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Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering

Purdue University in West Lafayette

Aeronautical and astronautical engineers apply their understanding of basic physical phenomena to design and operate aircraft, missiles, and space vehicles. Aeronautics is the design, development, analysis, testing, and production of aircraft for military or civilian markets. Astronautics is the design, development, analysis, testing, and production of rockets, spacecraft, and global space/international systems.

As an aeronautics and astronautics student, you’ll follow a curriculum that explores the fundamentals of engineering science and the technologies and design of flight vehicles. Aircraft and spacecraft design courses integrate many engineering fields to provide a mastery of complete flight systems.

Note: The First-Year Engineering Program is the entry point for all beginning engineering students. They must complete the First-Year Engineering requirements before entering the engineering school of their choice. The mission of this student-oriented service program is to advise, teach and retain outstanding students for Purdue's College of Engineering. This core curriculum includes courses in math, chemistry, physics, computer programming, and communication skills, as well as introductory engineering coursework taught in the new Ideas to Innovation (i2i) Learning Laboratory.
The First-Year Engineering Program provides students with a firm foundation and initial understanding of engineering and career options to assist them in identifying which of Purdue's engineering disciplines is the right fit. Our professional academic advisors, faculty and student advisors are dedicated to assisting beginning engineers with the first-year experience.

Plan of Study

Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering Webpage

Transfer to Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering

Purdue admits to individual majors. Transfer students must meet Purdue's overall transfer criteria, as well as any major-specific requirements. Before you apply, check the closed programs page to confirm this major is open to transfer students. If it is, refer to the information below for major-specific transfer criteria.

Minimum GPA: 3.7

Additional Requirements: See the Engineering Transfer Criteria page for more detailed course requirements.

Contact Information

AAE Undergraduate Office


College of Engineering

Careers in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering

As an aeronautical or astronautical engineer, you can work in aviation, defense, space exploration—even the automotive industry. Specific responsibilities for an aeronautical engineer can include:

  1. Planning and conducting wind tunnel tests of aircraft models or components
  2. Designing and analyzing an airplane wing’s structure
  3. Designing and testing jet engines for aircraft

For an astronautical engineer:

  1. Designing and testing rocket engines
  2. Analyzing and optimizing orbital trajectories for spacecraft
  3. Developing control systems for rockets and spacecraft

Your career path could include graduate school or employment with one of many companies or organizations, including ATA Engineering, Ball Aerospace, Belcan, Blue Origin, Boeing, Butler America, Dassault Falcon Jet, General Electric (Aircraft Engines, Aviation and Transportation), Gulfstream, Lockheed Martin, Military Service, NASA, NAS, NASIC, Navair, Northrop Grumman, Orbital ATK, Rolls Royce, and SpaceX.

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