Aerospace Engineering, B.S.

Program Code: AERSP_BS

Entrance to Major

This program currently has administrative enrollment controls. Administrative Enrollment Controls are initiated when limitations of space, faculty, or other resources in a major prevent accommodating all students who request them. Students must follow the administrative enrollment controls that are in effect for the semester that they enter the university.

First-Year Students Entering Summer 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021

In order to be eligible for entrance to this major, students must satisfy the following requirements:

Students Who Entered Prior to Summer 2020

Students who entered the University from Summer 2018 through Spring 2020 should view the administrative enrollment controls in the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin archive. Students who entered the University prior to the summer 2018 semester should view the administrative enrollment controls for the semester that they entered the university on the Academic Advising Portal.

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering, a minimum of 131 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Requirements for the Major 113-115

27 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes: 9 credits of GN courses; 6 credits of GQ courses; 3 credits of GS courses; 9 credits of GWS courses.

The first two years of study are similar to those in other engineering majors and provide students with a basic education for the engineering profession. Students need to complete EMCH 212, CMPSC 201, MATH 220, MATH 230, and MATH 250 prior to the start of the junior year in order to meet graduation requirements in the following two years. Six of the nine technical-elective credits taken in the senior year must be aerospace engineering courses.

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Knowledge Domains

  • Arts (GA): 6 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 6 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits

Integrative Studies (may also complete a Knowledge Domain requirement)

  • Inter-Domain or Approved Linked Courses: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement    

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

Requirements for the Major

To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn a grade of C or better in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Prescribed Courses
AERSP 304Dynamics and Control of Aerospace Systems3
AERSP 305WAerospace Technology Laboratory3
AERSP 312Aerodynamics II3
AERSP 410Aerospace Propulsion3
EMCH 315Mechanical Response of Engineering Materials2
EMCH 316Experimental Determination of Mechanical Response of Materials1
MATH 220Matrices Keystone/General Education Course2
MATH 230Calculus and Vector Analysis4
ME 201Introduction to Thermal Science3
PHYS 214General Physics: Wave Motion and Quantum Physics Keystone/General Education Course2
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
AERSP 301Aerospace Structures3
AERSP 306Aeronautics3
AERSP 309Astronautics3
AERSP 311Aerodynamics I3
AERSP 313Aerospace Analysis3
CHEM 110Chemical Principles I Keystone/General Education Course3
EDSGN 100Cornerstone Engineering Design3
EMCH 212Dynamics3
ENGL 202CEffective Writing: Technical Writing Keystone/General Education Course3
MATH 140Calculus With Analytic Geometry I Keystone/General Education Course4
MATH 141Calculus with Analytic Geometry II Keystone/General Education Course4
MATH 250Ordinary Differential Equations3
PHYS 211General Physics: Mechanics Keystone/General Education Course4
PHYS 212General Physics: Electricity and Magnetism Keystone/General Education Course4
Additional Courses
Select 1 credit of First-Year Seminar1
AERSP 413Stability and Control of Aircraft3
or AERSP 450 Orbit and Attitude Control of Spacecraft
Select 3 credits from the following:3
Introduction to Programming Techniques Keystone/General Education Course
Programming and Computation I: Fundamentals
Programming for Engineers with MATLAB Keystone/General Education Course
Programming for Engineers with C++ Keystone/General Education Course
Select 3 credits from the following:3
Introductory Microeconomic Analysis and Policy Keystone/General Education Course
Introductory Macroeconomic Analysis and Policy Keystone/General Education Course
Principles of Economics Keystone/General Education Course
Select 5-6 credits of the following:5-6
Statics and Strength of Materials
and Strength of Materials
Select one of the following sequences:5
Spacecraft Design--Preliminary
and Spacecraft Design--Detailed
Aircraft Design--Preliminary
and Aircraft Design--Detailed
Select 3-4 credits from the following:3-4
Introduction to Software Engineering for Aerospace Engineers
Circuits and Devices
Introduction to Electronic Measuring Systems
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
CAS 100AEffective Speech Keystone/General Education Course3
or CAS 100B Effective Speech Keystone/General Education Course
ENGL 15Rhetoric and Composition Keystone/General Education Course3
or ENGL 30H Honors Rhetoric and Composition Keystone/General Education Course
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Select 9 credits of Aerospace Technical Elective (ATE) courses from department list9
Select 3 credits of Limited Elective (LE) courses from department list 13

Program Educational Objectives

Within a few years after graduation, we expect graduates of our program will be:

  • Engaged in careers in the discipline of aerospace engineering, and in related disciplines where aerospace engineering knowledge and skills are beneficial, that applies the knowledge and skills for precise engineering analysis and open-ended problem solving and design.
  • Pursuing continued professional development through multiple pathways including graduate programs in aerospace engineering, and in related disciplines where aerospace engineering knowledge and skills bring a useful perspective, with the skills needed for engineering research and more advanced studies.
  • Acting as professionals representing aerospace engineering concerns with effective communication and teamwork skills, awareness of current issues, and ethical decision making.

Student Outcomes

Student outcomes describe what students are expected to know and be able to do by the time of graduation. The Aerospace Engineering program is designed to enable students to:

  1. Identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics
  2. 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
  3. Communicate effectively with a range of audiences
  4. 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
  5. Function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives
  6. Develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions
  7. Acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university’s academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee’s unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.


University Park

Robert Melton
Aerospace Faculty Adviser
208 Hammond Building
University Park, PA 16802

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2020-21 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contain suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).

Aerospace Engineering, B.S. at University Park Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

If you are starting at a campus other than the one this plan is ending at, please refer to:

First Year
CHEM 110 (GN)*#†3EDSGN 100*#3
ECON 102 or 104 (GS)3ENGL 15, 30H, or ESL 15 (GWS)‡†3
MATH 140 or 140E (GQ)*‡#†4MATH 141 or 141E (GQ)*‡#†4
PHYS 211 (GN, PHYSICS 211L & PHYSICS 211R)*#†4PHYS 212 (GN, PHYSICS 212L & PHYSICS 212R)*†4
AERSP 1 or 97 (or First Year Seminar)1General Education Course3
 15 17
Second Year
CMPSC 2013CAS 100A or 100B (GWS)‡† 3
EMCH 2105EMCH 212* 3
MATH 2202EMCH 3152
MATH 250*3EMCH 3161
General Education Course3MATH 2304
 ME 2013
 16 16
Third Year
AERSP 301* 3AERSP 3043
AERSP 309* 3AERSP 305W3
AERSP 311* 3AERSP 306* 3
AERSP 313* 3AERSP 3123
ENGL 202C (GWS)‡† 3PHYS 214 (GN)2
General Education Course (GHW)1.5General Education Course3
 16.5 17
Fourth Year
AERSP 401A or 402A3AERSP 401B or 402B2
AERSP 4103AERSP 440, EE 210, or EE 2123
AERSP 413 or 4503AERSP Technical Elective3
AERSP Technical Elective3Limited Elective3
Technical Elective3General Education Course3
General Education Course (GHW)1.5General Education Course3
 16.5 17
Total Credits 131

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL 137H/CAS 137H in the fall semester and ENGL 138T/CAS 138T in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30H and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

College Notes:

  • AERSP 401A/AERSP 401B and AERSP 402A/AERSP 402B: Students may schedule either the spacecraft design sequence (AERSP 401A and AERSP 401B) or the aircraft design sequence (AERSP 402A and AERSP 402B). The appropriate control course (AERSP 413 or AERSP 450) should be scheduled accordingly.
  • AERSP Technical Elective: Select from department list. Students who complete the Cooperative Education Program may substitute 3 co-op credits for a Technical Elective and 3 co-op credits for a Limited Elective.
  • Health and Physical Activity Elective (GHW): Students who complete the ROTC Program may substitute 3 ROTC credits for the GHW requirement and 3 ROTC credits for a Limited Elective.
  • Limited Elective: Select from department list. Students who complete the ROTC Program may substitute 3 ROTC credits for the GHW requirement and 3 ROTC credits for a Limited Elective. Students who complete the Cooperative Education Program may substitute 3 co-op credits for a Technical Elective and 3 co-op credits for a Limited Elective.
  • These courses offered at University Park in fall semester only:
  • These courses offered at University Park in spring semester only:
  • These courses offered at University Park in fall and spring semesters:

Career Paths

Aerospace engineers work primarily in the aerospace industry, at systems and software suppliers, corporate labs, government labs, and universities. Their skill set is extremely broad and multidisciplinary, and the experience of aerospace engineers as systems architects and engineers allows them to make contributions in many diverse sectors. Our graduate programs provide outstanding research opportunities across a broad spectrum of topics, and encompass both computational and experimental research approaches. Students may embrace traditional fields like aerodynamics, propulsion, flight science, vehicle dynamics, aeroacoustics, and rotorcraft engineering, as well as leading-edge research areas such as UAVs, commercial space, nanomanufacturing, and wind energy.


The industries that employed the most aerospace engineers are:

  • Aerospace product and parts manufacturing.
  • Engineering services.
  • Federal government, excluding postal service.
  • Research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences.
  • Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturing.


Opportunities for Graduate Studies

The aerospace engineering department offers the following graduate degree options: " Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) " Master of Science (M.S.) " Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Students may also earn a graduate minor in computational science and/or a graduate certificate in wind energy.


Professional Resources


The baccalaureate program in Aerospace Engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET,


Professional Licensure/Certification

Many U.S. states and territories require professional licensure/certification to be employed. If you plan to pursue employment in a licensed profession after completing this program, please visit the Professional Licensure/Certification Disclosures by State interactive map.


University Park

229 Hammond Building