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Aviation Science Colleges and Degree Programs

Find out what you'll learn in undergraduate and graduate degree programs in aviation and aeronautical science, and explore the program options available. Discover tips for choosing an aviation science school.

What You Need to Know

Aviation science programs can prepare you for a career in the large industry surrounding aviation and aeronautics. Depending on your focus and level of education, there are many different career opportunities in this field.

Schools Many institutions offer flight training and certification in an FAA-certified facility, job placement assistance and some online courses
Programs Associate's and bachelor's degrees in aviation science or aeronautical science; master's degree in aviation science, aeronautics or aerospace administration; doctoral programs in aviation or aerospace engineering
Courses Aircraft maintenance, safety in aviation, meteorology and airport operations, resource management, flight analysis, aircraft performance, decision-making in the aerospace industry, air traffic control, regulations in aviation, aerodynamics

What Types of Aviation Science Degree Programs Are Available?

Associate's and bachelor's programs in aviation science, as well as aeronautical science, are available. These programs are typically designed for aspiring pilots. Some bachelor's-level programs are degree completion programs; you'll need to earn an associate's degree before applying for enrollment. You might be eligible to take the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) pilot certification exam upon graduation from either program. Due to extensive experiential learning requirements, most undergraduate programs are campus-based.

What Will I Learn in an Undergraduate Program?

In an associate's program, you'll receive hands-on training in flight simulators and real aircraft. Many associate's programs require completion of general education courses. In addition to qualifying for the FAA's pilot certification exam, you might be eligible to take the FAA's certification exam for flight instructors.

Similar to associate's programs, most bachelor's programs require general education coursework. You'll spend a significant amount of time learning how to fly as a private or commercial pilot. You may also have the opportunity to participate in an internship with a local aviation company. Some aviation science programs offer the option to specialize as an airline, commercial or military pilot. An Associate in Science in Aeronautics and a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Science are two degree options. These courses may be covered in an undergraduate degree program:

  • Air traffic control
  • Regulations in aviation and aerodynamics
  • Aircraft maintenance
  • Safety in aviation
  • Meteorology
  • Aiport operations

What About Graduate Programs?

Master's programs in aviation science, aeronautics or aerospace administration are typically designed for aviation professionals interested in pursuing supervisory, managerial or administrative positions within the industry. Doctoral programs in aviation are uncommon, but some options are available. Some graduate programs can be completed entirely or partially online.

A master's program in aviation science or aeronautics might allow you to specialize in air traffic management or safety systems. Most master's programs require completion of a thesis. At the doctoral level, some degree options include a Doctor of Philosophy in Aerospace Engineering or Aviation. You might cover the following courses in a graduate degree program:

  • Resource management
  • Flight analysis
  • Aircraft performance
  • Decision-making in the aerospace industry
  • Aerospace technology development
  • Aviation logistics management
  • Aerospace simulation systems

What Should I Look For in a School?

Prior to enrolling in an associate's- or bachelor's-level aviation science program, you may want to check to be sure the school offers flight training and certification opportunities in an FAA-certified and licensed facility. You might look for schools that offer job placement assistance upon graduation. If you're a working professional interested in earning a master's degree, consider whether some of your required courses will be available online.