Cranfield University – ‘Thinking, Brilliantly Applied’

Cranfield University – ‘Thinking, Brilliantly Applied’


Intriguingly, Cranfield University in England is a strictly postgraduate institute (and ‘the only wholly postgraduate university in the UK’), offering no courses at undergraduate level… and Cranfield students wouldn’t have it any other way!


Get to know Cranfield University



Founded in 1946 just after the Second World War, Cranfield University – then called the College of Aeronautics, Cranfield – was the first postgraduate College of Aeronautics, and was located at the RAF (Royal Air Force) site at Cranfield. The institute did not expand from aeronautics into other fields until later, when technology, manufacturing, and management were introduced. The College of Aeronautics, Cranfield was eventually renamed Cranfield Institute of Technology and achieved university status in 1969, bringing with it complete degree-awarding powers. In 1993 it was renamed once again, becoming Cranfield University as we know it today.

The university is the study and research home to about 4,000 full and part-time students from every corner of the world. Cranfield offers an extensive range of courses at varying levels, such as Postgraduate Diplomas, Masters, and Doctorate courses, and Cranfield students may undertake taught courses or research degrees in the university’s specialist subject areas; science, engineering, technology, and management.

Cranfield University is comprised of two campuses – firstly, there is the main Cranfield Campus in Wharley End, close to Cranfield village. The campus is also near Milton Keynes and Bedford. It is connected by several rail and road routes to many major airports (Luton, London Gatwick, Birmingham, etc.), coach, and train stations, and, most impressively, boasts its own airport on campus, used for ‘private executive travel.’

Additionally, there is the Cranfield University at Shrivenham campus, where you will find the Cranfield Defence and Security (CDS) department. The Shrivenham campus is based at the Ministry of Defence establishment and is located on the Oxford and Wiltshire borders.



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Applying to Cranfield University

To apply to become a Cranfield University student, you must first meet the relevant entry requirements. The minimum entry requirements are the same for most of Cranfield’s taught and research programmes, and there is ‘a range of assistance available to help you meet them.’

If you are an international student, you may also need to, as the Cranfield website states, ‘provide evidence of your English Language proficiency when you receive an offer to study with us.’

The Cranfield minimum entry requirements are as follows;

  • ‘A UK first or second class honours degree in a relevant subject area, or
  • An equivalent international qualification’. More information on this can be found on the International Student Page.
  • ‘Relevant work experience in combination with a degree below second class honours.’

However, every application will be judged on its own merits, as the website also says; ‘if you do not meet our formal entry requirements, but still feel you can demonstrate the ability to complete the course successfully, you may still be accepted onto a course.’

You can read up fully on Cranfield’s entry requirements here.


So, after satisfying the entry requirements, how do you actually apply to Cranfield University? As it is a strictly postgraduate institute of education, it is not part of the UCAS application system used by UK undergraduate students, and so you may apply online through the Cranfield University site for most of the courses it offers.  

You may apply from anywhere in the world and will have to contend with strong competition for a place. There are ‘no set application dates,’ but the university highly recommends that you apply ‘as early as possible,’ especially if you are also planning to apply for on-campus accommodation, and/or need to apply for a visa for the UK, as this adds time to the whole process.

Complete information and guidelines on the application procedures – as well as links to apply – may be found here. Information is divided up into Cranfield’s different subject areas; Aerospace, Defence & Security, Energy & Power, Environment & Agrifood, Manufacturing, School of Management, Transport Systems, and Water.

Once you submit an application, you should receive an email within two working days confirming that the university has received it, along with being given a username and password to access EVE – the student portal. Cranfield hopefuls typically hear if they have been accepted or not within four weeks of submitting their application. The university recommends contacting them if applicants have not heard about their application within six weeks of submission.


Fees, Funding, and Scholarships

Please click here to read up fully about Cranfield’s fees, funding, and scholarships. Both UK-based and international students may apply, and importantly, funding and the ability to pay fees and accommodation costs, etc., must be secured before registration at the university.

Tuition fee rates vary depending on various factors, such as the academic year of study, the level of the programme, and whether you are a UK, EU, or otherwise-based student. Cranfield’s website provides clear and easy to read tables outlining their fees for different years and for taught and research programmes;

Follow this link to read up fully on Cranfield’s fees, funding, and scholarships.



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Students’ Positive Opinions on Cranfield University

Students at Cranfield mention a wide variety of good things about the college in their EDUopinions comments. Here are the ones that appear most often.

Popping up a handful of times is praise for the ability to access information on campus, thanks to libraries and access to online sources. Lots of ‘ground-breaking research’ (to use the term the university employs itself) takes place at Cranfield and obviously the university uses the inspiration from this to the benefit of attending students, too.


Cranfield University – ‘Thinking, Brilliantly Applied’


Another popular piece of praise for the college is its teaching staff. Students use words such as ‘seasoned’ ‘renowned’ ‘of high calibre,’ and ‘well recognised internationally’ to describe their professors.

Furthermore, students recognise Cranfield University’s reputation in the job market, thanks in part to the collaborations within the industry (e.g. aeronautics, waste management, energy, management) that the university maintains. To have Cranfield University on your CV/résumé certainly seems to allow you to stand out from the crowd during the hunt for a job.


Cranfield University – ‘Thinking, Brilliantly Applied’


Elsewhere, one student tells us that Cranfield gives you the opportunity to ‘engage in a new career’ at postgraduate level, despite whatever you may have studied for your undergraduate degree. Others mention the busy social life at the university, with many societies, clubs, and social activities being a ‘great opportunity to socialise’ and make friends during your studies.

A few comments are made about the general atmosphere and environment at Cranfield University. The solely postgraduate student body creates a ‘mature atmosphere’ and another student likes the fact that there is no undergraduate part to the university (presumably as this allows for a far more serious and focused study environment). A different student describes the atmosphere at Cranfield as ‘friendly and warm’ and yet another notes the multicultural environment on campus.

Lastly for Cranfield positives is a point of conflict. Read the university’s EDUopinions comments and you will find praise for the location of the campus, with it ranging from apparently being a ‘perfect’ ‘environment and location’ in which to study, with a further comment stating a liking for the quiet surroundings and proximity of London for weekend trips, to another student of the opinion that the campus is located too far out. A point like this, however, really depends on each individual’s own tastes.


Where Students Think Cranfield University Could Get Better

There are, to Cranfield’s credit, very few points to mention in this section. Featuring in two EDUopinions comments is the length of masters programmes at the institute. Both commenters feel that the twelve month long degrees are too short, and ought to instead be eighteen months or perhaps two years in length.


Cranfield University – ‘Thinking, Brilliantly Applied’

Other commenters look for more space in the libraries, and more technician support ‘in some areas’ which may be connected to a lack of funding.



Cranfield University – ‘Thinking, Brilliantly Applied’


In Conclusion

So, there you have it! With links to industry and government, Cranfield University has an amazing record for finding employment for its graduates – many of whom are the reason for numerous innovations in the industries of aerospace, defence & security, environment & agrifood, energy & power, manufacturing, transport systems, and water sectors. A Cranfield University qualification seems to be the closest graduates can get to have a gold star on their CV. An impressive institute indeed.


Please leave a comment and let us at EDUopinions know if you found this article helpful, we look forward to your feedback!


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Ciara is currently working as Content Manager for EDUopinions after returning from Paris; where she lived for a few months while teaching English. She is from Cork, in Ireland.

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