By attending the best aerospace engineering schools, students can explore how to design, manufacture, and operate aerospace vehicles. Much of your studies will revolve around hovercrafts, high-speed cars, space exploration vehicles, jets, and more. It’s an exciting career field that is only set to grow in the future as our needs for aerospace exploration diversify.
Accredited Programs That Might Interest YouLearn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
Finding the best aerospace engineering schools can be time-consuming, as there are many programs to consider. To help you get started, we’ve ranked 10 top programs for your consideration. Each of these schools meets the following criteria:
- An average annual cost of no more than $36,000
- A median starting salary no lower than $55,000
- Accredited programs by recognized bodies
10 Best Aerospace Engineering Schools
1. University of California – San Diego
4 Year; La Jolla, CA
Average Annual Cost: $14,232
At the University of California – San Diego, aerospace students are a part of the Jacobs School of Engineering. During your studies, you’ll be working towards a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering. This program is an excellent option because it is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.
Students can choose from two primary learning pathways, including four- and three-year plans. With the four-year program, your studies will begin with core classes in thermodynamics, materials, fluid mechanics, solid mechanics, and more. As you progress through your studies, you will focus on more in-depth topics, like propulsion, aerospace design, and controls.
Regardless of whether you choose the three- or four-year pathway, all students will have the skills necessary to begin careers in the aerospace industry. You will find your newly acquired skillset can help you develop spacecraft, aircraft, and other technologies. Undoubtedly, there are several outcomes you’ll be expected to meet once you are ready to graduate, including:
- Functioning effectively in a team
- Applying engineering design to public health, safety, and welfare solutions
- Identifying, formulating, and solving engineering problems
- Developing and conducting experimentation
- Interpreting data while using engineering judgment
2. Missouri University of Science and Technology
4 Year; Rolla, MO
Average Annual Cost: $14,262
The aerospace engineering program at Missouri University of Science and Technology is an exciting opportunity for students. You will explore the many facets of aircraft flight and space vehicles, from UAVs to commercial aircraft. You will also gather the skills necessary to help spacecraft reach distant planets for human exploration.
Along with your coursework’s air and spacecraft concepts, many classes revolve around environmental concerns. Students will learn about air and water pollution, the air effects of buildings, and harnessing wind energy. You will also design transit systems, undersea crafts, and more.
Compared to other aerospace engineering programs, this learning pathway opens a variety of doors. Students will learn about analyzing and developing missiles, aircraft, and vehicles while focusing on aerospace science. Also, you have the added benefit of theoretical and hands-on learning environments with classes and laboratories.
After your studies, you will be granted a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering. There is a multitude of classes you will take, including:
- Mechanics of Materials
- Experimental Methods in Aerospace Engineering
3. Georgia Institute of Technology – Main Campus
4 Year; Atlanta, GA
Average Annual Cost: $14,739
Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus offers its aerospace engineering program through the Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering. There are multiple degree programs to consider, from undergraduate to graduate studies.
As a prospective Bachelor’s student, you will be exposed to a diverse curriculum. Students will navigate through research, laboratory, and classroom learning environments. You will be required to obtain 132 credit hours with a capstone project during your senior year. Students can opt to focus on fixed-wing, rotorcraft, or spacecraft applications for the capstone project.
There’s no doubt that the Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus curriculum is one of the more advanced. The program’s core concept is to help students understand and design aerospace vehicles. You will also get a strong understanding of their subsystems and their general performance.
If you are looking for unique learning opportunities, this program is one of the top recommendations. Many students take advantage of co-op placements, international study opportunities, and internships. By the program’s conclusion, you will have the theoretical and hands-on knowledge to begin your future career.
4. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
4 Year; Ann Arbor, MI
Average Annual Cost: $15,336
The aerospace engineering program at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor is one of the nation’s more recognized. Ranked as the fifth-highest in the country, it offers many fascinating learning opportunities for prospective students. Also, you will have far more control over your learning pathway than at other institutions.
The University of Michigan – Ann Arbor allows students to choose from various electives and advanced aerospace courses. Using this method, you will be able to create a personalized curriculum to help you focus on a specialty if desired. Students have multiple subjects to consider, including spacecraft and rocket propulsion, satellite control, orbital dynamics, computer and information systems, and more.
When you first start your studies, you will have a fundamental grouping of topics to help you build a foundation in aerospace. Your classes will span diverse fields, including structural mechanics, flight dynamics, and aerospace technologies. During your senior year, you can take a design course to learn how all the systems work.
As one of the best aerospace engineering schools in the United States, the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor offers unique options. Students can sign up for co-op placements, internships, and study-abroad opportunities.
5. University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign
4 Year; Champaign, IL
Average Annual Cost: $15,880
If you’ve always had a passion for aircraft, space, and travel, the aerospace engineering program at the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign is ideal. Enrolled students will work towards a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering. You’ll be expected to work through several fundamental courses, including science, math, and engineering.
Apart from the fundamentals, students can also take an assortment of general and specialty courses. All of your coursework will be targeted to help you develop your skills before entering the workforce. Also, senior students will participate in a capstone design experience.
During your capstone assignment, you will work in a team to solve a design challenge from a government, industry, or professional engineering entity. It is one of the best ways for you to put your skills to the test before being granted your B.S. in Aerospace Engineering degree.
Students will be required to obtain 128 credit hours to be eligible for graduation. As mentioned, there are multiple courses you will take during your studies. A few notable examples include:
- Aerospace Flight Mechanics
- Aerospace Computer-Aided Design
- Incompressible Flow
- Applied Aerospace Structures
- Aerospace Control Systems
6. University of Maryland – College Park
4 Year; College Park, MD
Average Annual Cost: $19,045
The University of Maryland – College Park makes aerospace engineering accessible to all students through the A. James Clark School of Engineering. As part of the Department of Aerospace Engineering, you will have access to nation-leading programs and facilities. Like other aerospace programs, students can explore research opportunities, graduate studies, and undergraduate studies.
During your undergraduate studies, you will have a diverse collection of theoretical, research-based learning objectives. Students will also gather hands-on experience with understanding and designing aerospace vehicles. This sixth-ranked program is ideal whether you want to work in academia, government, or the aerospace industry.
As a student, you will navigate the complex facets of testing and developing aircraft and missiles. You will also get experience with defense systems, aviation, space exploration, vehicle movement, and more. With a strong emphasis on transport, some classes also revolve around commercial and general aviation.
There are five main subdisciplines you can expect to work through at the University of Maryland – College Park. These include:
- Materials and Structures
- Systems Design
- Flight Dynamics and Control
7. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide
4 Year; Daytona Beach, FL
Average Annual Cost: $20,333
Attending a specialty school to obtain your aerospace engineering degree offers benefits most students won’t forget. At Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide, you can work towards a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering degree. The central premise of the program is to help students develop their skills for designing and solving problems with spacecraft, aircraft, and propulsion systems.
One of the biggest benefits of the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide’s program is its facilities. If you have been looking for state-of-the-art resources and labs, consider this school. Not only will students find the available resources helpful, but other notable professional aerospace engineers do as well.
From the beginning of your studies, you will dive deep into hands-on experiences with competitions and projects. You will gather real-world training to help you with on-the-job tasks after you graduate. Also, this method of instruction allows students to diversify their insight to become more attractive to global agencies and companies.
8. University of Virginia – Main Campus
4 Year; Charlottesville, VA
Average Annual Cost: $20,397
The University of Virginia – Main Campus offers a unique program for prospective aerospace engineering students. Not only will your studies focus on aerospace but mechanical engineering as well. You will be exposed to innovation and excellence through research and academics.
By blending both mechanical and aerospace engineering, students get world-class experiences. You will learn about propulsion, autonomous systems, energy, manufacturing, and biomechanics. As an added benefit, there are both undergraduate and graduate programs for prospective students to consider.
As an undergraduate student, you can choose from two separate Bachelor of Science degrees. The first one is in Mechanical Engineering, and the other is in Aerospace Engineering. Both fields have been recently updated to account for modern advancements.
As you progress through your studies, you will have even more flexibility when tailoring your curriculum. You’ll have the opportunity to choose specific courses that pertain to specialties and areas of focus you are most interested in. By graduation, you will have the perfect amount of knowledge for professional development.
9. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
4 Year; Blacksburg, VA
Average Annual Cost: $21,198
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University’s aerospace program is remarkable as another unique avenue of study. Not only will students learn about aerospace engineering but also ocean engineering systems. It is one of the most well-rounded options if you are looking for multiple employment opportunities after graduating.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University offers undergraduate, graduate, and research programs. The research programs are ideal for students and faculty interested in designing, investigating, and manufacturing technologies.
As an undergraduate student, you will begin your learning pathway through rigorous coursework to help teach you the fundamentals of space and oceans. You will find the majority of your classes will revolve around aeronautics, hydronautics, and astronautics. You can opt to major in a specific subject, such as aerospace engineering, for a stronger concentration.
Like many other programs, you have optimal flexibility over your curriculum. Students are allowed to mix courses from different Technical Tracks. This process ensures you learn concepts that relate directly to your areas of interest. A few examples of Technical Tracks include:
- Foundational Option
- Energy and the Environment
- Naval Engineering
- Vehicle and System Design
- Dynamics, Control, and Estimation
- Aerodynamics and Hydrodynamics
10. California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo
4 Year; San Luis Obispo, CA
Average Annual Cost: $21,595
The California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo is an excellent option for students who learn by doing. The majority of their curriculum provides hands-on experience for students to learn about aerospace engineering. During your studies, you will focus on many concepts, including integrated system design in astronautics and aeronautics.
There’s no doubt that this school offers some of the most remarkable facilities for undergraduate and graduate students. At California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo, you gain access to propeller balancers, engine test stands, dismantled planes, and more. In other words, you will get all of the real-world experience you need to be a competitive prospective employee.
After finishing your studies, you’ll be granted a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering degree. Before you do, you can expect to explore a variety of fundamental concepts, including:
- Missiles, rotary-wing aircraft, fixed-wing aircraft, and spacecraft
- Stability and control
- Flight simulation
- Control systems
- Flight testing
With the addition of a Graduate Program, students can further their learning after obtaining their undergraduate degrees. You can opt to work towards a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering degree, specializing in Research. It’s a highly competitive program that is sure to make you an exceptionally competitive candidate while job hunting.