What is an aerospace engineering degree?
Aerospace engineering is primarily concerned with the design and analysis of aircraft and spacecraft. Subfields include aerodynamics, structures, controls, and propulsion systems. Students who choose to earn an aerospace engineering degree at Florida Tech are part of a prestigious program that consistently receives accolades, at a university that is ranked in the nation’s top tier.
Whether you want to design aircraft, develop new methods of propulsion, or be part of the team for space exploration, an aerospace engineering degree from Florida Tech is the one you want. Here you'll develop a strong background in engineering and get hands-on experience in fields like aerodynamics and fluid mechanics.
Gain Practical Experience
Florida Tech’s BS in Aerospace Engineering begins with courses that give you an excellent grounding in both engineering and calculus-based physics. In addition, students are introduced to aircraft design in their first year, in contrast to other schools that reserve it as a junior- or senior-year experience. You can expect to learn basic machining; use software to build models and analyze real aerospace parts and systems; and design, build, and test your own model airplane or rocket.
As a senior, you will complete a senior design project in collaboration with a team of your peers. Together, you will conceptualize, design, construct, and present an aerospace system or component that fulfills a real-world need, then present the project to industry leaders and potential employers.
New technical electives allow you to specialize in unique career-track subfields such as systems engineering, nanotechnology, sustainability, flight test engineering, and control of space systems, making you an extremely valuable prospect in the eyes of future employers.
Earn an Advanced Degree
After receiving their aerospace engineering degree, many of our students go on to receive graduate degrees at Florida Tech, or at other prestigious universities including Stanford, Johns Hopkins, Virginia Tech, and MIT.
“Why pursue an aerospace engineering degree at Florida Tech? ”
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You have three graduate study opportunities:
You have two graduate study opportunities:
The aerospace engineering program at Florida Tech is a challenging course of study that offers students a chance to tackle compelling and relevant engineering problems using cutting-edge engineering tools and laboratory equipment.
The undergraduate aerospace engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org. Additional information can be found on the department’s ABET information page.
Small Class Sizes and Low Student-to-Faculty Ratio
The academic environment in the College of Engineering is particularly conducive to personalized one-on-one attention from professors. With its small class sizes (usually fewer than 25 students per class), Florida Tech boasts a low student-to-faculty ratio while providing a high-quality curriculum. Working alongside professors in internships and research also gives students a more robust learning experience.
Work with Internationally Recognized Faculty
Our professors share a special dedication to teaching and working with students; they have many years of relevant background in aerospace systems, and are leaders in innovative aerospace research. Two of our professors are Boeing Welliver Faculty Fellows, and three are American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Associate Fellows. In addition, one of our professors recently received the coveted AIAA Faculty Advisor of the Year award.
High-Tech Laboratories and Facilities
Florida Tech’s outstanding experimental facilities and tools include wind tunnels to study scale models of airplanes and aerospace parts, shock tubes for high-speed and high-temperature flow studies, a rocket and gas turbine engine thrust stand, a variety of apparatuses for structural and materials testing, and modern state-of-the-art software for computer-aided design.
Great Florida Location in the Heart of the World’s Gateway to Space Exploration
Florida Tech is truly the ideal aerospace engineering university because of its position on the Space Coast (so named because of the presence of NASA and the Kennedy Space Center on Cape Canaveral just north of us). In addition to the many academic benefits our students gain at Florida Tech, the university also has connections to world-leading aerospace companies such as Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, SpaceX, and Harris Corporation. These relationships enable our students to form valuable connections that lead to future career opportunities.
The area has the fifth largest high-tech workforce in the country, with more than 5,000 high-tech corporations and government and military organizations located nearby. This workforce also provides a variety of internship and employment opportunities.
Florida Tech is just minutes from 72 miles of beautiful beaches, and a short trip to the Florida Keys or the Orlando theme parks. We also have a rich campus life that includes intramural and collegiate sports, clubs, and social activities.
Build Lasting Professional Relationships through Campus Organizations
Beyond the classroom, aerospace engineering majors build leadership and professional experience through exciting internships (see below) and participation in campus academic organizations like Sigma Gamma Tau (the aerospace engineering honor society), the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Student Rocket Society, student government, and over 100 other campus-wide student organizations.
In addition, Florida Tech’s student branch of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics promotes the collection of aerospace research, talks, tools, and activities, and plans a variety of events to share its interests.
“How will an aerospace engineering degree prepare me for the future? ”
Peerless Internship Opportunities
Students at Florida Tech can work side-by-side with some of the most prestigious names in engineering through challenging aerospace engineering internships with organizations such as:
- Lockheed Martin
- Harris Corporation
- Pratt and Whitney
These aerospace engineering internships allow our students to get hands-on experience at leading aerospace companies and government laboratories. Students are often tasked with supporting the efforts of engineers working on aerospace systems, which can lead to an employment offer immediately upon graduation.
Stunning Undergraduate Research Opportunities
As a vital part of their aerospace engineering university experience, undergraduate students participate in state-of-the-art research projects with our distinguished Florida Tech professors, who have won numerous prestigious research grants from NASA, the US Air Force, the US Navy, and the National Science Foundation. In addition, they frequently present their research at leading national and international technical conferences.
Research projects and relevant hands-on workshops in the classroom involve concepts and systems at the forefront of engineering. Currently, students are conducting research collected onboard the International Space Station.
Aerospace engineering internships and research projects include such diverse areas as:
- Structural dynamics
- Wind tunnel testing and experimentation
- Structures and solid mechanics
- Computer-aided design
- Combustion and propulsion
The Senior Capstone Project: Innovative Solutions for Tomorrow
With experience gained from aerospace engineering internships and research, Florida Tech students culminate their Florida Tech undergraduate careers with comprehensive capstone senior design projects. These projects give students the experience of working in teams to address real-world issues and create innovative solutions through the design, development, prototyping, and presentation of a complex engineering system.
Examples of these student projects include:
- Project Cerberus Robotic Orbiter Test Device
- HYDRA (HYpersonic Dynamics Rocket Assembly)
- Air-Ball Free-Flying Satellite Simulator
- ARISE Wire Repair Prototype Rocket Payload
“What can you do with an aerospace engineering degree? ”
Aerospace engineers hold jobs in industries that employ workers to design or build aircraft, missiles, systems for commercial use, national defense, research and development and the federal government. Today's aerospace engineering career involves use of sophisticated computer equipment, modeling, simulations, and evaluation.
Graduates with an aerospace engineering degree from Florida Tech are eagerly recruited by employers, including:
- US Department of Defense
- Lockheed Martin
- Northrop Grumman
- Pratt and Whitney
- Revolutionary Research
- Harris Corporation
- Federal Department of Transportation
- Department of Homeland Security
- Federal defense contractors
Jobs that provide an aerospace engineering career are often related to national defense and demand a security clearance. These types of restrictions keep jobs in the United States. As policies on noise pollution and better fuel efficiency continue to increase, there will be a rising demand for aerospace engineers. In addition, as governments refocus their space efforts, new private companies outside of standard space agencies are emerging to explore access to space. These efforts will expand opportunities for anyone seeking an aerospace engineering career.
The Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), provides information about specific jobs including median annual pay, working conditions and job outlook, among other things. Check the handbook for information on the outlook for an aerospace engineering career.
Aerospace engineering degree graduates typically specialize in one of two types of engineering: aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering, leading to such jobs as:
- Aerospace engineer
- Aircraft design
- Satellite and missile design and engineering
- Mechanical engineer
- Engineering management
- Computer hardware engineer
- Electrical and electronic engineering technician
- Aerospace product and parts designer
Florida Tech graduates also pursue graduate degrees often at Florida Tech in a variety of disciplines, both at Florida Tech and at such prestigious universities as:
- Purdue University
- University of Florida
- California Institute of Technology (CalTech)
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
- University of California, Berkeley
- Georgia Tech
- Emory University