Education

Best Aerospace Engineering Degree Programs of 2022

Learn more about the top Aerospace Engineering programs, what to expect, job prospects, and how to choose the program that’s right for you.

Aerospace engineering is the study of the design, development, and construction of aircraft and spacecraft. Aerospace engineering degrees can prepare students for a variety of careers in the aerospace industry, including aircraft design, aircraft production, and aerospace testing.

Aerospace engineering degrees offer a variety of specializations, including aircraft design, aircraft production, and aerospace testing. Students in aerospace engineering degree programs learn about the different aspects of aircraft and spacecraft design, and how to apply those concepts to the development of new aircraft and spacecraft.

How to Choose the Right Aerospace Engineering Program

When it comes to choosing the right aerospace engineering program, there are many factors to consider. Cost, location, and time to degree are just a few of the things you’ll need to take into account.

Aerospace engineering programs can be expensive, so you’ll need to research tuition rates and financial aid opportunities. Location is also important, as you’ll want to be near internships and job opportunities after graduation. The time to degree may make an expensive program less costly if you can transfer in college credits.

In addition to these factors, you’ll also need to consider the specializations available at each program. If you’re interested in aircraft design, for example, you’ll want to make sure the program you choose offers a track in that area. You can also research the graduation requirements to learn how many general engineering classes you must take versus the specialized courses in your track.

Best Bachelor’s in Aerospace Engineering Programs

The best programs for Aerospace Engineering ranking is based on key statistics and student reviews using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Some of the metrics influencing how the rankings are determined include graduation rate, average salary for graduates, accreditation, retention rate, and cost.

Rank 1
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Prescott, AZ

The Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering (BSAE) program at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is a highly respected and competitive program that attracts students from all over the world. The program is designed to equip students with the skills and knowledge necessary to solve complex challenges in aircraft and spacecraft design, propulsion, and systems.

The program offers students the opportunity to learn from experienced faculty and to gain hands-on experience with modern, state-of-the-art resources. Students also have the chance to participate in various projects and competitions, which provides them with real-world experience and the opportunity to build a professional network.

Rank 2
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL

The Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineers degree from University of Florida is a fully accredited baccalaureate program that provides a broad education with a strong foundation in mathematics, science and basic engineering sciences. Advanced courses in aeronautics and astronautics complete the degree. Graduates will be prepared to work in the aerospace and related industries or to pursue graduate study.

Rank 3
The University of Texas
Austin, TX

The University of Texas offers a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering. This degree is designed to prepare students for professional practice in aerospace engineering and related engineering and scientific fields. The curriculum emphasizes fundamentals in the basic sciences, mathematics, and the humanities, and integrates classroom and laboratory experiences in the engineering disciplines of aerodynamics and propulsion, structural mechanics, mechanics of materials, flight and orbital mechanics, and more. Students can choose to specialize in atmospheric flight or space flight, and the program also offers the opportunity to earn a certificate in business economics, corporate finance, data analytics, or real estate investment.

Rank 4
Ohio State University
Columbus, OH

The Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Ohio State University is a four-year program that prepares students for careers in the aerospace engineering field. The program includes coursework in engineering mechanics, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, aerodynamics, kinematics, propulsion, measurements and controls, and design. Students also have the opportunity to participate in co-op or internship experiences.

Rank 5
University of Maryland-College Park
College Park, MD

The Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from University of Maryland-College Park is a four-year program that prepares students for careers in the aerospace industry. The curriculum includes coursework in aerodynamics, flight dynamics and control, propulsion, materials and structures, and systems design. Students also complete a two-term senior design project in aeronautics or astronautics. The program culminates with a capstone course in which students participate in national design competitions.

Rank 6
Syracuse University
Syracuse, NY

The Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Syracuse University is a highly technical degree that will prepare students for a career in the aerospace industry. The curriculum covers topics such as aircraft performance and dynamics, design and analysis of aerospace structures, and helicopter dynamics. Students will also have the opportunity to get involved in research projects and participate in professional organizations like the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

Rank 7
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Worcester, MA

The Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering degree from Worcester Polytechnic Institute is a comprehensive program that covers mathematics, basic sciences, engineering science, and design. The BS/MS option allows students to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years.

Rank 8
California State University-Long Beach
Long Beach, CA

The Bachelor of Science in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering degree from California State University-Long Beach is a 120-unit program that is designed to supplement mathematics, science and basic engineering courses in order to give students the specialization needed in different areas of aerospace engineering. In addition to acquiring technical knowledge, graduates will have completed appropriate courses in communications and in humanistic social studies. There are two emphases in the BSAE Program: (1) Aeronautics, and (2) Astronautics. Aeronautics focuses on aerospace engineering as it relates to flight in the atmosphere, while Astronautics addresses space flight.

Rank 9
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Blacksburg, VA

The Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University is a comprehensive program that covers the core areas of aerodynamics, flight dynamics and controls, propulsion, and aerospace structures. Students have the opportunity to tailor their degree to their specific interests by choosing from nine different Technical Tracks. The program culminates in a senior-level design sequence that is nationally recognized.

Rank 10
Auburn University
Auburn, AL

The Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering at Auburn University provides students with an opportunity to use scientific principles and engineering concepts to design, build, test and operate aerospace systems and vehicles. The curriculum is led by faculty with extensive experience in teaching, research and industry, and provides students with a broad range of courses in aerodynamics, aerospace structures and materials, flight dynamics and control, orbital mechanics, and aerospace design.

What to Expect From a Bachelor’s in Aerospace Engineering Program

Aerospace engineering programs at the bachelor’s level typically take four years to complete and include both general education coursework and major classes. The curriculum emphasizes physics, mathematics, and engineering principles.

Aerospace engineering students learn about aircraft design, propulsion, and control. They also study the dynamics of flight, aircraft materials and structures, and aircraft performance. Some programs allow students to choose a specialization. Additionally, some programs may require students to take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam before they can graduate.

Common Aerospace Engineering Courses

The curriculum for an aerospace engineering program will typically include a combination of engineering, mathematics, and physics courses. Many programs also include a design component, in which students work on projects to apply what they have learned in the classroom. The following courses are examples of what you might take as an aerospace engineering student.

Calculus

This course covers limits, continuity, derivatives, integrals, and infinite series of functions of one variable. Emphasis is placed on applications to problems in physics and engineering. Upon completion, students should be able to apply the concepts of calculus to problems in physics and engineering.

Linear Algebra

This course covers the study of linear equations and their applications to engineering. Topics include matrices, determinants, vector spaces, linear transformations, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, inner product spaces, and orthogonality. Upon completion, students should be able to solve systems of linear equations, understand and apply the properties of matrices and determinants, work with vector spaces and subspaces, and understand and apply the properties of linear transformations, eigenvalues, and eigenvectors.

Aerodynamics

This course covers the basic principles of aerodynamics with emphasis on subsonic, incompressible flow. Topics include the atmosphere, basic fluid mechanics, dimensional analysis, lift and drag, airfoils and wings, and introduction to high-speed aerodynamics. Upon completion, students should be able to apply the principles of aerodynamics to the analysis and design of aircraft and aerospace vehicles.

Spacecraft Structures

This course covers the analysis and design of spacecraft structures and mechanical components. Topics include an introduction to the space environment, loads and stresses, materials and manufacturing processes, structural analysis methods, and design of spacecraft components. Emphasis is placed on the application of analytical methods to the design of spacecraft structures and mechanical components. Upon completion, students should be able to apply the principles of spacecraft structural analysis and design to the development of spacecraft components and systems.

Aircraft Propulsion

This course covers the thermodynamic and fluid dynamic principles of aircraft propulsion systems. Topics include the basic thermodynamic cycles of aircraft engines, analysis of propulsion system components, thrust and power relationships, and the design and off-design performance of turbojet, turboprop, and turbofan engines. Upon completion, students should be able to apply the principles of thermodynamics and fluid dynamics to the analysis and design of aircraft propulsion systems.

Career Options for Aerospace Engineering Graduates

Graduates of aerospace engineering programs work in a variety of industries, including aerospace, defense, and automotive. They may also work in fields such as research and development, manufacturing, and testing.

Aerospace Engineer

Aerospace engineers design, develop, and oversee the construction of aircraft and spacecraft. They work on both the big-picture concepts and the small-scale details that go into making these machines function. Aerospace engineers are typically employed by the government or by private companies that design and build aircraft and spacecraft. They typically work in offices, but they may also visit worksites to observe tests or to monitor the progress of a project.

Aerospace Engineering Technician

Aerospace engineering technicians work with engineers to design, develop, and test aircraft, missiles, and spacecraft. They often specialize in a particular area, such as structural design, guidance and control systems, instrumentation and communications systems, or production methods. Aerospace engineering technicians typically have an associate’s degree in engineering technology.

Aircraft Mechanic

Aircraft mechanics are responsible for the maintenance, repair, and inspection of aircraft. They work on both the exterior and interior of the aircraft, and their duties can range from routine maintenance to more complex repairs. Aircraft mechanics must be able to identify and diagnose problems, and they must have a working knowledge of the tools and equipment used to fix aircraft. They also must be able to read and interpret technical manuals.

NASA Engineer

Engineers at NASA work on a variety of projects related to space exploration, aeronautics, and science. They might develop new technology for space missions, work on improving existing technology, or conduct research to support NASA’s goals. Engineers at NASA also work on developing new aircraft and improving existing ones, as well as researching ways to make air travel more efficient and reduce its environmental impact. Some engineers at NASA also work on developing new materials that can be used in space, on other planets, or on Earth.

Aircraft Pilot

Aircraft pilots fly airplanes, helicopters, and other aircraft for a variety of purposes. Pilots who fly for commercial airlines transport passengers and cargo on a set schedule. Pilots who fly private aircraft may transport passengers and cargo or may fly for other purposes, such as aerial photography, crop dusting, or firefighting. Pilots who fly charter aircraft transport passengers or cargo on an as-needed basis. Military pilots fly aircraft for the armed forces.

Insights From an Aerospace Engineering Graduate

Samantha Pineda is a Mechanical Engineer at Lockheed Martin. She has a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Samantha has over 3 years of experience in mechanical engineering.

ClimbtheLadder: What were the biggest takeaway(s) you got from your Aerospace Engineering program that you may not have gotten otherwise?

Samantha Pineda: One of the biggest takeaways I got from my Aerospace Engineering program was the ability to work with a team. In most of my classes, we were put into groups and had to work on projects together. This was a great opportunity to learn how to communicate with other people and how to work together to solve problems.

I also learned a lot about aircraft and how they work. I was able to take classes that taught me about the different systems on an aircraft and how they work together. I also had the opportunity to tour some of the facilities where aircraft are built and see how everything comes together.

ClimbtheLadder: What type of person is successful and thrives in an Aerospace Engineering career?

Samantha Pineda: A person who is successful in an aerospace engineering career is someone who is passionate about the field and is constantly learning. Aerospace engineering is a field that is always changing, so it is important to be able to adapt to new technologies and approaches.

Aerospace engineering is also a very collaborative field, so it is important to be able to work well with others. Being able to communicate effectively is another key skill for success in this career.

ClimbtheLadder: What was the most challenging course you took? What advice would you give to students who are about to start this course?

Samantha Pineda: The most challenging course I took was Thermodynamics. I would advise students to take this course in their junior or senior year, after they have taken other difficult classes such as fluid mechanics and heat transfer. I would also advise students to use the textbook as a resource and to attend all of the lectures.

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