It took thousands of years before technology was sophisticated enough for the development of a successful powered aircraft. Yet less than a century later, aircraft fly much faster than the speed of sound, and spacecraft travel to other planets within the solar system, and beyond. We have come a long way since that windy day at Kitty Hawk. All of this might have taken place within a lifetime; however, we are on the threshold of even more exciting endeavors. They will include things like space colonization, space based solar power stations, and the capability to fly to any point on earth in a matter of only a couple of hours.
Aerospace engineering is both the most specialized and the most diversified of fields. Aerospace professionals apply their knowledge to design better aircraft, send a spacecraft to Mars, or design a satellite to predict the weather. The same aerospace professionals may also apply their knowledge to study wind stress on new buildings; to eliminate energy waste in skyscrapers; to design automobiles, high-speed trains and ships; or to aid in artificial heart research. The future of aerospace engineering is as exciting and challenging as its history.
The educational objectives of the aerospace engineering program are (1) To provide students with a comprehensive education in aerospace engineering with coverage of all major sub-disciplines. All students will receive an appropriate background in mathematics, science, and engineering fundamentals, and further studies in aerodynamics, structures, flight mechanics, stability and control, propulsion and aerospace design. (2) To provide students with preparation for careers in aerospace engineering or related fields by emphasizing analysis and problem solving skills and fostering the following attributes: individual initiative, ability to work in teams, good communication skills, and ethical professional behavior. (3) To cultivate in our students an appreciation for lifelong learning including graduate study and career paths in research and development.
Accreditation by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, Inc.
Laboratory facilities, including a 3-by-4 foot closed-circuit low-speed wind tunnel equipped with a six-component load cell; a 6-inch square blowdown supersonic wind tunnel capable of operating at mach numbers as high as 4.5; a modern data acquisition and processing system that can also be used to control experiments; graphics computers and terminals for design and research problems; and a water tunnel for flow studies.
New equipment and facilities continually being added to the College to keep abreast of current technological developments and to maintain its position of excellence in The California State University System.
Special study possibilities that provide students (individually and in teams) the opportunity to work with faculty members on a variety of projects, such as wind and water tunnel testing of vehicles (aircraft, cars, yachts, etc.), aerodynamics research, structural analysis, aeroelasticity, and composite structures. For example, aerospace engineering students performed the aerodynamic analysis on the SDSU solar-powered Suntrakker. In addition, our students have recently placed first in both the international Design, Build and Fly team competition and the AIAA National Undergraduate Student Paper competition.
The MESA Engineering Program (MEP) provides assistance to ensure student success. The development of academic excellence is fostered through a coordinated program of advising, mentoring, tutoring, group study, and many other support services. In addition, the College of Engineering sponsors the MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) Pre-College Program, which operates in many local high schools to encourage entrance into math-based careers. For additional information, please contact MEP at (619) 594-0232.
Student organizations include Sigma Gamma Tau, the aerospace engineering honor society, a very active chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Many other active student chapters of professional and honorary societies, each with one or more faculty advisers, are housed within the College of Engineering to support and enhance various academic endeavors. The student chapters include: National Society of Black Engineers; Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers; and Society of Women Engineers.
The job market for our aerospace engineering graduates has improved significantly in recent years along with the growth in the local aerospace industry. In addition, aerospace engineering graduates are well qualified for employment in a wide variety of related fields. They may be employed in a number of different job functions, including:
- Research and Development - the discovery of new methods of analysis, products, and processes
- Design - the determination of the structure, arrangement and function of the components of a system or the system itself
- Test - the testing of the performance of new products in conjunction with research, design, and development
- Manufacturing - the building and assembling of products to meet rigid specifications
- Customer Relations - the interaction with buyers of the product
- Management - many engineers eventually go into engineering management, some into general management
To further explore career options in this field, visit the Career Services Web site for more information.
You can view more complete information regarding the Aerospace Engineering program in the General Catalog. All students are responsible for reading and knowing the information pertinent to their areas of study available in the General Catalog. It contains requirements for all academic majors, course descriptions, policies, and regulations governing progress at the university. Catalogs are distributed at all New Student Orientation programs. To order a Catalog, call (619) 594-7535.