Choose One of These Aeronautical Engineering Colleges For Your Future in the Science of Air Travel

Some people go into college not knowing what they want to study. Others know exactly what path they want to take. If you believe an aeronautics degree is right for you, we are here to help you choose from the top aeronautical engineering colleges.

This is your 2017 ranking of the best aeronautical engineering colleges in the United States.

To start this guide, we will offer you an explanation of aeronautics colleges and what aeronautics course options will teach you. Then, we will dive into our list of the year’s six top aeronautical engineering schools and tell you more about each.

Best Aeronautical Engineering Colleges

Award Emblem: Top 6 Best Aeronautical Engineering Colleges

While these aeronautics colleges can be found all over the country and vary wildly in tuition, they have all met not only our qualifications of the “best aeronautical engineering universities” but also U.S. News’s qualifications.

Each school of aeronautics is ranked in their top 10 “Best Aerospace / Aeronautical Engineering Schools” list, too.

If you are interested in a career in the science of travel by air, one of these aeronautical engineering colleges just may be the perfect choice.

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AdvisoryHQ’s List of the Top 6 Best Aeronautical Engineering Universities

List is sorted alphabetically (click any of the institute of aeronautical engineering names below to go directly to the detailed review section for that aeronautics school):

Top 6 Best Aeronautical Engineering Schools | Brief Comparison & Ranking

Top Aeronautics Colleges


Average Tuition Costs

U.S. News Ranking for Aerospace / Aeronautical

California Institute of TechnologyPasadena, California$43,362 (in-state) $43,362 (out-of-state)


#4 (tie)

Georgia Institute of TechnologyAtlanta, Georgia$11,394 (in-state)

$30,698 (out-of-state)


Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridge, Massachusetts$45,016 (in-state and out-of-state)


Purdue UniversityWest Lafayette, Indiana$10,002 (in-state)

$28,804 (out-of-state)


Stanford UniversityStanford, California$45,195 (in-state and out-of-state)


University of Michigan – Ann ArborAnn Arbor,


$13,486 (in-state)

$41,906 (out-of-state)

#4 (tie)

Table: Top 6 Best Aeronautical Engineering Colleges | Above list is sorted alphabetically

What Is an Aeronautics Degree?

Before we get into the best aeronautical engineering colleges of 2017, let’s take a moment to see exactly what the study of aeronautics is and what to expect from aeronautics course options.

Aeronautical engineering schools often teach aerospace engineering. Aeronautics is one of the two branches of aerospace engineering study. The other branch is astronautics.

Aeronautical Engineering Colleges

Image Source: Pixabay

Aerospace engineering is all about engineering aircraft and spacecraft. This is why there tends to be a division of the two branches.

  • Aeronautics is the study of aircraft that stay in the earth’s atmosphere, like an airplane.
  • Astronautics is the study of aircraft that go outside of the earth’s atmosphere, like a satellite.

Since both of these studies are under the aerospace engineering umbrella, you will find that these aeronautical engineering universities tend to group them all together.

Any college advisor at any of the aeronautical engineering schools can help guide you through the right coursework and degree paths to study aeronautics.

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Aeronautic Engineering Careers: Quick Facts

Before you start applying to the best aeronautical engineering colleges, here is a quick overview of what to expect post-graduation as an aeronautic engineer.

  • Average Pay: $54,329 – $150,045
  • Base Education Requirement: Most need at least an aeronautics degree (bachelor’s) from an aeronautical engineering college
  • Typical Duties: Researching, testing, developing, assembling, and maintaining aircrafts or missiles

As you make your choice of aeronautical engineering schools, these are important facts to keep in mind.

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Detailed Review – Top Ranking Best Aeronautical Engineering Universities

Below, please find a detailed review of each aeronautical university on our list of aeronautical engineering colleges. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these top aeronautical engineering colleges to score so highly in our selection ranking.

California Institute of Technology Review

The first institute of aeronautical engineering on our list of the best aeronautical engineering universities is California Institute of Technology, or Caltech.

Their aeronautics course offerings fall under their Graduate Aerospace Laboratories of the California Institute of Technology (GALCIT).

Aeronautical Engineering Universities

Image Source: California Institute of Technology

This institute of aeronautical engineering holds to the following mission:

“To address fundamental problems that could lead to transformative science and technology in Aerospace and related fields by educating and training future leaders for academia, government and industry.”

According to the aeronautics school website, their research focuses are:

  • Physics of Fluids
  • Physics of Solids and Mechanics of Materials
  • Computation and Theoretical Mechanics
  • Biomechanics
  • Space Technology

Like many of the aeronautical engineering colleges on our list, you can enter both undergraduate and graduate programs:

  • Aerospace minor (as a supplement to one of the other Caltech undergraduate degrees)
  • Master’s Degree in Aeronautics
  • Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Aeronautics

Out of all of these best aeronautical engineering colleges, Caltech’s class sizes are the smallest, often at a 3 to 1 ratio.

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Georgia Institute of Technology Review

Georgia Institute of Technology is next up on our list of top aeronautical engineering schools for 2017. The aeronautics degree programs are found within their Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering.

This top aeronautics school has over 40 tenure-track professors and over 1,300 students contributing to the research and study of aerospace engineering.

As one of the best aeronautical engineering colleges, Georgia Tech can help you pursue a wide variety of aeronautics degree options, including:

  • Prospective Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering
  • Minor in Aerospace Engineering (to add to any other Georgia Tech undergraduate degree)
  • Prospective Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering
  • Doctoral Degree in Aerospace Engineering

Like all the aeronautical engineering universities on our list, there is a strong research component to this aeronautical university. Their research focuses on these six concepts:

  • Aerodynamics and Fluid Mechanics
  • Aeroelasticity and Structural Dynamics
  • Flight Mechanics and Controls
  • Propulsion and Combustion
  • Structural Mechanics and Materials
  • System Design and Optimization

Out of all the aeronautical engineering colleges on this list, Georgia Institute of Technology has the cheapest tuition for the highest school rating.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Review

As we continue through our list of aeronautical engineering colleges, we will get to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT. The aeronautics school of MIT is referred to as “AeroAstro.”

For those seeking undergraduate degrees, their options are similar to the other aeronautical engineering schools on this list:

  • Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Engineering as recommended by the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Those who are hoping to pursue their master’s or doctoral studies through MIT in their AeroAstro program have 12 fields of study choices, another reason MIT is one of the top aeronautical engineering colleges:

  • Aerospace Computational Engineering
  • Aerospace, Energy and the Environment
  • Air-Breathing Propulsion
  • Air Transportation Systems
  • Aircraft Systems Engineering
  • Autonomy
  • Communications and Networks
  • Controls
  • Humans in Aerospace
  • Materials and Structures
  • Space Propulsion
  • Space Systems

Out of these top aeronautical engineering universities, MIT tends to produce graduates with the highest salary after they graduate ($70,000 on average).

Purdue University Review

Next up on our list of best aeronautical engineering colleges is Purdue University. As one of the top aeronautical engineering universities in 2017, their School of Aeronautics and Astronautics provides undergraduate and graduate aeronautics degree options:

  • Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering
  • Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering (non-thesis)
  • Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering (with thesis)
  • Professional Master of Science with Engineering Management program
  • PhD program

Aeronautical Engineering Schools

Image Source: Purdue

The possible fields of study choices for this institute of aeronautical engineering include:

  • Aerodynamics
  • Aerospace Systems
  • Astrodynamics & Space Applications
  • Dynamics & Control
  • Propulsion
  • Structures & Materials

Purdue is an aeronautics school with a long history: “Aeronautical Engineering degrees were first offered at Purdue by the School of Mechanical & Aeronautical Engineering during WWII, and the first B.S. Degrees were awarded in 1943.”

Out of the great aeronautical engineering colleges, Purdue has the cheapest tuition costs for in-state and out-of-state students.

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Stanford University Review

Let’s continue our look at top aeronautics colleges with Stanford University. Their Engineering Department offers a school of aeronautics and astronautics.

The following programs can be chosen in this institute of aeronautical engineering:

  • Undergraduate program: A Bachelor of Science in Engineering with a subplan on the diploma, “Aeronautics and Astronautics”
  • Master’s program: This is a no-thesis required aeronautics degree
  • Engineer program: An additional year beyond the Master’s program to create a thesis
  • Doctoral program: A Doctor of Philosophy in Aeronautics and Astronautics program

As one of the great aeronautical engineering colleges, Stanford has six thematic research areas:

  • Autonomous Systems and Controls
  • Cyber Safety for Transportation
  • Distributed Space Systems
  • Future Aircraft Designs
  • Multidisciplinary Computational Aerosciences
  • Advanced Materials and Structures

Out of these top 6 aeronautical engineering schools, Stanford’s program will be the hardest to get into as they have the lowest acceptance rate.

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University of Michigan – Ann Arbor Review

The last aeronautical university on our list of top aeronautical engineering colleges is the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor. The aeronautics degree falls under their College of Engineering.

Like other aeronautical engineering schools, students can gain a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree. As one of the great aeronautical engineering universities, at Ann Arbor you can even combine your bachelor and master’s programs to complete them in only 5 years.

The fields of study and research within this aeronautics school are the following:

  • Adaptive control for aerospace applications
  • Aeroelasticity
  • Aerospace information systems
  • Autonomous air vehicles
  • Combustion and energy sciences
  • Composite structures
  • Computational and data sciences
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Computational solid mechanics
  • Control of propulsion and plasma physics
  • Electric propulsion systems
  • Hypersonic vehicles
  • Morphing air vehicles
  • Multidisciplinary design and optimization
  • Rotorcraft aeromechanics
  • Smart materials and structures
  • Spacecraft dynamics, control, and systems engineering
  • Structural health monitoring
  • Turbulence and fluid mechanics
  • Wind energy

One of the other reasons the University of Michigan is considered one of the best aeronautical engineering colleges is that fact that its aeronautics course program was the first in the nation.

Out of these best aeronautical engineering colleges, the University of Michigan enrolls the most women, at 47.6% of the student body.

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Conclusion – Top 6 Aeronautical Engineering Colleges

Now you know the top six aeronautical engineering colleges for 2017. Each of these aeronautical engineering universities has excellent programs that may work for you.

If you are interested in exploring this career path through an aeronautics degree at one of these aeronautical engineering universities, here are a few tips:

  • If money is an issue, all of these aeronautical engineering schools offer financial aid: Half of Purdue’s undergrads are on financial aid, and 70% of MIT’s undergrads. The other schools fall in between.
  • Speak to advisors for each of these best aeronautical engineering colleges to make sure their program can be tailored to meet your specific career goals.

No matter which school of aeronautics you choose off this list, you can rest assured that you would be leaving with a solid education in the field of aeronautics.

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