Best undergraduate aerospace engineering schools

Last Updated on June 2, 2022

Aerospace Engineering is an Engineering discipline that concerns the production of aircraft and spacecraft. It is one of the fastest-growing diverse disciplines that focuses on the design, maintenance, and development of all types of aircraft.

Furthermore, Aerospace Engineering deals with the design and development of flying machines. This is one of the latest branches of engineering that came into the foray in the 19th century with the first experiments in powered flights. There are two branches of Aerospace Engineering; Aeronautical Engineering and Astronautical Engineering.

Right here on infolearners, you are privy to a litany of relevant information on best aeronautical engineering schools, best undergraduate aerospace engineering schools, how to become an aerospace engineer, stanford university aerospace engineering, georgia tech aerospace engineering, and so much more. Take out time to visit our catalog for more information on similar topics.

What Does An Aerospace Engineer Do?

Aerospace Engineers build aircraft, rocket, satellites, and missiles. In addition, these engineers test prototypes to make sure they work according to plans.

Such professionals also design parts and subassemblies for these boats, including engines, airflames, wings, landing gear, control systems, and instruments.

In addition, Aerospace Engineers may perform or write the destructive and non-destructive test specifications for the power, functionality, reliability, and long-term durability of aircraft and parts.

Furthermore, Aerospace Engineers; plan, study, test, troubleshoot, and build an advanced defense, spacecraft, and aviation technology. They develop standards for quality assurance and design processes, identify problems with products that are not functioning optimally, and fix them.

Duties of an Aerospace Engineer include:

  • Developing new technologies for use in spacecraft, aviation, and defense systems.
  • Designing, assembling and testing of aircraft and aerospace products
  • Analyze damage or malfunction in equipment to find our possible reason and offer a solution
  • Assessing the cost and workability of new projects to be undertaken
  • Determining quality standard acceptance criteria for design methods, quality standards, sustainment after delivery, and completion dates
  • Evaluating that the project or the product satisfies engineering principles, safety norms, customer requirements, and environmental challenges
  • Manufacture aircraft and individual components in coordination with the design team.

Aerospace Engineers often take on specific areas of functioning such as software engineeringstructural engineeringmechanical engineering, electrical and electronic engineering, for automation and guidance purposes, aerodynamics or propulsion systems.

How To Become An Aerospace Engineer?

In the order of becoming an Aerospace Engineer, obtaining an academic degree is a step in but it’s not enough. You need to obtain licenses and certifications to be able to practice. To be an Aerospace Engineer, here are the following steps you need to take.

Acquire A Bachelor’s Degree

Aerospace Engineers must have a bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering or any other related aspect of Engineering.

To acquire a bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering, you need to attend Aerospace Engineering undergraduate school.

High school students curious about studying aerospace engineering should take courses in chemistryphysics, advanced math, and computer programming and computer languages.

Bachelor’s degree programs incorporate classroom, laboratory, and field studies in subjects such as general engineering systems, propulsion, stability and control, structures, mechanics, and aerodynamics, which is the study of how air cooperates with moving objects.

Some Aerospace Engineering undergraduate schools offer collaborative programs in partnership with regional businesses, which give students working experience while they complete their education. Cooperative programs and internships allow students to gain valuable expertise and to finance part of their education.

At some Aerospace undergraduate Engineering schools, a student can enroll in a 5-year program that leads to both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree upon fulfillment. Programs in aerospace engineering are accredited by ABET.

Obtain Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure for aerospace engineers is not as common as it is for other engineering occupations. However, it is vital for entry-level positions. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which permits higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one’s career.

Engineers with the license to practice are known as professional engineers (PEs). A PE can supervise the work of other engineers, sign off on projects, and administer services directly to the public. State licensure generally entails;

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Relevant work experience, typically at least 4 years
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam.

The initial Fundamentals of Engineering exams are to be taken after earning a bachelor’s degree. Engineers who pass this exam are generally known as engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After meeting work experience terms, EITs and EIs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering.

It’s also worthy to note that each state issues its own licenses. However, most states recognize licensure from other states, as long as the licensing state’s requirements meet or surpass their own licensure requirements. Many states require continuing education for engineers to keep their licenses.

Entry Requirements Into Aerospace Undergraduate School

Entry requirements into Aerospace Engineering programs vary according to school. However, generally, to gain entry into a top aerospace engineering school, you need to be highly competent in mathematics and physics in order to apply.

Furthermore, if you’re an international student, you might need to prove your proficiency in English through a standardized exam such as IELTS prior to commencing the undergraduate program in order to obtain a student visa or entry into the program.

How Long Does It Take To Complete Aerospace Undergraduate Engineering Program?

Aerospace Engineering degrees at the undergraduate level usually last three or four years, but many schools allow students to progress directly into a Masters in Aeronautical Engineering, extending the course length by an additional year or two.

In such cases, BEng and MEng students take the same courses for the first two or three years, and well-performing students then continue with the BEng for one more year or progress to the more advanced MEng for two years.

Some Aerospace undergraduate programs may also allow for this transfer in the first or second year of the BEng degree program, while others allow post-secondary candidates to enroll in an MEng straight away.

A few institutions also offer associate degree programs, but these usually are reserved for practicing engineering professionals who have previously been certified in a related field and want to switch careers into aeronautical engineering.

How Much Does Aerospace Undergraduate Engineering Program Cost?

The annual cost of tuition for a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering varies according to college. The tuition can go as low as a little over $8,000 in public institutions to over $45,000 in private universities for in-state students.

For those studying out-of-state, tuition differs from about $27,000 for public schools to more than $45,000 for private institutions.

On average, the tuition fee for an in-state aerospace engineering degree costs around $10,500 a year while for someone studying out-of-state the tuition average would be in the vicinity of $36,500.

How Much Does An Aerospace Engineer Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for aerospace engineers were projected to increase by 2% from 2018-2028, which is slower than average.

As of May 2018, aerospace engineers, including aeronautical engineers, made a median annual salary of $115,220, as reported by the BLS.

Best Undergraduate Aerospace Engineering Schools

#1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT which comes first in our list of best Aerospace Engineering schools is a private institution that was founded in 1861.

This program is meant to prepare the undergraduate student for an entry-level position in aerospace and similar fields and for further education at the master’s level.

The program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. The program includes an opportunity for a year’s study abroad.

Through this undergraduate Aerospace Engineering program, students build a conceptual understanding of the foundational engineering sciences and professional subjects that span the topics critical to aerospace.

Furthermore, this learning takes place within the engineering context of conceiving-designing-implementing-operating (CDIO) aerospace and related complex high-performance systems and products. 

#2. Georgia Institute of Technology

Georgia Institute of Technology is a public institution that was founded in 1885. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 16,049.

GIT undergraduate Aerospace Engineering program provides capable, motivated, and well-prepared students with an aerospace engineering education of the highest quality, that will enable them to reach their maximum potential in a technological world.

 At Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering, research is at the center of everything. Students learn the theories, simulations, equations, and applications of aerospace engineering by relentlessly questioning them.

The program is approved by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

#3. California Institute of Technology

This Aerospace undergraduate program is meant for students who wish to broaden their knowledge beyond their normal major or who may wish to pursue a graduate program involving aerospace or aeronautical engineering.

The course exposes students to the practical aspect of the discipline through hands-on practical sessions.

In addition to its undergraduate studies, Caltech awards top graduate programs in engineering and areas of science including biology, chemistry, computer science, earth sciences, mathematics, and physics.

The program is approved by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

#4. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

The Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Science from ERAU prepares graduates for the aviation sector by combining a four-year technical degree with flight training.

Here, students not only learn to fly, but they also acquire skills in leadership, critical thinking, and research as well as insight into the business aspects of the industry.

The academic portion of the curriculum encompasses aeronautics, aerodynamics, flight physiology including high altitude training, and more.

The program is approved by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

#5. Purdue University–West Lafayette

AAE, the nation’s top aerospace engineering program was ranked No. 4 in the 2020 U.S. News and World Report rankings of aerospace undergraduate programs.

In the junior year, students learn about aerodynamics, propulsion, structures, dynamics, and control systems. Some courses in the junior year are available in both aeronautical and astronautical versions, and students choose the area of primary interest.

In the senior year, students are free to specialize in the following areas;

  • Aerodynamics
  • Aerospace Systems Design
  • Astrodynamics and Space Applications
  • Autonomy and Control
  • Propulsion
  • Structures and Materials

Most of our graduates take jobs in the aerospace industry or pursue graduate work in aerospace engineering.

The program is approved by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

#6. Stanford University

The Undergraduate Program in Aeronautics and Astronautics offers students the chance to learn engineering principles through a project-based curriculum. 

The objective of the undergraduate program in Aeronautics and Astronautics is to equip students with the fundamental principles and techniques necessary for success and leadership in the conception, design, implementation, and operation of aerospace and related engineering systems.

Courses in the major introduce students to engineering principles through a project-based curriculum. Here, students learn to apply this fundamental knowledge to conduct laboratory experiments and aerospace system design problems.

Courses in the major include engineering fundamentals, mathematics, and the sciences, as well as in-depth courses in aeronautics and astronautics, dynamics and control, mechanics of materials, and fluids engineering.

#7. University of Texas – Austin

The University of Texas – Austin is in our list as one of the best undergraduate Aerospace schools. The University offers a foundational undergraduate curriculum covering engineering and science fundamentals, fluid mechanics, controls, structural dynamics, materials, and more.

With 33 faculty members, over 800 students, and over 4,500 alumni living worldwide, the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at the University of Texas at Austin is a tight-knit, interdisciplinary community that offers programs in aerospace engineering.

The faculty works closely with students to solve important technological and scientific problems related to aviation, space engineering, and science, robotics, energy, solid biomechanics, biomedicine, earth science, and more.

The University of Texas at Austin’s Aerospace Engineering and Computational Engineering undergraduate programs are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

#8. Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech’s Kevin T. Crofton Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering offers an unusual approach to understanding and utilizing the connections between two seemingly disparate fields.

This perspective allows researchers to forge new paths through aerospace engineering launches graduates into careers that deepen our understanding and advance our technology.

Furthermore, the program inspires students to become critical thinkers, innovators, and leaders with the curiosity and drive to solve real-world problems. The program is approved by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

#9. University of Colorado Boulder

CU Boulder is one of the best aerospace undergraduate schools. The students and faculty are pushing the limits of aeronautics and astronautics research, designing next-generation unmanned aircraft, expanding the possibilities of remote sensing, and building space instruments and satellites for orbit around Earth and beyond.

The institution is home to 56-tenure track, research, and instructional faculty, over 400 graduate students, and 1,000 undergraduates.

The program is approved by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

#10. Mississippi State University

Mississippi State University offers a comprehensive, world-class Aerospace Engineering undergraduate program with the intimacy and opportunity of a small college. With small informal classes, MSU students have unrestricted access to professors outside the classroom.

The Department of Aerospace Engineering at Mississippi State University presents an accredited undergraduate curriculum with the mission of preparing students to join the workplace as qualified entry-level aerospace engineers or to enter any aerospace engineering graduate program adequately prepared for advanced study.

The Aerospace Engineering undergraduate program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

#11. University of Minnesota

Established in 1936, the University of Minnesota’s Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics BAEM was one of the first 10 accredited aerospace engineering degree programs in the country.

Since then, the program has continuously grown to meet the emerging complexities of the field.

UMN’s robust Aerospace Engineering Department is home to high-tech teaching and research laboratories; computer facilities for modeling and simulation; and ample funding for scholarships, grants, and student organizations.

From the prestigious Boeing Scholarship and valuable internship and cooperative work programs to the ambitious UMN Solar Vehicle Project, this university provides aerospace engineering students with every opportunity to realize their goals.

The Aerospace Engineering undergraduate program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

#12. University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, IL

The Department of Aerospace Engineering at Illinois is a global leader in aerospace science and engineering. With nationally ranked undergraduate and graduate programs, internationally renowned faculty, and state-of-the-art research facilities, the department is dedicated to excellence and leadership in teaching, research, and service.

Also, the faculty and graduate students are engaged in a variety of interdisciplinary centers including the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, Coordinated Science Laboratory (CSL), Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory, National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), and Information Trust Institute.

The Aerospace Engineering undergraduate program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

#13. The University of Washington

The University of Washington’s William E. Boeing Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics offers the only aerospace degree program in the Pacific Northwest, a region whose aerospace industry has been a major subscriber to the technological development, economic vitality and the security of the United States.

About the author

Study on Scholarship Today -- Check your eligibility for up to 100% scholarship.