Together, the Aerospace Engineering department and our National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) earn WSU the No. 1 spot in the National Science Foundation's (NSF) rankings for industry-funded aeronautical research and development expenditures. Additionally, our location in the "Air Capital of the World" solidifies our reputation as one of the top aerospace engineering programs in the country.

Our Rich History

Early History of Aerospace Engineering


  • 1928: Original Department Established
  • 1965: Mechanics Department Merged
  • 1988: Becomes Department of Aerospace Engineering

The origin of today's Aerospace Engineering department goes back to 1928 when the Department of Aeronautical Engineering was established at the University of Wichita. At the time, it was the seventh department in the country to offer the discipline. In 1965, the Department of Engineering Mechanics merged with the Department of Aeronautical Engineering. In 1988, the department name was changed to the Department of Aerospace Engineering.

Aerospace Engineering Students Working in Wind Tunnel


  • 400+ Undergraduate Students
  • 60+ Graduate Students
  • Undergraduate, Graduate and Doctorate Degrees

Today, our Aerospace Engineering department is the seventh oldest in the country, and we are currently ranked No. 1 by the NSF for industry-funded aeronautical research and development expenditures. Our university is also home to NIAR that spends $150 million annually on research. Thanks to our location in the "Air Capital of the World" and various industry partner companies on our campus, students have many opportunities to get real-world experience.

What Sets Us Apart

Wichita Location


Located in the "Air Capital of the World," students and faculty benefit from Wichita's rich aviation heritage and close proximity to major aircraft companies. We have rich collaborative relationships with Airbus, Bombardier-Learjet, GE Aviation, Spirit AeroSystems, Textron/Cessna/Beechcraft and others. However, our graduates work all over the country and world, including at Blue Origin, Boeing, Gulfstream, Kitty Hawk, Lockheed Martin (and the famous Skunk Works), Northrup, Orbital Sciences, SpaceX and Scaled Composites.



The department boasts a strong undergraduate and graduate aeronautics and astronautics curriculum. The department is very strong in the areas of structures, composites, engineering mechanics, applied/ computational/ experimental aerodynamics, controls and flight simulation. 


Flight Simulation Lab


Labs and Research

Labs and Research

We are currently ranked No. 1 by the NSF for industry-funded aeronautical research and development expenditures. Our university is also home to NIAR that spends $150 million annually on research. Therefore, our facilities, including NIAR labs, are among the best in the nation. Students get a chance to use these labs either through class assignments, projects or research.

Real-World Experience

Our cooperative education program is among the best in the country, facilitating placements for students while they are in school. Outstanding students work as co-ops or interns locally and at NASA (including the Armstrong Flight Research, Johnson Space, JPL, Langley Research, Marshall Space Flight and Glenn Research Centers).


Real-world Experience


Welcome Week Clash

Student Involvement

The department sponsors numerous activities for students. Annually, over a dozen small airplanes and many rockets are designed and built. Students also participate in NASA and AIAA competitions and conferences, often taking top honors. Additionally, professional engineering societies host guest speakers and events.


Diversity and Inclusion

WSU and the Aerospace Engineering department aim to cultivate and sustain an inclusive campus that strives for academic excellence by creating an environment that educates, empowers and mobilizes our students, campus and community. In our community, our members view themselves as ambassadors for fundamental freedoms and respect the differences in others.

Learn More


Welcome Week Clash

Meet Our Staff, Faculty and Board

The Aerospace Engineering department is operated by its staff and faculty. We are advised by an Advisory Board of industry professionals.