College of Engineering

Aerospace Engineering


Only Aerospace Engineering program in Ky.


Projected growth for aerospace engineers through 2028


Aerospace-related employers in Kentucky

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Dr. Michael Renfro

Tennessee Valley Authority Professor and Chair of the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department.

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

College of Engineering

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

151 Ralph G. Anderson Building

Lexington, KY 40506-0503

Program website

(859) 257-6336

  • BS

Aerospace engineers are employed to design or build aircraft, spacecraft, satellites, missiles and supporting aerospace systems. Aerospace engineers are employed by industry, academia and government labs for manufacturing, analysis and design and research and development. 

Design Your Future

The University of Kentucky is proud to offer the only undergraduate degree in Aerospace Engineering in the state of Kentucky. New graduates are needed to meet industry demand in Kentucky, the Southeast region and the country. The Aerospace Engineering program is led by numerous faculty members with highly reputable research and expertise in a broad range of aerospace applications including controls, propulsion and hypersonics. 

Industries Looking for You 

  • Aviation
  • National defense
  • Government labs
  • Space and spacecraft
  • Manufacturing
  • Uncrewed aerial vehicles (drones)
“Working at NASA means collaborating with people with different backgrounds, and projects like the 2017 Solar Eclipse Ballooning Project taught me a lot about working with people in different majors and fields of engineering."

Emily Essex

UK graduate and former intern at NASA Johnson Space Center

Admission Requirements

Fall 2023 first-time freshmen: Automatic admission to the College of Engineering will be based on meeting the below requirements. However, if you cannot take or choose not to submit ACT or SAT scores with your admission application, a holistic review will be used to determine your admission to the engineering program.

Students may directly enroll as pre-engineering students; however, there are minimum admission requirements. Minimum freshman entry requirements are an ACT Math score of 25 or higher (or an SAT Math score of 590 or higher) and a 3.0 or higher unweighted high school GPA. Additionally, students must also meet the minimum Kentucky statewide academic readiness requirements for reading and writing. If you do not meet the initial admission requirements, please contact for information about alternative routes to admission to the College of Engineering.

Admission requirements for transfer students can be accessed here.

First-Year Engineering Program

The smartest, most talented engineers around the world are devoting themselves to tackling immense global challenges. As a First-Year Engineering (FYE) student, you get to join them!

In 2008, the National Academy of Engineering identified 14 “Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st Century”—opportunities to greatly increase humanity’s sustainability, health, security and joy of living. Themes include making solar energy economical, enhancing virtual reality, reverse-engineering the brain, securing cyberspace, providing access to clean water and more.

These ambitious goals demand engineers roll up their sleeves and get to work, which is why we put them front and center during your first year as an engineering student. We have designed the FYE program to inspire you. We want you to discover your passion. We want you to explore where you might make your unique contribution. We want you to get your hands dirty and make stuff that might, one day, lead to a breakthrough.

Why wait until you’re taking upper-level classes to figure out what interests you? Through real engineering classes taught by top faculty and exposure to engineering’s greatest challenges, the FYE program gets you into the game from day one.

Degree Requirements

The following curriculum meets the requirements for a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering, provided the student satisfies the graduation requirements of the College of Engineering.


2022-23 Major Sheet 2022-23 Major Sheet


The aerospace engineering program offers numerous opportunities to obtain hands-on experience through summer internships and co-operative education programs with aerospace companies that have operations throughout the U.S. These experiences often lead to full-time engineering professional positions upon graduation. For those interested in research, the program offers numerous undergraduate research opportunities in each of the specialized areas of aerospace engineering. 

The Engineering Career and Co-op Center is a valuable resource for assisting you with developing job and co-op search skills; participating in education-abroad programs and participating in research endeavors and career network development so you can secure a rewarding career in your chosen field of study.

Student Involvement

Student organizations are an outgrowth of student interest and serve the needs of a variety of students. Many provide programs that supplement the classroom experience and extend into areas of service for the community. All provide learning and leadership training for participating students. Student organizations that are typical of interest to Aerospace Engineering students include the student chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, which focuses on promoting aerospace involvement on campus, preparing for a career in aerospace and collaborating on projects that build hands-on skills while reinforcing classroom education; and SpaceLex, which builds large sounding rockets from scratch that compete internationally at the annual Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition competition. Significant participation also occurs regionally and nationally with the professional societies through attendance and active participation at professional meetings that are held across the United States.

Scholarship Opportunities

In 2021, Boeing awarded eight scholarships to students participating in the aerospace certificate program. We hope to award similar scholarships from Boeing to undergraduate students in the Aerospace Engineering program. Aerospace Engineering students are also eligible for scholarships through the University of Kentucky and the UK College of Engineering. 

Career Prospects in Aerospace Engineering

Aerospace plays a significant role in Kentucky’s economy. Kentucky’s aerospace exports are the top export in the state and number three in the United States, behind only California and Washington. According to the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, Kentucky exported more than $14.6 billion in aerospace products and parts in 2019. Kentucky is home to 79 aerospace-related facilities that employ over 19,000 people, including General Electric, Lockheed Martin, Belcan Corp., Raytheon, General Dynamics Group, and Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.  The aerospace program will support Kentucky’s aerospace industry and promote economic development by training proficient aerospace engineers. 

At the national level, aerospace is one of the healthiest industrial segments of the US economy. The US accounts for approximately half of the world’s global aerospace production. Aerospace & Defense is the largest US deficit-reducing industry, effectively cutting the federal trade deficit by 10% (“2019 Facts & Figures: U.S. Aerospace & Defense”, Aerospace Industries Association). Employment of aerospace engineers in the US is projected to grow 6% from 2018 to 2028, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are also many emerging aerospace employment opportunities. The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) market is projected to grow at a rate of 10% from 2016 to 2024. Investment in space companies (e.g., SpaceX, OneWeb, and Telesat) reached a record high in 2018; and Morgan Stanley projects that the global space industry could generate revenue of more than $1 trillion by 2040, up from $350 billion currently.

Imagine Your Future

Aerospace Engineers

Aerospace engineers design primarily aircraft, spacecraft, satellites, and missiles.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Click the link for more info.

Median Salary


per year in 2021

Number of Jobs


in 2021

10 Year Job Outlook


new jobs (average)

Work Environment

Aerospace engineers are employed in industries whose workers design or build aircraft, missiles, systems for national defense, or spacecraft. Aerospace engineers are employed primarily in manufacturing, analysis and design, research and development, and the federal government. 

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Dr. Michael Renfro

Tennessee Valley Authority Professor and Chair of the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department.

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

College of Engineering

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

151 Ralph G. Anderson Building

Lexington, KY 40506-0503

(859) 257-6336