Master of Science
Main Campus - Melbourne, Patuxent

Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering

The master of science degree can be earned in one of four major areas: aerodynamics and fluid dynamics, aerospace structures and materials, combustion and propulsion, and flight mechanics and controls. Because the purpose of each program is to prepare the student for either a challenging professional career in industry or for further graduate study, the programs do not permit narrow specialization. Emphasis is on required coursework in several disciplines in which an advanced-degree engineer in a typical industrial position is expected to have knowledge and problem-solving expertise beyond that normally obtained during an undergraduate engineering education.

The master of science degree can be earned on either a full-time or a part-time basis. Full-time students can complete the program in a minimum of three semesters (four in the case of graduate student teaching assistants). Students beginning their coursework during the spring semester will be able to register for full course loads, although the commencement of thesis work will normally be delayed.

Graduate student teaching assistants are required to successfully complete a three-day teaching assistant seminar offered in August and January of each year.

Admission Requirements

An applicant should have an undergraduate major in a field related to aerospace engineering. Applicants whose bachelor's degrees are in other fields are normally required to take some undergraduate coursework in addition to the program described below, as determined by the department head. Applications are also invited from graduates with undergraduate majors in the physical sciences or mathematics. In these cases, at least one year of undergraduate coursework in aerospace engineering is normally required before starting the master of science program. In evaluating an international application, due consideration is given to academic standards in the country where the undergraduate studies have been performed.

Master's applicants should take the GRE General Test. Applicants from foreign countries must meet the same requirements as applicants from the United States.

General admission requirements and the process for applying are presented in the Academic Overview section of the university catalog.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering is offered with both thesis and nonthesis options. Each option requires a minimum of 30 credit hours of coursework. Prior to the completion of nine credit hours, the student must submit for approval a master's degree program plan to indicate the path chosen and the specific courses to be taken. For the thesis option, up to six credit hours of thesis work may be included in the 30-credit-hour requirement. The thesis can be primarily analytical, computational or experimental; or it can be some combination of these. In each case, students must demonstrate the ability to read the appropriate engineering literature, to learn independently and to express themselves well technically, both orally and in writing. For the nonthesis option, a student may replace the thesis with additional elective courses and a final program examination, following approval of a written petition submitted to the department head. Generally, students wishing to pursue an academic career are encouraged to choose the thesis option.


The program of study leading to the master's degree in aerospace engineering is offered in the four listed areas of specialization. The minimum program requirements consists of nine credit hours of core courses, six credit hours of mathematics and 15 credit hours (which may include six credit hours of thesis) of electives. Within the 15 credit hours of electives, six credit hours of coursework are restricted electives. The department maintains a list of restricted electives for each specialization.

The nine credit hours of core courses must be chosen in consultation with the student's advisor from one of the following lists.

Aerodynamics and Fluid Dynamics
MAE 5110 Continuum Mechanics
MAE 5120 Aerodynamics of Wings and Bodies
MAE 5130 Viscous Flows
MAE 5140 Experimental Fluid Dynamics
MAE 5150 Computational Fluid Dynamics
MAE 5160 Gas Dynamics
MAE 5180 Turbulent Flows
MAE 6130 Experimental Methods in Turbulence


Aerospace Structures and Materials
MAE 5050 Finite Element Fundamentals
MAE 5060 Applications in Finite Element Methods
MAE 5410 Elasticity
MAE 5430 Design of Aerospace Structures
MAE 5460 Fracture Mechanics and Fatigue of Materials
MAE 5470 Principles of Composite Materials
MAE 5480 Structural Dynamics


Combustion and Propulsion
MAE 5130 Viscous Flows
MAE 5150 Computational Fluid Dynamics
MAE 5160 Gas Dynamics
MAE 5310 Combustion Fundamentals
MAE 5320 Internal Combustion Engines
MAE 5350 Gas Turbines
MAE 5360 Hypersonic Air-breathing Engines


Flight Mechanics and Controls
MAE 5801 Advanced Flight Dynamics and Control
MAE 5802 Multivariable Feedback Control Systems
MAE 5803 Nonlinear Control Systems
MAE 5804 Guidance and Navigation of Aerospace Vehicles
MAE 5805 Spaceflight Mechanics and Controls
MAE 5610 Advanced Dynamics or MAE 5360 Hypersonic Air-breathing Engines


Electives are selected from these course offerings and appropriate courses in mathematics, in consultation with the student's advisor and committee. The topics of emphasis for aerospace engineering in the three areas of specialization include aerodynamics, computational fluid dynamics, experimental fluid dynamics, flow instability theory, combustion, aerospace propulsion and power, aerospace structures, composite materials, fracture mechanics and fatigue of materials.