What Are the Top Aviation Universities?

Keep reading to learn about some of the top aviation universities in the U.S., whether you want to fly a plane or helicopter or work in the operations side of the industry. Explore school and program options, including relevant honors and awards. See what you'll learn through various undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Schools offering Aviation Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are Some Characteristics of the Top Aviation Universities?

If you're interested in a program that teaches you how to pilot an aircraft, you may want to find out which airports are near the school. A top aviation schools has usually been involved with flight or space training through its history. The instructors should have experience in the particular area of aviation that they are teaching. If you're looking for a program that handles aviation operations and business procedures, you might be interested in a school with programs that have been accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

What Are Two of the Top Aviation Universities?

Southern Illinois University in Carbondale

According to U.S. News & World Report in 2019, Southern Illinois University (SIU) was listed at number 226 on the national university rankings and listed at number 129 on the top public school rankings. SIU is accredited by the AACSB.

The aviation flight program at SIU is designed to qualify you for a FAA Commercial Pilot Certificate. Your training would take place at the nearby Southern Illinois Airport. Upon completion of the program, you could pursue internships at a number of major airlines. The aviation management program could lead to flight operations internships at American Airlines, Boeing, United Parcel Service or Delta Airlines. The aviation technologies program was designed in collaboration with the FAA. Through the management program, you could minor in airport management and planning, aircraft product support, or air traffic control. If you're interested in becoming a part of the U.S. Air Force, SIU offers an aerospace studies minor program that could lead to you to become commissioned as an officer in the Air Force. The following degrees are offered at SIU:

  • Associate of Applied Science in Aviation Flight
  • Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management
  • Master of Public Administration - Aviation Concentration

University of North Dakota in Grand Forks

The University of North Dakota (UND) was ranked at number 205 for the 2019 list of best national universities by U.S. News & World Report. UND was the first school to offer a business degree combined with flight training. The business program is accredited by AACSB, and the aviation and air traffic control programs are approved by the Aviation Accreditation Board International.

UND provides opportunities for internships at airline companies, such as Jet Blue, United Airlines and Empire Airlines. You can earn a FAA Commercial Pilot Certificate through some of the aviation programs at UND. The aeronautics program offers a variety of major options, including air traffic control, commercial aviation, flight education, aviation technology management and unmanned aircraft systems operations. The master's program in aviation includes instruction on statistical and research methods that can be applied to commercial aviation or aviation-related government positions. You could pursue the following degrees at UND:

  • Bachelor of Science in Aviation Technology Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Commercial Aviation (Helicopter or Fixed Wing)
  • Bachelor of Science in UAS Operations
  • Bachelor of Science in Flight Education
  • Bachelor of Business Administration in Airport Management
  • Bachelor of Business Administration in Aviation Management
  • Master of Science in Aviation
  • Ph.D. in Aerospace Sciences

Ten Top Aviation Programs

College/UniversityInstitution TypeLocationEstimated Undergrad In-State Tuition*
Ohio State University4-year, PublicColumbus, OH$11,000
Saint Louis University4-year, PrivateSt. Louis, MO$44,000
Central Washington University4-year, PublicEllensburg, WA$8,000
California Baptist University4-year, PrivateRiverside, CA$33,500
University of Central Missouri4-year, PublicWarrensburg, MO$8,000
University of Maine at Augusta4-year, PublicAugusta, ME$8,000
Bridgewater State University4-year, PublicBridgewater, MA$10,000
Utah Valley University4-year, PublicOrem, UT$6,000
Everglades University4-year, PrivateBoca Raton, FL$18,000
Baylor University4-year, PrivateWaco, TX$45,500

*Source: NCES, U.S. Department of Education

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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