Benjamin Jorns, U-M associate professor of aerospace engineering discusses the new Hall thruster developed by his team at the PEPL lab on the UM's North Campus.

Aerospace technology has grown out of the problems of design, construction, and operation of vehicles that move above the Earth’s surface: vehicles ranging from airplanes and helicopters to rockets and spacecraft. Design of such vehicles has always been challenging, not only because of the high premium placed on lightweight vehicles performing efficiently and with high reliability, but also because they must sometimes operate in hostile environments. These same requirements exist not only for future spacecraft and high-performance transport aircraft, but also for the next generation of ground transportation, such as high-speed trains, over-water transportation, and automated motor vehicles. In addition to working on vehicle-oriented design problems, aerospace engineering graduates are often involved in systems management in the broadest sense. Because of the anticipated life mission of the aerospace student, the undergraduate curriculum at the University of Michigan is designed to convey a clear understanding of the fundamental aspects of the fields most pertinent to aerospace engineering. Real-life problems in aerospace and related areas are emphasized in the applications of theory. In their senior year, students select a design course in which they are given an appreciation of the interrelation of the various areas of study in the design of a whole system.

Course Guide

Aerospace Engineering Courses


Departmental Website:

Aerospace Engineering Dept.
3000 Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Building (FXB)
1320 Beal Ave
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2140
Phone: (734) 764-3310

Department Administration

Department Chair
Carlos Cesnik, Richard A. Auhll Department Chair, Clarence L. (Kelly) Johnson Collegiate Professor of Aerospace Engineering, 3064 FXB.

For more specific information on contacting people, go to our Contacts page.


To provide internationally recognized leadership in Aerospace Engineering education, through a continuously improving educational program that graduates students with strong engineering science fundamentals while incorporating applied engineering aspects.


  • Educate students who are widely known for exceptional strength in technical fundamentals across all aerospace disciplines, who are cognizant of modern aerospace technologies and who are sought after by top graduate schools and by aerospace and related industries worldwide.
  • Support vibrant and highly recognized research programs that serve the educational goals of the undergraduate and graduate degree programs, that make major contributions to the knowledge base in aerospace sciences and technology and that are turned to by industry and government for solutions.
  • Create a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment that is supportive, intellectually challenging and conducive to higher learning.
  • Take full advantage of knowledge, technology, facilities and resources at the University of Michigan.


The Undergraduate Program Educational Objectives are that, within 3-5 years after graduation:

  • Alumni of the program will use their breadth and depth of knowledge and skills in the fundamental disciplines of aerospace engineering to pursue successful professional careers.
  • Alumni will use their outstanding preparation to take the next step in their careers, whether it be graduate school or work in industry, government or academia.
  • Alumni of the program will be emerging leaders in engineering, science, academia, business and public service.
  • Alumni of the program will be productive citizens with high professional and ethical standards.

The above program educational objectives are accomplished by a rigorous curriculum that emphasizes fundamentals in basic sciences, mathematics and the humanities and integrates classroom and laboratory experiences in the fundamental disciplines of Aerospace Engineering. More specifically, our curricular goals are to:

  • Educate students in the following fundamental disciplines of Aerospace Engineering: aerodynamics, materials, structures, propulsion, flight mechanics, orbital mechanics, software, and dynamics and control.
  • Educate students in the methodology and tools of design and the synthesis of fundamental aerospace disciplines necessary to carry out the design of an aerospace vehicle or system.
  • Educate students in the basics of instrumentation and measurement, laboratory techniques, and how to design and conduct experiments.
  • Develop students’ ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams and provide them with teamwork experiences throughout their curriculum.
  • Develop students’ ability to communicate effectively.
  • Expose students to environmental, ethical and contemporary issues in Aerospace Engineering.
  • Expose students to other disciplines of engineering beyond the aerospace field.


Program Student Outcomes are that U-M Aerospace Engineering graduates demonstrate:

  • An ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics.
  • An ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors.
  • An ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences.
  • An ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts.
  • An ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives.
  • An ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions.
  • An ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

Enrollment and Graduation Data

The University Registrar publishes the number of students enrolled annually in this program, and the number of degrees granted each term by this program. Additionally you can see recent degrees granted below.

Bachelors Degrees126165103
Masters Degrees8077119
Doctoral Degrees281623


The Aerospace Engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET,, under the General Criteria and the Program Criteria for Aerospace and Similarly Named Engineering Programs.

Program Outcomes

The matrix maps how each course in our curriculum addresses our program outcomes. Only the outcomes tracked are noted below. 


Student Outcomes (Black – High)

  Apply math and science Design Communicate Ethics Teams Experiments, Analyze, and Interpret Data Lifelong Learning































Undergraduate Degree Program

The degree program gives the student a broad education in engineering by requiring basic courses in aerodynamics and propulsion, structural mechanics, flight dynamics and control systems, and aerospace software. These courses cover fundamentals and their application to the analysis, design and construction of aircraft, spacecraft, and other vehicular systems and subsystems. Courses in aerodynamics and propulsion treat fluid and gas flow around bodies and through turbojet engines and rocket nozzles. In courses on structural mechanics, lightweight structures are studied from their strength, elastic, stiffness, stability, and dynamic behavior. Flight dynamics and control systems courses deal with the dynamic behavior of vehicles and systems as a whole, their stability and controllability both by human pilots and as autonomous systems. Aerospace software deals with fundamentals of computer science, development and use of software for simulating aerospace analysis, and embedded sensors and software systems. Integration of all these subjects takes place in the capstone aircraft design course or space system design course that is chosen by students. The aerospace engineering program offers considerable flexibility through technical and general electives, in which students have an opportunity to study in greater depth any of the areas mentioned above. In addition, other technical elective areas are available to aerospace engineering students, including aerophysical sciences, environmental studies, computers, person-machine systems, and transportation. Elective courses in each technical elective area include courses taught both inside and outside the aerospace engineering department.

Sample Schedule

B.S.E. in Aerospace Engineering

Please see the PDF version of the sample schedule. Additional information can be found on the department advising website.

Focus of Study

The Aerospace Engineering department offers a variety of areas of focus for students to consider.  Specific information about the requirements can be found on the department advising website.

  • Propulsion, Aerodynamics and Combustion
    • Air-Breathing Propulsion and Combustion Science
    • Space Propulsion
    • Aerodynamics and Turbulence
    • Computational Fluid Dynamics of Transonic and Hypersonic Vehicles
  • Structural Mechanics
    • Advanced Materials for Airframe Applications
    • Adaptive Materials and Constitutive Modeling for Aerospace Structures
    • Modeling for Airframe Applications
    • Aeroelasticity, Structural Dynamics, Optimal Design of Structures
  • Flight Dynamics and Control
    • Dynamics and Control of Aircraft
    • Dynamics and Control of Spacecraft
    • Astrodynamics
  • Aerospace Software
    • Computer Science Fundamentals
    • Computational Science for Aerospace Analysis and Design
    • Embedded Systems
  • Aerospace Vehicles

Sequential Undergraduate/Graduate Study (SUGS)

The five-year Sequential Undergraduate/Graduate Study (SUGS) Program permits students to receive the B.S.E. and M.S.E. degrees (or the B.S.E. and M.Eng. degrees) upon completion of a minimum of 149 credit hours: up to 9 credit hours can be double-counted between the undergraduate and Master’s degrees. Eligible students typically apply to the Aerospace Engineering SUGS program in their senior year and are required to have a minimum graduating GPA of 3.5. Students should speak with the Aerospace Engineering Graduate Student Coordinator at the start of their senior year to learn more about the SUGS application process and procedures.

Available programs include:

  • B.S.E. in Aerospace Engineering/M.S.E. in Aerospace Engineering
  • B.S.E. in Aerospace Engineering

Check the SUGS website for more details.

Graduate Degrees

  • Master of Science in Engineering (M.S.E.) in Aerospace Engineering
  • Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) in Space Engineering
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Aerospace Engineering

M.S.E. in Aerospace Engineering

This degree is designed for students who desire a curriculum focused on the scientific aspects of aerospace engineering. A total of 30 credit hours is required, including: five, 500-level or higher classes in aerospace engineering – which includes graduate-level engineering courses that have been cross-listed with aerospace engineering courses, and two approved courses in mathematics. Students are encouraged to take advantage of directed study and become involved in research as part of their M.S.E. experience although it is not required to graduate. The M.S.E. program does not include an option for a thesis per se; however, through AEROSP 590, students can perform research work under the close supervision of a faculty member and investigate a problem of common interest.

Admission requirements include a strong performance in an undergraduate program in engineering or science and competitive Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores. Learn more about the Academic Background of Applicants.

Details of the M.S.E. degree requirements may be found at Master of Science in Engineering

M.Eng in Space Engineering

The M.Eng. in Space Engineering degree provides a comprehensive set of courses and training in space-related science and engineering and the systems approach to the design and management of complex space systems. It develops both the theoretical and applied aspects of space engineering. The M.Eng. in Space Engineering is a professional program managed by the Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering (CLaSP) department.  

Details of the M.Eng. degree requirements may be found at: The Master of Engineering Degree in Space Engineering

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Aerospace Engineering

The Ph.D. degree requires a strong academic foundation and an ability to carry out independent research. Students must complete:

  1. Coursework & Training
  2. Preliminary Examinations
  3. Research & Dissertation

Doctoral Degree Requirements

  1. Coursework & Training

A student must take five core doctoral courses selected by the student and approved by the student’s research advisor. In addition, a student must take at least one graduate-level course outside the student’s field of study but still be related or connected with an aspect of their field.

A student must complete training for the College of Engineering’s Responsible Conduct of Research and Scholarship (RCRS) program. Training consists of four workshops that engage students to be able to recognize, address, and resolve ethical issues in classroom, professional, and research settings.

  1. Preliminary Examination

There are two mandatory preliminary examinations. The first is an oral coursework examination covering material taught in the five selected core courses administered by the preliminary examination committee. This examination is offered twice a year. The second is an oral research examination, which takes place some months after the coursework examination. A student must pass both preliminary examinations to earn their degree. 

  1. Research and the Dissertation

The student must initiate research activity with their advisor in the first year of graduate study. 

To demonstrate their ability to pursue and solve an original research problem the student must present the research results in a written dissertation and defend the dissertation at a final oral defense. The research is done under the supervision of a faculty advisor in the Aerospace Engineering Department and a dissertation committee.

The Ph.D. degree is awarded upon successful completion of a Ph.D. dissertation, a Ph.D. defense, and other academic credit requirements.

Details of the Ph.D. degree requirements may be found at Doctor of Philosophy