Aerospace Engineering Sciences

Ranked among the top four Aerospace Engineering PhD programs in the country by the National Research Council and 8th by the U.S. News and World Report, CU Boulder’s Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences (AES) is internationally recognized for its research and education leadership in aerospace engineering, earth, and space sciences. The world-renowned faculty tackle challenges in aerospace technology and science, focusing on astrodynamics and satellite navigation, remote sensing, earth and space sciences, vehicle systems, structures and materials, and bioastronautics. The department spends more than $15 million annually on research. It is home to four research centers and was named a program of excellence by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education.

With more than 40 faculty members and nearly 300 MS and PhD students, our graduate programs prepare aerospace engineering students to meet the needs of our 21st-century society through the understanding, conception, design, and application of aerial and spacecraft systems. The Masters program provides opportunities to focus on hands-on, experiential learning, technical and organizational expertise, and end-to-end mission and systems perspectives. The PhD program prepares students for exceptional research careers in commercial, governmental, and academic institutions.

Areas of Study and Research

PhD and MS 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:

  • Astrodynamics and Satellite Navigation Systems
  • Bioastronautics
  • Remote Sensing, Earth, and Space Science
  • Aerospace Engineering Systems (with specializations in fluids, controls and structures)

Each focus area has identified the characteristics it seeks in successful graduates at the MS and PhD level, and defined required and elective courses that support a balance of technical depth and breadth appropriate for the specific discipline.

Graduate students in the Professional Master of Science degree program have greater flexibility in their course selections, which provides the opportunity for a more interdisciplinary degree plan including courses from across the spectrum of focus area offerings. 

Degrees Offered

MS, PhD, Astrodynamics and Satellite Navigation Systems (ASN) Certificate, Remote Sensing Certificate

Degree Details

Professional MS

The Professional MS is a degree program requiring a total of 30 semester hours, at least 24 semester hours of which must be completed at the 5000 level or above, at least 18 semester hours of ASEN courses, and one 3 semester hour approved math course. This program results in a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering Sciences (MSAES).

Distance Education

Aerospace Engineering's Professional MS and regular MS can be completed entirely online. Unlike other online courses, distance education allows you to watch classes live, actively participate in classes from a distance, and even attend lectures on campus where possible.

Learn more about earning a degree in Aerospace Engineering completely online

Download a brochure 

The Master of Science requires a total of 30 semester hours (including courses and thesis hours), at least 24 semester hours of which must be completed at the 5000 level or above, and at least 18 semester hours of which must be ASEN courses. In addition, specific focus area requirements must be met.

The PhD requires 36 credit hours at the 5000 level or above, at least 18 hours of which must be ASEN courses and 30 hours of dissertation credit. Students must pass the departmental preliminary and comprehensive examinations and successfully defend the dissertation in a final examination. Students do not need to have a master’s degree to apply to the PhD program.

Opportunity for a dual degree with

  • Engineering Management 

Admission Requirements

Applicants must

  • Have undergraduate courses in calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations.
  • Have two semesters of undergraduate calculus-based physics.
  • Have at least two semesters of upper-division undergraduate courses in engineering or physics.
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree in engineering, science, or mathematics from a college or university of recognized standing (or the equivalent).
  • Have an undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.40.
  • Provide official GRE scores from an examination taken within the last five years.
  • Provide four letters of recommendation.
  • Provide a statement of purpose.

Additional information is available on the department's website:

Fall Domestic Application Deadline 

January 5, 2017

Fall International Application Deadline

December 1, 2016

Spring Domestic Application Deadline

October 1, 2016

Spring International Application Deadline

August 1, 2016

Contact Information

University of Colorado Boulder
Aerospace Engineering Sciences
Engineering Center
Office Tower 632 (ECOT 632)
429 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0429
Phone: 303-492-6416
Fax: 303-492-7881

Aerospace Engineering website