Why study aerospace engineering?
Aerospace engineering deals with the design, construction and study of the science behind the behavior of aircraft, rockets and spacecraft.
Aerospace engineers are employed in manufacturing, analysis, design, research, development, and the federal government.
Our students will be prepared to enter this exciting field and contribute to the development of next generation of aircraft as they are redesigned to be quieter and more fuel-efficient. Aerospace engineering also encompasses satellites, unmanned aerial systems and the materials used to build spacecraft.
Our aerospace engineering program is part of the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Our aerospace engineering program provides a strong foundation in engineering science and engineering design as applied to aerospace materials and structures, including their mechanical and aerodynamic characteristics and behaviors. In addition to taking engineering courses, you will work in project groups, acquiring social skills to work in multi-disciplinary environments and learning how to present your work effectively. Through the design and lab work, you’ll gain hands-on, real life experience that will shape you into responsible and innovative aerospace engineers.
Major subjects included in the aerospace engineering curriculum include:
- Computer Aided Design
- Statics and Solid Mechanics
- Applied Numerical Methods
- Dynamics and Vibrations
- Aerospace Structures
- Energy Power and Propulsion
- Aerospace Systems
- Aerospace Laboratories
- Flight and Orbital Mechanics
- Flight Dynamics and Control
- Thermodynamic Fundamentals
- Engineering Materials
- Manufacturing Processes
- Aerospace Engineering Design
The curriculum also includes the Carolina Core, foundational math and science courses, and technical and engineering electives. Independent study and special topics courses also provide unique learning opportunities.
Visit Undergraduate Curricula and Courses for additional details.
Aerospace engineering undergraduate students generally choose from one of the following five track sequences in their junior year to complement their major courses:
The aeromechanical systems track prepares students to deal with the interactions between the flow of air and the mechanical behavior of structures and materials in the flow. The fluid force causes the structure to deform which changes its orientation to the flow and hence the resulting fluid force. Subjects in this track include aircraft design, composite materials, finite element stress analysis, kinematics and dynamics of machinery, and compressible fluid flow.
A well-designed and maintained information system is foundational for aircraft and space vehicle operation. Aerospace engineering students that elect the integrated information technology track learn the basics of information technology systems architecture that enables the efficient implementation of technology-integrated systems. This track develops competency in computer hardware and software support, networking, human computer interaction and database/management systems for information technology.
Students interested in the operation of electrical systems in airplanes and spacecraft can choose one of three electrical engineering tracks: power electronics systems, digital control systems or wireless communications. Each track covers fundamental electrical engineering topics such as electrical circuits, signals and systems. Further specialization can be obtained through study of either power electronics and power control systems, microelectronics and digital control systems, or wireless communications, electromagnetics and digital signal processing.
During the capstone design experience, aerospace engineering students master techniques for managing, planning and executing engineering projects. The aerospace engineering capstone design course pairs student teams with real-world projects to develop a solution to an aerospace engineering problem. Students apply computer-based analysis and synthesis techniques and statistical methods to support manufacturing, safety and reliability-based design. The capstone design experience integrates design with engineering ethics, written and oral communications, and an understanding of the social impact of engineering decisions and projects.
Aerospace engineering students participate in a variety of clubs including our student chapters of:
- American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
- Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE)
- Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME)
Undergraduate research opportunities in the areas of aerospace system design and structures, computer aided design, propulsion and combustion, joining technologies, composites materials and manufacturing, and unmanned aerial systems are available. Undergraduate researchers get involved on a volunteer, course credit or paid position basis.
With other undergraduates in our college, aerospace engineering students take full advantage of living-learning communities, mentorship opportunities, study abroad, intramurals, internships, just hanging out with friends, and more.
Visit Student Experience to learn more.