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. A Naval Engineering Certificate option is also available that can be completed with the Master of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering or Ocean Engineering.

In order to ensure that all our students can communicate with scientists and engineers outside their primary field of interest, all students in Aerospace Engineering must take at least one course in the general areas of aerodynamics, structures, flight mechanics and control, and numerical methods. Graduate students in Ocean Engineering must take at least one course in the general areas of hydrodynamics, ship dynamics, ship structures, 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 or design projects in the 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.

Photo of a satellite in orbit

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 in this program may also complete the Naval Engineering Certificate.

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, hydrodynamics, structures, flight dynamics and control, naval engineering 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.

A formal description of the Masters of Science degrees and their requirements may be found here (pdf). A final comprehensive oral exam will be required of all students upon completion of the degree requirements. Guidelines for the oral exam are described in the AOE Graduate Study Policies and Procedures Manual. Non-thesis option Masters of Science and Masters of Engineering students may also reference the AOE Non-Thesis Final Examinations document for more information.

Graduate Advising

Office Hours

  • Monday-Friday
  • 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM
  • 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Appointments are recommended to ensure availability but walk-ins are welcome. The graduate advisors can also be reached by phone or email. We look forward to the opportunity to help current and prospective graduate students with admission and progress to degree completion.

Kevin T. Crofton Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering (MC0203)
Randolph Hall, RM 215,
Virginia Tech
460 Old Turner St.
Blacksburg, VA 24061-0203

Phone: (540) 231-6611
Fax: (540) 231-9632