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Articles / Majors & Careers / Best Colleges for Aerospace Engineering

Best Colleges for Aerospace Engineering

Written by Sam Jaquez | July 7, 2021
Photo of Aerospace Engineers working on the jet of a plane.

10 Best Colleges for Aerospace Engineering Majors

Aerospace engineering is a field of engineering that focuses on the design and development of aircrafts and spacecrafts. This specialized field is one of the most demanding yet challenging fields of engineering. When looking for the right aerospace engineering school, several factors could determine the best programs including rank, cost, research opportunities, specialized study tracks, and accelerated programs.

These ten colleges have the best aerospace engineering programs for undergrads:

  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  2. Georgia Institute of Technology
  3. California Institute of Technology
  4. Texas A&M University – College Station
  5. Purdue University – Main Campus
  6. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
  7. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  8. University of Colorado Boulder
  9. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Daytona Beach
  10. University of Texas at Austin

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts and is one of the top private universities in the United States. 47% of undergraduate students are women and 51% of undergrads come from US minority groups. Innovation is one of MIT’s key initiatives – which drives the university to provide students with the education and tools to address and solve challenges in their communities and around the world.

In addition to studying at the highest ranked school for aerospace engineering, undergrads in the program are eligible for on and off campus internships. MIT students have interned at organizations like NASA, SpaceX, and Boeing.

Students have the opportunity to participate in undergraduate research opportunities, study abroad research programs, and are often invited to attend lectures and programs featuring guest speakers from leaders in the aerospace engineering field. 

Georgia Institute of Technology

The Georgia Institute of Technology is a leading public research university located in Atlanta, Georgia with international campuses in France and China. The university’s mission is to develop leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition. US News and World Reports ranks aerospace engineering at Georgia Tech #2 in the US and #1 among public-funded institutions.

The aerospace engineering bachelor program at The Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering is designed to give students the education and experiences needed to succeed. The program has 10 specialty areas. Students can choose a speciality and customize their courses to fit their goals. Students can also apply for the BS/MS Honors Program which provides a chance to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years.

California Institute of Technology

Caltech is a private university located in Pasadena, California. The university is a world-renowned science and engineering institute with more than 600 research scholars and 300 professorial faculty. Caltech is well known for managing the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for NASA.  

Although Caltech offers only a minor in aerospace engineering, the program consistently makes lists as one of the top undergrad aerospace engineering programs. Students are drawn to the excellent professors, labs, and opportunity to study aerospace in collaboration with another subject. The program allows undergrads to major in any degree at Caltech while preparing them for entrance into the university’s aerospace engineering graduate program which is ranked as the best aerospace graduate program in the U.S.

Texas A&M University – College Station

Texas A&M University is a public research university in College Station, Texas. The university has 133 undergraduate degree programs and over 56,000 enrolled undergraduate students. A&M ranks first among national public universities for a superior education at an affordable cost. 

For undergraduate students, Texas A&M offers a Bachelor of Science and a minor through the Department of Aerospace Engineering. The undergraduate program is a highly ranked on the list undergrad aerospace engineering programs. Through the honors degree option, students are provided with additional opportunities like working on one-on-one research with a faculty mentor.

Purdue University – Main Campus

Purdue University is a public research university in West Lafayette, Indiana and is ranked as one of the best valued public colleges for in-state students. The university is ranked as the 5th most innovative university in America by US News and World Reports. Purdue credits their innovation on the targeted initiatives of “providing affordability and accessibility, online learning, STEM leadership, transformative education, and world-changing research.”

The School of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ undergraduate aerospace engineering program is ranked at #5 on the list of Best Undergraduate Programs in the U.S. The program prepares students by building opportunities each year – starting with studying general engineering in the first year to studying a specialization area in the senior year. Additionally, there are many undergraduate research opportunities, a senior project, study abroad options, and even a dual bachelors/masters enrollment program.

University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

The University of Michigan is the top-ranked public university in the country. The university offers over 280 degree programs, over 100 study abroad programs, and is #1 in research volume among U.S. public research universities. 

The undergraduate Aerospace Engineering degree program is known for being very accessible thanks to scholarships and financial aid. The program includes study abroad options, undergraduate research, team projects, internships, research positions, and more. Eligible students also have the opportunity to apply to The Rackham Sequential Undergraduate/Graduate Studies (SUGS) program which is a five-year BSE/MSE Program. 

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is a top-ranked private research university in Troy, New York. The university is home to one of the most powerful university-based supercomputers in the world, which the university uses to promote research and innovation on-campus. 

The School of Engineering offers three distinct undergraduate study programs: a regular Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering, a Co-Terminal program which includes the BS and two additional semesters of graduate study, and the BS-PhD program which admits students into the PhD program upon completion of the BS program.

Undergraduates have opportunities to “experience learning” through the Rensselaer Design Lab, the learning lab, undergraduate research experiences, and study abroad programs.

University of Colorado Boulder

The University of Colorado Boulder is a public research university in Boulder, Colorado with an acceptance rate of 78% and a graduation rate of 72%. Several programs at the university are ranked in the top ten in the US including atomic/molecular/optical physics, ceramics, quantum physics, environmental law, geology, and aerospace engineering. 

The aerospace engineering program is ranked 10th in the US. The 2-semester senior project is a unique feature of the program. The senior design project applies the theories and design skills acquired during students’ first three years. The project is sponsored by industry leaders such as JPL, ULA, and more.

Aerospace engineering students also have the opportunity to apply to the Bachelor’s-Accelerated Master’s program which allows for some courses to “double count” toward a master’s degree. 

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Daytona Beach

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is a private university in Daytona Beach, Florida. The university specializes in aerospace and aviation and has ranked as the number 1 undergraduate aerospace engineering program among non-doctorate schools for 16 consecutive years. According to the university, “96% of graduates are employed or have chosen to go on to higher education within a year of graduating.”

The aerospace engineering degree is a selective program that allows students to follow one of three tracks – aeronautics, astronautics, or propulsion. The university houses many specialized labs and simulation centers to enhance learning opportunities. The program also provides the opportunity to participate an accelerated MS program.

University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas at Austin is a top public research university in Austin, Texas. The university is ranked among the top national and global universities. The university houses 17 libraries, 7 museums, over 170 degree programs, and 400 study abroad programs. 

The aerospace engineering undergraduate program at UT Austin is a top-10 nationally ranked program. The atmospheric flight and space flight design tracks are unique to the program and allow students to specialize their studies based on special interest and future plans. To foster community and hands-on experiences there are several team-based projects and organizations on-campus for aerospace students and on/off campus research opportunities. 

Ranking data taken from university websites and from U.S. News rankings.

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Written by


Sam Jaquez

Sam is a freelance writer. She studied at the University of Massachusetts Boston where she earned a degree in English.

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