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Best Online Master's in Aerospace Engineering Programs

By Jordan Beliles | Updated 8/4/2022
2020 Best Online Master's in Aerospace Engineering Badge

This list highlights the 24 best value colleges offering online master's programs in aerospace engineering. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University is ranked #1, offering a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering (Non-Thesis Option) for $29,559 per year. Graduates of the school reported a median salary of $153,600. In the #2 spot, the University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign offers a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering for only $17,344 per year, making it an affordable choice for distance learners who are looking for a high quality and affordable education.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about OnlineU.

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RankSchool Annual Tuition Mid-Career Salary
# 1 #1 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University $29,559 $153,600
# 2 #2 University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign $17,344 $139,800
# 3 #3 University of Southern California $29,050 $138,800
# 4 #4 Stanford University $20,280 $131,300
# 5 #5 Texas A&M University-College Station $26,402 $126,900
# 6 #6 University of Virginia $8,115 $117,073
# 7 #7 Georgia Institute of Technology $18,700 $121,000
# 8 #8 University of Colorado Boulder $28,440 $122,200
# 9 #9 Iowa State University $10,425 $113,785
# 10 #10 Auburn University $14,235 $113,835
# 11 #11 North Carolina State University $20,185 $115,059
# 12 #12 University of Colorado Colorado Springs $13,263 $109,000
# 13 #13 Missouri University of Science and Technology $18,000 $110,878
# 14 #14 Purdue University - Main Campus $20,220 $111,300
# 15 #15 University of Florida $30,134 $115,206
# 16 #16 University of California - Los Angeles $16,000 $109,420
# 17 #17 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Worldwide $15,000 $107,800
# 18 #18 University of South Carolina - Columbia $8,583 $99,538
# 19 #19 University of New Mexico $4,583 $97,162
# 20 #20 University of North Dakota $11,460 $98,496
# 21 #21 University of Central Florida $10,422 $94,329
# 22 #22 Old Dominion University $8,925 $86,763
# 23 #23 Mississippi State University $7,335 $84,875
# 24 #24 University of Alabama $6,300 $81,872
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo

2020 Online Colleges Offering Aerospace Engineering Degrees - Ranking Details

#1 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

  • Annual Tuition: $29,559
  • Median Salary: $153,600
  • Locations: Blacksburg (VA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Students in the online Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering program at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University are instructed in the advanced concepts, skills, and practices necessary for a career in the aerospace industry. The degree can be pursued part-time. The curriculum is designed around the fundamentals of the discipline, including aerodynamics, propulsion, structure, and flight mechanics. Coursework in the program is delivered through the Canvas learning management system and includes instruction in orbital mechanics, hypersonic aerodynamics, linear control theory, and computational fluid dynamics. Students can select one of two tracks: thesis or non-thesis. The non-thesis track requires students to complete 18 credits of electives and 3-6 credits of a Project and Report course. Students who opt into the thesis track take 9-12 credits of electives and 6-10 dedicated to their thesis and research. Graduates are qualified to pursue high-level careers in the aerospace industry or to continue their education with a Ph.D. in the discipline. Students can apply by submitting a program application, their previous transcripts, GRE scores, a statement of interest, and a CV. Applicants must have at least a 3.0 GPA on their undergraduate coursework; a bachelor’s degree is required for admission into the program. Resources for online students include academic advising, tutoring, and library services.

#2 University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign

  • Annual Tuition: $17,344
  • Median Salary: $139,800
  • Locations: Champaign (IL)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The University of Illinois-Champaign offers a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering degree that can be concentrated to best suit a student's academic and professional interests and goals. The nine areas of specialization include aerodynamics, combustion and propulsion, aerospace control, orbital mechanics, and spacecraft. Students interested in multiple areas can choose to combine two or more of them into a joint specialization. The 32-credit online aerospace engineering degree utilizes the same curriculum as the in-person program, ensuring distance students receive the same high-quality education as their on-campus counterparts. A final thesis is not required; however, all students must complete a seminar series. Students use learning management systems such as Blackboard and Moodle to submit assignments, watch recorded lectures, and interact with classmates and instructors while working on their own schedules. The admission requirements for this program include a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0. In order to be considered, students must submit an online application, a statement of purpose, official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and GRE scores. Online students begin the program in the fall, alongside the traditional, on-campus students, and must complete the degree within five years. Throughout the program, students are supported with diversity resources, academic advising, and financial aid opportunities.

#3 University of Southern California

  • Annual Tuition: $29,050
  • Median Salary: $138,800
  • Locations: Los Angeles (CA)
  • Accreditation: WSCUC

The Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Southern California allows students to broaden their education in more than one area of specialization in the discipline. Students choose from seven concentrations to build their programs of study, including aerospace control, aerospace design, computational fluid dynamics, propulsion, and aerospace structures. All tracks require the completion of two applied mathematics courses: Engineering Analysis and Engineering Analytical Methods. Students are also required to take at least one class in a concentration outside of their chosen one. The Blackboard learning management platform streamlines students’ assignments, lesson plans, quizzes, and grades. There are two start dates to the program; interested students may apply for admission for the fall or spring term. The application can be submitted electronically, along with which students must submit their transcripts, GRE scores, resume, and a personal statement. Letters of recommendation are not required but may be submitted. Graduates of the 27-credit hour online aerospace engineering degree can pursue a career in aerospace and defense, transportation systems, or robotics or continue their education with a Ph.D. in the discipline. USC graduate students can find support from their academic advisors, as well as benefit from services through the Career Connections office and IT Help Desk.

#4 Stanford University

  • Annual Tuition: $20,280
  • Median Salary: $131,300
  • Locations: Stanford (CA)
  • Accreditation: WSCUC

The Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics degree offered at Stanford University is designed to provide students a broad foundation in the advanced fundamentals of the discipline. Students are instructed to recognize, understand, and solve aeronautical problems through coursework in theory and technology of structure, aerodynamics, propulsion, and guidance and control. The 45-unit online degree program is intended for part-time study and is typically completed within three to five years. Online coursework is delivered using Canvas as a learning management platform. Students can log onto Canvas at their convenience, and can structure coursework around their other responsibilities. Students may be required to attend on-campus classes, depending on their program plan. No thesis is required for graduation. To apply, students must submit an online application, three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and official GRE scores. An undergraduate degree is required for all applicants; while it does not need to be in the same field, students must have a strong math and science background to be competitive. Distance learners can take advantage of the Stanford library system, IT support, professional development resources, and the Student Services Office.

#5 Texas A&M University-College Station

  • Annual Tuition: $26,402
  • Median Salary: $126,900
  • Locations: College Station (TX)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The Master of Engineering in Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University-College Station is geared toward students with a non-engineering undergraduate degree and those looking to expand their industry knowledge. Students learn the fundamentals of aerospace engineering in a 30-credit hour program that includes coursework in aerodynamics, autonomous air/ground/space systems, machine learning and artificial intelligence, electromagnetics, robotics, computational fluid dynamics, and lasers. The program does not require a thesis. The curriculum is delivered asynchronously through an extension of the Blackboard course management platform called eCampus. Students do not need to be online at particular times but can expect to complete assignments according to set deadlines. Through eCampus, students can find academic resources such as the library database, writing center, and student groups, as well as communicate with their professors, track their grades, and submit projects. Texas A&M also offers research opportunities to students in the three core areas of aerospace engineering: aerodynamics and propulsion, dynamics and control, and materials and structures. Prospective students can apply by submitting an application, a statement of purpose, a resume indicating professional and internship experience, transcripts, and letters of recommendation. A minimum GPA of 3.25 is required for applicants to be admitted.

#6 University of Virginia

  • Annual Tuition: $8,115
  • Median Salary: $117,073
  • Locations: Charlottesville (VA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The Master of Engineering in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Virginia is offered through the School of Engineering and Applied Science. It is well suited for students who wish to enhance their undergraduate education in engineering. This 30-credit (10 courses) graduate online aerospace engineering degree program is the same as the on-campus version but is offered in a flexible asynchronous format that is convenient for working professionals. Students can customize their program by taking up to half of the required credits at a partner school through the Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Consortium, which includes George Mason University, Old Dominion University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia State University, and Virginia Tech. In addition to core and elective courses, there are required assessment forms to be completed by graduation, which include a plan of study, an engineering analysis, and technical writing. Students can enroll in the fall, spring, or summer terms. Applicants must fill out an online application and submit transcripts, a resume, a personal statement, and three letters of recommendation. The GRE is optional. Online students have access to academic advising and other remote services.

#7 Georgia Institute of Technology

  • Annual Tuition: $18,700
  • Median Salary: $121,000
  • Locations: Atlanta (GA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering program at Georgia Institute of Technology is for students pursuing career opportunities in aerospace system design and development. The program covers aerodynamics and fluid mechanics, aeroelasticity and structural dynamics, flight mechanics and controls, propulsion and combustion, structural mechanics and materials, and system design and optimization. The MS in Aerospace Engineering is a designated degree, which means that all students must also complete the curriculum required for the bachelor’s degree in the same field. The program is facilitated in a digital classroom environment that features asynchronous lectures, discussion boards, and web conferencing. The 33-credit program includes three credits of research, but there is no thesis requirement. There are paid and for-credit research opportunities available. Students have access to a student services team that links them to on-campus resources, including academic and career advising, library resources, and more. To apply to this graduate online aerospace engineering degree, students must submit an online application form (with a fee), a transcript, three letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and a resume.

#8 University of Colorado Boulder

  • Annual Tuition: $28,440
  • Median Salary: $122,200
  • Locations: Boulder (CO)
  • Accreditation: HLC

There are two options to study aerospace engineering at the graduate level at the University of Colorado Boulder: the Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering Sciences and the Professional Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering Sciences. The Professional MS is suitable for both currently employed engineers, as well as those looking for a pathway into the field. The program does not require a thesis or concentration. Many students come to the program with experience in engineering or the military. The online master’s in aerospace engineering program consists of coursework in astrodynamics and satellite navigation systems; bioastronautics; fluids, structures, and materials; and remote sensing, earth, and space sciences. Out of the 30 credits required, 12 can be taken in other areas throughout the College of Engineering. The Master of Science program also requires 30 credits, but students choose a concentration in one of the above focus areas, complete research projects, and defend a thesis. To apply, students must submit an online application form with a fee, transcripts, a personal statement, GRE scores, and four letters of recommendation.

#9 Iowa State University

  • Annual Tuition: $10,425
  • Median Salary: $113,785
  • Locations: Ames (IA)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The Master of Engineering in Aerospace Engineering program at Iowa State University is a highly customizable program for students looking to enter or advance in the field. There are 30 credits required for the program; however, there are no specific requirements on which courses to take, and there is a non-thesis option. This gives students the freedom to design a program that is in line with their personal and professional goals and interests. This online aerospace engineering degree program features coursework in materials systems, aerodynamics, combustion and aero-structural interaction, aviation biofuels, systems and optimization, and astrodynamics. Online students have access to a variety of campus resources, including academic and career advising, library resources, counseling, and veteran's support. Prospective students have the option of filling out a pre-application for an initial review of their credentials and a tentative decision by the admissions committee. The full application requires students to submit transcripts, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and a resume.

#10 Auburn University

  • Annual Tuition: $14,235
  • Median Salary: $113,835
  • Locations: Auburn (AL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering at Auburn University is a flexible online program that allows students to work full-time as they advance their education in the field. The 33-credit program includes coursework in dynamics, computational fluid dynamics, flight dynamics and control, orbital mechanics, propulsion, and structural dynamics. Students can take classes in related areas, including physics, math, and computer science. Graduates of this online aerospace engineering degree program may seek employment in both industry and government agencies. It does not require a thesis, although students who wish to complete one can do so with permission from the department. Prospective students should have a college degree in aerospace or mechanical engineering; STEM-related majors can apply, though prerequisite classes must be completed. Applicants should have at least a 3.0 GPA (3.4 or higher is desired) and submit GRE scores, three letters of recommendation, transcripts, and a resume. Enrolled students are connected with a graduate program officer to formulate a study plan. Online students have access to academic advisors and all other campus services and resources.

#11 North Carolina State University

  • Annual Tuition: $20,185
  • Median Salary: $115,059
  • Locations: Raleigh (NC)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

North Carolina State University offers both a Master of Engineering and a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering. These programs are suitable for individuals who wish to pursue careers in the design, analysis, and manufacture of aircraft and space systems. The Master of Science is a 30-credit program that can be completed in 12 months. There is no thesis or comprehensive exam requirement. A BS in mechanical engineering or aerospace engineering is preferred, though other STEM-related majors can enroll after completing prerequisites. The online aerospace engineering degree program includes six core classes, three electives, and one project-based class. For the Master of Engineering program, which also does not require a thesis, students must choose courses from at least two disciplines from among ten offered, including aerospace engineering. Students may enroll in the fall, spring, or summer. Accepted students must create a study plan with a program advisor. To apply, students must submit transcripts with at least a 3.0 GPA and three letters of recommendation. Enrolled students meet with an academic advisor to create a study plan.

#12 University of Colorado Colorado Springs

  • Annual Tuition: $13,263
  • Median Salary: $109,000
  • Locations: Colorado Springs (CO)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The Master of Engineering in Space Operations at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs is designed for working professionals with at least two years of experience in the civil, military, or commercial sector. This is a technical program that concentrates on the application of engineering in space operations, space systems design, payload and mission support, and space systems analysis. The 30-credit program consists of eight core and two elective courses that can be finished within 2.5 to 3.5 years. Enrolled students must have a program director-approved study plan. There is no thesis required for this online aerospace engineering degree program, but a capstone class is needed to graduate. Online students have access to campus resources like academic and career advising and library resources. Prospective students should have a BS in Engineering or a STEM-related field with a 3.0 GPA or higher; provisional admission is allowed based on other credentials if the student does not meet the minimum requirement. To apply, students must submit an online application and fee, transcripts, and a personal statement.

#13 Missouri University of Science and Technology

  • Annual Tuition: $18,000
  • Median Salary: $110,878
  • Locations: Rolla (MO)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering degree at Missouri University of Science and Technology is a 30-credit online program that offers the same curriculum and faculty as its on-campus version. Classes are recorded live and are then made available in an asynchronous format so that students can study on their own schedules. Students may choose the thesis option, which includes at least six credits of research. Non-thesis track students can complete six credits outside of the aerospace engineering discipline. Remote students have access to on-campus services, including academic and career advising. Applicants must submit a transcript from their undergraduate engineering or STEM-related program, GRE scores, and a statement of purpose. Another pathway to admission is to complete a graduate certificate program in one of the following areas: composite materials and structures, control systems, energy conversion and transport, engineering mechanics, or manufacturing automation. Upon certificate completion, students can transfer credit into the MS program and waive the GRE requirement.

#14 Purdue University - Main Campus

  • Annual Tuition: $20,220
  • Median Salary: $111,300
  • Locations: West Lafayette (IN)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Purdue University offers two graduate degree options in aerospace engineering: the Interdisciplinary Master of Science in Engineering Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics Aerospace Engineering (MSAA). Classes are offered by video streaming as well as audio downloads. Students connect with an advisor to create a study plan. The online aerospace engineering degree programs are flexible; students can take only one course per term and can pause studies if necessary. The MSAA is a 30-credit non-thesis program with the following concentration areas: Aerodynamics, Autonomy and Control, Aerospace Systems, Astrodynamics And Space Applications, Structure and Materials, and Proposed. The Interdisciplinary MS program allows students to choose from the following areas of study: Aeronautics and Astronautics, Biomedical Engineering, Computational Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Engineering Management and Leadership, and Integrated Vehicle Systems Engineering, among others. The MSE or MS are awarded based on the bachelor's degree subject area. Online students have access to online resources, including academic advising, a writing lab, library tools, and disability services. To apply, students must submit an online application along with a personal statement, transcripts, a resume, GRE scores, and three letters of recommendation.

#15 University of Florida

  • Annual Tuition: $30,134
  • Median Salary: $115,206
  • Locations: Gainesville (FL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering degree at the University of Florida offers a flexible way for students to enhance their technical knowledge for careers in engineering and technology. The graduate program offers concentrations in Solid Mechanics and Design, Thermal Fluids Transport, and Dynamics, Systems, and Controls. The school encourages an interdisciplinary approach to study and research. The 30-credit program includes 18 credits of engineering classes; the remaining 12 credits can be taken in other graduate-level technology classes so students can customize their academic experience to meet their personal and professional interests and goals. There is both a thesis and a non-thesis option for the online master’s aerospace engineering program. Students in the thesis track must complete six credits of research. Non-thesis students must pass a comprehensive exam in one of the three areas of concentration to earn the degree. Online students have access to the Career Resources Center, the University Writing Studio, libraries, and other campus services and resources. Applicants must apply online and submit their GRE scores and transcripts.

#16 University of California - Los Angeles

  • Annual Tuition: $16,000
  • Median Salary: $109,420
  • Locations: Los Angeles (CA)
  • Accreditation: WSCUC

The Master of Science in Engineering - Aerospace Engineering at the Samueli School of Engineering at the University of California Los Angeles is a flexible online graduate program designed for working engineers to enhance their professional skills. The 36-credit degree consists of nine four-credit courses. Students must complete six core classes plus department electives. To customize their program of study, students may take courses in other disciplines with direct program approval. A project-based capstone course is required to graduate. Students are assigned a faculty advisor for support throughout their studies. Classes in this online aerospace engineering degree program are offered in quarters; the degree can be completed in nine quarters, or seven quarters plus two summer terms. Students may enroll in the fall or spring. Online students are welcome to use campus services, including academic and career advising. To apply, students must submit an online form, a statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation (one should be from an employer familiar with the student’s engineering skills), and GRE scores.

#17 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Worldwide

  • Annual Tuition: $15,000
  • Median Salary: $107,800
  • Locations: Daytona Beach (FL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering degree at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide is an online program designed for working professionals who wish to advance their careers in the design and manufacture of air, spacecraft, and satellites. This program is suited for individuals who have already earned an undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering or another engineering discipline. Students can build on their STEM skills by taking coursework in computational fluid dynamics, aeroacoustics, flow control, and unmanned air and ground vehicles. Students and faculty all over the world come together in the virtual classroom environment. The program is offered in an asynchronous format so that students have the flexibility to continue working as they advance their education. The classes in this online aerospace engineering degree program are nine to 12 weeks long; the degree can be completed in ten terms. Advisors are available to offer academic and career guidance throughout the program, and there is 24/7 tech support. Students with military service can earn credits for their experience. Applicants must apply online and submit transcripts; prospective students should have at least a 2.5 GPA in their undergraduate programs and a 3.0 GPA in their graduate program.

#18 University of South Carolina - Columbia

  • Annual Tuition: $8,583
  • Median Salary: $99,538
  • Locations: Columbia (SC)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The University of South Carolina-Columbia offers two online aerospace engineering degree programs: the Master of Engineering in Aerospace Engineering and the Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering. The programs are suited for working professionals and are the same as the on-campus versions. The 30-credit Master of Science program comprises 24 credits of aerospace and elective courses and six credits for thesis work under the supervision of a faculty advisor. It is research-focused and places emphasis on presentations and publications; students are required to submit at least one conference paper, journal article, or abstract with a presentation before graduation. The Master of Engineering program does not require a thesis; instead, students must pass a comprehensive exam in order to graduate. Both programs cover course topics, including the mechanics of solids and structures, thermofluids, and design and control. Online students have access to campus services, including library resources and academic and career advising. To apply to the University of South Carolina-Columbia, students must submit an online form along with their transcripts, letters of recommendation, and GRE scores.

#19 University of New Mexico

  • Annual Tuition: $4,583
  • Median Salary: $97,162
  • Locations: Albuquerque (NM)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The University of New Mexico offers two online graduate aerospace engineering degree options: the Master of Science in Electrical Engineering and the Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Both graduate programs have concentrations in Space Systems Engineering and are well suited for individuals seeking careers in spacecraft design, navigation analysis, and mission planning. These programs are among the first of their kind in the United States and were designed in consultation with the Air Force Research Lab Space Vehicles Directorate. The 34-credit Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering program is divided into five terms with eight-week classes. The Master of Science in Electrical Engineering is a 31-credit program also divided into eight-week classes. This option is a good pathway for the Ph.D. program in Electrical Engineering. Online students are able to take advantage of campus services, including academic advising and technical support. To apply to either program, students must submit an online application with their transcripts, GRE scores, CV or resume, letter of intent, and three letters of recommendation.

#20 University of North Dakota

  • Annual Tuition: $11,460
  • Median Salary: $98,496
  • Locations: Grand Forks (ND)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The University of North Dakota offers several online aerospace engineering programs: the Master of Science in Space Studies and the Master of Science and Master of Engineering in Systems Engineering. All programs serve as preparation for students who wish to pursue careers in the field of unmanned aircraft systems engineering. The Master of Science in Space Studies degree offers a broad curriculum that makes connections between engineering, science, and policy. Coursework covers planetary science, space engineering, space history, and life support systems. It also provides a space-related approach to business and management. The graduate programs in systems engineering focus on aerospace training, with an emphasis on unmanned aerial vehicles. Coursework covers a broad range of topics in mechanical, computer, and electrical systems. Small classes allow for strong faculty/student engagement. Students can enroll in the programs in the fall, summer, or spring terms. Online students have access to tutors, advisors, career services, library resources, and other campus services. To apply, students must submit an online application, along with their transcripts, personal statement, GRE scores, and three letters of recommendation.

#21 University of Central Florida

  • Annual Tuition: $10,422
  • Median Salary: $94,329
  • Locations: Orlando (FL) (and 7 others)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering is offered through the College of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Central Florida. This 30-credit program, which can be completed on campus or entirely online, is suited for individuals seeking careers as compliance officers, spacecraft designers, and engineers in the aerospace industry. The program’s focus is on the design and manufacture of aircraft, spacecraft, and satellites. Coursework covers topics in dynamics, proposing, thermal analysis, and design. Students in this online aerospace engineering degree program can choose from two tracks: Space Systems Design and Engineering or Thermofluid Aerodynamic Systems Design and Engineering. The degree can be completed within two years. Online students have access to a variety of campus support systems and resources, including academic advising, career services, library tools and databases, the writing center, accessibility services, and veteran's support. To apply to the University of Central Florida, students connect with a success coach who will provide guidance throughout the application process. Admission materials include an online application, transcript, and GRE scores.

#22 Old Dominion University

  • Annual Tuition: $8,925
  • Median Salary: $86,763
  • Locations: Norfolk (VA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The Batten College of Engineering and Technology at Old Dominion University offers a Master of Engineering in Aerospace Engineering and a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering. The school has strong connections with NASA Langley Research Center, Air Force Research Lab, Naval Research Lab, and other agencies that provide networking opportunities for students. Both the Master of Science and the Master of Engineering degrees require the completion of 30 credits consisting of core and elective classes taught in a live, synchronous format. For the Master of Science degree, a thesis is required to graduate; for the Master of Engineering degree, a comprehensive exam is required. Online students have access to academic advisors and career coaches. A BS in Engineering or related STEM major is required for admission. Non-matriculating students can take up to 12 credits before entering either online aerospace engineering degree program. Applicants should submit an online form with their transcripts, essay, two letters of recommendation, a resume, and GRE scores.

#23 Mississippi State University

  • Annual Tuition: $7,335
  • Median Salary: $84,875
  • Locations: Mississippi State (MS)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Mississippi State University offers an online Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering degree as a flexible way for working engineers to advance their education. The major areas of study include aeroacoustics, aerodynamics, aeroelasticity, autonomous systems, structures and composites, computational fluid dynamics, design optimization, fluid structure interaction, fatigue and fracture, fluid structure interaction, guidance and control, and non-destructive evaluation. The 30-credit program offers an optional thesis track where students must choose a topic and faculty advisory committee by the end of their first year. Those who opt for the non-thesis track must pass a written comprehensive exam based on their coursework in dynamics and controls, fluid mechanics, and solid mechanics. Online students can take advantage of services like career and academic advising. Prospective students should have at least a 3.0 GPA in the last four semesters of their undergraduate career. However, students with lower GPAs may still be considered based on other strong components of their application. To apply to the online aerospace engineering degree program, students must submit an online form (fee applies) with a personal statement, three letters of recommendation, and GRE scores.

#24 University of Alabama

  • Annual Tuition: $6,300
  • Median Salary: $81,872
  • Locations: Tuscaloosa (AL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics at the University of Alabama is a 30-credit graduate degree that offers a thesis and non-thesis track. The program is the same as the on-campus version with live classes that are recorded for asynchronous delivery. Students in the thesis track must take two core classes in aerospace and mechanics and two math classes. The rest of the program is dedicated to electives and at least six credits for thesis research. Students who do not opt for the thesis track must pass a comprehensive exam and complete a culminating experience to earn the degree. Prospective students should have a 3.0 GPA or higher in a Bachelor of Science in Engineering program; other STEM majors are also allowed to apply, although prerequisites may be required before program enrollment. Students may begin this online aerospace engineering degree program in the fall, spring, or summer. To apply, students must submit an online application along with a personal statement, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and GRE scores.

What Is an Aerospace Engineering Degree?

Aerospace engineers design, maintain, and improve aircrafts and spacecrafts. Their work is integral to many important organizations and private enterprises.

During a master's in aerospace engineering, you'll prepare yourself to enter the workforce by applying science-based coursework with instrumentation and laboratory studies. You'll be tasked with learning complex research and development techniques as they relate to fluids, materials, propulsion, and structures. Online aerospace engineering master's programs include both practical and theoretical studies alongside a variety of tools and techniques.

Curious to explore other engineering degrees at the master's level? Check out our best online programs for a master's in chemical, civil, computer, industrial, mechanical, or electrical engineering.

Can You Get an Aerospace Engineering Degree Online?

Some of the best master's programs in aerospace engineering can be found online. As long as the university is accredited by the U.S. Department of Education, or another regional organization, you can rest assured that your online degree is respected among potential employers.

Keep in mind, most online degrees in this field will require some in-person learning. Engineering is an area of study that requires a lot of hands-on work with equipment. This is especially true for aerospace engineering, where you'll need to use special instruments to design complex systems.

How Many Years Is a Masters Degree in Aerospace Engineering?

You'll likely start your college experience by filling out an entrance exam and applying for student loans and scholarships. This process can take months in and of itself. But once you're accepted, it's good to have an idea of how long you'll be studying at the master's level.

While bachelor's degrees in aerospace engineering generally take four years to complete, master's programs can add another one to two years to your education. Each program may vary in length, but most require 30 to 60 credit hours. For aerospace engineering master's programs online, students can often take on a more flexible schedule than on-campus degrees allow. In this case, your degree may take longer, but it may also allow you to maintain a job while you study. For those who have the resources to attend class full-time, an online program can be completed in less than two years.

Program Requirements

In order to be accepted into an online master's degree in aerospace engineering, you'll need to have earned a prior degree in a related field. Ideally, you'll have achieved your bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering, however colleges may also accept other degrees. Bachelor's degrees in aviation, engineering specialties, and space studies are suitable to prepare you for master's-level coursework. When it comes to grade point average, most schools require a 3.0 GPA or higher from your previous degree, which must also come from an accredited engineering institution. A Graduate Record Examination (GRE) may also be required for some programs.

Aerospace Engineering Courses

Aerospace engineering coursework blends physics, mechanics, and a variety of technical and theoretical studies. You can take many of these classes online through your school's learning management system. Some courses, however, require hands-on learning in laboratory settings, where you'll be tasked with designing, assembling, and repairing mechanical equipment. Let's take a look at some of the most common courses in an aerospace engineering master's program.

Applied Aerodynamics

This course looks at finite wing theory and the mechanisms surrounding it. This critical element of study provides you with an understanding of the aerodynamics related to surface design and other aircraft parts, such as the propeller and rotor.

Orbital Mechanics

You'll also study spacecraft mechanics outside of Earth's atmosphere. Topics here will include rocket dynamics, gravitation fields, perturbations, and orbit transfer. Each section is meant to provide you with an understanding of how spacecrafts function in a gravity-free environment.

Hypersonic Aerothermodynamics

Here, you'll study the different aspects of aerothermodynamics when it comes to the high-speed travel of spacecraft and missiles. You'll also learn how to test and model crafts in a hypersonic environment.

Finite Element Fundamentals

This course explores two-dimensional problems and energy principles. You'll discover the Ritz method — which looks at resonant frequencies of spring mass systems, such as complex flywheels — along with finite element methods.

Gas Turbines

This fundamental aspect of aircraft propulsion requires a deep understanding as an aerospace engineer. In this course, you'll look at the design methodologies and performance analysis of gas turbines, including their complex system of compressors, nozzles, and combustors.

Aerospace Engineering Concentrations

Many aerospace engineering degrees require you to choose an area of specialization, otherwise known as a concentration.

One of the most common concentrations is aerodynamics and fluid dynamics. The former covers the movement of an object through the air while the latter looks at the movement of gasses and liquids.

Or, you may be interested in aerospace structures. In that case, you may want to choose a concentration focusing on how structures behave in high performance scenarios while flying at high speeds through air and space.

Propulsion is another specialization on offer from aerospace master's degrees, wherein you'll learn how to design and test propulsion components from both spacecraft and aircraft.

What Can You Do With an Aerospace Engineering Degree?

Below, you'll find some potential engineering careers for those who graduate with a master's in aerospace engineering. It may be helpful to keep in mind that an 8% job outlook is the national average across the U.S., while $45,760 is the median annual wage for all workers. In general, engineering jobs offer salaries well above this median.

Aerospace Engineer

Annual Median Salary: $122,270
Job Growth Rate: 8%

Becoming an aerospace engineer is the most common aspiration coming from aerospace engineering students. In this role, you'll get the opportunity to design a number of different systems, including missiles, satellites, aircraft, and spacecraft. Roles often emerge within the federal government and military, or a handful of private companies. Aerospace engineers earn a median salary of $122,270, with an 8% job outlook that matches the national average.

Aerospace Technologists

Annual Median Salary: $73,580
Job Growth Rate: 9%

Aerospace technologists, sometimes known as operations technologists, run the systems that test the mechanical structures and capabilities of aircraft and spacecraft. They play a vital role in the safety and performance of these structures. Typically, this role may have you working in manufacturing plants or laboratories.

Professor of Aerospace Engineering

Annual Median Salary: $79,640
Job Growth Rate: 12%

Maybe you'd like to stay within the academic world and become a professor of aerospace engineering? With your background in aerospace engineering you'll be able to teach students the fundamentals of the underlying technologies, physics, and mechanics that drive your field while giving speeches and symposiums. You may also participate in academic research to move forward the field of aerospace technology.

Avionics Technician

Annual Median Salary: $69,280
Job Growth Rate: 5%-10%

Avionics technicians work directly on the maintenance and testing of aircrafts. They use their knowledge of mechanical and aerospace engineering to ensure systems are functioning properly and that they're capable of high-speed air travel. You'll install machinery, maintain parts, and test electrical equipment.

Licensure Requirements

Most entry-level roles in the field of aerospace engineering do not require licensure. Beyond these roles, you'll likely be required to possess a license by either your employer or the state.

The two most common licenses come from the Professional Engineering (PE) and Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exams. The National Council of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors (NCEES) administers these exams, which — upon completion — makes you an officially licensed engineer in your state.

Is a Master's Degree in Aerospace Engineering Worth It?

Earning a master's degree in aerospace engineering will prepare you for a lifelong career in a highly competitive industry. If you enjoy solving complex problems and learning both theoretical and practical engineering skills, then earning a master's degree will be worth it. Engineers enjoy high-paying salaries, fulfilling work, and abundant job opportunities in various fields. Let's look at the potential benefits, and possible drawbacks, of studying aerospace engineering:

Potential Benefits

The average engineering salary is higher than most other jobs. Aerospace engineers generally make over $122,000 per year, while most workers in America earn just $45,760, as previously cited above.

Aerospace engineers usually receive excellent benefits. According to California's Employment Development Department, roles in aerospace engineering offer employees both health and life insurance, along with retirement plans and time-off for vacation.

Aerospace engineers enjoy fulfilling work, according to CareerExplorer's job satisfaction survey. As a professional, you'll get the opportunity to work on exciting crafts meant for space travel or develop sustainable systems that are designed to cut back on deadly carbon emissions. 

Potential Drawbacks

Aerospace engineers may travel often for work. One of the cons of working on large spacecraft and aircraft is that they're often located off-site in large facilities. This means you may be required to travel, or even relocate for a certain job role. 

Remote work is uncommon for aerospace engineers. Another livability factor to consider is that most roles in this field will require you to work in an office, manufacturing facility, research lab. 

Aerospace engineers spend a lot of time in front of a computer. Although some hands-on work for maintenance is often required, a lot of the design work is done through computer-aided design programs. Even during flight testing scenarios in a live airfield, much of the work is done behind a computer screen. 

FAQS About Online Master's Degrees in Aerospace Engineering

Can I Do Masters in Aerospace Engineering After Electrical, Mechanical, or Computer Engineering?


Each master's program in aerospace engineering may have different requirements. However, if you've completed a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, or computer engineering, you will likely be accepted into a master's program in aerospace engineering. Your chances will be increased if you've taken courses related to aerospace or aviation, such as Aerodynamics or Thermodynamics.

Is Aerospace Engineering Tough?


Aerospace engineering degrees require a thorough understanding of scientific fields, equations, theories, and mechanics. This means you'll need to be educated in complex mathematics, physics, and technologies. If you plan on leading a team or running a department, employers may ask that you have expertise in communication, business, analytics, and even project management. These factors make aerospace engineering a difficult field to study.

What Can I Do With a Master's in Aerospace Engineering?


Aerospace engineers often work for government agencies or military branches, where they design equipment, such as satellites, aircraft, or spacecraft. If you're asking yourself, "Where can I work with a masters in aerospace engineering?," the answer varies depending on job availability and your preferences as a professional. 

You may wind up working for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) or the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), two popular organizations for aerospace graduates. Research facilities and academic institutions also hire aerospace engineers, allowing graduates to conduct studies in their field of interest.

Do Aerospace Engineers Get Paid Well?


A master's in aerospace engineering salary varies from employer to employer. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that aerospace engineers earn an average income of $122,270 per year. This is well above the average salary for all occupations nationwide. This salary is common, even if you earn a degree from an online university for masters in aerospace engineering. 

SpaceX, one of the most prominent private enterprises in space travel, offers aerospace engineers around $107,000 per year, according to anonymous employee submissions on Glassdoor. NASA also hires engineers, with aerospace being one of the most common fields from which they choose candidates. 

Bottom Line

Earning an engineering degree is difficult — regardless of what level you're at. If you're able to complete an online master's degree in aerospace engineering you'll be put in a lucrative, albeit competitive, field. Professionals often consider this a fulfilling role because you'll have the opportunity to work on exciting projects, like building crafts or satellites that are sent to space to collect vital data, or work on aircraft and other technologies used by the military. Furthermore, salaries for aerospace engineers are higher than average and include solid benefits for employees. If you have the dedication and resources, master's degree holders will see benefits long after graduation.

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