MSC Bursary Scheme

Frequently asked questions

Providing answers to questions that students, company employees, companies and universities might ask about this scheme.

INFORMATION FOR ALL CANDIDATES

1. What is this scheme?
Government, leading companies in the aerospace sector, the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) and the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) have developed an initiative to boost the supply of aeronautical engineering skills to the UK economy. This was announced by the Prime Minister at the Farnborough International Air Show in July 2012.

Companies, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and the Northern Ireland Administration are providing funding support for those seeking to up-skill via an eligible Aerospace Engineering MSc degree.

This funding will be available for up to 500 students undertaking MSc programmes at UK universities accredited by the Royal Aeronautical Society, or supported by the leading companies, and commencing during academic years 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16. The full list of programmes is at www.raeng.org.uk/aeromsc.

2. Who is the Scheme for?
This scheme is for those who may not have previously considered a career in Aerospace Engineering, including those qualified in a different engineering discipline or in mathematics, physics or another related technical subject. It is also for those who would otherwise not be able to access MSc study in Aerospace Engineering because of the cost of postgraduate study, including those already in employment in the Aero sector.

There are three routes into the scheme:

 

  • Route 1 - Applicants who are not employed in the Aerospace sector but whose application is supported by an Aerospace sector employer. They offer an employer letter of support at the time of application.
  • Route 2 - Individuals who, at the time of application, have no connection with an Aerospace sector employer.
  • Route 3 - Current employees in the Aerospace sector who wish to enhance their skills and qualifications.


There will be a competition to win an award. The competition process is explained below (see What do I need to do?). The Partner organisations are keen to receive applications from a diverse range of suitably qualified applicants.

3. What are the eligibility criteria?
Company employee applicants must be:

  • Working in the UK in the aerospace sector on the first day of the MSc programme

Other applicants must be:

  • Ordinarily resident in the UK on the first day of the MSc programme (with the exception of frontier students* studying in the UK).
  • One of the following:
    • EU nationals (including UK nationals) including direct family members as long as they have been ordinarily resident in the EEA for the last three years; or
    • Nationals of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland who are working in the UK, including direct family members and who have been ordinarily resident in the EEA for the last three years; or
    • UK residents with ‘settled immigration status’ (no restrictions on how long you can stay) who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for the last three years; or
    • Refugees and people who have been granted humanitarian protection including direct family members ordinarily residing in the UK on the first day of the first academic year of the course; or
    • Children of Swiss nationals who have resided in the UK where the children have been resident in the EU/EEA or Switzerland for the last three years; or
    • Children of Turkish nationals who have resided in the UK where the children have been resident in the EU/EEA, Switzerland or Turkey for the last three years.

* “Frontier students” refers to students who study in the territory of one country and reside in the territory of another country, to which they return as a rule daily or at least once a week.

4. What support does this scheme offer?
Awards will fund MSc tuition fees up to a maximum of £9,500.

5. What benefits are there in taking part in the scheme?
Participants will gain a qualification that will be highly relevant to working in the aerospace sector. There will be opportunities on the scheme to gain work placements at aerospace companies and to engage in projects sponsored by the sector. It is our expectation that those who graduate from these programmes will elect to work in the aerospace sector on completion of the programme.

6. Why is support being offered for aerospace engineering MScs?
The aerospace sector is a great UK success story. UK companies are global leaders. The sector is growing quickly at about 5% per annum. It will continue to offer excellent long term careers. Aerospace is a high value, knowledge intensive sector that requires and rewards high levels of skills. The Government and business are keen to see the sector grow strongly, allowing the UK to take advantage of massive growth opportunities.

Masters’ programmes provide opportunities to enhance the skills of existing company employees, and allow students to build stronger skills for employment in aerospace.

7. Do I need to secure a place at a university before I apply for a bursary?
No. You can apply for a bursary either before or after a place has been secured.

8. What university programmes are eligible?
A list of programmes that attract this funding is available at www.raeng.org.uk/aeromsc.

9. How do I find out more about aerospace careers?
See RAeS careers website and strategic vision at http://aerosociety.com/Careers-Education . You can also access sector reports published by organisations such as ADS and the Aerospace Growth Partnership (www.adsgroup.org.uk).

10. What do I need to do and when?
You should apply as soon as possible for courses starting in 2013. Once each academic year’s quota is reached the competition will be closed.

You must complete the Phase 1 Application Form as well as applying for the MSc programme you wish to undertake. The application form and the list of eligible programmes are at www.raeng.org.uk/aeromsc.

Candidates may, under exceptional circumstances, make the case for an alternative programme not shown on the list if they feel is highly relevant to the aerospace sector, highlighting their reasons for making this choice.

The Phase 1 application form is available as a ‘write on’ pdf which should be completed and returned by email to AerosMSc@raeng.org.uk.

Applicants who meet the eligibility criteria will be asked to complete a Phase 2 application form. If successful at this stage, applicants will be invited for interview; this might be via Skype, teleconferencing or face to face.

Applicants successful at the bursary interview will be made an offer which is conditional on being accepted by a university. Therefore you should separately be pursuing the application process with your chosen University, as all normal entry criteria will be applied to those also seeking a bursary.

SUPPORT FOR EXISTING UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

11. How important is my interest in working in the aerospace sector?
Your level of interest in working in the aerospace sector will be very important.

12. How can I find support for my application?
You can approach any UK aerospace sector company or research organisation to support your application. This support could be, for example
Mentoring

  • Work and project opportunities appropriate to the MSc
  • A statement on the MSc’s relevance to the company’s business plan
  • A commitment to contribute to your tuition fees (see “FAQs for UK Aerospace Companies”, below)


The Partner companies involved in this project can be contacted via:
Ian.Grant@baesystems.com
carol.phillips@aerobombardier.com
Nigel.Jones@Airbus.com
emily.light@gknaerospace.com
cathy.strachan@mbda-systems.com
htSpirit.Training@spiritaero.com
andrew.deighton@rolls-royce.com

13. Do I have to find employer support for my application?
No. But it may help your application if you secure support. All applications will be considered on merit, regardless of the route through which they apply or the external support they have.

You will find it easier to demonstrate your motivation and commitment to work in the UK aerospace sector at interview stage if you:

  • Can show some knowledge of the sector
  • Have some idea of a possible dissertation topic
  • Plan to approach / have already approached potential aerospace employers for support
     

14. What funding is available?
Awards are intended to cover the cost of tuition fees only up to a maximum of £9,500. They will be directed to those who may not otherwise be able to undertake an aerospace MSc, including those already in employment in an aerospace Partner or supply chain company. All organisations involved in the scheme are keen to see applications from a diverse range of suitably qualified candidates.
 

15. How will the bursary be paid?
Payment will be made directly to the university concerned, not to students or company employees.

16. What can the funding be used for?
A list of eligible programmes is at www.raeng.org.uk/aeromsc. Under exceptional circumstances, candidates may make the case for why they should study a programme not on the list. Remember that your chosen programme must have a strong link to your interests in the aerospace sector. You will need to show how it addresses the needs of the sector.

17. How difficult will the application process be and what are my chances of success?
You should expect that the process will be a challenging one and that successful candidates will have strong applications and perform well at interview. Applications will be considered on merit against a pre-determined set of criteria.

18. Can I submit applications for study at more than one university?
You may apply to as many eligible MSc programmes as you wish.

19. Who assesses the applications?
Applications will be assessed by a panel from the aerospace sector , the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Aeronautical Society.

20. What will happen at interview?
You will be asked to expand on what you have said in the Phase 2 application form about your motivation for applying for the bursary and pursuing your career in the UK aerospace industry.

21. When will I hear if my application is successful?
The outcome of applications will be announced at the earliest possible opportunity following your application.

22. Does the scheme apply in Wales, Scotland, England and Northern Ireland?
Yes.

23. I plan to live and work outside the UK when I complete my MSc. Is this scheme for me?
No

INFORMATION FOR PEOPLE ALREADY IN EMPLOYMENT

24. Who can apply for a bursary?
Please see the general eligibility criteria are set out in paragraph 3, above. Applications are welcome from individuals who:

  • Already work in aerospace and wish to enhance their career in the sector by raising their skill level; or
  • Are studying on an engineering degree, whether or not it is related to aerospace, or
  • Wish to convert to engineering from related subject areas such as mathematics and physics while raising their skill level and transferring into the sector


25. How important will be my level of interest in working in the aerospace sector?
Your level of interest in working in the aerospace sector will be very important and will be assessed through your personal statement and at interview. You should research the sector and, in particular, the areas in which you are most interested in working so that you can explain and discuss your interest and commitment.

26. How much is the bursary worth?
Bursaries fund MSc tuition fees up to a maximum of £9,500 per person. Any fees above this will be the responsibility of the candidate as will other costs associated with the study.

Companies that support an applicant will be required to contribute to their tuition fees (for further details see “Information for Companies”, below).

27. Who will receive the funding?
The bursaries will be paid directly to the university concerned.

28. Which MSc programmes qualify?
A list of eligible MSc programmes is at www.raeng.org.uk/aeromsc. You can apply for a bursary for an MSc not on this list; you will however need to demonstrate how this is relevant to your future employment in UK aerospace and to your employer’s business.

29. Do I have to find a company to support my application?
If you are employed in the UK aerospace sector you must have your company’s support. Other applicants are not required to have support from a company but are reminded that support offers considerable benefits. As well as being an endorsement of your suitability to work in the sector an employer’s support will normally offer:
- Mentoring
- Work and project opportunities appropriate to the MSc
- A statement on how the chosen MSc is relevant to the company’s business plan
- A commitment to contribute to your tuition fees (see “INFORMATION FOR UK AEROSPACE COMPANIES”, below)

30. How and when can I apply?
You should apply as soon as possible:

  • Download, complete and return the Phase 1 Application. If you are supported by a company, whether or not they are your employer, you must include a letter of support from the company. The application form and advice on completing it are at www.raeng.org.uk/aeromsc.
  • Apply for a place on an eligible MSc programme (see list at www.raeng.org.uk/aeromsc). You may apply for a bursary to study on an MSc not on this list but will need to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Scheme administrators that it is relevant to your future employment in the aerospace sector. You can apply for a bursary before you have been awarded a place on an MSc programme. If you are successful in your application you will be offered a bursary on the condition that you secure a place on an eligible MSc programme.

 

31. What happens after I apply?
Your Phase 1 application will be checked. Eligible candidates will be invited to download, complete and return the Phase 2 application. If successful at Phase 2 applicants will be invited for interview; this could be via Skype, teleconference or face to face. Applicants successful at interview will be made an offer conditional on being accepted by a university on an eligible MSc programme (see list at www.raeng.org.uk/aeromsc).

INFORMATION FOR UK AEROSPACE COMPANIES

32. Why is this scheme important?
The Aerospace Growth Partnership (AGP) has argued strongly that the lack of highly qualified engineers is a barrier to growth and that we need to up-skill the existing workforce and to attract new people to work in the sector. This scheme will provide funding for 500 MSc students as an investment in the future of the sector. Companies engaged in the scheme will help to create the skills their company needs to develop and grow their business and / or research capabilities.

33. This scheme funds individuals so how can companies get involved?
Tuition fees are provided to individuals (via their university). However, this scheme encourages companies to upskill their existing technical and professional staff by applying for an MSc.

It also encourages companies to support MSc students while they study by:

  • Identifying and supporting one or more of their staff with the potential to follow an MSc programme and to apply their new knowledge and skills to your business
  • Identifying and recruiting one or more new engineers, or people with skills in related areas such as mathematics and physics, with the potential to follow an MSc programme and to apply their new knowledge and skills to your business


In both of these instances companies will be asked to commit to supporting applicant(s) through:

  • Mentoring
  • Work and project opportunities appropriate to the MSc


Companies can also offer mentoring and / or relevant work and project opportunities to independent candidates. This would provide benefits including:

  • An opportunity to see and identify potential future employees without commitment or expenditure

Potential solutions to real business problems (framed as projects)

34. Which companies can take part?
Partner companies, listed at the bottom of the page, can support their employees who apply to the scheme. Supported employees will be assessed in open competition and, if successful, will receive a bursary worth 100% of the tuition fee up to £9500, drawing on their own company's funding support for the Scheme. A key part of the Scheme is that the company supports the student through mentoring, project work etc.

SME's that are part of the aerospace supply chain can take part in the same way. In these cases successful applicants will receive a bursary worth 75% of the tuition fee up to £9500. A key part of the Scheme is that the company supports the student through mentoring, project work etc. These are the only categories of company whose employees can receive a tuition fee bursary through this scheme. However, companies within the UK aerospace sector, including non-SME's that are part of the aerospace supply chain, are encouraged to:

  • Provide a letter of support for independent applicants to the scheme and to support that student's studies through mentoring, projects etc. Over time this may help these companies to recruit additional staff;
  • Express an interest in becoming a partner company in the scheme by emailing AerosMSc@raeng.org.uk.


35. Which MScs are relevant to my business needs?
A list of eligible programmes, which are highly relevant to aerospace engineering, is available here www.raeng.org.uk/aeromsc. However if you consider another programme particularly important to your business then your candidate may make the case for its study. Your candidate will need to be able to say why this programme is so important to your business.

INFORMATION FOR UNIVERSITIES

36. Which university programmes are being supported through this scheme?
A list of eligible MSc programmes is at www.raeng.org.uk/aeromsc. Under exceptional circumstances candidates can make the case for why they should study an alternative programme. Candidates will need to remember that the programme must have a strong link to their interests in working in the aerospace sector and they must be able to articulate why this programme would provide them with the skills to contribute to the thriving UK aerospace sector

37. How can I get my aerospace engineering programme on the list?
Write to info@aerosociety.com for advice and guidance about seeking accreditation of your programme

38. My MSc programme is eligible under the scheme. How can I improve my applicants’ chances of success?
Bursaries are awarded on a first come first served basis. Therefore applicants will be helped if the university to which they are applying processes their applications swiftly. Applicants who can show some knowledge of the sector, have some idea of a possible dissertation topic and/or who have already approached potential aerospace employers for support, will be at an advantage at interview stage. You can help them by linking them to employers in your network.

39. How could this scheme help my current STEM undergraduates?
Because of the specialised, complex and rapidly changing technologies used in the aerospace sector, major employers often prefer to recruit Masters level graduates: however, with no student loans available, study at Masters level is too costly for many BSc and BEng holders.

This scheme is designed to attract entrants to the sector who would not otherwise be able to aspire to it. You should therefore publicise this opportunity to students who you believe are capable of tackling a MSc in engineering, and encourage them to find out more about aerospace.

For further details on BAE Sponsorship email, AerospaceMScBursary@baesystems.com