Best Online Master’s in Aeronautics and Aviation Degrees

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Ever wanted to be able to reach new heights in your career? Well now you can with the best online master’s degrees in aeronautics and aviation.

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.

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Top 10 Best Online Master’s in Aeronautics and Aviation Degrees

What type of master’s in aeronautics & aviation should you get?

The most common degree in aeronautics and aviation will either be a master’s of science or a master’s 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.

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Georgia Institute of Technology
    Location

    Atlanta, GA

    Tuition

    $13340

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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

    Notables

    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.

  2. University of Southern California
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    Tuition

    $32932

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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

    Notables

    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.

  3. University of Virginia
    Location

    Charlottesville, VA

    Tuition

    $15945

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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

    Notables

    Students can take up to half of their classes through one of their partner institutions, speeding up the degree process.

  4. Purdue University
    Location

    Hammond, IN

    Tuition

    $11693

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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

    Notables

    This program is currently tied for the #4 best aerospace graduate program by the U.S. News & World Report.

  5. Johns Hopkins University
    Location

    Baltimore, MD

    Tuition

    $27352

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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

    Notables

    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.

  6. University of Florida
    Location

    Gainesville, FL

    Tuition

    $14761

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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

    Notables

    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.

  7. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Location

    Champaign, IL

    Tuition

    $16683

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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

    Notables

    There are three different technical divisions that students can choose from depending on their academic interests.

  8. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
    Location

    Blacksburg, VA

    Tuition

    $17190

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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

    Notables

    Once a week students will have a live one-hour class where they can interact with the professor.

  9. North Carolina State University
    Location

    Raleigh, NC

    Tuition

    $13066

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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

    Notables

    Full-time students only enroll in two online courses per semester, allowing working professionals a good work-life balance while completing this degree.

  10. Missouri University of Science & Technology
    Location

    Rolla, MO

    Tuition

    $13874

    Overview

    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.

    Program Features

    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

    Notables

    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.

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