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College of Engineering and Computing

Aerospace Engineering

Aerospace Engineering

The University of South Carolina offers the first aerospace engineering program established in South Carolina. Students work in project groups, acquiring skills to work in a multi-disciplinary environment and learn how to present their work. Through the design and lab work, they gain hands-on experience that shapes them into responsible and innovative individuals. Students that successfully complete the aerospace program will be ready for employment in a knowledge based economy and be competitive in a global society.

The Department of Mechanical Engineering offers both a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering. The program is intended to train students in the field of aerospace engineering such that they are well prepared for a career as a multidisciplinary engineer. The skills learned in the Aerospace Engineering program are transferable to any other field.

The objective of the aerospace engineering undergraduate program is to produce graduates who within a few years of graduation will

  • Advance professionally in the aerospace industry, automotive industry, technical consultancy or in any other chosen career field 
  • Attain key positions in today’s rapidly changing, increasingly technological, global society
  • Be agents of innovation and function effectively as responsible members of professional teams


Areas of study

Aerospace engineering is the primary field of engineering concerned with the development of aircraft (aeronautical engineering) and spacecraft (astronautical engineering), also known as "rocket science."

The field of Aerospace Engineering covers the following disciplines, all of which are covered by the University of South Carolina program.

  • Aicraft design
  • Aerodynamics
  • Aerospace systems
  • Flight and orbital mechanics
  • Structural analysis and design
  • Manufacturing technologies
  • Inspection and structural health monitoring
  • Material science
  • Energy, power and propulsion
  • Applied integrated information technologies
  • Systems engineering

State-of-the-art labs and equipment

As a student in the aerospace program you will have access to state-of-the-art labs and equipment, such as

  • Low-speed wind tunnel (with speeds up to 230 mph)
  • Unmanned vehicle lab
  • Advanced composite manufacturing equipment (autoclave, automated fiber placement machine, robotic 3D printing)
  • Flight simulators (stationary and moving platform)
  • Industry level testing and inspection equipment (static, fatigue, microscopy, profilometry)
  • Machine shop (5-axis CNC, waterjet cutter, welding equipment, shop tools)


  • What does an aerospace engineer do?
    • Aerospace engineers design aircraft and spacecraft using out-of-the-box thinking and combining various disciplines, such as aircraft design, structural analysis, flight mechanics, manufacturing technologies and more.
  • Why should I choose University of South Carolina for my aerospace engineering degree?
    • The University of South Carolina offers the only aerospace engineering program in the state. The university offers state-of-the-art labs for educational research and student development along with an academic work floor environment where students work with industry.
    • Aerospace is the second largest industry cluster in the state of South Carolina, after the automotive industry. There are close to 500 aerospace-related companies in the state which support over 102,000 jobs. The employment growth rate is 8x higher than the state average.
  • How can I get involved as a student?
    • Our aerospace engineering program works closely together with the local student branch of American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).
  • Do I learn how to fly?
    • No, an aerospace engineer is not a pilot! Although you will learn the physics of flight, aircraft design and aerodynamics; learning how to fly is not part of the engineering program. If you are interested in learning how to fly an aircraft and obtaining a pilot's license, you can do so by joining the UofSC Flight Club.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.