These Are the 10 Best Colleges for Aerospace Engineering

It’s amazing how many young minds today are interested in attending college for aerospace engineering.

This field of engineering, concerning itself with the creation of aircraft and spacecraft, has gained tremendous popularity over the past 15 years.

Because of this field of engineering’s close relationship to the outside world, colloquially, aerospace engineering is THE field known as “rocket science.”

We find many of the best schools in the country consistently building their programs more and more for excellence in aerospace engineering; schools like University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MIT, and Georgia Institute of Technology are among just a few names that people look to consistently as the kings of this unique major of “rocket science.”

But are these schools among the top 10 for aerospace engineering in today’s landscape of colleges?

In this article, we dive right into this topic, searching out the best schools the US has to offer for this particularly unique niche.

Without further ado, here are the top 10 colleges for aerospace engineering in the US:

10. University of Colorado at Boulder (Boulder, Colorado)

CU Boulder
Engineering Center at CU Boulder – Public domain photo by Vineet p reddy via Wikimedia Commons

Fun fact: Right now, the University of Colorado at Boulder is constructing a brand-new 144,000-square-foot building, which will be dedicated to its aerospace program.


According to its program, Colorado holds the title of second largest aerospace economy in the U.S., so it’s about time the state builds a hub — and students will reap the benefits of it.

Additionally, the school is all about hands-on learning and research. Focus areas include aerospace engineering systems; astrodynamics and satellite navigation systems; bioastronautics; and remote sensing, earth and space sciences.

Recently, a group of students have designed a whale-scouting drone to help scientists learn more about sperm whales and how to help save them. (The project is unironically named SHAMU, Search and Help Aquatic Mammals UAS.)

Research at the university is led by notable faculty members, including two presidential teaching scholars and two NASA astronauts.

9. University of Texas, Austin (Austin, Texas)

UT Austin
Larry D. Moore, Battle hall, CC BY-SA 3.0

There’s some exciting headlines coming out of the aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics department at the University of Texas at Austin.

Recently, assistant professor Luis Sentis was granted $1 million to work on creating “humanoid robots” that’ll help humans on space missions.

It’s not just faculty making headlines either. Student group Women in Aerospace for Leadership and Development has built drones that can be operated with brain waves, voice commands and body movements.

Then there’s the Longhorn Rocketry Association that developed a rocket engine test facility. Pretty impressive, right?

Since 1943, when the first aeronautical bachelor’s degrees were handed out at UT, the department has been taking the industry — and world — by storm.

Take, for example, student Dewey Younger, who, in 1949 built a flying saucer and was later accused of sparking the famous “Flying Saucer Sighting Scare.”

But that same model evolved into AVRO VZ-9V Avrocar, a vehicle that could take off and land vertically and held a crew of two.

Students continue to show the world “the sky isn’t the limit.”

HONORABLE MENTION: Iowa State University (Ames, Iowa)

Iowa State University
SD Dirk, Iowa state beardshear hall, CC BY 2.0

Check out Iowa State University’s hall of fame — or hall of distinguished alumni — and you’ll spot astronauts, professors, NASA directors, the executive vice president of Boeing Defense, Space & Security, and even the CEO of Lockheed Martin.

These alumni exemplify the diverse opportunities available through Iowa State.

For the institution’s nearly 90-year-old aeronautical program, the sky isn’t the limit.

That’s because Iowa State is constantly looking forward into future of engineering.

With both undergraduate and graduate programs, it claims to be one of the top suppliers of professionals in the aerospace industry.

Ninety percent of its students have jobs within six months of graduation.

Perhaps what makes Iowa State stand out is its emphasis on hands-on learning. Its Make to Innovate (M:2:I) program hosts opportunities for students “to build, to break, and to learn from their failures.”

The program takes real-world problems and strives to offer a solution. Right now, it has approximately 15 ongoing projects with more than 200 students involved.

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