One of the major strengths of the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Mississippi State University is the exposure undergraduate students have to current Aerospace Engineering practices. The Aerospace Engineering academic experience is centered on student involvement. The Department of Aerospace Engineering strives to provide qualified students with a nationally competitive aerospace education recognized by industry, government, and academic leaders.
Mississippi State University is a comprehensive land-grant institution founded in 1878 near Starkville, Mississippi. The university continues to build on its traditional strengths in engineering and scientific agriculture, but offers more than 100 majors at the undergraduate level. Mississippi State is among the nation’s top 70 research universities by the National Science Foundation and is a Research II university as classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. About 2,500 degrees are awarded annually at the bachelor’s through doctoral levels. The state’s largest university enrolls almost 16,000 students from every state and about 80 countries at its main campus and at campuses in Meridian, Vicksburg, and Bay St. Louis. The university has more than 840 faculty members and an alumni family of nearly 90 000. Mississippi State competes in nine women’s and seven men’s varsity sports in the prestigious Southeastern Conference. West Point native and Mississippi State alumnus Malcolm Portera became the university’s sixteenth president on January 1, 1998. He has announced goals of making Mississippi State the region’s premier public university in undergraduate instruction while moving into the top 50 public research institutions.
In keeping with the university’s goals, the Aerospace Engineering program at MSU focuses on combining academic work with hands-on experience in state-of-the-art laboratories and in research with faculty members, all of which is reinforced in the classroom. The department is recognized across the southeast for its student/faculty relationships. The courses are small and informal, which allows more interactions between the student and the faculty member. Students who study Aerospace Engineering at Mississippi State know they will have access to the department’s faculty members. Undergraduate involvement with the research faculty programs gives students experience and understanding in areas not yet covered in textbooks. This experience enhances their value in a competitive job market. The quality and range of faculty research projects present undergraduates with invaluable opportunities not found at most engineering schools around the country.
Mississippi State’s undergraduate program leading to a Bachelor’s of Science in Aerospace Engineering primarily focuses on the analysis, design, testing, and prediction of performance of aircraft, missiles, and spacecraft which operate in the atmosphere, outer space, or in a fluid medium. The objectives of the curriculum are to provide the student with a fundamental engineering education based on a strong foundation in mathematics and the physical and engineering sciences, and to apply engineering fundamentals specifically to the field of Aerospace Engineering. The major area of study comprising the Aerospace Engineering curriculum at MSU include aerodynamics, propulsion, flight mechanics, structures, stability and control, astrodynamics, composite materials, and multidisciplinary design.
The teaching and research facilities of the Department of Aerospace Engineering and the College of Engineering at Mississippi State University are among the most advanced of any campus in the country. The specialized teaching and research facilities available to the department’s education program include:The Raspet Flight Research Laboratory — The largest such university flight laboratory in the nation, the Raspet Lab has a long history of research in aerodynamics, flight mechanics, and structural mechanics of aircraft. It is nationally recognized for its accomplishments in the design and operation of new and unconventional aircraft. The lab includes a complete aircraft manufacturing facility that was used in the production of an all-composite, 8 000 lb., twin turbofan aircraft in cooperation with the Honda R&D Co. The Raspet facilities are state-of-the-art and offer a unique level of involvement and excellent hands-on experience for graduate students. The lab is also home to 10 prototype or research aircraft, making it unique among such facilities on college campuses in the country.ERC –Founded in 1990 as the NSF Engineering Research Center for Computational Field Simulation with a Distinguished Professor of Aerospace Engineering as Director, the ERC now comprises several independent centers or groups with the common characteristics of a multi-disciplinary, team-orientated effort that is involved in application and advancement of computational science and engineering using high-performance computing. About a third of the ASE faculty are actively involved in computational research in the ERC, andseveral ERC research faculty hold adjunct appointments in the department.Diagnostic instrumentation & Analysis Laboratory — Established in 1980, DIAL is an interdisciplinary research center in the College of Engineering. The laboratory has established a tradition of excellence in diagnostic research at MSU. DIAL’s research program includes the development and application of advanced diagnostic systems, analytical model development and validation, test facilities, process development, and on-site field measurements and analysis. The lab also includes a combustion test facility, plasma torch systems, Hewlett-Packard measurement and control system, and two mobile instrument laboratories. Dial’s primary academic effort is at the graduate level.Walker Laboratories — This area contains educational labs such as a materials testing lab with two servo hydraulic testing machines, a design lab with 15 PC workstations used to develop designs of aerospace vehicles, and a computer laboratory with 10 Sun workstations for research and general use by students.Patterson Engineering Laboratories — This laboratory building houses educational labs including a subsonic and supersonic wind tunnel, wood and metal working shops, a water tunnel, a sports equipment testing facility, a liquid rocket motor test stand, equipment for calibration and testing of accelerometers, and a facility for studying supersonic flow past a step.
Careers for the Aerospace Engineering graduate cover a diverse range of job opportunities. During the 90’s, the industry saw a rebirth in employment opportunities. Well-educated engineers such as those produced by the Aerospace Engineering program at MSU have the capability of working on large projects, inside and outside the traditional aerospace industry. Aerospace engineers have the expertise and training sought by industries nationwide to provide guidance on systems and approaches to completing various tasks. Graduates may work in a variety of specialties such as aerodynamics research, applied aerodynamics, wind tunnel testing, structural analysis, propulsion engineering, automatic control development, systems analysis, flight testing, astrodynamics, aircraft or spacecraft design, guidance and control, flight safety, manufacturing liaison, and sales & marketing.
The Cooperative Education Program at Mississippi State is the 12th largest in the nation, with 1100 students enrolled. Through this unique educational program, some Aerospace Engineering students obtain practical on-the-job training along with their academic studies. Participants obtain a minimum of one year related practical experience in their chosen field of study by alternating semesters between work and school. It is this combination of academic education and practical work experience that allows co-op students to acquire a total education.
In order to provide a quality Aerospace Engineering academic program, The Department of Aerospace Engineering maintains an outstanding faculty with a history of excellence in teaching and research. Faculty members have studied at many of the nation’s finest universities and are leaders in their respective fields. Many also have substantial industrial and government experience. They are well acquainted with the state-of-the-art technology in their fields.
The opportunity to develop socially as well as academically is an important aspect of the total experience at Mississippi State University. The university supports some 300 student organizations in which students can participate and enhance their college experience. Several organizations that are related to Aerospace Engineering include: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), Sigma Gamma Tau (Aerospace Engineering honor society), Tau Beta Pi (national engineering honor society), National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and Society of Women Engineers (SWE).One of the university’s more dynamic student groups is the student chapter of the AIAA in the Department of Aerospace Engineering. The AIAA is the national technical society for aerospace engineers and is devoted to the programs of engineering and science in aviation and space. Mississippi State’s award-winning student chapter of AIAA is involved in many activities, including sponsoring field trips, lectures, and recreational events, and participating in national design and technical paper competitions. Papers by Aerospace Engineering students from MSU have won top honors at the regional, national, and international levels in AIAA competitions in recent years.
Mississippi State students can compete for scholarships at the university, college, and departmental levels. Scholarships for freshman, transfer, and upper-class students are awarded on the basis of need, ACT/SAT scores, and leadership abilities. More than 70 percent of the students at MSU receive some type of financial aid. The Department of Aerospace Engineering also employs many students during the year to help faculty members on research projects. Students interested in part-time employment can earn money to help defray the cost of education.
For More Information
If you would like more information about the undergraduate program in Aerospace Engineering at Mississippi State University, or to inquire about touring our facilities and meeting with academic representatives please contact Machaunda Bush.