Frequently Asked Questions
Browse the section below for answers to the questions we frequently hear from prospective students.
What is aeronautics and astronautics? Is it an engineering field?
It is the study of aerospace engineering, also known as aeronautical and astronautical engineering. It encompasses the systems and physical phenomena defining flight in and out of Earth’s atmosphere. Aerospace engineering includes fields like aerodynamics, propulsion, orbital dynamics, control systems and aerospace structures. Explore the breadth of our research areas for more detail.
Is there a difference between aeronautics and astronautics? Can you get a degree in just one?
Simply put, aeronautics involves things in the air; astronautics involves things in space. Purdue’s degree in this area encompasses both. Purdue AAE students have specialization options in their junior and senior years. Find those options in the AAE supplemental information page in the Purdue course catalog for your enrollment year.
What about learning to fly? Can pilot training classes be used as electives or count toward an AAE degree?
Flight training does not count toward a degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics. To pursue a career as a commercial pilot, look into the professional flight program through Purdue Polytechnic Institute.
For those who want a private pilot’s license (PPL), AAE advisors typically recommend Purdue Pilots, Inc.
How difficult is it to get into this major after completing First Year Engineering?
Purdue AAE is a competitive program. To guarantee admission into your first-choice school, you must meet all the points in the College of Engineering Enrollment Management Policy. For more details on the Transition To Major (T2M) process and policies, visit our Admissions page.
Are both degrees accredited if I choose the 5-year BS/MS program? When is the deadline to decide?
Both degrees are accredited. Our bachelor’s degree is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) Engineering Accreditation Commission. Master’s degree accreditation is through the Higher Learning Commission.
You must apply to the combined BS/MS program in the first semester of your junior year. The combined program will take a minimum of 5 years.
Does taking Advanced Placement (AP) classes help?
Taking AP exams and getting course credit can help in preparing for your course work at Purdue, but it’s not necessary for getting in or completing your degree. Students can enter a Purdue Engineering program with no AP credit and still graduate in 4 years.
Can I minor in AAE? Can I double-major in AAE and another degree?
There is no minor in our program, and students may not double-major with an AAE degree.
How do I get involved in design programs, or join the rocket club?
The Boilermaker B-Involved Fair, hosted annually by Purdue’s Student Activities and Organization (SAO) office, is a great way to visit more than 400 student organizations and learn more about getting involved on campus.
BoilerLink is your hub for student organization membership and activities. Clubs tend to have new member callouts in the first week two of each term, and their ongoing events are listed on BoilerLink. Reach out to the club officers directly for details on how to join.
Can I still do ROTC while I’m an AAE student?
Yes! We have AAE students in all areas of ROTC. But without taking on an extreme course load each semester, participating in ROTC will typically extend your degree duration to 4.5 or 5 years.
How much money can I expect to make with this degree? What companies do students go to after graduation? How many pursue advanced degrees in graduate school?
Purdue’s Center for Career Opportunities tracks student success after graduation. As of Spring 2022, 97% of AAE graduates reported having firm plans after graduation: 56.6% had full-time employment and 40.4 percent were continuing to graduate school. The five top employers were: Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Blue Origin and Collins Aerospace.
A survey taken in 2022 of recent Aeronautics and Astronautics graduates showed an average salary of $77,015. More than 98% of undergraduate students have plans after graduation, either in full-time employment or graduate school.
Explore additional salary, location, internship data and more on the Next Step Survey Data Dashboard.
I’m an international student. Where can I work with an aerospace engineering degree? Will I be able to get an internship or co-op?
Roughly 13% of BSAAE graduates in 2021 and 2022 were international students. Most AAE students have an aerospace engineering job lined up after graduation, and benefit from an internship or co-op as a student.
Availability varies by company. Some global organizations even offer internships abroad.
Any position requiring a U.S. security clearance will be unavailable to non-citizens.
Contact the Office of Professional Practice (OPP) for more information.
Co-ops and internships
How do I get a co-op? Are there any available locally?
Some co-ops and internships are available near Purdue’s West Lafayette campus, but most options are outside the area. Contact the Office of Professional Practice (OPP) for information on co-ops and internships.
Do co-ops add time to a degree? Can I still do one with the 5-year BS/MS program?
A co-op typically adds at least one year to your degree completion timeline. This extension also applies to the MS/BS combined degree program.
Scholarships and Research
Does AAE offer scholarships?
Scholarship and student support from AAE is available thanks to the generosity of alumni, friends, and industrial sponsors. AAE scholarships are open to sophomore, junior and senior students in the program. Applications for AAE scholarships are sent to students early in the spring semester and are usually due in late April or early May.
You can also explore other scholarship options through Purdue and some outside organizations.
How can I get involved in research with faculty as an undergraduate student?
Undergraduates can participate in research in several ways.
- Engineering Undergraduate Research Office (EURO)
- Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)
- Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) program
- A professor may announce undergraduate research opportunities in class.
If a professor for one of your classes is doing research you’re interested in, you can also ask them directly about getting involved. Some students even go outside their degree, conducting research with professors in physics, mathematics, and other engineering schools.