HONORABLE MENTION: University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (Urbana-Champaign, Illinois)
The aerospace engineering program at the University of Illinois offers students ample opportunities to design, create and fly aircraft and spacecraft before they receive their diplomas.
Many of those opportunities come from not only within the classrooms and labs but also in the form of student organizations.
The university offers a little bit of everything from a student branch of American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics to the Illinois Space society to Student Aircraft builders.
Students at the university also have access to the engineering career services department, which has paired with big names including Boeing, Cisco, Procter and Gamble, and the U.S. Navy.
It’s worth noting the average University of Illinois engineering alumni receives two or more job offers.
Also impressive is the graduates’ of aerospace willingness to stay in touch with their roots by returning to the school to judge competitions, speak in lectures and act as mentors to current students.
2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
Offering its first aerospace course in 1914, MIT boasts one of the oldest programs in the country.
The school’s AeroAstro program has produced a number of notable alumni, including Buzz Aldrin, one of four MIT graduates who has set foot on the moon.
In fact, more astronauts hold an MIT diploma than any other school.
Together, they’ve logged more than 10,000 hours in space.
Back toward earth, MIT’s AeroAstro students and alumni have garnered a number of firsts. In 1953, “Doc” Draper, the founder and director of the school’s instrumentation lab, flew from Massachusetts to Los Angeles, successfully completing the first long-distance inertially navigated flight.
More recently, the Gas Turbine Lab is working to develop a silent jet, which would be no louder than a semi-truck.
The program has also acknowledged the 21st century’s changing aerospace industry and has created and implemented new curriculum and educational initiative deemed Conceive-Design-Implement-Operate.
More than 100 universities worldwide have also implemented the protocol.
1. Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, Georgia)
In February 2018, the White House named 29 candidates for the National Space Council’s Users Advisory Group.
Hopefuls included the president of SpaceX, the CEO of Boeing, five astronauts — and Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson, who started his career as a research scientist.
Peterson’s passion for research trickles down to Georgia Tech’s Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering.
There, research plays an integral role in the program. Not only does every graduate student partake in research, approximately 30% of undergraduates are eligible to join in, too.
Disciplines include aerodynamics and fluid mechanics, aeroelasticity and structural dynamics, flight mechanics and controls, propulsion and combustion, structural mechanics and materials, and system design and optimization.
Each week, the school’s newsletter, “The AErial View” boasts a number of new opportunities for students, including notable speakers coming to campus, academic opportunities including NASA’s call for abstracts, scholarships, competitions, club meetings and even open jobs.
Featured Image by Jainrajat11 via Wikimedia Commons
For this article, we sourced several different lists to create a meta-analysis ranking.
Articles sourced in August 2019