Aerospace Engineering Graduate Program

To be eligible for graduate study in aerospace engineering, students must satisfy the following minimum requirements:

  • Have a minimum 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) grade point average (GPA) in junior- and senior-level work and in any graduate work already completed.
  • Have taken the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
  • Have taken the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) (international students).
  • Be recommended for admission by the ASE Graduate Studies Committee.

Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission due to limited space, funding or faculty availability.

Minimum Background

The minimum background for new graduate students without ASE undergraduate degrees is the following:

Aerothermodynamics

ASE 320, Introduction to Fluid Mechanics
ASE 376K, Propulsion

Controls, Autonomy & Robotics

ASE 330M, Linear System Analysis
ASE 370C, Feedback Control Systems

Orbital Mechanics

ASE 330M, Linear System Analysis
ASE 366K, Spacecraft Dynamics
ASE 372K, Attitude Dynamics

Structures

E M 319, Mechanics of Solids
COE 321K, Computational Methods for Structural Analysis
ASE 365, Structural Dynamics

Typically, a student who does not have an ASE undergraduate degree and who is admitted to the graduate program without the minimum background for his or her area is required to take any missing courses and receive a letter grade of B or higher in those courses in addition to the degree requirements. Consult with your faculty advisor to see what you must take to remove any deficiencies.

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Aerothermodynamics and Fluid Mechanics

This area involves study and research in experimental, theoretical, and computational aerodynamics, gas dynamics, turbulence, plasma dynamics, heat transfer, and combustion. Research is presently being conducted in non-equilibrium and rarefied gas flows, turbulence control, shock-boundary layer interactions, thermal and glow-discharge plasmas, turbulent mixing/combustion, numerical methods for turbulent reacting flows, multiphase combustion, nanoparticle synthesis in flames, and advanced optical diagnostics and sensors. Facilities include Mach 2 and Mach 5 blowdown wind tunnels, 1.25-second low-gravity drop tower, 5' by 7' low-speed wind tunnel, 15" by 20" water channel, laser sensors laboratory, combustion facilities, plasma engineering laboratory and extensive laser and camera systems for advanced flow diagnostics. The excellent computational facilities include a variety of workstations, a 256-core Linux cluster, and access to very large scale, high-performance computers.

Solids, Structures and Materials

This area involves study and research in mechanics of composite materials, fracture mechanics, nano and micromechanics of materials, constitutive equations, mechanical behavior at high strain rates, structural analysis, and structural stability.

Experimental facilities include equipment for static structural testing; digital data acquisition equipment; uniaxial and biaxial materials-testing machines; custom loading devices; environmental chambers; microscopes; photomechanics facilities; composites processing equipment; facilities for microstructural analysis; and high-speed imaging and high strain rate mechanical testing facilities. Equipment for nano and microscale scale experiments include an atomic force microscope, an interfacial force microscope, a nano indentor, a confocal microscope and an X-ray tomography device. Computing facilities include workstations, high-performance computers, and networks of workstations.

Controls, Autonomy and Robotics

This area involves research in system theory, controls, networks, autonomy, and robotics with applications to the navigation, guidance, control, and flight mechanics of space, air, sea, and land based vehicles. Major research topics include onboard-optimal path-planning, differential games, hybrid-systems analysis, learning-based control, multi-vehicle coordination, swarm systems, vision and radio-based navigation, controlled-mobility wireless networks, robust communications, trust, and the study of human-robot interaction problems. Several of these projects are sponsored by: the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the Missile Defense Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratories.

Orbital Mechanics

This area involves study and research in the applications of celestial mechanics, analytical dynamics, geophysics, numerical analysis, optimization theory, estimation theory, and computer technology to model the dynamic behavior of natural and artificial bodies in the solar system. Two specific areas of interest are satellite applications and spacecraft design.

Satellite applications involve the study of active and passive satellite remote sensing for research in earth, ocean, atmospheric, and planetary science; satellite positioning, primarily using the Global Positioning System (GPS) for earth science research; and satellite tracking and instrumentation, including altimeters, for a variety of geophysical and geodetic studies, including the study of Earth's gravity field and rotation. Research is supported by a large database of satellite remote sensing measurements, a variety of computer resources, GPS receivers, and image processing equipment.

Spacecraft design involves the application of all disciplines of aerospace engineering to the design of aerospace vehicles, missions, and related systems. Experimental facilities include a satellite laboratory containing high-gain antennas for satellite tracking and a clean room area for fabrication and testing of space flight hardware. Research is primarily applied in nature and involves the synthesis of information from all engineering disciplines, mathematics, the natural sciences, economics, project management, and public policy.

Admission Requirements

Learn more about the admission requirements for the Aerospace Engineering graduate program.

Admission Deadlines

Fall & Summer - December 1

Spring - October 1

Applications will be considered after those dates on a space available basis.

Financial Assistance

The ASE Graduate Program offers financial aid to highly qualified applicants in the form of Research Assistantships (RAs), Teaching Assistantships (TAs), and/or Fellowships. These offers may be presented to applicants wholly or in combination. The numbers presented below are provided as estimates of typical financial aid offers. 


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The ASE Graduate Program offers financial aid to highly qualified applicants in the form of Research Assistantships (RAs), Teaching Assistantships (TAs), and/or Fellowships. These offers may be presented to applicants wholly or in combination. The numbers presented below are provided as estimates of typical financial aid offers.

RA Offers

Research Assistantships are awarded by individual faculty members. In 2015-16, half-time (20 hours/week) RA salaries are $1931+ per month. In addition, tuition and required fees are paid by the research grant/contract supporting the student.

TA Offers

Teaching Assistantships are awarded by the department on the recommendations of faculty members. In 2015-16, half-time (20 hours/week) TAs receive $1,800 per month and $3,784 per semester to help pay tuition and required fees.

University Fellowships

Fellowships are offered to outstanding students by the University, and the stipend can vary between $1,000 and $9,000 per year. These offers may be made in place of or in addition to RA and TA offers. Some fellowship offers are multi-year. Read the specific language of any fellowship you are offered to determine the conditions of the fellowship.

Full-time Student

If you receive financial aid, you are expected to be registered as a full-time student in the semester that you received financial aid; that is, to register for 9 credit hours during fall and spring semesters and for 3 credit hours during the summer.

Out-of-State Tuition Waver

Out-of-state students receiving half-time RA or TA appointments qualify for in-state tuition. In 2015-16, in-state tuition and required fees for fall or spring (9 hours) is $4,782, out-of-state is $8,753 and summer (3 hours) is $3,924. You do not have to pay income tax on the wavered tuition.

Income Tax

You must pay income tax on RA and TA salaries.  The $3,784 TA tuition supplement, and tuition and fees paid out of grants and contracts is exempt. For out-of-state students who qualify for in-state tuition, there is no tax on the difference between out-of-state tuition and in-state tuition.

Typical RA Offer

A typical 2015-16 RA offer to a Texas resident for one year could be the following:

Salary ($1,931/month): $23,175
Tuition and required fees: $11,283
Health insurance $ 2,181
Total annual stipend $36,639

An outstanding US PhD student (GPA>3.5, GRE=V+Q>325+) could also be offered a $9,000 Cockrell School of Engineering fellowship for a total stipend of $41,828 or $54,585 if not a Texas resident. With satisfactory academic performance (GPA>3.5) and research performance, the Cockrell School of Engineering fellowship is available for a total of four years.

Multi-Year Funding

Most financial offers are made for a year duration and are conditioned on satisfactory academic progress in graduate school. While there is no guarantee, financial aid is typically provided after the first year to highly qualified students throughout their graduate degree. Financial aid is contingent on the student's continued academic progress and the availability of financial resources.

Site Visits

Students who are interested in visiting the University may arrange individual site visits at any time. If you wish to visit, the best course of action is to determine which faculty you wish to visit and contact them to determine their availability. The faculty contact information can be found in our faculty directory. Once you have determined the dates of your visit, contact the Graduate Coordinator for additional information.

Once per year, a funded site visit is conducted by invitation for highly qualified applicants. You will be contacted if you are eligible to participate in this event. This organized site visit is typically held in mid-February.

Each semester you must be advised. The basic advising and registration steps are:

1. Once you receive the notice via email, pick up your advising form from the receptionist in WRW 215.

2. Discuss with your faculty advisor what classes you will take.

3. Obtain your advisor’s signature (new students must also obtain the ASE Graduate Advisor’s signature in their first semester)

4. Return the form to the receptionist in WRW 215. 

5. After your advising bar is cleared you can register online.

Zero-fee Bill

If after you register you get a zero-fee bill (your tuition and required fees have already been paid), you must still confirm that you are attending – It will say “Your registration is complete” when your registration is finalized.