Cal Poly

Academic Programs

BS, MS Aerospace Engineering

The Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering prepares students for engineering work related to aerodynamics, flight testing, structures, propulsion, control systems, vehicle dynamics, stability and control, flight simulation, and design for both fixed and rotary wing aircraft, missiles, and spacecraft. The problems faced by the aerospace industry offer an unusual engineering challenge. Much of the analysis and testing must be accomplished at the very frontiers of knowledge. Nevertheless, products must be designed and manufactured; thus, an exceptionally wide range of engineering abilities is required within the industry and government.

The Aerospace Engineering Department's mission is to educate students using a laboratory-based, hands-on approach. This approach, coupled with a systems view of engineering, is encouraged through coursework and a group-based capstone design experience. This educational philosophy has yielded engineers capable of working in positions of technical responsibility and leadership in a modern multidisciplinary, systems-based environment.

Graduates in Aerospace Engineering 1) are well rounded engineers for positions of technical responsibility and leadership in a modern multidisciplinary system-oriented environment that emphasizes problem solving; 2) achieve high-quality professional performance in both aeronautical and astronautical engineering by integrating a systems view of engineering that is built upon group based design experiences; and 3) demonstrate a solid foundation in aerodynamics, controls, structures, propulsion and their integration into systems design.

Aerospace Engineering graduates obtain employment in all phases of the aerospace industry such as general design, aerodynamics, stress analysis, flight testing, flight simulation, dynamics, stability and control, and propulsion systems.

The BS degree program in Aerospace Engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. It places emphasis on both analysis and design, with supplementary basic work in laboratory projects. Throughout the entire program there is constant interplay between theory and application for concentrations in Aeronautical or Astronautical Engineering. Opportunities are available for advanced elective work in the student's field of special interest.

The program maintains laboratory facilities for fabrication, propulsion, structures and composites, aerodynamics, dynamics and control, flight simulation and flight test, aerothermodynamics, and design.

Aerospace students may participate in two student chapters of national professional societies–the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering. There is also a student chapter of the national aerospace engineering honor society, Sigma Gamma Tau.

Blended BS + MS Aerospace Engineering

The blended program provides motivated students with an accelerated route to the MS Aerospace Engineering, with simultaneous conferring of both bachelor's and master's degrees. Students in the blended program are provided with a seamless process whereby they can progress from undergraduate to graduate status.

Blended Program application deadlines are March 1 (Spring), May 1 (Fall), and December 1 (Winter).  Applications must include a Working Formal Study Plan and a Blended Thesis Proposal.


Students majoring in BS Aerospace Engineering may be eligible to pursue the blended program toward the MS Aerospace Engineering. Participation in the program is based on prior academic performance and other measures of professional promise, with a minimum GPA of 2.5 required (3.0 GPA recommended). Students are selected by a faculty committee.