Aerospace Engineering, B.S. | Penn State (2024)

Aerospace Engineering, B.S. | Penn State (1)

Begin Campus

Any Penn State Campus

End Campus

University Park

Program Description

This major emphasizes the analysis, design, and operation of aircraft and spacecraft. Students learn the theories and practices in the fundamental subjects of aeronautics, astronautics, aerodynamics and fluid dynamics, aerospace materials and structures, dynamics and automatic control, aircraft stability and control and/or orbital and attitude dynamics and control, air-breathing and rocket propulsion, aircraft systems design and /or spacecraft systems design. All of these place significant weight on the development and use of teamwork and communications skills for effective problem-solving. Graduates in aerospace engineering find employment in the customary settings such as government laboratories, large and small aerospace firms, and in nontraditional positions that also require the use of systems-engineering approaches to problem-solving; they can also pursue graduate study in aerospace engineering and related fields.

What is Aerospace Engineering?

Aerospace engineering is the primary field of engineering concerned with the design, development, testing, and production of aircraft, spacecraft, and related systems and equipment. The field has traditionally focused on problems related to atmospheric and space flight, with two major and overlapping branches: aeronautical engineering and astronautical engineering. Aerospace engineers develop leading-edge technologies and integrate them into aerospace vehicle systems used for transportation, communications, exploration, and defense applications. This involves the design and manufacturing of aircraft, spacecraft, propulsion systems, satellites, and missiles, as well as the design and testing of aircraft and aerospace products, components, and subassemblies. Successful aerospace engineers possess in-depth skills in, and an understanding of, aerodynamics, materials and structures, propulsion, vehicle dynamics and control, and software.

You Might Like This Program If...

  • You are interested in developing leading-edge technologies and integrating them into aerospace vehicle systems used for transportation, communications, exploration, and defense applications.
  • You want to obtain a solid understanding of the foundations of aerospace systems: aerodynamics, structures, propulsion, dynamics and controls, and software, as well as unmanned air vehicles (UAVs), nano-materials, autonomous systems, and wind energy.
  • You want to develop professional excellence, engineering thinking, and gain deep technical knowledge in the core disciplines and integrative systems of aerospace engineering through an innovative curriculum and world-class instruction.
  • You want to make a significant global impact.

Entrance to Major

This program currently has administrative enrollment controls. Administrative Enrollment Controls are initiated when limitations of space, faculty, or other resources in a major prevent accommodating all students who request them. Students must follow the administrative enrollment controls that are in effect for the semester that they enter the university.

First-Year Students Entering Summer 2024, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

In order to be eligible for entrance to this major, students must satisfy the following requirements:

  • be enrolled in the College of Engineering or the Division of Undergraduate Studies
  • 29-55 graded Penn State credits (excludes transfer and AP credits)
  • completed with a grade of C or better: CHEM110, EDSGN100, MATH140, MATH141, PHYS211
  • earned a minimum cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 2.90

Students Who Entered Prior to Summer 2024

Students who entered the University from Summer 2018 through Spring 2024 should view the administrative enrollment controls in the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin archive. Students who entered the University prior to the summer 2018 semester should consult with their academic adviser about the administrative enrollment controls in effect for the semester they entered the university.

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering, a minimum of 131 credits is required:

Program Requirements
Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Requirements for the Major 113-117

27 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes: 9 credits of GN courses; 6 credits of GQ courses; 3 credits of GS courses; 9 credits of GWS courses.

The first two years of study are similar to those in other engineering majors and provide students with a basic education for the engineering profession. Students need to complete EMCH212, CMPSC121 or CMPSC131 or CMPSC200 or CMPSC201, MATH220, MATH230, and MATH250 or MATH251 prior to the start of the junior year in order to meet graduation requirements in the following two years. Six of the nine technical-elective credits taken in the senior year must be aerospace engineering courses.

Requirements for the Major

To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn a grade of C or better in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Course List
Code Title Credits
Prescribed Courses
AERSP304Dynamics and Control of Aerospace Systems3
AERSP305WAerospace Technology Laboratory3
AERSP312Aerodynamics II3
AERSP410Aerospace Propulsion3
EMCH315Mechanical Response of Engineering Materials2
EMCH316Experimental Determination of Mechanical Response of Materials1
MATH220Matrices Aerospace Engineering, B.S. | Penn State (2)2-3
MATH230Calculus and Vector Analysis4
ME201Introduction to Thermal Science3
PHYS214General Physics: Wave Motion and Quantum Physics Aerospace Engineering, B.S. | Penn State (3)2
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
AERSP301Aerospace Structures3
AERSP311Aerodynamics I3
AERSP313Aerospace Analysis3
CHEM110Chemical Principles I Aerospace Engineering, B.S. | Penn State (4)3
EDSGN100Cornerstone Engineering Design3
ENGL202CEffective Writing: Technical Writing Aerospace Engineering, B.S. | Penn State (5)3
MATH140Calculus With Analytic Geometry I Aerospace Engineering, B.S. | Penn State (6)4
MATH141Calculus with Analytic Geometry II Aerospace Engineering, B.S. | Penn State (7)4
PHYS211General Physics: Mechanics Aerospace Engineering, B.S. | Penn State (8)4
PHYS212General Physics: Electricity and Magnetism Aerospace Engineering, B.S. | Penn State (9)4
Additional Courses
Select 1 credit of First-Year Seminar1
AERSP413Stability and Control of Aircraft3
orAERSP450 Orbit and Attitude Control of Spacecraft
Select 3 credits from the following:3


Introduction to Programming Techniques


Programming and Computation I: Fundamentals


Programming for Engineers with MATLAB Aerospace Engineering, B.S. | Penn State (10)


Programming for Engineers with C++ Aerospace Engineering, B.S. | Penn State (11)
Select 3 credits from the following:3


Introductory Microeconomic Analysis and Policy Aerospace Engineering, B.S. | Penn State (12)


Introductory Macroeconomic Analysis and Policy Aerospace Engineering, B.S. | Penn State (13)


Principles of Economics Aerospace Engineering, B.S. | Penn State (14)
Select 5-6 credits of the following:5-6


Statics and Strength of Materials


and Strength of Materials
Select one of the following sequences:5


Spacecraft Design--Preliminary
and Spacecraft Design--Detailed


Aircraft Design--Preliminary
and Aircraft Design--Detailed
Select 3-4 credits from the following:3-4


Advanced Computer Programming


Circuits and Devices


Introduction to Electronic Measuring Systems
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
CAS100AEffective Speech Aerospace Engineering, B.S. | Penn State (15)3
orCAS100B Effective Speech Aerospace Engineering, B.S. | Penn State (16)
ENGL15Rhetoric and Composition Aerospace Engineering, B.S. | Penn State (17)3
orENGL30H Honors Rhetoric and Composition Aerospace Engineering, B.S. | Penn State (18)
MATH250Ordinary Differential Equations3-4
orMATH251 Ordinary and Partial Differential Equations
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Select 6 credits of Aerospace Technical Elective (ATE) courses from department list6
Select 3 credits of General Technical Elective (GTE) courses from department list3
Select 3 credits of Limited Elective (LE) courses from department list 13

Students who complete Basic ROTC may substitute 6 of the ROTC credits for 3 credits of LE and 3 credits of GHW.

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Aerospace Engineering, B.S. | Penn State (19) appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required and Inter-Domain courses do not meet this requirement.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Breadth in the Knowledge Domains (Inter-Domain courses do not meet this requirement.)

  • Arts (GA): 3 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 3 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 3 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 3 credits

Integrative Studies

  • Inter-Domain Courses (Inter-Domain): 6 credits


  • GN, may be completed with Inter-Domain courses: 3 credits
  • GA, GH, GN, GS, Inter-Domain courses. This may include 3 credits of World Language course work beyond the 12th credit level or the requirements for the student’s degree program, whichever is higher: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

Integrated B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and M.I.A. in International Affairs

Requirements for the Integrated B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and M.I.A. in International Affairs can be found in the Graduate Bulletin.

Program Educational Objectives

Within a few years after graduation, we expect graduates of our program will be:

  • Engaged in careers in the discipline of aerospace engineering, and in related disciplines where aerospace engineering knowledge and skills are beneficial, that applies the knowledge and skills for precise engineering analysis and open-ended problem solving and design.
  • Pursuing continued professional development through multiple pathways including graduate programs in aerospace engineering, and in related disciplines where aerospace engineering knowledge and skills bring a useful perspective, with the skills needed for engineering research and more advanced studies.
  • Acting as professionals representing aerospace engineering concerns with effective communication and teamwork skills, awareness of current issues, and ethical decision making.

Student Outcomes

Student outcomes describe what students are expected to know and be able to do by the time of graduation. The Aerospace Engineering program is designed to enable students to:

  1. Identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics
  2. Apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors
  3. Communicate effectively with a range of audiences
  4. Recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts
  5. Function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives
  6. Develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions
  7. Acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university's academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee's unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.


University Park

Robert Melton
Aerospace Faculty Adviser
208 Hammond Building
University Park, PA 16802

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2024-25 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition.

Aerospace Engineering, B.S. at University Park Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

If you are starting at a campus other than the one this plan is ending at, please refer to:

First Year
CHEM110 (GN)*#†3EDSGN100*#3
ECON102 or 104 (GS)3ENGL15, 30H, or ESL 15 (GWS)‡†3
MATH140 or 140E (GQ)*‡#†4MATH141 or 141E (GQ)*‡#†4
PHYS211 (GN, PHYSICS 211L & PHYSICS 211R)*#†4PHYS212 (GN, PHYSICS 212L & PHYSICS 212R)*†4
AERSP1 or 97 (or First Year Seminar)1General Education Course3
Second Year
CMPSC2013CAS100A or 100B (GWS)‡† 3
EMCH2105EMCH212* 3
General Education Course3MATH2304
Third Year
AERSP301* 3AERSP3043
AERSP311* 3AERSP306* 3
AERSP313* 3AERSP3123
ENGL202C (GWS)‡† 3PHYS214 (GN)2
General Education Course (GHW)1.5General Education Course3
Fourth Year
AERSP401A or 402A3AERSP401B or 402B2
AERSP4103AERSP424, EE 210, or EE 2123
AERSP413 or 4503AERSP Technical Elective3
AERSP Technical Elective3Limited Elective3
General Technical Elective3General Education Course3
General Education Course (GHW)1.5General Education Course3
Total Credits 131

Course requires a grade of C or better for the major

Course requires a grade of C or better for General Education


Course is an Entrance to Major requirement

Course satisfies General Education and degree requirement

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy Cultural Diversity Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ), Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS) and Integrative Studies (Inter-domain) requirements. N or Q (Honors) is the suffix at the end of a course number used to help identify an Inter-domain course, but the inter-domain attribute is used to fill audit requirements. Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of 'C' or better.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL137H/CAS137H in the fall semester and ENGL138T/CAS138T in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and satisfy a portion of that General Education requirement. If the student’s program prescribes GWS these courses will replace both ENGL15/ENGL30H and CAS100A/CAS100B/CAS100C. Each course is 3 credits.

College Notes:

  • AERSP 401A/AERSP 401B and AERSP 402A/AERSP 402B: Students may schedule either the spacecraft design sequence (AERSP401A and AERSP401B) or the aircraft design sequence (AERSP402A and AERSP402B). The appropriate control course (AERSP413 or AERSP450) should be scheduled accordingly.
  • AERSP Technical Elective: Select from department list. Students who complete the Cooperative Education Program may substitute 3 co-op credits for a Technical Elective and 3 co-op credits for a Limited Elective.
  • Health and Physical Activity Elective (GHW): Students who complete the ROTC Program may substitute 3 ROTC credits for the GHW requirement and 3 ROTC credits for a Limited Elective.
  • Limited Elective: Select from department list. Students who complete the ROTC Program may substitute 3 ROTC credits for the GHW requirement and 3 ROTC credits for a Limited Elective. Students who complete the Cooperative Education Program may substitute 3 co-op credits for a Technical Elective and 3 co-op credits for a Limited Elective.
  • These courses offered at University Park in fall semester only:
    • AERSP301
    • AERSP309
    • AERSP311
    • AERSP313
    • AERSP401A
    • AERSP402A
    • AERSP410
    • AERSP413
    • AERSP450
  • These courses offered at University Park in spring semester only:
    • AERSP304
    • AERSP306
    • AERSP312
    • AERSP401B
    • AERSP402B
  • These courses offered at University Park in fall and spring semesters:
    • AERSP305W
    • AERSP424

Career Paths

Aerospace engineers work primarily in the aerospace industry, at systems and software suppliers, corporate labs, government labs, and universities. Their skill set is extremely broad and multidisciplinary, and the experience of aerospace engineers as systems architects and engineers allows them to make contributions in many diverse sectors. Our graduate programs provide outstanding research opportunities across a broad spectrum of topics, and encompass both computational and experimental research approaches. Students may embrace traditional fields like aerodynamics, propulsion, flight science, vehicle dynamics, aeroacoustics, and rotorcraft engineering, as well as leading-edge research areas such as UAVs, commercial space, nanomanufacturing, and wind energy.


The industries that employed the most aerospace engineers are:

  • Aerospace product and parts manufacturing.
  • Engineering services.
  • Federal government, excluding postal service.
  • Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences.
  • Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturing.


Opportunities for Graduate Studies

The aerospace engineering department offers the following graduate degree options: " Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) " Master of Science (M.S.) " Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Students may also earn a graduate minor in computational science and/or a graduate certificate in wind energy.


Professional Resources


The Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering at University Park is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET,, under the commission’s General Criteria and Program Criteria for Aerospace and Similarly Named Engineering Programs.

Professional Licensure/Certification

Many U.S. states and territories require professional licensure/certification to be employed. If you plan to pursue employment in a licensed profession after completing this program, please visit the Professional Licensure/Certification Disclosures by State interactive map.


University Park

229 Hammond Building

Aerospace Engineering, B.S. | Penn State (2024)


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