The School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue

photos of four AAE alumni

Who We Are

The School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue confers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in aeronautical and astronautical engineering, also known as aerospace engineering. This field addresses the challenges of designing and operating many types of aircraft, missiles, and space vehicles. The aerospace industry puts a constant demand on research and development groups for an even better understanding of basic physical phenomena.

Our curriculum concentrates on the subject areas that meet these needs. We emphasize the disciplines of aerodynamics, aerospace systems, astrodynamics and space applications, autonomy and control, propulsion, and structures and materials. Our design courses give hands-on experience in integrating these disciplines, pushing students to produce flight vehicles that will perform the required mission.

Our research is carving firm footholds in every technical area related to aerospace engineering and working to amplify our impact in each, whether it be safe, efficient and sustainable air transportation; exploration of and access to space; maintaining defense and security; or using aerospace to facilitate new opportunities.

Education with an aeronautical and astronautical focus has existed on at least a small scale at Purdue University since about 1920. Aeronautical Engineering degrees were first offered at Purdue by the School of Mechanical & Aeronautical Engineering during WWII, and the first B.S. degrees were awarded in 1943. The School of Aeronautics was established as a separate entity on July 1, 1945. (See more on our history page.)

Our Reputation

In the field of Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, we have the: 

Our Faculty

  • 44 tenured/tenure-track faculty
  • 15 courtesy faculty
  • 4 visiting faculty
  • 1 lecturers
  • 1 research faculty

Our Research

  • We're home to the largest academic propulsion lab in the world. We lead the world in research in rocket propulsion with the best experimental facility in the U.S.

  • We're a world leader in laminar-turbulent transition in hypersonic flows. We have one of the three best hypersonic tunnels in the world, with laminar nozzle-wall boundary layers and low noise comparable to flight.

  • We lead the world in Earth remote sensing based on the reuse of satellite transmission.

  • Our Aerospace Systems faculty lead FAA Centers of Excellence and conduct large-scale research programs for U.S. Department of Defense and NASA and also have an ITAR research program led by 2-3 professional research staff.

  • We have a Systems, Network and Control group with focus on autonomy and intelligence of multi-vehicle systems. Their research is applied to to UAS, large air traffic control, cyber-security, and multi-agent coordination.

Our Mission

To serve the State of Indiana and our Nation by providing degree granting programs — recognized as innovative learning experiences — that prepare students to be exceptional, recognized contributors to aeronautical and astronautical engineering in industry, government laboratories and universities.

To develop and maintain quality graduate research programs in technical areas relevant to Aeronautics and Astronautics and to foster a collegial and challenging intellectual environment necessary to conduct enabling and breakthrough research for aerospace systems.