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School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University
An Overview

The field of aeronautical and astronautical engineering includes the challenging problems encountered in the design and operation of many types of aircraft, missiles, and space vehicles and puts a constant demand on research and development groups for an even better understanding of basic physical phenomena.

Aeronautical education 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. (For a complete history visit the School's history page.)

During the first sixty years of its existence, the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics has awarded 5,824 BS degrees, 1,439 MS degrees and 474 PhD degrees. These graduates have made significant contributions to the aerospace field, and have held positions of high responsibility in government and private industry. Twenty-three graduates of Purdue have become astronauts, and of these, thirteen have been graduates of the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

The Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering curriculum concentrates on the fundamental subject areas necessary to the research, development, design, and operation of the aerospace industry. The curriculum is designed to emphasize the disciplines of aerodynamics, propulsion, structures, dynamics, and control, and further provides design courses to integrate these disciplines into the design of flight vehicles that will perform the required mission. A strong background in mathematics and physics is required to pursue these disciplines, and extensive use of computers and programming skills is a necessity.

The future holds many interesting challenges. The record shows that our graduates have demonstrated their ability to provide technical leadership in a variety of successfully completed projects. A degree from Purdue University in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics promises to prepare our future graduates for the 21st century in the aerospace field.


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.


Be the state's, the nation’s, and the world’s preferred provider on aerospace engineering education and research.


Compete through excellence, innovation, and impact; leverage strengths in AAE and across Purdue to develop new areas; collaborate with industry and government for win-win initiatives; understand and anticipate stakeholder needs to develop new frontiers.


Excellence, diversity, teamwork, respect, accountability, leadership, citizenship.

  • 38 tenured/tenure-track faculty members 
  • 20 full professors, 9 associate professors, 9 assistant professors
    • 1 professor of practice: Dan Dumbacher
    • 1 research assistant professor: Jonathan Goodsell
    • 1 visiting faculty: Sarag Sakia
    • 6 adjunct faculty (Dave Filmer, Belinda Marchand, Tasos Lyrintzis, CT Sun, Boris Yandler, Kirk Yerkes)
    • 9 courtesy appointments (2 in IE, 5 in ME, 2 in Earth Science)
  • Emeritus Professors:
    Gus Gustafsson, Martin C. Jischke, Chuck Merkle, George Palmer, Terry Weisshar, Marc Williams, C.T. Sun, Skip Grandt
  • Notable Faculty Information
    • 5 distinguished professors (Heister, Howell, Lucht, Melosh, Pipes)
    • 3 named professors (Chen, Fisher, Gore)
    • 1 NAE (Pipes) & 1 NAS (Melosh)
    • 18 NSF and other YI awards
    • 47 fellows of professional societies (AIAA, ASME, AAS, AAAS, ASC, SEM, …)
    • 37 editorships & editorial board members of journals with 3 editors-in-chief
    • 68 Memberships on technical committees, boards, … at the national and international level
    • Faculty win many awards at the national and int’l levels (AIAA, ASME, …)