These FAQs are specifically designed to answer questions for prospective students, incoming freshmen, and transfer students. If you are a currently enrolled AES student, please refer to the FAQs on the Current Students tab.

Is there someone in the Aerospace Engineering Sciences department I can talk with about admission?

Questions about admissions are best answered by the Office of Admissions since the Aerospace Engineering Sciences Department doesn’t deal with any aspect of the admissions process. Incoming freshmen from high school can go find out more on the Office of Admissions website. Students coming from a community college or university with 24 or more hours of record after high school graduation are considered straight transfer students; please click here for more information. Students pursuing a second undergraduate degree are considered transfer students. International students can find more information by clicking here.

Can I get a tour of the Engineering Center?

Guided tours are offered Monday through Friday during the school year. Please check the tours page on the main College of Engineering and Applied Science site for more information.

What courses should I take in high school to ensure a smooth transition to your program?

Please begin by referring to the Office of Admissions - Freshman Criteria for Admission site. Also, be sure to review the Minimum Academic Preparation Standards (MAPS).

Our department also recommends the following courses:

  • Calculus-based Physics (AP Physics C, Mechanics, E&M)
  • Chemistry (this course is a pre-requisite for ASEN 1022 - Materials Science for Aerospace Engineers)
  • Algebra, Trigonometry, Geometry, etc.
  • Calculus (we recommend waiting until your junior or senior year so you don't forget the material)
  • Foreign language (MAPS requires students have at least 3 years of the same foreign language or 2 years of 2 different languages)
  • Writing courses (students will be writing several papers and lab reports - writing skills are a must)

Please remember that these are courses we in the department recommend. However, you should work with the Office of Admissions to confirm you have taken all of the courses required for admission to the university.

What courses should I take at a community college or university if I plan to transfer?

Please begin by referring to the Office of Admissions - Transfer Criteria for Admission site. Also, be sure to review the Minimum Academic Preparation Standards (MAPS).

Our department also recommends the following courses to be eligible to take the sophomore-level ASEN courses:

  • Calculus-based Physics 1
  • Calculus 1 and 2
  • Programming (C, C++, Java, and/or MATLAB)
  • Chemistry (if not taken in high school)
  • Foreign Language (if students have not taken at least 3 years of the same foreign language or 2 years of 2 different languages in high school)
  • Humanities courses (please check the College of Engineering & Applied Science website to find out what courses are considered humanities and social science)

All students MUST be proficient in MATLAB prior to taking ASEN 2001, 2002 & 2012. To purchase a copy of MATLAB, please visit the Mathworks website for the Student Version. They have an excellent tutorial as well.

If you are attending a public institution in Colorado, please refer to the this page for additional information. If you are coming from an out-of-state institution, please check course equivalencies through Transferology. Remember these are courses we in the department require in order for you to begin taking the sophomore-level ASEN courses. However, you should work with the Office of Admissions to confirm you have taken all of the courses required for admission to the university.

Do I have to take a MATLAB programming course or can I take a programming course in a different programming language?

All students must complete a programming course as it is one of the required prerequisites for ASEN 2001, 2002 & 2012. All ASEN courses use MATLAB programming extensively. However, if your university/college does not offer MATLAB, we will accept a Programming 1 course in C, C++ or JAVA, but you will have to teach yourself how to program in MATLAB.

Can you tell me what classes will transfer to your program? Can I send you my transcript and will you tell me what classes will transfer into the Aerospace Program?

The process actually needs to begin with the Office of Admissions. They evaluate if a course will transfer and how it will transfer.  The official Transfer Credit Policy at the University of Colorado at Boulder states that Transfer Credit Evaluation happens only after a student has applied, been admitted, has submitted their intent to enroll (and the enrollment deposit) and is present at Orientation. However, you can visit the Transfer student site for more information about what courses may transfer. If you are planning to transfer from a Colorado public institution, you may also want to refer to the this page for additional information.

I am currently a CU Boulder student, but I am not currently in Aerospace Engineering or the College of Engineering & Applied Science. How do I change my major to AES?

Students who are CU Boulder students, but are not currently in the College of Engineering & Applied Science will go through a process called Intra-University Transfer (IUT). The college has a lot of great information about the process on the IUT site. If you’re currently in the College of Engineering & Applied Science, you’ll fill out the Change of Major form and obtain the required signatures before turning it into the Dean’s Office.

What else can I do to prepare for your program?

The best way to be prepared is to be as competitive as possible in the area of math. Current Aerospace students report the Applied Math (APPM) courses at CU-Boulder are more challenging than their high school or community college math courses. Here's what you should do:

1. Please take (i.e. sit down in a quiet room without the solutions and without a calculator) the online final exams for the following courses: APPM 1350-Calculus 1, APPM 1360-Calculus 2, APPM 2350-Calculus 3 & APPM 2360-Intro to Differential Equations with Linear Algebra. The rules are that you only have 2.5 hours to complete the exam and you may not use a calculator. Then check the solutions that are posted online. The more problem sets you do, the more successful you will be in math and AES overall.

2. Also please check to see if your university/college has Oral Exams/Reviews. The Applied Math Department here has found Orals to be very helpful for students. Here's some information about Orals from the Applied Math website:

"Any student in an APPM calculus class may take an oral on the Monday and Tuesday before each of the three written midterm exams, after signing up in advance. These orals generally have 5 students and a facilitator. An oral takes 50 minutes. The facilitator asks students conceptual questions about the main topics that will be covered on the written exam. Students are expected to explain concepts verbally, draw graphs to support their reasoning, and negotiate understanding with the facilitator and with the other students in the group.

These oral reviews are optional and are not graded. They are meant to help students develop a deeper understanding of important concepts which in turn will help them be more effective in deciding what procedures and problem solving techniques are appropriate for given problems. Orals seem to be most helpful to students who have studied for the exam before taking the oral.

Since 2003 orals have been made available to APPM calculus classes. Analysis of data from previous years showed that in all categories of assessment exam scores, students who took orals did significantly better on the midterm exams than comparable students who did not take orals. The orals helped the students to clear up misunderstandings and to pinpoint areas where they needed to do further studying before the written exam. Students who attended orals averaged 6-10 points higher on each midterm exam than students with comparable assessment exam scores who did not use orals."

3. Make sure the math classes you have taken include ALL of the content covered in Calculus 1-3 (APPM 1350, 1360, 2350), and Introduction to Differential Equations w/Linear Algebra (APPM 2360). You can look over past semester exams from all of these courses online for review. Please make sure you have mastered all of the content in those classes as they map directly to the Aerospace courses. If your university/college teaches only Differential Equations, you will need to take a Linear Algebra course to get transfer credit for APPM 2360.

I'm transferring from another engineering program. How many more years (typically) will it take for me to graduate and why? Can you tell me a little bit more about your program?

Typically transfer students are in school for another 2.5 - 3 more years because:

  1. The ASEN classes are offered once a year and are prerequisites for each other.
  2. The ASEN courses are very specific, unique, and contain hands-on design & experimental labs in the context of a team environment. Some of the course content covered in the spring of the CU-Boulder Aerospace sophomore year include topics that aren't covered in most engineering programs across the nation until junior or senior year (and the ASEN sophomore courses are prerequisites for the ASEN junior courses).

One advantage of the CU-Boulder Undergraduate Aerospace Program is the entire discipline of aerospace engineering is covered in the 5 sophomore-level ASEN courses (ASEN 2001, 2002, 2012, 2003, 2004). These courses are taught from a systems perspective so students are exposed to systems engineering early on. These sophomore courses cover: statics, mechanics of solids, thermodynamics, aerodynamics, experimental and computational methods, dynamics, systems, controls and vehicle design and performance for both aircraft and spacecraft.

In addition, all of these courses have hands-on experimental and design labs in the context of team environments. Students also do a lot of oral presentations (design reviews) and write lab reports to professional standards. As a result, many CU-Boulder Aerospace students get competitive aerospace internships the summer after their sophomore year.

Sophomore and junior courses prepare students for the extensive Senior Capstone Design Project. By the time a student starts senior year, they will have already completed 28 hands-on design & experimental labs and 30 presentations.

The 2-semester Senior Capstone Design Project includes ASEN 4018 Senior Projects I: Design Synthesis and ASEN 4028 Senior Projects II: Design Practicum. The fundamental objective of this sequence (ASEN 4018/4028) is to teach students how to engineer a complex, inter/multidisciplinary design and implementation problem in a group environment. Senior Projects focus on the synthesis and application of the basic science, mathematics, engineering theory and design skills taught in the sophomore and junior years. It also provides students with the opportunity to exercise and apply the more advanced material taught in the senior year. The course teaches basic knowledge in component and systems engineering design and provides an introduction into project management, including financial responsibility.

The first semester, ASEN 4018 Senior Projects I (Design Synthesis), focuses on the synthesis of technical knowledge, the design process, and communications, within a team environment. A major goal is learning the sequence of steps that culminate in a critical design review. ASEN 4028 Senior Projects II (Design Practicum) focuses on the fabrication, integration, operation, verification and validation of the designs produced in ASEN 4018.

The Senior Design Projects website has more information about the program and links to recent projects.