Aeronautics is a scientific field that is concerned with things that fly; it is often a concentration in aerospace engineering degrees. Aviation is the actual practice of flying those things. Both fields of study are interconnected and will train students in the necessary engineering principles, mathematics, aircraft design, security issues, and aviation law. As most jobs in this field will require an advanced degree and training, an online Master’s degree in this study is an ideal choice for many experienced, working professionals.
What type of Master’s in Aeronautics & Aviation should you get?
The most common degree in Aeronautics and Aviation will either be a Master of Science or a Master of Engineering in Aerospace Engineering. While an MS will typically be more research-focused and most likely require a thesis, an ME is considered more “hands-on” and focuses on developing the hard skills needed for the job. Students interested in pursuing a PhD should aim for an MS degree.
An online degree may be the ideal option for those who wish to continue to work while pursuing their degree. Many online programs are meant to only be taken part-time, or with only a few courses taken per semester. Courses may be held synchronously, where everyone in the class meets at certain times, or asynchronously where coursework/tests can be completed on one’s own time by a specific deadline. Online Master’s programs may also have a thesis or non-thesis track, allowing students to fit their degree to their career plans.
You can cross-reference this list with College Choice’s overall ranking of the Best Online Colleges and Universities.
How much money do people make with an online Master’s in Aeronautics & Aviation?
According to PayScale, the average salary for someone who has an MS in Aerospace Engineering is $85,000. Here are some of the average salaries for Aeronautics jobs:
- Aerospace Engineering: $110,570
- Mechanical Engineer: $84,726
- Propulsion Engineer: $78,374
- Manufacturing Engineer: $69,073
The top employer in this field is The Boeing Company. Although aerospace engineers are expected to make a six figure salary, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that these jobs are actually declining, with a two percent decline from the years of 2014 to 2024. However, there are several alternative careers that those with a Master’s in Aeronautics and Aviation prepare you for. Other careers include industrial engineering, computer hardware engineering, or other jobs within the STEM field.
What can you do with an online Master’s in Aeronautics & Aviation?
An advanced degree in Aeronautics and Aviation prepares graduates for careers in manufacturing, designing, or operating airplanes or other machinery that fly. Although the most common job is an engineer, graduates can also become pilots or professors with additional job requirements. Aircraft pilots typically work for commercial airlines and must receive extensive training and certification. Professors must obtain their PhD and have some job experience under their belt.
Another career that is often not talked about is to become an aviation manager. These jobs oversee departments of airlines and airports. Managers must have a high level of technical knowledge as well as a solid understanding of aviation laws. Some common jobs in this field include Air Traffic Controller, Freight and Cargo Manager, or Airline Manager.
What are the requirements for an online Master’s in Aeronautics & Aviation?
Because this program is a highly competitive one, applicants should aim to have a GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale. Although most schools do not require a Bachelor’s degree directly in Aeronautics and Aviation, they do require a related field in engineering. Students should take advanced mathematics and engineering courses to prepare them for this Master’s degree. In addition, students should submit any graduate test exam scores, letters of recommendation, and supplemental essays as needed.
During the actual program, students will be required to take a variety of major and elective courses. Depending on if the program offers specific concentrations, students will have to take additional coursework in those areas. Although most programs do not have a required internship or residency, many schools have opportunities at the graduate level for gaining work experience in the field. Students should meet with a counselor or talk with a major representative about making the most out of their online learning experience.
What are the Best Online Master’s in Aeronautics & Aviation?
College Choice has compiled a list of the 20 best online programs for this major. These schools were chosen based on a variety of data points where we measured overall school excellence and student success. School excellence was measured based on things such as graduation rate, student-to-faculty ratio, and school reputation. Student success was measured based on average student indebtedness after graduation, average financial aid received, and early starting career for graduates. Data comes from the U.S. News & World Report, PayScale, individual college websites, and the National Education Statistics Center’s IPEDs database.
See our rankings methodology page.
Georgia Institute of Technology
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $13,340
The Georgia Institute of Technology, nicknamed Georgia Tech, is one of the nation’s leading research universities that is dedicated to improving lives through science and technology. More than 25,000 students are currently enrolled at the undergraduate and graduate level. Founded in 1885, Georgia Tech was established to originally help turn the agrarian South to an industrial economy. Over the course of its long history, new research and innovation have come from the university.
Georgia Tech’s online MS in Aerospace Engineering degree will help students understand advanced aerospace system design, development, and operation.
- Spring and fall sessions
- Fellowships and assistantships available for graduate students
- Sample Courses: Wind Engineering, Digital Systems Test, Unsteady Aerodynamics
This Master’s program that is offered through the Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering is ranked #4 in the nation by the U.S. News & World Report.
University of Southern California
College Choice Score: 99.30
Average Net Price: $32,932
Located in the city of Los Angeles, the University of Southern California is a prominent research institution that was founded in the early 1870s when the town was still forming. Today more than 45,500 students are enrolled at all levels. A new study shows that USC is one of the major economic contributor to the state’s economy, contributing more than $8 billion annually to the city of LA and the state as a whole. Its online MS in Aeronautics & Aviation is offered through its nationally recognized engineering school.
Through the Viterbi School of Engineering, USC offers its online MS in Aerospace Engineering that is designed to give students the ability to concentrate on a specific area within the field.
Fall, summer, and spring sessions
- Sample Specializations: Propulsion, Aerospace Design, Fluid Mechanics Electives
- Sample Courses: Spacecraft System Design, Stability of Fluids, Thermodynamics for Chemical Engineers
Students can experience this degree online through the school’s DEN@Viterbi distance learning platform. Students anywhere in the world can communicate together through this innovative delivery method.
University of Virginia
College Choice Score: 97.53
Average Net Price: $15,945
The University of Virginia was founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson in an attempt to create a public university to advance knowledge and inform citizens. Today UVA is a massive research institution that has a rich community and culture. With many global centers and partnerships, students at UVA are not simply connected to their immediate communities, but with people around the world. According to the U.S News & World Report, UVA is ranked the #3 Best Public National University.
UVA’s online ME in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering degree is designed to extend one’s knowledge of the field.
- 30 credit-hours
- No thesis required
- Sample Courses: Fluid Mechanics, Statistics for Engineers and Scientists, Engineering Mathematics
Students can take up to half of their classes through one of their partner institutions, speeding up the degree process.
College Choice Score: 93.43
Average Net Price: $11,693
Purdue University has its roots when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Land Grant Act in 1862, turning public land into a college. Today the university is a major research institution dedicated to developing new innovations and breakthroughs throughout different fields. With different campuses and partnerships, students around the world can experience what Purdue has to offer, including online students. Purdue Engineering Online, which offers its Master’s in Aeronautics and Aviation degree, is the #3 public engineering college in the nation.
Purdue’s online Master of Aeronautics and Astronautics Aerospace Engineering Program is one of the top programs in the field that will prepare graduates for advanced positions.
- 30 credit-hours
- Delivered through streaming and downloadable videos
- One-on-one academic advisory sessions
This program is currently tied for the #4 best aerospace graduate program by the U.S. News & World Report.
Johns Hopkins University
College Choice Score: 92.22
Average Net Price: $27,352
John Hopkins University is the nation’s first research university, with over 140 years of history. Over 24,000 students are enrolled at both the undergraduate and graduate level. JHU can be found engaging in research and other activities in more than 150 countries. In fact, it is the leading institution in the country for total research and development spending. According to the U.S. News & World Report, JHU’s graduate programs in engineering are considered among the best in the nation.
The MS in Space Systems Engineering program at John Hopkins is an online degree that is ideal for engineering professionals.
- Focuses: Leadership/Management and Technical Systems/Subsystems
- Ability to complete degree over five years maximum
- Sample Courses: Small Satellite Development and Experimentation, Linear System Theory, Management of Systems Projects
The school has recently received a DELTA grant to build a faculty development program to train people in the latest and most effective online learning tools and techniques.
University of Florida
College Choice Score: 92.16
Average Net Price: $14,761
With over 160 years of history, the University of Florida is one of the state’s major research institutions and is a powerhouse for excellence in innovation and teaching. AT UF, there are more than 200 research, service, and education centers that students can use. The U.S. News & World Report ranks the university the 9th best public institution in the nation. It’s online Master’s in Aeronautics and Aviation is offered through its Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, which has over 100 years of experience educating students in this field.
Students who wish to get their advanced degree while continuing their professional work can enroll in UF’s online MS in Mechanical Engineering or Aerospace Engineering.
- Thesis and non-thesis track
- Prepares students for the PhD track
- Sample Courses: Fluid Film Lubrication, Continuum Mechanics, Gas Dynamics
Students are required to take only a minimum of three courses during the first year of graduate study, allowing working professionals to still devote enough time to their busy schedule.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
College Choice Score: 91.01
Average Net Price: $16,683
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has its roots as a problem solver and an innovator. Founded in 1867 as a land-grant institution, the university currently has over 47,000 students from around the country and the globe. It is the 14th best ranked public university in the nation thanks to its strong reputation as a world-class leader in research and teaching. Urbana-Champaign’s annual research funding consistently ranks among the top five, receiving over $600 million.
With an online MS in Aerospace Engineering at Urbana-Champaign, students can get the knowledge they need from a nationally recognized program.
- Non-research, non-thesis
- Ability to take up to five years to complete the program
- Sample Specializations: Orbital Mechanics, Aerodynamics, Spacecraft
There are three different technical divisions that students can choose from depending on their academic interests.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
College Choice Score: 90.28
Average Net Price: $17,190
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University was founded originally as the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College. Since then, it has evolved to become an institution that intersects technology with education. Known as the “Hokies,” over 34,000 students are currently enrolled. Virginia Tech also manages a research portfolio that is worth more than $521 million.
Virginia Tech’s online MS in Aerospace Engineering degree offers courses using a synchronous and asynchronous method, allowing students to finish their degree on their own time.
- 30-credit hours
- Thesis and non-thesis track
- Sample Courses: Vehicle Structures, Linear Control Theory, High Speed Aerodynamics
Once a week students will have a live one-hour class where they can interact with the professor.
North Carolina State University
College Choice Score: 89.79
Average Net Price: $13,066
Known as the wolves, North Carolina State University is a vibrant public university located in the city of Raleigh. NC State began in 1887 as the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. Since its inception, its leaders have always had the goal of transforming higher education. Over the years, the university has grown to become one that is diverse and one that values a multidisciplinary education for all. In 2018, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance ranked NC State as having the 9th best value for in state’ students among public colleges in the nation.
NC State’s online MS in Aerospace Engineering degree program is made for experienced students who wish to grow their knowledge in mechanical or aerospace engineering.
- Thesis and non-thesis option
- Can be completed in as little as 18 months
- Teaching assistantships may be available for thesis-track students
Full-time students only enroll in two online courses per semester, allowing working professionals a good work-life balance while completing this degree.
Missouri University of Science & Technology
College Choice Score: 87.58
Average Net Price: $13,874
Missouri University of Science & Technology is a public land and space grant university that was founded in 1870. It is known for its engineering school, but students can also study other disciplines such as business and mathematics. Students of Missouri S&T are highly involved on its bustling campus, either through research or various clubs and activities. The university’s distance learning students are no different, who are able to be plugged in to the campus wherever they may be learning.
Working professionals can earn their MS in Aerospace Engineering through Missouri S&T’s distance learning program that goes over a wide variety of engineering principles.
- Thesis and non-thesis option
- Spring, summer, and fall sessions
- Sample Courses: Aeroelasticity, Dynamics, Fatigue Analysis
Although students do not have to be in the area to enroll in this program, Missouri S&T Global which serves the greater St. Louis area with STEM graduate programs also offers online Aerospace Engineering courses.
University Of Washington
College Choice Score: 84.10
Average Net Price: $10,068
Having a global impact is one of the things that the University of Washington is known for. In the 2017 Academic Ranking of World Universities, UW ranked #13. This was all due to the university’s amazing partnerships around the world, excellence in research, teaching, and commitment to its students. Even UW’s students who are enrolled through its many distance learning programs are taken care of, with dedicated professors and flexible courses to fit any schedule.
UW’s online Master of Aerospace Engineering degree is a multidisciplinary program that allows students to concentrate in an area of interest.
- Concentrations: Controls, Fluids, Structures, Composites
- Meant to be completed part-time in three years
- Coursework-only program with no research
Courses meet synchronously online once per week in the evening.
University of Texas at Arlington
College Choice Score: 82.44
Average Net Price: $11,952
The University of Texas at Arlington is a highly-ranked, doctoral-awarding research institution. UTA was founded in 1895 after the civic leader, Edward Emmett Ranking, pushed for a school that would improve the rural town’s education. Today UTA is a growing university with a global enrollment of over 58,000. The College of Engineering offers 13 master’s programs both online and on-campus. Its graduate school was ranked as one of the top in the nation by the U.S. News & World Report.
Through UTA’s MS in Aerospace Engineering degrees, students learn to solve technical problems and develop appropriate mathematical and experimental models to solve those issues.
- Minimum 30 credit-hours
- Required thesis
- Sample Specializations: Vehicle Design, Flight Mechanics and Controls, Structural Mechanics and Structures
The College of Engineering is the fourth-largest in the state and is continuing to grow in facility space and research.
College Choice Score: 82.06
Average Net Price: $21,698
Auburn University was founded in 1856, 20 years after the city was established. It was the first land-grant university in the South. Today almost 30,000 students are enrolled at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional level. According to the U.S. News & World Report, Auburn has consistently been ranked among the top 50 public universities in the nation. This is in part due to its academic excellence in its 140 majors, top-notch college experience, research, and community engagement.
Qualified students who wish to take advanced courses in Aerospace Engineering should enroll in Auburn’s MS program.
- Interdisciplinary program
- Ability to create own unique path of study
- Sample Courses: Legal Aspects of Engineering Practice, Rocket Propulsion, Thrust Generation
This degree does not require any residency, foreign language, or minor requirements.
Iowa State University
College Choice Score: 80.38
Average Net Price: $13,623
Iowa State University is a public university that was established as the Iowa Agricultural College and Model Farm in 1858. The campus is known for its beautiful green grass that harkens back to its farm roots. ISU’s Master’s in Aeronautics and Aviation degree is offered through its Department of Aerospace Engineering. More than 500 companies each year come to the school to recruit graduates. This program was ranked the #23 best aerospace graduate program in the US in 2017.
ISU’s Master’s in Aerospace Engineering online degree is a fully flexible program where students can choose which specific courses they would like to take.
- 30-credit hours
- One-on-one mentor
- Can choose a Master of Science or Master of Engineering degree
While the MS degree requires a thesis and is ideal for future PhD students, the ME degree is a coursework-only program.
Mississippi State University
College Choice Score: 79.79
Average Net Price: $15,628
With the goal of producing career-ready students, Mississippi State University is a prominent university located in Starkville, an agricultural city with a population of about 24,000. Its campus is located just 125 miles northeast of Jackson. MS State offers a wide variety of programs at all levels. Its Aerospace Engineering program, which began in 1951, was the first master’s degree offered by the College of Engineering. This program can be taken online, with 93 percent of its distance learning program students saying they would recommend its online engineering programs.
The James Worth Bagley College of Engineering offers its online MS in Aerospace Engineering degree at MS State, which gives students the opportunity to pursue research.
- 30-credit hours; six credit hours devoted to thesis research
- Opportunity to work with the Raspet Flight Research Laboratory
- Sample Concentrations: Fluid Dynamics, Design Optimization, Flight Test Engineering
This program has over 50 years of strong history, thanks to its dedicated staff members and highly-skilled students.
The University of Alabama
College Choice Score: 79.73
Average Net Price: $20,133
The University of Alabama is the state’s oldest public university. Its mission is to serve the people of the state through quality teaching, research, and service. As of 2017, UA reached its record high of enrolled students, with over 38,000 total students. Over the years several students have been awarded prestigious scholarships. Prestige and success is one of the major things that make UA’s College of Engineering stand out. Established in 1837, it was one of the first five engineering schools in the country. Students are able to take get their Master’s degree online through the engineering school.
Continue your busy work schedule while pursuing your online MS in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics from UA.
- $394 per credit-hour
- Non-thesis and thesis option
- Numerous scholarship opportunities
Students who choose the non-thesis track will have a comprehensive exam and a culminating experience.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide
College Choice Score: 78.89
Average Net Price: $19,002
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide is the online school offered by the university system. ERAU is known for its degree programs in the sciences, engineering, and aviation, with many of its programs being the first of its kind in the nation. As a highly career-driven school, 96 percent of its graduates are employed within a year of graduation or are seeking further education. ERAU has offered its Aerospace Engineering degree since 1985 at its Daytona Beach campus in Florida. It is now offered through its distance learning program.
ERAU’s online MS in Aerospace Engineering is ideal for experienced engineers who want to gain a deeper understanding.
- Practical and theoretical training
- Thesis option
- Sample Courses: Boundary Value Problems, Engineering Materials Selection, Smart Materials in Engineering
As a highly career-focused program, students can select courses that help them prepare directly for the aerospace engineering profession.
Old Dominion University
College Choice Score: 78.13
Average Net Price: $15,218
Located in Norfolk, Virginia, Old Dominion University is the state’s premier metropolitan research university. ODU has three campuses as well as an extensive online school. The university annually contributes about $2.6 billion to the state’s economy through jobs, new research, and innovation. ODUOnline, the school’s distance education platform, offers several programs with the adult learner in mind. ODU’s Aerospace and Aviation program has earned the American Society of Engineering Management Founders Award for Excellence in Leadership for Graduate Programs for several years.
In ODU’s online MS or ME in Aerospace Engineering, students will grow their understanding of engineering principles through practice and research opportunities.
- Choose from a Master of Science (thesis) or Master of Engineering
- Live, regularly scheduled sessions
- Ranked the #21 Best Online Graduate Engineering Program for Veterans by the U.S. News & World Report in 2018
The Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering has close ties with big name institutions such as the NASA Langley Research Center and Naval Research Laboratory.
University of Central Florida
College Choice Score: 78.05
Average Net Price: $15,533
The University of Central Florida is a premier research university that is located in the metropolitan city of Orlando. Currently over 67,000 students are enrolled across its many degrees, including its comprehensive online school. UCF has repeatedly been ranked as a best-value school, as well one that is innovative in research. Approximately 50 percent of students graduate debt free. The U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger, and Forbes have all recognized UCF for their affordability and research.
UCF Online’s MS in Aerospace Engineering degree prepares graduates for careers as advanced engineers.
- $327.32 per credit hour for in-state students
- Offered through the College of Engineering and Science, which boasts partnerships with leading research institutions
- Sample Class Themes: Propulsion, Aerodynamics, Thermal Design
Some career opportunities upon graduation include but are not limited to a Spacecraft Designer, Maintenance Engineer, or a Compliance Officer.
Florida Institute of Technology
College Choice Score: 74.31
Average Net Price: $31,582
The Florida Institute of Technology began in 1958, the exact same year that NASA was established. Florida Tech began as the Brevard Engineering College – since its inception its programs have always been focused on STEM and research. Its mission is to foster students for the global workplace by giving them several higher-education opportunities throughout their college career. More than 60,000 alumni have emerged from Florida Tech, including three astronauts.
- Those who enroll in Florida Tech’s online Master’s in Aviation Management program will become experts in corporate and commercial aviation.
- Interactive online experience
- Experienced professors who are experienced professionals and researchers
Alumni of this program are currently employed in big-name companies such as Delta Airlines, Department of Homeland Security, and the National Business Aircraft Association.