Graduate studies in aerospace and ocean engineering allow students to immerse themselves in the technology, honing their research, design, and analysis skills.

From the mechanics of space flight to autonomous subsea navigation to the behavior of drones, our graduate students work alongside faculty advisors to enrich and push the boundaries of our field.

A collage of AOE images.

Recent graduate project topics include:

  • Aerodynamics of a transonic turbine vane
  • Bio-inspired trailing edge noise control
  • Dynamics and control of a tensegrity system in low-Earth orbit
  • Particle-resolving simulations of dune migration
  • Simulation of net-zero momentum wakes in stratified fluids
  • The two point correlation structure of a cylinder wake
  • Visual-inertial navigation of small unmanned aircraft

AOE’s research portfolio typically realizes about $8 million annually, with more than 40% of the research funding coming from commercial partners.

A significant portion of the funding comes from our government partners, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Energy (DOE),
the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), and the Intelligence Community (IC).

AOE areas of distinction

Students at a computer
  • Aircraft and ship design
  • Aero- and hydrodynamics
  • Aero-hydroacoustics
  • Structures and materials
  • Autonomy, cyberphysical security, and control
  • Verification, validation, and uncertainty quantification
  • Aerospace propulsion
  • Computational mechanics
  • Navigation/GPS security
  • Wind energy
  • Small satellites

A tradition of service and excellence

Virginia Tech's aerospace graduate program is ranked


in the 2017 U.S. News and World Report national rankings.

AOE consistently places among the best engineering graduate schools in the country. Our faculty, staff, and students embody the spirit of the Virginia Tech motto, Ut Prosim (that I may serve), by creating a welcoming and collegial atmosphere to learn, teach, and research.

Our alumni are entrepreneurs, starting businesses to invent and innovate. They are educators, inspiring and challenging the next generation of engineers. They are policy-makers, guiding the direction of research and development. They are researchers pushing the boundaries of engineering, technology, and science.

The Virginia Tech Stability Tunnel


Faculty and students in the Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering are conducting word-class research, and we have the facilities and resources to support them.

Our experimental facilities, which are equipped with advanced instrumentation and high-performance computing resources, include

  • Laboratories for experimental aeroacoustics, hydro-elasticity, and hydrodynamics
  • Laboratories for marine robotics
  • Laboratories for spacecraft design and simulation
  • Simulators for plasma and propulsion systems
  • Simulators for space systems 
  • Subsonic, hypersonic, and supersonic wind tunnels

See the complete list of AOE experimental research facilities.