The Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering offers a Master of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering and in Ocean Engineering. Each of these degrees has two options, a Master of Science with or without thesis. Although both degrees require the same number of credit hours for graduation, the thesis option requires some of these credits be devoted to a research project. The non-thesis option can be obtained by taking only course work, or it can include credits for a project and report. Such a project and report is generally not research oriented, but deals with other aspects of an engineering problem and may involve a team of students.
In order to ensure that all our students can communicate with scientists and engineers outside their primary field of interest, all students take at least one course in the general areas of aerodynamics, structures, flight mechanics and control, and numerical methods. In addition, students in the non-thesis program are required to take additional courses in their area of study. Students in this program have the opportunity to work on advanced research projects in the three areas mentioned previously as well as in the interdisciplinary arena where familiarity with two or more disciplines is required. As a result many of our students are in a position to satisfy the rapidly growing demand for well rounded engineers and scientists.
In addition, the Aerospace and Ocean Engineering Department participates in the Systems Engineering interdisciplinary program where students take courses across several engineering departments and outside of the College of Engineering. The requirements for this program are set by the Systems Engineering Advisory Committee and are different from those indicated previously.
Students following the thesis route work with faculty that have both national and international reputations in their respective areas of research. These areas pose exciting new challenges to the students who have the opportunity to work closely with their faculty advisor on current problems. These problems reflect the latest interests in new advancements in science and technology by NASA, Navy, Air Force, and various aerospace and non-aerospace industries.
Our masters students do significant hands-on research and often work in teams with other masters and Ph.D. students on wide-range of topics, some focused in a newly developing area, and some multidisciplinary in nature. These activities include state-of-the art research in aerodynamics, structures, flight dynamics and control, and multidisciplinary analysis and design. Students are encouraged to present their research results at conferences and in archival journals tied to industry and/or government or sponsored projects and include interaction with personnel and facilities from those organizations.
The requirements for the degrees focused on applied physics or applied mathematics are slightly different from those of the other categories in that some required courses from the Aerospace and Ocean Engineering Department are replaced with others from either Physics or Mathematics respectively. These programs are specially tailored for students whose backgrounds are from outside the engineering environment and are interested in applying their skills to solving aerospace problems. Such programs encourage interaction with disciplines outside the usual engineering environment and result in new approaches to analyzing and solving problems.