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Learn aeronautical engineering with online courses and programs

Aeronautical engineering focuses on the safety and efficiency of flying machines, such as airplanes, helicopters, and rocket ships. It is a multidisciplinary field that combines the principles of physics, mathematics, materials science, and aerodynamics.
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What is aeronautical engineering?

Aeronautical engineers work on the designing, testing, and production of air and space crafts. Their work is concerned with the performance, stability, maneuverability, and structural integrity of various types of flying machines.

Some of the main branches of aeronautical engineering include:

  • Aerodynamics: Focuses on how air interacts with aircraft surfaces, which contributes to the optimization of dynamic components and overall performance.

  • Propulsion: Focuses on the design and development of air and spacecraft engines, which can promote better fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.

  • Avionics and control systems: Focuses on the electronic systems that control and monitor aircraft functions, which can enhance their safety and efficiency.

  • Flight testing and simulation: Focuses on the evaluation of air and spacecraft designs, which may involve the use of computer-assisted design (CAD) software.

Individuals who are interested in aviation and space exploration, or have strong abilities in mathematics, physics, problem-solving, and engineering design may find aerospace engineering to be an exciting potential career path.

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Aeronautical engineering course curriculum

If you want to pursue or advance your career in aeronautical engineering, it’s important to build a strong educational foundation. For learners just getting started, introductory courses can cover fundamental concepts, including:

  • Aircraft stability, navigation, propulsion, and structure

  • Principles of aerodynamics

  • Flight mechanics

  • Aeronautics, aerodynamics, and flight mechanics

From there, you could explore coursework specific to a particular area or focus within the aeronautical engineering field. Curricula may delve into topics from sustainable engineering and the future of aeronautics innovation, to hypersonics.

Start building the knowledge you need to work in the aeronautical engineering field with edX. From accelerated boot camps to comprehensive programs that allow you to earn a bachelor’s degree or (for more advanced learners) a master’s degree, there are many different learning formats available to fit your needs. Busy professionals can even take advantage of executive education courses tailored to those in leadership and management positions. Find the right course for you.

Explore aeronautical engineering jobs

There are many roles involved in the development of air and spacecraft, each contributing to the overall design, performance, and safety of different machines. As you progress through your learning journey, consider the following career paths within the field of aeronautical engineering:

  • Aerospace engineer: Designs, develops, and tests aircraft and spacecraft.Footnote 1

  • Avionics engineer: Designs and develops electronic systems used in aircraft and spacecraft.Footnote 2

  • Flight test engineer: Plans, executes, and analyzes flight tests to validate aircraft and spacecraft performance, safety, and compliance with regulations.Footnote 3

  • Research scientist: Focuses on advancing the aeronautics field through cutting-edge research.Footnote 4

  • Aerospace project manager: Oversees the development, testing, and production of aerospace projects, ensuring they are completed on time and within budget.Footnote 5

While many of these roles exist within similar industries, employment qualifications for careers that rely on aeronautics engineering skills differ based on the position and employer. Some roles may require a higher level degree, while others may only ask for a demonstration of skills that can be acquired in a tech project management boot camp, for example.  Before deciding on which learning path will work best for you, research potential roles you hope to pursue and align your coursework with your professional aspirations.