FAQs for Plebes considering Aerospace Engineering
Will being an Aerospace Engineering student improve my chances at becoming a pilot in the Navy or Marine Corps?
The short answer is no. The best way to become a pilot is to earn solid grades in whatever major you choose. Selecting a major in which you are honestly interested and in which you will be willing to work hard is the most important part in securing your service selection first choice. That being said, the Aerospace Engineering major provides students with a more in-depth understanding of the systems they will work with in aviation than any other major, and certainly helps prepare students for a career in that field.
Do I have to want to fly to be an Aerospace Engineering student?
Certainly not. This major will provide you with an understanding of the principles that govern all aerospace systems, not just airplanes. Such systems exist broadly throughout the Navy and Marine Corps, especially in weaponry-- just think of cruise missiles or any of the other smart weapons in use today.
I've been told that Aerospace Engineering is a narrow field that will limit my future options. Is this true?
No. Aerospace Engineering combines a long list of disciplines. Look at the course descriptions for either of the tracks here: Aeronautics or Astronautics. These courses combine the disciplines of aerodynamics, astrodynamics, propulsion (both jets and rockets), stability and control, performance, computer programming, system integration...; in short, you will be well versed in a variety of topics because that's what is needed to design a complete vehicle for either space or air travel. Specialization or "narrow" study is not possible, all Aerospace Engineers must be broadly educated.
What are my job opportunities out of the Navy?
The aerospace industry is booming. In fact, it is one of the only industries in America that has both a positive contribution to the national economy and a sizeable research and development budget. That means that you can be sure that your degree will go to use at one of the many industry companies. The job descriptions available to Aerospace Engineers include research, design & development, management, field service, marketing & sales, software development, or of course teaching the next generation of "Aeros."
Can I be a varsity athlete and an Aerospace Engineering student?
Yes. Much like plebe year, your three "major" years at USNA are all about balance. Learn to make priorities and properly manage your time already. Those same principles have helped 100s of previous midshipmen graduate from the department with both impressive class standings and varsity letters.
When do I have to decide between "aero" and "astro"?
This decision will happen near the end of youngster year. If you're not sure which track is right for you, check out thecapstone project pages. These pages give you perspective on the final design products each track completes in their 1/C year and might help spark your interest in one of the directions.
Do aircraft, rockets, satellites, missiles, or spacecraft interest you? If so, take a further look at what our students study, build and fly...