Students who are interested in designing and manufacturing crafts that do not leave the atmosphere may consider enrolling in aeronautical bachelor's degree programs. Aerospace programs may appeal to students with broader interests, or those interested specifically in spacecraft.
Top 10 Aerospace Engineering Schools
Aerospace engineering is offered by many highly regarded schools across the country. Here are some of the country's top 10 graduate schools for engineering, according to U.S. News & World Report:
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Tuition (2015-2016)*|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology||Cambridge, MA||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$46,704 (undergraduate); $46,400 (graduate)|
|California Institute of Technology||Pasadena, CA||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Master's, Doctoral||$43,710 (graduate)|
|Stanford University||Stanford, CA||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Master's, Doctoral||$45,729 (graduate)|
|University of Michigan - Ann Arbor||Ann Arbor, MI||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral|| $13,856 in-state, $43,476 out-of-state (undergraduate);
$20,638 in-state, $41,688 out-of-state (graduate)
|Georgia Institute of Technology||Atlanta, GA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral|| $12,204 in-state, $32,396 out-of-state (undergraduate);
$13,452 in-state, $27,872 out-of-state (graduate)
|Purdue University - West Lafayette||West Lafayette||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral|| $10,002 in-state, $28,804 out-of-state (undergraduate);
$9,208 in-state, $28,010 out-of-state (graduate)
|University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign||Champaign, IL||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral|| $15,054 in-state, $30,214 out-of-state (undergraduate);
$15,023 in-state, $28,213 out-of-state (graduate)
|Texas A&M University - College Station||College Station, TX||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral|| $10,176 in-state, $28,768 out-of-state (undergraduate);
$5,598 in-state, $15,125 out-of-state (graduate)
|University of Texas - Austin||Austin, TX||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral|| $9,806 in-state, $34,676 out-of-state(undergraduate);
$10,934 in-state, $20,762 out-of-state (graduate)
|University of Colorado - Boulder||Boulder, CO||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral|| $11,091 in-state, $34,125 out-of-state(undergraduate);
$10,530 in-state, $27,828 out-of-state (graduate)
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics
School Selection Criteria
Students interested in aerospace or aircraft engineering programs may want to keep these considerations in mind:
- Independent projects and elective coursework could help students to specialize in either aeronautical or aerospace engineering.
- Bachelor's degree programs that proceed directly into graduate programs feature common coursework and an early introduction to graduate material that can lead to accelerated completion of the master's degree program.
- Internship opportunities could also help students by offering hands-on experience under the direction of working professionals in areas such manufacturing, design and testing.
- A school's career services and graduate placement rates may be indicators of future employment opportunities for students.
Bachelor's Degree in Aeronautical Engineering
Bachelor's degree programs in aeronautical engineering are often offered as concentration options within broader programs, such as aerospace engineering or mechanical engineering. Students may be expected to complete a senior project.
Bachelor's Degree in Aerospace Engineering
An aerospace engineering bachelor's degree program combines studies in the design and dynamics of spacecraft and aircraft. A design project may be required for successful completion of the degree, and these programs may transition directly into the graduate level.
Master's Degree in Aerospace Engineering
Master's degree programs in aerospace engineering allow students to complete projects and thesis assignments to specialize in areas such as astrodynamics, aerodynamics and aerospace materials. These programs can be completed in two years, though some schools offer combined bachelor's/master's programs that take a total of five years to complete, shaving off one year of schooling. Specialization options include structural systems and spacecraft systems.
Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering
Ph.D. programs in aerospace engineering are typically research-intensive and offer concentration options in a number of areas, such as structural mechanics, designing systems or propulsion. Graduation typically requires the completion of a publishable dissertation based on original research, and coursework should be selected based on a dissertation topic.
Students who study the aerospace and aircraft engineering learn about a broad range of topics related to the mechanics, technical design and physical science of aircrafts. Students who plan to go on to graduate studies may want to consider undergraduate degree programs that proceed directly into graduate programs at the same school or an affiliated school.