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 single 16 degree (effective with the Class of 2016), or the existing 16-1 or 16-2 degree, take additional core subjects in dynamics, principles of automatic control, statistics and probability, and in computer programming.  Students pursuing the flexible 16-ENG degree 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, students in the single 16 degree or the 16-1 or 16-2 degree 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 pursuing the single 16 degree 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.

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.

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.

Please see degree charts below. For a more detailed look at the AeroAstro undergraduate program, visit the Curriculum page.

Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering/Course 16 (Class of 2016 and Beyond)

General Institute Requirements (GIRs)

Subjects

Science Requirement

6

Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Requirement

8

Restricted Electives in Science and Technology (REST) Requirement [can be satisfied from among 1.00 (6.0001-6.0002 for the Class of 2017 and beyond); 6.041; 18.03 or 18.034; and 16.001 in the Departmental Program]

2

Laboratory Requirement [can be satisfied by 16.622, 16.821, or 16.831 in the Departmental Program]

1

Total GIR Subjects Required for SB Degree

17

Communication Requirement

 

The program includes a Communication Requirement of 4 subjects:
2 subjects designated as Communication Intensive in Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (CI-H); and 2 subjects designated as Communication Intensive in the Major (CI-M). See the Laboratory and Capstone section below for specific options.

 

PLUS Departmental Program

Units

Subject names below are followed by credit units, and by prerequisites, if any
(corequisites in italics)

Departmental Core (Required for students in both degree programs)

108

16.001 Unified Engineering I, 12, REST; Physics II (GIR), 18.03*, Chemistry (GIR)

 

16.002 Unified Engineering II, 12; Physics II (GIR), 18.03*, Chemistry (GIR)

 

16.003 Unified Engineering III, 12; 16.001, 16.002

 

16.004 Unified Engineering IV, 12; 16.001, 16.002

1.00** Introduction to Computers and Engineering Problem Solving, 12, REST; Calculus I (GIR)

 

16.06 Principles of Automatic Control, 12; 16.004

 

16.07 Dynamics, 12; 16.004

 

16.09 Statistics and Probability, 12; Calculus II (GIR)
or
6.041 Probabilistic Systems Analysis, 12, REST; Calculus II (GIR)

 

Professional Area Subjects

at least 48

All students must take at least 48 units from among the subjects designated by the department as Professional Area Subjects. The program must include subjects from at least three professional areas. For students who wish to complete an option in aerospace information technology, 36 of the 48 units must come from subjects other than 16.100, 16.20, 16.50, or 16.90.

Fluid Mechanics
16.100 Aerodynamics, 12; 16.004

 

Materials and Structures
16.20 Structural Mechanics, 12; 16.004

 

Propulsion
16.50 Introduction to Propulsion Systems, 12; 16.004*

 

Computational Tools
16.90 Computational Methods in Aerospace Engineering, 12; 16.004*; 16.09*

 

Estimation and Control
16.30 Feedback Control Systems, 12; 16.06*

 

Computer Systems
6.111 Introductory Digital Systems Laboratory, 12, LAB; 16.004*
16.35 Real-Time Systems and Software, 12; 1.00*

 

Communications Systems
16.36 Communication Systems and Networks, 12; 16.004*, 16.09*

 

Humans and Automation
16.400 Human Systems Engineering, 12
16.410 Principles of Autonomy and Decision Making, 12; 1.00*

 

Laboratory and Capstone Subjects

30

One of the following two subjects:
16.82 Flight Vehicle Engineering, 12, CI-M; permission of instructor
16.83J Space Systems Engineering, 12, CI-M; permission of instructor

Plus one of the following three sequences:
Experimental Projects
16.621 Experimental Projects I, 6; 16.06*
16.622 Experimental Projects II, 12, LAB, CI-M; 16.621
or
Flight Vehicle Development
16.821 Flight Vehicle Development, 18, LAB, CI-M; permission of instructor
or
Space Systems Development
16.831J Space Systems Development, 18, LAB, CI-M; permission of instructor

 

Departmental Program Units That Also Satisfy the GIRs

(36)

Unrestricted Electives

48

Total Units Beyond the GIRs Required for SB Degree

198

Note: No subject can be counted both as part of the 17-subject GIRs and as part of the 198 units required beyond the GIRs. Every subject in the student's departmental program will count toward one or the other, but not both. For an explanation of credit units or hours, please refer to the online help of the MIT Subject Listing & Schedule, http://student.mit.edu/catalog/index.cgi.

* Alternate prerequisites and corequisites are listed in the subject description.

**In lieu of 1.00, the Class of 2017 or beyond take 6.0001 Introduction to Computer Programming in Python, 6; 1/2 REST; and 6.0002 Introduction to Computational Thinking and Data Science, 6; 6.0001, 1/2 REST.

Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering/Course 16-1 (Class of 2015 or Earlier)
Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering with Information Technology/Course 16-2 (Class of 2015 or Earlier)

General Institute Requirements (GIRs)

Subjects

Science Requirement

6

Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Requirement

8

Restricted Electives in Science and Technology (REST) Requirement [can be satisfied from among 1.00; 6.041; 18.03 or 18.034; and 16.001 in the Departmental Program]   

2

Laboratory Requirement [can be satisfied by 16.622, 16.821, or 16.831J in the Departmental Program]

1

Total GIR Subjects Required for SB Degree

17

Communication Requirement

 

The program includes a Communication Requirement of 4 subjects:
2 subjects designated as Communication Intensive in Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (CI-H); and 2 subjects designated as Communication Intensive in the Major (CI-M). See the Laboratory and Capstone section below for specific options.

 

PLUS Departmental Program

Units

Subject names below are followed by credit units, and by prerequisites, if any
(corequisites in italics)

Departmental Core (Required for students in both degree programs)

108

16.001 Unified Engineering I, 12, REST; Physics II (GIR), 18.03*, Chemistry (GIR)

 

16.002 Unified Engineering II, 12; Physics II (GIR), 18.03*, Chemistry (GIR)

 

16.003 Unified Engineering III, 12; 16.001, 16.002

 

16.004 Unified Engineering IV, 12; 16.001, 16.002

 

1.00** Introduction to Computers and Engineering Problem Solving, 12, REST; Calculus I (GIR)

 

16.06 Principles of Automatic Control, 12; 16.004

 

16.07 Dynamics, 12; 16.004

 

16.09 Statistics and Probability, 12; Calculus II (GIR)

or

6.041 Probabilistic Systems Analysis, 12, REST; Calculus II (GIR) ,  

 

18.03 Differential Equations, 12, REST; Calculus II (GIR)
or
18.034 Differential Equations, 12, REST; Calculus II (GIR)

 

Professional Area Subjects

at least 48

All students must take at least 48 units from among the subjects designated by the department as Professional Area Subjects. The program must include subjects from at least three professional areas. Students in Course 16-1 must take at least 24 units from the Professional Area Subjects in Aerospace Engineering. Students in Course 16-2 must take at least 36 units from among the Professional Area Subjects in Aerospace Information Technology.

Aerospace Engineering, 16-1

 

Fluid Mechanics
16.100 Aerodynamics, 12; 16.004

 

Materials and Structures
16.20 Structural Mechanics, 12; 16.004

 

Propulsion
16.50 Introduction to Propulsion Systems, 12; 16.004*

 

Computational Tools
16.90 Computational Methods in Aerospace Engineering, 12; 16.004*; 16.09 or 6.041

 

Aerospace Information Technology, 16-2

 

Estimation and Control
16.30 Feedback Control Systems, 12; 16.06*

 

Computer Systems
6.111 Introductory Digital Systems Laboratory, 12; 16.004*
16.35 Real-Time Systems and Software, 12; 1.00

 

Communications Systems
16.36 Communication Systems and Networks, 12; 16.004*,  16.09 or 6.041

 

Humans and Automation
16.400 Human Factors Engineering, 12
16.410 Principles of Autonomy and Decision Making, 12; 1.00*

 

Laboratory and Capstone Subjects

30

One of the following two subjects:
16.82 Flight Vehicle Engineering, 12, CI-M; permission of department
16.83 Space Systems Engineering, 12, CI-M; permission of department

Plus one of the following three sequences:
Experimental Projects
16.621 Experimental Projects I, 6; 16.06*
16.622 Experimental Projects II, 12, LAB, CI-M; 16.621
or
Flight Vehicle Development
16.821 Flight Vehicle Development, 18, LAB, CI-M; 16.82
or
Space Systems Development
16.831J Space Systems Development, 18, LAB, CI-M; 16.83

 

Departmental Program Units That Also Satisfy the GIRs

(36)

Unrestricted Electives

48

Total Units Beyond the GIRs Required for SB Degree

198

Note: No subject can be counted both as part of the 17-subject GIRs and as part of the 198 units required beyond the GIRs. Every subject in the student's departmental program will count toward one or the other, but not both. For an explanation of credit units or hours, please refer to the online help of the MIT Subject Listing & Schedule, http://student.mit.edu/catalog/index.cgi.

* Alternate prerequisites and corequisites are listed in the subject description.

**In lieu of 1.00, the Class of 2017 or beyond take 6.0001 Introduction to Computer Programming in Python, 6; 1/2 REST; and 6.0002 Introduction to Computational Thinking and Data Science, 6; 6.0001, 1/2 REST.

Bachelor of Science in Engineering/Course 16-ENG

General Institute Requirements (GIRs)

Subjects

Science Requirement

6

Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Requirement

8

Restricted Electives in Science and Technology (REST) Requirement [can be satisfied from among 1.00 (6.0001-6.0002 for the Class of 2017 and beyond); 18.03 or 18.034; and 16.001 in the Departmental Program]

2

Laboratory Requirement [can be satisfied by 16.622, 16.821, or 16.831/ 16.832 in the Departmental Program]

1

Total GIR Subjects Required for SB Degree

17

Communication Requirement

 

The program includes a Communication Requirement of 4 subjects:
2 subjects designated as Communication Intensive in Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (CI-H); and 2 subjects designated as Communication Intensive in the Major (CI-M). See the Laboratory and Capstone section below for specific options.

 

PLUS Departmental Program

Units

Subject names below are followed by credit units, and by prerequisites, if any
(corequisites in italics)

 

Departmental Core

84

16.001 Unified Engineering I, 12, REST; Physics II (GIR), 18.03*, Chemistry (GIR)

 

16.002 Unified Engineering II, 12; Physics II (GIR), 18.03*, Chemistry (GIR)

 

16.003 Unified Engineering III, 12; 16.001, 16.002

 

16.004 Unified Engineering IV, 12; 16.001, 16.002

 

1.00** Introduction to Computers and Engineering Problem Solving, 12, REST; Calculus I (GIR)

 

18.03 Differential Equations, 12, REST; Calculus II (GIR)
or
18.034 Differential Equations, 12, REST; Calculus II (GIR)

 

16.06 Principles of Automatic Control, 12; 16.004
or
16.07 Dynamics, 12; 16.004

 

Concentration Subjects

72

These electives define a concentrated area of study and must be chosen with the written approval of the AeroAstro Undergraduate Office. A minimum of 42 units of engineering topics and a minimum of 12 units of mathematics or science topics must be included in the 72 units of concentration electives. In all cases, the concentration subjects must be clearly related to the theme of the concentration.

 

Laboratory and Capstone Subjects

30

One of the following two subjects:
16.82 Flight Vehicle Engineering, 12, CI-M; permission of instructor
16.83J Space Systems Engineering, 12, CI-M; permission of instructor

 

Plus one of the following three sequences:
Experimental Projects
16.621 Experimental Projects I, 6; 16.06*
16.622 Experimental Projects II, 12, LAB, CI-M; 16.621
or
Flight Vehicle Development
16.821 Flight Vehicle Development, 18, LAB, CI-M; 16.82
or
Space Systems Development
16.831J Space Systems Development, 18, LAB, CI-M; permission of instructor

 

Departmental Program Units That Also Satisfy the GIRs

(36)

Unrestricted Electives

48

Total Units Beyond the GIRs Required for SB Degree

198

Note: No subject can be counted both as part of the 17-subject GIRs and as part of the 198 units required beyond the GIRs. Exceptions are department subjects that satisfy the CI-M requirement. Every subject in the student's departmental program will count toward one or the other, but not both. For an explanation of credit units or hours, please refer to the online help of the MIT Subject Listing & Schedule, http://student.mit.edu/catalog/index.cgi.

* Alternate prerequisites and corequisites are listed in the subject description.

**In lieu of 1.00, the Class of 2017 or beyond take 6.0001 Introduction to Computer Programming in Python, 6; 1/2 REST; and 6.0002 Introduction to Computational Thinking and Data Science, 6; 6.0001, 1/2 REST.