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Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering

Degree: BS

Campus: Columbus

College: Engineering

Aeronautical and astronautical engineering (AAE) focuses upon the challenges of flight. The proper aerodynamic shape, the correct engine for clean propulsion, the best materials for lightweight structures, and the safest control systems must be integrated to produce an efficient and economical flying machine. These challenges must be met across the broad spectrum of flight, from the low-speed, near-earth hovering of helicopters to the supersonic flight of our present-day aircraft, to the extreme speeds and ranges of our future aircraft and spacecraft. Our faculty bring their expertise in the varied disciplines of aerospace engineering to the classroom and laboratory and use extensive research activities to enhance their lectures.

Upon admission to the university, students may directly enroll as pre-engineering students; however, direct enrollment is selective. Factors used to determine eligibility to directly enroll include ACT/SAT scores (emphasis on math), strong college prep curriculum (emphasis on math, science and rigorous courses), and class rank or GPA. The middle 50 percent of directly enrolled pre-majors (autumn 2016) had ACT score ranges of 29–33 and 98 percent were in the top 25 percent of their high school classes.

Students not eligible to directly enroll in engineering may enroll in Science, Technology and Environment Exploration (see exploration.osu.edu).

All engineering students have a similar first-year plan of study, the college core, that provides fundamental courses in math, science and engineering. View a sample first-year plan of study.

Students in aeronautical and astronautical engineering take major classes in flight vehicle dynamics, structure and control, and heat transfer and various design courses.

All engineering students also take additional select core courses and general education courses.

Engineering students have several opportunities for global education, including service learning, semester abroad, international internships, engineering-specific study abroad programs or the Global Option in Engineering program

Whether it be installing solar panels on Haitian schools, researching biomedical optics in China, devising solutions for sustainable food production in Honduras, or setting speed records on the Isle of Man, Ohio State engineering students venture beyond classrooms and labs to find success in every corner of the globe. 

Students work with Engineering Career Services (ECS) to find both paid internships and co-op jobs across the United States and around the world. Nearly 90 percent of career-employed graduates complete at least one semester of engineering-related experience before they graduate. 

Honors and scholars offer students an opportunity to pursue academic rigor (Honors) or foster passion through community (scholars). Engineering students can enhance their experience by getting involved with one of the following engineering-based programs.

Engineering Honors

The Fundamentals of Engineering for Honors (FEH) Program is an optional course sequence that is offered to University Honors-designated engineering students. This accelerated program is designed to challenge students and provide them with a foundation in engineering principles that are necessary for success throughout their academic careers.

Engineering Scholars

Engineering Scholars presents students with a new lens through which to view engineering through two available tracks:

  • Green Engineering Scholars have a community theme of green engineering, innovation and social responsibility. Students examine areas such as alternative energy development, sustainable products and systems, and green manufacturing and building. 
  • Humanitarian Engineering Scholars learn about and engage in engineering activities that impact underserved areas by addressing pressing problems. 

At Ohio State, engineering students conduct research alongside top faculty from across the university—doctors, physicists, designers, artists and experts in many other fields—to advance our knowledge and improve the world around us. Students enjoy multiple outlets to share their work, including Ohio State's annual Denman Undergraduate Research Forum each spring. Learn more about engineering research.

AAE research topics:

  • aerodynamic flow control and diagnostics
  • unmanned aircraft systems
  • helicopter dynamic stall
  • heat transfer and aerodynamics
  • aeromechanics

Aeronautical and astronautical engineering students choose from more than 50 engineering student organizations, including Aero Design Team, Sigma Gamma Tau, Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, Buckeye Space Launch Initiative and Buckeye Aerial Robotics Team.

Following graduation, AAE students are typically employed in the aerospace industry, which includes large aerospace companies, general aviation manufacturing, airlines, and government aerospace laboratories or research centers. In a large aerospace company, the initial assignment will probably be with a large design team. The assignment will likely be a technical one dealing with a problem related to an airplane, missile or spacecraft being designed. As experience is gained, more complex problems and responsibilities will be assigned. Depending on interests and competence, graduates can progress through the technical part of the company or through management. Students will also gain the same type of experience if they join a general aviation company. However, the design team will not be as large and assignments will cover broader problems associated with the design of aircraft.

Students who choose to join an airline company as an engineer may work on technical problems associated with the operation and maintenance of a fleet of aircraft. In addition, graduates can participate in evaluating the needs of the airline for new airplanes as well as the different types of airplanes available that could meet these requirements.

Students who choose to join a government aerospace laboratory or research center may be assigned to a laboratory and be involved in basic research in a technical area. As graduates progress, they can become more involved in research or progress through the government and monitor technical programs that have been funded to the private sector of the aerospace industry.

Some employers of AAE graduates include Boeing Co., Constant Aviation, General Motors, NASA, Raytheon, Southwest Airlines, United Launch Alliance, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Department of Defense and Wolf Composite Solutions.