Aeronautics & Astronautics

Department Head: Jaime Peraire | Email | Website|||

77 Massachusetts Ave. • 37-207 • Cambridge, MA 02139 • (617) 253-1981

MIT’s Aeronautics and Astronautics Department is at the forefront of developments in air and space technology. Our collaborative, multidisciplinary approach prepares students to develop and implement reliable, safe, economically feasible, and environmentally responsible vehicles and technologies used in exploration, communication, and national security.

The department collaborates with other departments at MIT as well as government agencies, other universities, and scientists and scholars at NASA, Boeing, the U.S. Air Force, Stanford University, Lockheed Martin, and the U.S. Department of Transportation on research including:

Aerospace Information Engineering

Autonomous systems, software, communications including space-ground network interfaces and protocols for inter-networking space and terrestrial networks; controls, and human-machine and human-software interaction

Aerospace Systems Engineering

System architecture and engineering, simulation and modeling, safety and risk management, policy, economics, and organizational behavior

Aerospace Vehicles Engineering

The engineering of air and space vehicles, propulsion systems, fluid and solid mechanics, thermodynamics, acoustics, combustion, controls, computation, design, and simulation

Environment and Energy

Aviation’s impact on climate change, air quality, human health, noise pollution, and the economy

Computation, Design, and Simulation

Development of simulations to analyze aircraft aerodynamics, strength and durability of nano-structured metals, and the effects of explosions on structures and humans

Air Transportation

Systems design and human factors, weather hazards, queuing approaches, and airline revenue management to increase air transportation safety and efficiency

Large-scale Complex Systems

Fielding large systems to adapt to shifting user and operator needs, emerging technologies, and changing policies and regulations


Our alumni become leaders in private industry, government service, and education, informing the policies that shape aerospace research and development. Degree options include:

Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics

The two-year program prepares students for an advanced position in the aerospace field and provides a solid foundation for doctoral study. Students are required to complete a thesis and related research or design experience.

Doctoral Degree

The PhD and ScD emphasize in-depth study, with a significant research project in a focused area. Students must complete an individual course of study, submit and defend a thesis proposal and a thesis of original research.

Both programs are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. 


Students graduate prepared for entry-level positions in the aerospace field and further education at the master’s level. They find careers in commercial and military aircraft engineering, spacecraft engineering, space exploration, air- and space-based telecommunications, teaching, research, military service, and related technology fields, as well as business, law, medicine, and public service. Degree options include:

Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering (16)

Provides students with a solid foundation in the disciplines related to aerospace vehicle engineering and information technologies, including aerodynamics, propulsion, structural design, advanced materials, dynamics, human factors, control systems, computer programming, electronics, communications, and autonomous robotic systems.

Bachelor of Science in Engineering (16-ENG)

The program offers flexibility within the context of aerospace engineering and is a complement to the Course 16 program. 16-ENG students develop a deeper level of understanding and skill in autonomous systems, computational engineering, engineering management, communications, software engineering, energy, environment, computational sustainability, space exploration, and transportation.