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Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department

MS - Aerospace Engineering

The Aerospace Engineering Graduate Program provides students with an advanced education in aerospace engineering theory and practice. It is designed to prepare students for professional careers in several fields of aerospace engineering involving aircraft, space systems, space transportation and exploration, research, design, development, testing, and systems integration.

Educational Objectives for Graduate Program

  • 1. A strong foundation beyond the undergraduate level in their chosen focus area as well as in mathematics, basic science and engineering fundamentals, to successfully compete for technical engineering positions in the local, national and global engineering market, advance in their current position or pursue doctoral studies.
  • 2. Contemporary professional and lifelong learning skills to be able to apply theory to solve practical engineering problems.
  • 3. Expertise necessary to work in the analysis and design of aerospace engineering systems with possible specialization in areas such as: Aircraft Design, Spacecraft Systems, Space Transportation & Exploration.
  • 4. Strong verbal and written communication skills, including the ability to write engineering reports.
  • 5. The ability to perform research and work independently to solve open-ended problems in aerospace engineering.

General Admissions Requirements

Students desiring to pursue a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering must satisfy each of the following requirements:

1. Must hold a Bachelor of Science from an engineering department accredited by the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET) or equivalent. Special programs can be developed for those with degrees from other related disciplines. These programs must be approved by the Graduate Studies Committee of the department.

2. A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale over the last 60 semester units completed in engineering and/or science.

3. Student from non-ABET accredited Aerospace Engineering programs must have obtained a minimum score of 1100 in quantitative and verbal and a minimum score of 3.5 in Analytical Writing on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

4. Students from non-English speaking countries must achieve a minimum TOEFL score of 550. This requirements if waived if the language of instruction in the home country is documented to be in English.

Requirements for Admission to Conditionally Classified Standing

Students whose records show certain deficiencies, such as GPA and/or Non-ME undergraduate major, etc., may be admitted to conditionally classified standing. They may later initiate petitions to be given classified standing in the program when such deficiencies have been removed and their records show promise of success in the degree program.

Candidacy for MS - Aerospace Engineering

Prior to registering for the first time, (or upon reentering), a student should consult with the Aerospace Engineering Program Advisor. A schedule of courses will be developed at this time. Students admitted as conditional must satisfy the requirements listed in their letter of acceptance and then apply to the Graduate Studies Office for a change of classification. Students who have completed matriculation and received classified standing in the master's degree curriculum must next be admitted to candidacy for the degree. A student may be admitted to candidacy after completing a minimum of nine units of graded work as a graduate student in 100-or 200- level courses which are acceptable to the department in which the degree is sought.

If a student's preparation for advanced graduate work is considered inadequate to meet the course prerequisites or other departmental requirements, it will be necessary to take the preparatory courses to meet these requirements. Such courses will not count as part of the master's degree program requirements.

Requirements for MS - Aerospace Engineering

The department offers courses designed to provide a flexible curriculum structure that allows students to follow a program of study to meet their individual career goals. As shown below, the program consists of 30 semester units of approved work including six units devoted to a thesis or project. In addition to two required core courses, the student selects 18 units of elective courses with the guidance of his or her advisor. The student has the choice of Plan A (Thesis) or Plan B (Project).

All students are recommended to concentrate their studies in one of the areas of specialization, with the graduate coordinator's approval. Each area of specialization required:

  • 6 units of required courses for the degree.
  • 12 units of suggested courses for the specialization area.
  • 6 units of electives recommended for the area but subjected to approval by the Graduate Coordinator, the student may take up to 6 units of course work from the undergraduate program of the Department, or graduate courses from other departments, colleges/universities, or open university units. Students are allowed and encouraged to take up to 6 units of graduate course work from other related Science and Engineering programs.
  • 6 units of Project/Thesis.

With Plan A, six (6) units of thesis credits, AE 299, may be applied. With Plan B, six (6) units of AE 295 are required. Both Plan A and Plan B require an open examination (oral defense) to be conducted by the student's thesis committee.

Both the university GPA and Department GPA must be at least 3.0.

Required courses for MS - Aerospace Engineering

Course Requirements

Graduate Competency in Writing0
At SJSU, students must pass the graduate competency in writing requirement. For information on the Competency in Writing Requirement, please see
Requirement of the Masters30
Core Courses15
AE 262. Advanced Aerodynamics3
AE 264. Advanced Compressible Flow3
AE 267. Space Propulsion Systems3
AE 269. Advanced Computational Fluid Dynamics3
ME 230. Advanced Mechanical Engineering Analysis3
Area of Specialization3
Required elective based on focus area, choose one area:
Aircraft Design
AE 271. Advanced Aircraft Design3
Space Transportation and Exploration
AE 210. Advanced Space Systems Engineering3
Elective Courses6
Elective courses need to be planned in consultation with the Program Advisor.
Culminating Experience6
Choose one option:
AE 299. Master's Thesis6
AE 295A. Aerospace Engineering Project I3
AE 295B. Aerospace Engineering Project II3
Comprehensive Exam
Additionally approved coursework6
Comprehensive Exam0

Total Units:30

Electives will typically involve a mix of mechanical and aerospace engineering classes as well as courses from other engineering departments and from physics, chemistry, mathematics, and computer science.

Upon completion of the degree requirements, the student must have achieved a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in order to graduate.

The University requires that all graduate students demonstrate competency in written English as a condition for advancement to candidacy. Please refer to the SJSU catalog section titled "Competency in Written English" for details. For graduate courses that meet the competency in written English requirement, please refer to the Graduate Admissions and Program Evaluations website at

In selecting a thesis or project topic, the student first identifies a faculty member in their area of interest. Once the faculty member agrees to act as the student's advisor, a program of study is established, including the thesis or project topic. The student consults with and selects his or her advisor during the first semester of graduate study.

At the completion of the program of study, the student must have achieved a minimum grade point average of 3.0 to graduate.