In order to pursue your dream of becoming an aerospace engineer, you’ll need to attend an aerospace engineering school and acquire a B.Tech (Bachelor of Technology) degree. An Aerospace Engineering degree will teach you about aerodynamics, aircraft and spacecraft design, structural analysis, flight dynamics, propulsion methods, and more.
Choosing the right school can make all the difference between success and failure, so in this list of the 5 best aerospace engineering schools in the USA, you’ll find accredited university programs that offer aerospace degrees along with their rankings from leading publications such as US News & World Report and The Princeton Review.
What is Aerospace Engineering?
Aerospace engineering is the field of engineering that deals with designing, testing, building, and flying aircraft and spacecraft. It is a highly specialised field that combines elements of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and materials science.
There are two main branches in this field, they are:
- Aeronautical Engineering
- Astronautical Engineering
Aerospace engineers manufacture leading-edge technologies integrated into aerospace vehicles such as aircraft, spacecraft, satellites, missiles, and propulsion systems.
5 Best Aerospace Engineering Schools in the USA
1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is one of the most renowned engineering schools in the world. The school offers a broad range of engineering disciplines, including aerospace engineering.
The institution is a private land-grant research university established on April 10, 1861, by the Massachusetts General Court after getting a proposal from William Barton Rogers, an American physicist, geologist and educator.
MIT’s aerospace engineering program is consistently ranked as one of the best in the nation. The program provides students with opportunities to work on cutting-edge research projects. With a world-renowned faculty and state-of-the-art facilities, MIT graduates have gone on to become leaders in the aerospace industry.
When it comes to top-ranked engineering programs, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is hard to beat, and its aerospace engineering program is no exception.
Some of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s notable alumni are:
- Colin Angle, co-founder of iRobot Corporation
- Mohammad Modarres, an Iranian-American scientist and educator working as an Eminent Professor at the University of Maryland
- Charles Townsend Ludington, a Philadelphia businessman and aviation pioneer who helped established the every-hour-on-the-hour air service
- Charles Stark Doc Draper, an American scientist and engineer known to be the “father of inertial navigation
- Henry Middlebrook Crane, an American engineer and pioneer of the automobile industry
- Nicholas A. Peppas, a chemical and biomedical engineer working as a professor of engineering at the University of Texas at Austin
2. California Institute of Technology
Originally founded as Throop University, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) is a world-renowned research university with a focus on science and engineering. It was founded on September 23, 1891, by Amos G. Throop as a preparatory and vocational institution.
The California Institute of Technology is widely considered to be one of the best engineering schools in the United States, in addition to its top-ranked programs in other fields.
Students at Caltech benefit from small class sizes, passionate faculty, and ample research opportunities. If you’re looking for an outstanding aerospace engineering program, Caltech should definitely be at the top of your list.
With a sheer strength in science, engineering, research and hands-on experience, graduates of Caltech’s aerospace engineering program are prepared to tackle the engineering challenges of the 21st century.
Some of California Institute of Technology’s notable alumni are:
- Carl David Anderson, an American physicist and a Nobel Prize in Physics receiver for discovering positron and the muon
- John McCarthy, an American computer scientist and inventor of the Lisp programming language
- Harrison Hagan Jack Schmitt, an American geologist and retired NASA astronaut
- Charles Gordon Fullerton, an astronaut and the United States Air Force colonel
- Gordon Earle Moore, an American businessman, engineer and co-founder of Intel Corporation
- Benoit B. Mandelbrot, a Polish-born French-American mathematician and the father of fractal geometry
3. Stanford University
Stanford University was founded on November 11, 1885, by Leland and Jane Stanford in memory of their only child, Leland Stanford Jr, who had died of typhoid fever at age 15 the previous year. Stanford University is one of the most prestigious schools in the United States.
The Stanfords envisioned creating a university to promote public welfare by exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization. Today, Stanford is one of the world’s leading research universities, with more than 45 departments and 200 programs.
The university’s aerospace engineering program is ranked #2 by U.S. News & World Report. Stanford offers a variety of degree options for students interested in aerospace engineering, including a BS, MS, and PhD. The faculty at Stanford are world-renowned researchers who are at the forefront of their field.
Some of Stanford University’s notable people are:
- Andreas Maria Freiherr von Mauchenheim gennant Bechtolsheim is a German electrical engineer who co-founded the SUN workstation
- Norman Manuel Abramson, an American engineer and computer scientist known for developing the world’s first wireless computer communication network
- Anant Bhardwaj, the founder of Instabase
- Donald D. Chamberlin, an American computer scientist and the co-inventor of SQL (Structured Query Language)
- Rodney Allen Brooks, an Australian roboticist and the director of MIT computer science and artificial intelligence lab
- Surajit Chaudhuri, a computer scientist known for his contributions to the database management system
- John Mathew Cioffi, an American electrical engineer and pioneer in the Digital subscriber line
- Ian J. Goodfellow, a computer scientist, engineer and developer of generative adversarial network
- Daniel Henry Holmes Ingalls Jr, a pioneer of object-oriented computer programming
4. Georgia Institute of Technology
The Georgia Institute of Technology, formally referred to as Georgia Tech is one of the leading aerospace engineering schools in the United States. It was established on October 13, 1885, by Nathaniel Edwin Harris and Major John Fletcher.
The school offers a world-class education, with top-notch faculty and state-of-the-art facilities. Plus, students have the opportunity to work on cutting-edge research projects.
The school offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs that prepare students for careers in the aerospace industry. The school’s curriculum is designed to provide students with a strong foundation in engineering principles and an understanding of the latest aerospace technologies.
Georgia Tech’s faculty includes some of the world’s leading experts in aerospace engineering, and the school has a strong reputation for research.
Some of Georgia Institute of Technology’s notable alumni are:
- Samuel Graham, an American engineer and a Professor at Georgia Tech
- Wallace H. Coulter, an American electrical engineer, inventor, businessman and the discoverer of the Coulter Principle
- John Calvin Jureit, a Civil engineer and the inventor of the Gang Nail connector plate
- Dean Lawrence Kamen, an American engineer and businessman known for inventing Segway and iBOT
- Robert C. Michelson, an American engineer and academic known for inventing the entomopter, a biologically inspired flapping-winged aerial robot
5. Purdue University – West Lafayette
Purdue University’s School of Aeronautics and Astronautics is one of the oldest and largest in the United States. It was founded on May 6, 1869, by John Purdue as a public land-grant research institution.
The school offers a comprehensive curriculum, and a wide range of degree programs from undergraduate to doctoral, with an emphasis on hands-on experience. Purdue also has strong research programs in both aeronautical and astronautical engineering.
Purdue is also home to the nation’s largest cooperative education program, which allows students to gain paid work experience in their field of study.
Some of Purdue University’s notable alumni are:
- Neil Alden Armstrong, an American astronaut and the first man to step on the Moon
- Iven Carl Kincheloe Jr, an American fighter jet pilot and aeronautical engineer
- Loral Ashley O’Hara, an American engineer and NASA astronaut
- Mark Neil Brown, an American engineer and retired colonel in the United States Air Force
- Jerry Lynn Ross, a retired United States Air Force officer and a former NASA astronaut
- Chesley Burnett Sullenberger III, an American diplomat and a retired airline pilot best known for successfully saving 155 people in an Aeroplane he was flying in 1549
There are many excellent aerospace engineering schools in the United States. The schools on this list are some of the best, based on various criteria such as reputation, research output, academic curriculum and student satisfaction. If you’re looking for a top-notch education in aerospace engineering, any of these schools would be a great choice.
- Usnews.com – Best Aerospace Engineering Schools in the USA
- Mit.edu – Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Caltech.edu – California Institute of Technology
- Stanford.edu – Stanford University
- Gatech.edu – Georgia Institute of Technology
- Purdue.edu – Purdue University – West Lafayette