Top Schools for Aeronautics, Aviation and Aerospace Science

Aug 10, 2018

Find out which top schools offer degree programs in aeronautics, aviation and aerospace science. Read about the academic options and unique program features at three leading institutions, and find a table that lists other schools in the U.S. that provide training for aeronautical, aerospace or aviation professionals.

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  • 0:04 School Overviews
  • 0:57 California Institute…
  • 1:45 Embry-Riddle
  • 2:33 United States Air…
  • 3:10 Texas A&M University
  • 3:46 Top Aeronautics Schools

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School Overviews

Students interested in aeronautics, aviation, and aerospace science can find undergraduate and graduate programs at several four-year colleges and universities. Some of the most highly rated feature unique research facilities and a variety of program offerings.

The four schools highlighted in this lesson include national and regional universities, as well as a military academy, all of which received high program rankings from U.S. News & World Report in 2016. The California Institute of Technology, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and Texas A&M University offer undergraduate and graduate programs in aerospace, aerospace engineering, or aeronautics, among other closely related areas. Cadets at the United States Air Force Academy can earn an undergraduate degree in aeronautical engineering.

California Institute of Technology

In 2016, U.S. News & World Report ranked the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena 12th on its list of national universities. The university was also ranked fourth in the nation for its graduate aerospace and aeronautics programs.

Caltech's Graduate Aerospace Laboratories offer a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering or Aeronautics, an aeronautical engineer degree, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Aeronautics. Although Caltech does not offer bachelor's degrees in the same or similar fields of study, undergraduates can pursue a minor in aerospace. Unique to the school is its cooperative relationship with the Ecole Polytechnique in France, through which graduate students can earn a dual master's degree.


Ranked as the 12th best regional university in the South in 2016 by U.S. News & World Report, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, is a small aeronautics school that offers the country's 16th best undergraduate and 36th best graduate programs in aerospace and aeronautical engineering. Undergraduate students can earn a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical science, aeronautics, aviation maintenance science, and aerospace engineering, among other related fields. Additional programs can lead to a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering or Aeronautics. Master of Aerospace Engineering and Master of Business Administration in Aviation Management programs are also available. Advanced students can pursue a Ph.D. in Aviation.

United States Air Force Academy

The United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs offers a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering, which was the top-ranked undergraduate program in the country according to U.S. News & World Report in 2016. Students complete core coursework in the humanities, science, and engineering, as well as more specialized studies in aerothermodynamics, fluid dynamics, and aircraft performance. Cadets can also participate in ongoing research projects through the Aeronautics Research Center. Additional resources include the Modeling and Simulation Research Center.

Texas A&M University

In 2016, Texas A&M University was credited for having the 11th best undergraduate aerospace engineering program in the nation and the 10th best graduate program, by U.S. News & World Report. The program at Texas A&M makes use of a NASA space shuttle flight simulator. Undergraduate students may pursue a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering where they study the basics of engineering science alongside the design process. Graduate students take more specialized courses and engage in state-of-the-art research as they pursue a Master of Science, Master of Engineering, or Ph.D.

Top Aeronautics Schools

Here's a look at some other top colleges and universities that offer training in aeronautics, aviation, and aerospace science.

School Name Distinction Location
University of Southern California Offers an aerospace engineering degree Los Angeles, CA
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Contributes to the Collaborative Center for Multidisciplinary Sciences with Wright State University and the Air Force Research Laboratory Blacksburg, VA
Georgia Institute of Technology Has its own Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory Atlanta, GA
Stanford University Places a priority on research in environmentally sustainable aviation Stanford, CA
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Features 21 different aeronautic and astronomic laboratories Cambridge, MA
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Has a Multidisciplinary Design Laboratory for undergraduates Troy, NY

All of the schools profiled here have excellent programs that offer unique training opportunities or have placed on U.S. News & World Report's 2016 list of the best aerospace and aeronautical engineering programs.

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