The Aerospace & Ocean Engineering Department is unique in offering Bachelor of Science degrees in both Aerospace Engineering and Ocean Engineering. Both of these Engineering programs are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, Students in the department may major in either degree program or may choose to combine the programs of study in a double major program with either major as their primary. Students completing 30 credit hours beyond that required for a single degree may earn two separate degrees. The department also offers an Undergraduate Minor in Naval Engineering open to all students in the College of Engineering.

In offering both majors, the department builds on the common interests in both fields related to the design and analysis of vehicles and structures which operate in a fluid. While the earth's atmosphere, its oceans, and the highly rarefied flowfields of space present aircraft, ships, and spacecraft with fluids of very different densities in which they must operate, many of the same basic laws of physics apply to all of them. Aerospace Engineering is in itself a combination of the disciplines of Aeronautical Engineering and Astronautical Engineering and Ocean Engineering at Virginia Tech emphasizes the older fields of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering.

The department's undergraduate programs of study emphasize aero/hydrodynamics; vehicle structures; vehicle performance, stability & control, propulsion, with instructional material leading to a year-long capstone design experience in the senior year. Design project assignments are developed by industry and government experts as part of international design competitions in which teams of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering students have won numerous awards for their aircraft, spacecraft, and ship designs. 

Graduates of the department's two bachelor of science degree programs have been highly successful in the aerospace and ocean fields. About 25% of our graduates continue their studies in graduate school while most of the rest find excellent employment opportunities in the aerospace and related industries and in the shipbuilding, naval engineering and ship design fields. Some also choose to go into related fields such as automotive engineering, structural engineering, environmental engineering, as well as into professions such as law or medicine. The department's long history and reputation for excellence in its graduates have ensured that Aerospace and Ocean Engineering graduates are recruited by industry even in difficult economic times. 

Student Outcomes:  As a result of their completion of the Aerospace or Ocean Engineering program curriculum, students will attain:

  1. An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering
  2. An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data
  3. An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability
  4. An ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams
  5. An ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
  6. An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
  7. An ability to communicate effectively
  8. The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context
  9. A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning
  10. A knowledge of contemporary issues
  11. An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.

B.S. in Aerospace Engineering Enrollment (note enrollment numbers do not include freshmen)

2004 338
2005 354
2006 339
2007 354
2008 329
2009 345
2010 371
2011 415
2012 443
2013 419
2014 421
2015 397

B.S. in Ocean Engineering Enrollment (note enrollment numbers do not include freshmen)

Fall 2004 71
Fall 2005 66
FAll 2006 71
Fall 2007 60
Fall 2008 77
Fall 2009 93
Fall 2010 102
Fall 2011 106
Fall 2012 113
Fall 2013 91
Fall 2014 68
Fall 2015 53

B.S. in Aerospace Engineering Degrees Conferred

2008-2009 91
2009-2010 81
2010-2011 85
2011-2012 96
2012-2013 117
2013-2014 108
2014-2015 142
2015-2016 96

B.S. in Ocean Engineering Degrees Conferred

2008-2009 17
2009-2010 28
2010-2011 31
2011-2012 39
2012-2013 25
2013-2014 32
2014-2015 24
2015-2016 21

Undergraduate Program Objectives

The Aerospace and Ocean Engineering undergraduate programs’ educational objectives are that, within the first few years after graduation, graduates will combine their undergraduate education and post-graduation experience to:

  • Be successful in entry-level professional positions or in graduate study in aerospace and ocean engineering.
  • Apply the theoretical, experimental and computational fundamentals of science and engineering to professional practice, advanced study and continuing professional development.
  • Apply their broad understanding of fluid dynamics, vehicle dynamics and control, propulsion and structures to design and synthesis of aerospace or ocean systems in a team environment.
  • Communicate their work effectively to both experts in their field and non-technical individuals.

ABET, is the recognized accreditor for college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology. Among the most respected accreditation organizations in the U.S., ABET has provided leadership and quality assurance in higher education for over 75 years.

Undergraduate Advising

AOE Advising Center
224-A Randolph Hall
Phone (540) 231-6699

Office Hours

8:30 AM to 12:00 Noon
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM

Appointments are recommended to ensure availability but walk-ins are welcome. Ms. Kapania can also be reached by phone or email and welcomes the opportunity to discuss your academic and career plans.