Don't just take our word for it – here's what students say about what it's like to study at Kingston University.
Name: Jack James
Courses: Aerospace Engineering Foundation Year and Aerospace Engineering, Astronautics & Space Technology BEng(Hons)
Read graduate Jack James' thoughts on why to study Aerospace Engineering, Astronautics & Space Technology BEng(Hons) and going through Clearing:
"I am just starting a PhD at Kingston researching rocket propulsion technologies having graduated with a first in Aerospace Engineering, Astronautics and Space Technology BEng(Hons). My progress into university was through Clearing, a process that can scare people and make them feel unhappy about going to university. I didn't have the required A-levels to get onto the course and had to get onto the foundation year. The Clearing process was really simple, made even easier by the helpful staff at Kingston who guide you through the whole process, right up to enrolment and induction.
I came through Clearing and found it to be an amazing choice, so don't be discouraged by clearing, it will not affect your quality of university experience.
So why do a degree in astronautics? Well, apart from being able to call yourself a rocket scientist you get to work closely with industry on amazing projects, for example rocket engines, orbit calculations, satellites and interplanetary missions. The course is very wide in scope as you cover many engineering disciplines, allowing you much flexibility when you are job hunting.
In your final year you need to carry out an individual project/dissertation. The topic will be specific and will be self-taught, allowing you to guide and steer your own project. I did mine on a rocket engine system which I designed and manufactured on site. You can read more about my rocket engine on the Faculty of Science and Engineering and Computing website or in a blog I wrote for the Ask Us website.
The University has many extensive facilities on site. Primarily there is a rocket propulsion lab that is for use of astronautic students only, allowing for controlled real rocket firings. This lab is the only one on site for a university in the UK, with a wide range of engines installed. Students are encouraged to interact with the lab to receive hands on experience with space propulsion, something which is attractive to potential employers. On campus there is a fully equipped machine workshop with a 3D printer, CNC machines, standard machining equipment and welding facilities. A wind tunnel is also present so you can generate aerodynamic data on your own models.
The course is fundamental if you want to pursue a career in space, with many companies having close links with Kingston and recruit periodically. I now have the opportunity to take my research further by pursuing a PhD in rocket engine systems, something that would have been unrealistic if not for this course."
Name: Reharna Khan
Course: Aerospace Engineering with Astronautics and Space Technology MEng/BEng(Hons)
Level: In second year
Prior to starting her degree, Reharna completed a foundation course in 2009.
"My first opinion of the engineering campus? 'Good Lord, it's an industrial site!' Little did I know, this industrial site would make me the space engineer (in the making) I am today!
"As an astronautics and space technology student (rocket science!), Kingston has proved to be by far the best choice for my course. My lecturers have always been a great support system, both academically and for my personal professional development.
"This year I will begin my year-long industrial placement before returning to complete my undergraduate course. I have a lot to thank Kingston University for and I'm exceptionally proud to be a KU student!"
A student's view of our teaching:
"When I came across the aerospace and astronautics degree at Kingston, it really captured my imagination. It sounded really interesting.
"What the University is really good at, is focusing on the practical applications of what you learn in the classroom. Facilities like the Lear jet and the flight simulator mean we can reinforce everything that we learn in the classroom in the lab.
"It helps that lots of our lecturers have really strong ties with industry and that the Astronautics department is pretty strong on the research side. This means that we work with industry a lot, particularly the European Space Agency, carrying out research projects. Employment prospects within the UK space industry, and internationally, are really good for Kingston University students.
"Kingston is a 20-minute train journey away from London if you want to see the busier side of life. Equally, you can go and lose yourself in Richmond Park for a couple of hours. It is really lovely."
A student view of the course:
"I chose Kingston because I originally wanted to go into the aerospace industry - working on planes – but I also always had a thing for space. I was almost going to do astrophysics at one point, but I didn't want to spend my life just doing theory and research - I am more of a hands-on person. So when I came across the aerospace engineering with astronautics degree at Kingston, I thought - well, that's the perfect course!
"I was a bit torn between the other universities, but I am really glad I picked Kingston. The lecturers always go into great detail about everything. They don't leave any stone uncovered and make sure everyone understands.
"London was a big attraction for me to come here. Kingston is one of the nicer areas of London - because it's on the outskirts, it's not 'London in your face'. It's like a haven."
A student view of the course:
"I chose to come to Kingston because I didn't want to focus just on the space science side of things - I wanted to look more at space in general and how to make things happen within the space industry. Kingston was the only place that actively advertised astronautics as being a part of the course.
"Coming from a purely theoretical background with A-levels in physics, maths and biology, the course gave me a good practical introduction to spaceflight engineering. At the same time, I wouldn't say that my favourite part of the course was anything practical - I actually do enjoy the theoretical part.
"As we have progressed into the second year, we've started to study astronautics, orbital mechanics, space vehicle design and subjects like that. During lectures, you don't just have a lecturer standing at the front saying what they want you to hear with everyone going away and doing their own thing. Because it is such a small group, you instead have quite a lot of personal interaction with the lecturers.
"KUSEDS (the Space Society for Students) is a good way to get a link between your studies and the industry. We have quite a few people coming into the department who are active within the space industry, both lecturers and professionals from external companies.
"The International Space University does masters programmes and summer session programmes. Coming from Kingston University, you get a 50% reduction on your fees."
A student view of our facilities:
"The facilities here are good. The University has just got a new flight simulator, which looks really impressive. Everything you learn in the classroom is backed up with hands-on experience."
A student view of our practical work:
"I have done quite a lot of practical work during my time here. This year has been more theoretical, but next year I am hoping to get back in the labs again to do my final year project and get my hands dirty – I like that."