might be the next step for you.
In this article, we’ll be going through everything you need to know about the degree and what it’s like studying the course.
If you want to know more about the course itself, the teaching format and the study experience, keep reading on!
What is a Bachelor of Engineering (Aerospace Engineering) (Honours) at RMIT?
Aerospace Engineering at RMIT combines foundational engineering principles with a specialisation in aerospace hardware and software — think planes, spacecraft and drones.
You’ll have the chance to design aircraft, explore new materials, and work on some interesting projects such as the Boeing Go Fly design competition. Classes often take place in a variety of laboratories including computer and experimental laboratories.
Can this degree be studied in conjunction with another?
While a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering at RMIT can be studied as a single degree integrated with a final Honours year, there is one option for a double degree. The Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering (Honours)/Bachelor of Business (Management) is a popular program amongst Aerospace Engineering students.
Through the analytical, technical and design skills built during this undergraduate, you may see yourself working as an Aerospace Engineer for important Australian organisations like:
- The Royal Australian Air Force
- Australian Army
- Aircraft manufacturing companies
Core Units for this Degree
There are 26 core units in the Aerospace Engineering degree at RMIT, which are spread throughout the four years of study.
- Introduction to Professional Engineering Practice
- Introduction to Aircraft
- Engineering Mathematics
- Engineering Science
- Creative Engineering CAD
- Digital Fundamentals
- Introduction to Mechanical and Automotive Engineering
Many of the first-year core units are mandatory for all disciplines of engineering. These are Introduction to Professional Engineering Practice, Engineering Mathematics, Engineering Science, Creative Engineering CAD and Digital Fundamentals.
In these classes, students are taught the practical application of centuries of mathematics and science while adapting to existing design theories. These design theories allow first-year students to consider the stricter and rigorous safety considerations when designing aerospace matter.
Since first and second-year units are held in the Melbourne city campus, these classes also give you an exciting opportunity to work and mingle with students from other cohorts.
- Mechanics and Materials 2
- Advanced Mathematics for Engineers
- Design for Manufacture and Assembly
- Systems Engineering
- Flight Mechanics
- Principles of Aerodynamics
- Applied Thermodynamics
In the second year of study, core units apply physical sciences and thermodynamics theories to the design process of aircraft flight.
In Mechanics and Materials 2, Dynamics and Applied Thermodynamics, students work on learning the fundamental principles of these theories in the context of engineering techniques and tools.
Principles of Aerodynamics and Flight Mechanics are units where Aerospace Engineering students start to delve into their specialisation, wherein classwork focusses on aerodynamic behaviour and flight performance.
- Aerospace Dynamics and Control
- Aerospace Propulsion
- Aerospace Structures
- Research Methods for Engineers
- Aerospace Design Principles
- Aerospace Finite Element Methods
Aerospace Engineering students move to the Bundoora campus in their third year as the core units require more specialist and hands-on facilities. Here, units prepare you for the theoretical knowledge of aircraft dynamics that you’ll put into practice in the last year.
For example, Aerospace Propulsion analyses the performance of turbojets and rocket engines.
In the fourth-year, students complete a Capstone project wherein they plan and complete a research project, which can be conducted in a real industry environment or in a simulated engineering work environment. This is part of the Honours program and consolidates the student’s knowledge of engineering-specific design and procedure.
Are there any majors?
While Aerospace Engineering is already a specialisation within a Bachelor of Engineering, students can choose 4 elective units out of the 23 offered at RMIT.
These electives can explore a niche within the discipline or expand the student’s interdisciplinary knowledge, and include Mechatronic Design, Spaceflight Systems Design and Computer Integrated Manufacturing.
While there is no mandatory work placement in this course, there are opportunities for industry experience in the electives Industrial Placement Program, International Industry Experience 1 and International Industry Experience 2.
How to Get into a Bachelor of Engineering (Aerospace Engineering) (Honours) at RMIT
The ATAR cut-off for a Bachelor of Engineering (Aerospace Engineering) (Honours) at RMIT is 75.45, which makes entry into this course more accessible than other universities.
If your ATAR does not meet the cut-off, you firstly should consider whether you are eligible for adjustment points through RMIT’s Subject Adjustments Scheme. For this course, a maximum of four points can be awarded if the applicant has achieved:
- A study score of 25 in Maths: Specialist Mathematics (1 aggregate point)
- A study score of 25 in one but no more than one of Chemistry or Physics (1 aggregate point)
- A study score of 25 in Systems Engineering (1 aggregate point)
In addition, look into RMIT’s guaranteed pathways for a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering. These include studying either an Associate Degree in Engineering Technology (Aerospace Major) or an Advanced Diploma of Engineering (Aeronautical).
An Associate Degree in Engineering Technology (Aerospace Major) is a two-year course which allows you to continue onto a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering and still complete your undergraduate in the same span of 4 years. This degree requires that you have a minimum ATAR of 44.95.
An Advanced Diploma of Engineering (Aeronautical) is quite similar however the whole length of degree is 4.5 years. This Diploma only requires that you have successfully completed an Australian Year 12 senior secondary certificate of education.
The pre-requisite subjects include:
- A study score of at least 30 in English (EAL) or at least 25 in English other than EAL
- A study score of at least 20 in one of Maths: Mathematical Methods or Maths: Specialist Mathematics, or equivalent studies.
While there are more than 2000 scholarships offered at RMIT, relevant scholarships for Aerospace Engineering students include the Boeing Scholarship and the Sir William Tyree Engineering Scholarship. These scholarships respectively offer a value of up to $5000 and $16,000, provided they prove their academic merit and financial disadvantage.
The whole list of RMIT scholarships can be found here!
What’s the Teaching Format?
This course is delivered across semesters and the typical classes include lectures, tutorials and practicals.
Engineering lectures are typically two hours long or even one hour long. Since these classes cover the general weekly topic, they do not need as much time and oftentimes are paired together with a longer practical class.
During the first two years, most units are interdisciplinary and can have a few hundred students, while aerospace exclusive classes have a class size of around 80 to 90 students.
Tutorials are two hours long and have a class size of around 30 students. These classes are run by postgraduate students with activities to apply the theoretical knowledge of the unit, such as aerodynamic principles or more general engineering techniques.
Practical classes are where students get hands-on and learn engineering design software. These are generally held in computer laboratories or, in the last two years of the course, in the experimental laboratories on the Bundoora campus.
Since these classes are particularly significant for refining a student’s technical and design skills, these classes are typically four hours long. They also have a class size of around 50 students or less as students specialise further.
How much time do you spend in class?
A student undertaking a full-time load of four classes per semester can expect 16-18 contact hours per week.
For students who undertake a double degree, they are advised by the faculty to overload and take 5 classes every second semester to finish the degree with their cohort. However, this is not necessary if you want to go at your own pace.
What are the assessments like?
Each class will have a different range of assessments that best suits the content of the class. However, common assessments include individual and group assignments, small quizzes, and large projects. And of course, end-of-semester exams.
In units that have an end-of-semester exam, the exam will typically account for 50% of the overall assessment.
The remaining marks are attributed to smaller assessments throughout the semester. For example, online or in-tutorial weekly quizzes, laboratory attendance and reports, and group projects are common.
In more practical-focussed units, there may not be an exam. Instead, larger individual or group projects with a final report replace the exam.
Classes like this always have an interesting project or design topic for groups of students to work on. For example, student teams commonly enter the Boeing Go Fly design competition and compete at an industry level.
Skills That You Refine and Learn
Through the combination of design theories, safety and ethical constraints and general scientific procedures, Aerospace Engineering students refine their analytical skills. Underpinned by theoretical work, students ultimately learn to analyse aircraft, other aerodynamic behaviour and their flight performance.
Technical skills encompass the accuracy of their calculations, laboratory findings and design process. As graduates go on to work on important real-world projects, the strength of their technical skills are definitely important and consolidated in each unit, core or elective.
In more practical units, design skills are both learned and refined through group and individual projects. There are many extracurricular opportunities for design projects that are also offered at RMIT which are commonly participated by high-achieving students.
What’s the Faculty and Culture Like?
The Aerospace cohort is an amazing experience as you are surrounded by like-minded people who share the same passion.
RMIT also fosters a very collaborative student body where it is easy to find your place and excel with your peers. For example, high-achieving students can be contacted by the RMIT staff to work on master’s projects and further build a career relationship with the Aerospace industry.
RMIT has many facilities for engineering, simulation, manufacturing and testing. These facilities include up-to-date equipment that are open to usage by students for their university projects.
Technical staff are also regularly available to assist in teaching how to use the equipment and supervising for safety purposes.
While studying on the Melbourne city campus, the RMIT Student Union (RUSU) is a must for the fun weekly activities they host. These include a variety of drinks nights, cinema events and bowling parties.
Further, the Aerospace Engineering Student Association is specialised for all Aerospace Engineering students and hold industry nights as well as other networking events.
Extracurricular student project teams can be a great way to form friendships while gaining valuable experience related to engineering. The RMIT Racing team both designs and races petrol/electric race-cars in an annual competition against other universities like Monash and Swinburne.
Further, the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) team builds various remote-controlled drones from fixed-wing aircraft, quadcopters, octocopters to even bird flight imitation aircraft. For those with an interest in space and rocket flights, there is also the RMIT Space Technology Association (RSTA).
Lynn Chen is a Content Writer at Art of Smart Education and is a Communication student at UTS with a major in Creative Writing. Lynn’s articles have been published in Vertigo, The Comma, and Shut Up and Go. In her spare time, she also writes poetry.