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Overview

We're certainly not rocket scientists, but you can be one by choosing Aerospace Engineering (or Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, as it's often called) as your major. Be forewarned, though: it will be rigorous, difficult, and time consuming.

Aerospace Engineering is all about flight - airplanes, spacecraft, hovercraft, helicopters, you name it. It includes the study of aerodynamics, aerospace structures, propulsion, flight mechanics and systems, and vehicle design. If you major in Aerospace Engineering, you'll endure four seriously intense years, but you'll graduate with a solid understanding of the physical fundamentals underlying atmospheric and space flight and the ability to research, analyze, and design the flying machines of the future.

This knowledge will serve you well. The aerospace industry is the second largest industry in the United States, and it is definitely one of the largest employers of engineers. With a major in Aerospace Engineering, you can expect to land a fairly lucrative job with a big aircraft manufacturer, an airline, or with NASA. You'll also be qualified to continue your education at the graduate level or to work in any number of non-aerospace (and, for that matter, non-engineering) fields.

SAMPLE CURRICULUM

  • Aerospace Design

  • Calculus and Analytic Geometry

  • Chemistry

  • Electricity and Magnetism

  • Flight Mechanics

  • Flight Vehicle Dynamics

  • Fluid Mechanics

  • Jet Propulsion

  • Linear Algebra

  • Linear Systems Engineering

  • Physics

  • Solid Mechanics

  • Space Vehicle Components

  • Thermodynamics

  • Viscous Flow and Heat Transfer


HIGH SCHOOl PREPARATION

A strong background in mathematics and physics is absolutely vital if you want to pursue Aerospace Engineering, as is extensive knowledge of computers and computer programming skills. Take A.P. physics and chemistry, and take calculus or the highest-level math class that your high school offers.