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Old   April 16, 2014, 09:50
Default Masters in Aerodynamics
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Hi guys,

I need advice in choosing between two programs I have been offered.
1. University of Michigan for MSE Aerospace Engineering
2. Imperial College London for MSc Advanced Computational Methods for Aeronautics, Flow Management and Fluid Structure Interaction.

My core field of interest in CFD and aerodynamics especially pertaining to the ground vehicles/motorsport industry and it is becoming very difficult for me to make a choice amongst the two. Please provide you inputs.
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Old   April 18, 2014, 07:38
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Bruno Santos
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Greetings mechkween,

I honestly cannot give much feedback on this, as I'm not familiar with either one of them. Many of other people here on the forum don't known them either, but might be able to give you an educated array of suggestions, based on what more information you can provide.
Therefore, my question is: which are the specific topics in each program?

Because basing only on the titles, it would seem that the one in Michigan is more hands-on in the physical world, while the one on ICL is more of a computational course.

Best regards,
Bruno
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Old   April 18, 2014, 08:00
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Hi Bruno,

The one at Michigan is a 2 year course where I have to study a maximum of 10 ten subjects, no thesis and no final examination. The subjects I plan to choose are as follows:
1. CFD - I
2. CFD - II
3. Compressible Flow
4. Viscous Flow
5. Introduction to Turbulent Flow
6. Aerodynamics II
7. Gas Turbine Propulsion
8. Advanced Topics in Turbulent Flows
9. Advanced Gas Dynamics
10. AEROSP 590 where a project is done under a Professor

The course at Imperial is a 1 year course where I have to study a minimum of 12 subjects and a minimum of 19 subjects for the Distinction. This includes a Individual project Report. The subjects are as follows:
1. Introduction to Flight Dynamics
2. Introduction to Programming
3. Introductory Mathematics
4. Revision Stress Analysis
5. Technical Writing
6. Aeroelasticity
7. Advanced Flight Mechanics
8. Introduction to Flow Control
9. Analysis of Laminated Composites
10. Compressible Flow
11. CFD
12. Computational Linear Algebra
13. Control Systems
14. Design of Experiments
15. FEM
16. Fundamentals of Flight Mechanics
17. Hydrodynamic Stability
19. Navier Stokes Equations and Turb-Modelling
20. Separated Flows and FSI
21. Structural Dynamics

The ICL course looks pretty packed and I am in touch with a friend who is doing all the above subjects. It is from him I heard that many F1 teams visit the campus for projects.
While all this does sound rosy, there is an imminent flip side to it too. Doing so many courses in a year, doesn't in compromise on quality? Besides this, the rankings are as below
1. Imperial WR - 5, Branch Rank - 6
2. Michigan WR - 22, Branch Rank - 5

ICL looks good to me personally but many of my friends say US over UK anytime in terms of work prospects. I know F1 is a pretty restricted sector and getting into a team pretty difficult. So would I be better off getting work in a general CFD position and then maybe work my way into F1?
These are the reasons it is so hard for me to figure it out. Surely you would have some valuable inputs to this.

Thanks
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Old   April 25, 2014, 11:42
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Hi mechkween,

I didn't answer the other day, because as I wrote before, I can't give much feedback on this as I don't have any experience with either courses. And I'm far from being a CFD expert.

Nonetheless, here's what I think I can comment on, based on my experience and about a few tidbits I know:
  • The 2 year course at Michigan sounds like a dream to me, mostly because I've grown a bit allergic to exams and thesis. Both (exams and thesis) seem a bit of a waste of time, specially when they only provide a summary of the experience gathered and that I believe should be shared in a better way. Although, writing a 200-1000 page wiki-based multimedia book which could serve as a backup to one's own memory, would also be a bit of a cumbersome problem...
  • I believe I know why one course is designed to take 2 years and the other only 1 year:
    • The course at Michigan should allow for the student to be able to work and study at the same time.
    • The course at Imperial is for 100% studying, including 3-6 months before you even begin the course, in reading all of the introductory books.
    This is based on what I've been told about some Universities/Schools in the UK, i.e. one has to start reading a lot before the classes even begin; and about the massive costs that it takes to study in the USA.
  • Both course plans you've outlined seem pretty amazing. It gives the amazing sense of how much one could do with so much information!
  • From a somewhat practical standpoint: F1 isn't the only non-airbourne high performance sport. Superbikes, NASCAR, Rally, and several of the other motorsports can always make use of CFD. Although F1 is likely the one that uses it the most, as if the F1 vehicles were meant to go to outer space...
  • As I mentioned in the previous post, the course at Michigan seems to be more oriented to be hands-on, while the one at Imperial is more of a theoretical and computational course. To me, this is what really sets the two apart, because:
    • Having a hands-on approach can give a better sense of how things work and is more in-line with people who really like to design and be part of the building and testing process.
    • While a purely computational+mathematical+theoretical approach will let you understand how exactly everything is known to work (because we're not yet 100% certain of how everything really works ).
    • Although, in comparison, you can theorise and simulate a ton more stuff than implementing it in the real world. I.e., it's usually easier to buy a computer, get the right software and start tinkering away (having that knack for programming helps here); rather than buying the materials and parts, getting a workshop to work in and then to start tinkering away... although some people have built 1:1 scaled cars inside their houses...
All in all, I would suggest that you try to find out how you can contact the PR people on the departments that take care of the courses you're into and try to visit both schools to find out more about them. Because if you can't get the feeling that you want to spend 1 or 2 years studying in either one of them, it can get pretty damn discouraging, even if it's the course+classes you've chosen and really want to take

Best regards,
Bruno
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Old   April 25, 2014, 20:05
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mechkween View Post
Hi Bruno,
...

ICL looks good to me personally but many of my friends say US over UK anytime in terms of work prospects. I know F1 is a pretty restricted sector and getting into a team pretty difficult. So would I be better off getting work in a general CFD position and then maybe work my way into F1?
These are the reasons it is so hard for me to figure it out. Surely you would have some valuable inputs to this.

Thanks
F1 = UK but i guess you know that already.
In F1 ,there are a lot of different countries that appear to be in either Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire , Bedfordshire or Surrey
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