Aeronautics and Astronautics Program

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Program Requirements 2013-14

Stanford's Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics prepares students for professional positions in industry, government, and academia through a comprehensive program of graduate teaching and research. In this broad program, students have the opportunity to learn and integrate multiple engineering disciplines. The program emphasizes structural, aerodynamic, guidance and control, and propulsion problems of aircraft and spacecraft.

The principal purpose of the undergraduate interdisciplinary major in Aeronautics and Astronautics is to provide an opportunity for interested undergraduates to become acquainted with the challenges of the aerospace field, aeronautical and astronautical principles, and the faculty who teach and do research in aeronautics and astronautics. Primarily, the program is designed for students who are strongly interested in aerospace and will pursue subsequent graduate study in the field.

Students interested in aerospace are also encouraged to consider the undergraduate minor in Aeronautics and Astronautics, which is described in the "Minors and Honors" section of this Handbook.

The departmental requirements of this major include a core set of courses required of every Aeronautics and Astronautics major; a set of depth areas from which two areas (four courses) must be chosen; and two engineering electives. Students are expected to consult closely with an advisor about how best to satisfy these and all other requirements of the major, to submit a program planning sheet when declaring the major, and to have a final plan (program sheet) approved by the advisor and department at least one quarter prior to graduation.


Mathematics: 24 units (Fr, So, Jr)
One single-variable calculus series is required: MATH 41 & 42 or 10 Units of AP Calculus credit. Mathematics through ordinary differential equations is a required as a prerequisite to depth courses: CME 100 & 102 (preferred) or MATH 51 & 53. In addition, one statistics course is mandatory: CME 106 (preferred), STATS 110, STATS 116, or CS 109. Finally, CME 104 (MATH 52) is recommended, but not required..
Science: 18 units (Fr, So)
Aero/Astro depth courses rely on a strong foundation in classical physics, particularly mechanics, learned in the required PHYSICS 41 series: PHYSICS 41, 43, & 45. (A score of 4 or a 5 on the AP Physics C Mechanics test places the student out of PHYSICS 41;, a score of 4 or a 5 on the AP Physics C Electricity & Magnetism test places the student out of PHYSICS 43.)
One quarter of chemistry is required for students: CHEM 31X (preferred), ENGR 31, CHEM 31A+B (counts for one quarter, 5 units), or 5 units of AP Chemistry credit. Students are required to take 3 or more additional units of science, fulfilled by the 40 Series Lab Courses (PHYSICS 42, 44, & 46, 1-unit each) or by another Science Elective. For a list of Science Electives approved by the School, see the Science Requirement section of the Approved Courses page.

Technology in Society: One course (3-5 units)
See Chapter 3, Figure 3-3 for a list of courses that fulfill the Technology in Society requirement.

Engineering Fundamentals: Three courses minimum

  • ENGR 30. Engineering Thermodynamics (req'd), 3 units, A,W,Sum
  • CS 106A. Programming Methodology (req'd), 5 units, A,W,S,Sum
  • Fundamentals Elective ( may not use CS 106B or X as elective)

Departmental Requirements: 48 units

  • AA 100.  Introduction to Aeronautics & Astronautics, 3 units
  • ME 70.   Introductory Fluids Engineering, 4 units
  • ME 131A.  Heat Transfer, 4 units
  • ENGR 15. Dynamics 4 units
  • ME 161.  Dynamic Systems, 4 units OR PHYSICS 110. Intermediate Mechanics, 4 units
  • CEE 101A. Mechanics of Materials, 4 units OR ME 80. Mechanics of Materials, 4 units
  • AA 190. Directed Research & Writing in Aero/Astro*, 3 units
  • Engineering Depth Electives: Tow elective courses from ENGR Depth Elective list below)
  • Depth Area I: Two courses from a department Depth Area (see Depth Area lists below), 6 units
  • Depth Area II: Two courses from a second Depth Area, 6 units

*Students should discuss their AA190 (WIM) topic with their advisor & the Student Services Manager during their junior year.
-- Depth Areas: Four courses; two from each of two topic areas + one elective
Students should select four courses from the list below, two from each of two areas. One additional engineering elective (at least 3 units) should also be selected; this may be an additional course from any of the depth areas below, another course in Aeronautics and Astronautics, or an appropriate elective from another Engineering department. In any case, the choice of depth areas and engineering elective should be determined in consultation with the Aeronautics and Astronautics major advisor.
Dynamics and Controls
ENGR 105. Feedback Control Design, 3 units
ENGR 205. Intro to Control Design Techniques, 3 units
AA 242A. Classical Dynamics, 3 units
AA 271A. Dynamics and Control of Spacecraft and Aircraft, 3 units
AA 279. Spacecraft Mechanics, 3 units
Systems Design
AA 236A,B. Spacecraft Design, Spacecraft Design Laboratory; 3-5, 3 units
AA 241A,B. Introduction to Aircraft Design, Synthesis, and Analysis; 3, 3 units
Fluids and CFD
AA 200. Applied Aerodynamics, 3 units
AA 210A. Fundamentals of Compressible Flow, 3 units
AA 214A/CME 206. Introduction to Numerical Methods for Engineering, 3 units
AA 283. Aircraft & Rocket Propulsion, 3 units
ME 131B. Fluid Mechanics: Compressible Flow and Turbomachinery, 4 units
AA 240A. Analysis of Structures I, 3 units
AA 240B. Analysis of Structures II, 3 units
AA 256. Mechanics of Composites, 3 units

Plus free electives to bring total units to the 180 required for graduation.

For AA 4-year plans and program sheets, go to the Navigation bar. Select from any year you are enrolled at Stanford.


1. Print your Stanford unofficial transcript from Axess.
2. Download the AA Program Sheet from the Program Sheets page. Complete the Program Sheet indicating how you plan to fulfill the major requirements – or do this when you meet with your advisor. Your program proposal may change as you progress in the program: submit revisions in consultation with your advisor. Submit a final Program Sheet at least two quarters before you graduate.
3. Complete the form below and take it, along with your transcript and Program Sheet, to the Aero/Astro Student Services Manager (Durand Building, room 250) for an academic advisor assignment.
4. Make an appointment with your advisor to discuss your program. Have your advisor sign the Program Sheet and the declaration form.
5. Return the signed forms to the Aero/Astro Student Services Manager.
6. Declare the Aero/Astro major on Axess!

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