The mission of the Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences is to provide quality education, including hands-on learning, and to conduct foremost research in aerospace engineering sciences. These goals are accomplished through fundamental and multidisciplinary research and by preparing aerospace engineering students to meet the needs of 21st-century society through the conception, design, and application of aerial and spacecraft systems.
The department is uniquely characterized by:
During their first three to five years after graduation, Aerospace Engineering Sciences graduates will have:
Students completing the undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering will be knowledgeable in the following areas:
Upon graduation, students will have developed the following general skills and abilities:
Course code for this program is ASEN.
The undergraduate curriculum is designed to prepare students to advance to a distinguished professional career in the aerospace industry or for graduate school, consistent with our stated Program Educational Objectives. In particular, this involves providing students with an interdisciplinary systems perspective of aerospace engineering. The curriculum accomplishes these goals by:
AES students are also encouraged to consider a technical minor or double major in electrical engineering, computer science, applied math, engineering physics, astrophysical and planetary sciences, or atmospheric and oceanic sciences. In most cases, the junior- and senior-level courses required for the above-mentioned minors can be applied to the professional area elective requirements.
For students having sufficient ability and interest, planning for graduate study should begin by the start of the junior year. Such a plan should consider the foreign language requirements of appropriate graduate schools and an advanced mathematics program. Students who wish to combine the business and aerospace engineering sciences curricula are advised to consider obtaining the BS degree in aerospace and a master’s degree in business rather than a combined BS degree.
Courses can be specifically designed for students who wish either to attend medical school or to enter graduate work in bioengineering after receiving the BS degree. Students should consult their academic advisor, as well as their prehealth advisor, regularly to assure the adequacy of their curricula.
The BS curriculum in aerospace engineering sciences is revised annually to keep up with new advances in technology, to make use of new educational methodologies, and to satisfy updated program accreditation criteria. A total of 128 semester credit hours is required.
Required Courses and Semester Credit Hours
Courses selected must meet humanities and social science requirements as detailed at www.colorado.edu/engineering/academics/policies/hss.
Students who are unsure of their major selection are advised to take CHEN 1211/CHEM 1221 Chemistry for Engineers in the fall of the freshman year in case the student decides to change their major. The 5 credit hours earned for this course may then apply as free electives for ASEN majors who take the class.
Professional Area Electives
The minimum passing grade for a course that is a prerequisite for another required course is C. If a grade of C- or lower is received in a course which is a prerequisite to another, the student may not register for the subsequent course until the first grade has been raised to a C or higher.
The minimum passing grade for a course that is not specifically a prerequisite for another required course is D-.
The AES department reserves the right to drop students enrolled in ASEN courses who have not met the minimum prerequisite requirements. It is the student’s responsibility to communicate with the department if summer course work and/or transfer credit will be used to meet the prerequisite requirement.
The concurrent BS/MS program in Aerospace Engineering Sciences (ASEN) enables the program’s top BS students to be admitted to the MS program during the junior or senior year, and to work thereafter toward both the BS and MS degrees in ASEN. This program allows for early planning of the MS portion of the student’s education, taking graduate courses as part of the BS degree requirements, more flexibility in the order in which courses are taken, and more efficient use of what would otherwise be a final semester with a light credit hour load. Up to 6 credit hours may be counted toward both the BS and MS degree programs. Therefore, in theory, the minimum number of credit hours required for the concurrent BS/MS degrees will be 152. Current CU-Boulder Aerospace students are eligible to apply after they have completed eight core ASEN courses and have a minimum CU-Boulder cumulative and ASEN major GPA of 3.250. For more information, visit www.colorado.edu/aerospace/bs_ms.html.
The Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences at the University of Colorado is one of the top aerospace engineering departments in the nation with annual research expenditures that exceed $20 million. Aerospace engineers work on Earth and in space not only to extend frontiers but also to understand more fully and to preserve our terrestrial environment. Few fields offer more exciting and diverse careers: becoming an astronaut (15 graduates to date have become astronauts), designing the next generation of aircraft and spacecraft, monitoring our global habitat via remote sensing from space, in situ sensing with unmanned vehicles, and helping to develop environmentally clean energy and transportation systems.
Aerospace graduate students often formulate degree plans on the basis of the student’s interests and needs. Portions of the program are designed to promote the student’s engineering and professional development. Graduate students are admitted into a specific focus area that provides research advising, financial support, and sets specialized admission and program requirements and recommendations for course work within and outside the department. The four focus areas are:
Each focus area has defined the required characteristics of its successful graduates at the MS and PhD level, and defined the required and elective courses that support its educational program.
Aerospace-related research centers in the college include the Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research, the Center for Aerospace Structures, the Research and Engineering Center for Unmanned Vehicles, and BioServe Space Technologies. Other research centers within the university that are involved in space-related research activities are the Center for the Study of Earth from Space, the Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy, the Laboratory for Atmos-pheric and Space Physics, JILA, and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.
Graduate students applying for admission to aerospace engineering sciences are required to submit the results of the analytical, quantitative, and verbal sections of the general examination, Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
The department offers graduate programs leading to the MS and PhD degrees in aerospace engineering sciences. Portions of the program are designed to promote the student’s engineering and professional development.
Courses below the 5000 level in aerospace engineering cannot count toward graduate degree requirements; up to 6 credits at 4000 level relevant courses from approved departments outside aerospace may be accepted for master’s degree credit if they fit with the student’s degree plan. Such courses must have academic content consistent with graduate study in aerospace engineering sciences.
Advising. Once students have selected a research area for the thesis, academic advising is done by their thesis advisor.
Course Requirements. A minimum of 36 semester credit hours of courses numbered 5000 or above (at least 18 of these must be in ASEN) with a minimum of 3.250 GPA, and 30 credit hours of thesis credit are required for the degree. A maximum of 21 credit hours may be transferred from another accredited institution and applied toward a PhD degree if approved by the graduate committee of the department and the Graduate School. All courses taken for the master’s degree at the 5000 level or above at the University of Colorado may be applied toward the doctoral degree at the university. The formal course work must include a minimum of 18 hours of courses or their equivalent in aerospace engineering sciences.
Preliminary Examination. Students must pass a preliminary examination by no later than the end of the third semester if the student already has an aerospace master’s degree upon entry to the program, or the fifth semester if the student does not have an aerospace master’s degree. The exam is administered by a committee consisting of three regular or research aerospace faculty members, two of whom must be from the student’s main focus area and the third from a secondary focus or thrust area. The exam will include a written and an oral element, as determined, prepared, and evaluated by the exam committee.
Comprehensive Examination. By no later than the fifth semester, or seventh semester, students must also pass an oral examination before the student’s doctoral committee of five or more graduate faculty members chosen by the student and approved by the department and the Graduate School. This should be preceded by individual examinations or interviews, either written or oral or both, by every committee member. The oral examination before the committee is based primarily on a written proposal for the thesis research provided by the student to committee members in advance.
PhD Thesis. Students must write a thesis based on original research conducted under the supervision of a graduate faculty member. The thesis must fulfill all Graduate School requirements. After the thesis is completed, an oral final examination on the thesis and related topics is conducted by the student’s doctoral committee.