Undergraduate Program

With an MIT aerospace engineering degree, you can seek career opportunities in such fields as commercial and military aircraft and spacecraft engineering, space exploration, air and space telecommunications, academia, research and military service.

AeroAstro Undergraduate Program

AeroAstro students built these UAVs for the US Air Force to employ in ground based sensor system calibration.

The MIT AeroAstro (or Course 16 as we’re known at MIT) undergraduate program prepares you for entry-level positions in aerospace and related engineering fields, and for continuing on to graduate school. Employers place a premium on MIT graduates knowing that they are the best-prepared new aerospace engineers in the world. Our demanding technical education emphasizing the understanding of complex systems is also excellent preparation for careers in business, law, medicine, and public service.

AeroAstro offers a comprehensive undergraduate curriculum. While undergraduates normally enter the department as sophomores, there are numerous opportunities in AeroAstro for freshmen.

Sophomores start with Unified Engineering, which offers a sound understanding of aerospace engineering’s fundamental disciplines: statics, materials and structures, thermodynamics and propulsion, fluid mechanics, and signals and systems. Laboratory experiments are also performed in Unified Engineering. Our majors also complete Differential Equations.

To complete the core requirements, students pursuing the Course 16 degree take additional core subjects in dynamics, principles of automatic control, statistics and probability, and in computer programming.  Students matriculating in the Course 16-ENG program also take computer programming and either dynamics or principles of automatic control; they are not required to take statistics and probability.

In addition to the above, Course 16 degree candidates complete a minimum of four subjects (48 units) from among a group of professional area subjects, with subjects in at least three areas.  As stated earlier, these areas include fluid mechanics, materials and structures, propulsion, computational tools, estimation and control, computer systems, communication systems, and humans and automation.  Students may choose to complete an "option" in Aerospace Information Technology by taking a minimum of 36 units (out of the 48 units required) from a designated group of subjects specified in the Course 16 degree chart. 

Students pursuing the 16-ENG degree take six additional subjects (72 units) from among the subjects in the student’s chosen concentration, i.e. aerospace software engineering; autonomous systems; communications, embedded systems and networks; computational engineering, computational sustainability; energy; engineering management, environment; space exploration; transportation; or in a self-defined concentration proposed by the student and approved by a concentration advisor. 

To fulfill the capstone requirement, students work with a partner and a faculty advisor in either their junior or senior year to propose and perform an original experiment during a two-semester experimental research project.  Students can also team up to apply their undergraduate knowledge and skills to the design of an aircraft or spacecraft system.  In the past, these projects have included a space-based telescope, a climate-monitoring satellite, and a walking planetary rover.  Students must complete a minimum of two professional area or concentration subjects before enrolling in the flight design (16.82) or the space design (16.83) capstone.

In addition to the formal subjects, students study written and oral communication skills and teamwork; the social, economic, and political context in which engineering is practiced; and professional responsibility.

Students also must satisfy MIT's General Institute Requirements and take four elective subjects in disciplines of their choice.

> To see what subjects/classes are taken to get a degree in Course 16, visit the MIT Course Catalogue Aerospace Engineering section.

> For a more detailed look at the AeroAstro undergraduate program, visit the Curriculum page.