Why Study Aerospace Engineering?

By Peterson's Staff updated on Monday, February 03, 2014
Few disciplines have inspired humanity as much as aerospace engineering. Many of the technological advances that are now part of our daily lives, such as handheld calculators and non-stick pans, were initially developed to aid in space flight. Today’s aerospace engineers are still working to help us view the edges of the universe as well as improve the way that we live our lives right here on planet earth. If your career goals include creating the innovative technologies that will shape the 21st century in beyond, then you might want to consider earning your degree in aerospace engineering.

The scope of aerospace engineering projects almost always requires that engineers work as part of a team. Moreover, both research and industry projects within the field are often international. Because of this, it can be helpful to find a program that emphasizes not only academic fundamentals and engineering practices but also teamwork, communication, and professional development. Additionally, aerospace engineering has its foundation in mechanical engineering, so earning an undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering can lead to a broad range of careers both in flight and on the ground. For example, the need for more efficient fuels for aircraft and spacecraft has led to advances in sustainable fuel sources that are now used in a broad variety of products.

Many schools offer degrees in aerospace engineering from the undergraduate through doctoral levels, and there is quite a bit of flexibility with the degree. Those who have undergraduate degrees in aerospace engineering typically can go on to graduate studies in a specific area of engineering, such as electrical engineering, or move on to other areas like materials science or applied mathematics. Individuals who have undergraduate degrees in a wide range of sciences and engineering are eligible to apply to most graduate programs in Aerospace Engineering. Particularly for master’s programs, there are numerous top schools, including the US Air Force Academy and US Naval Academy. With its continued strong ties to NASA, Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) continues to be an innovator with its Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering programs.

Strictly speaking, aerospace engineering is focused on the design and creation of aircraft and spacecraft, including satellites and missiles. However, those with a degree in aerospace engineering can pursue diverse career paths in engineering. The academic knowledge that students learn, the experience gained through working on projects, and the interpersonal skills of team work and communication continue to be strong draws for employers – not to mention the prestige of having a ‘rocket scientist’ on their team! Earning a degree in aerospace engineering might be your path to a career at the cutting edge of science and engineering.  
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