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Aeronautics

The Breakdown

We’re not meant to fly.  We shouldn’t be able to soar through the sky, moving in between the clouds.  And yet, thanks to the aviation industry we can.  If you’ve always been fascinated by air travel and have an insatiable curiosity for subjects ranging from airport layouts to flight routes, then aeronautics could likely be the major for you!

Not to sound repetitive but, as an aeronautics major, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about all aspects of aviation and the airline industry.  A number of schools offering aeronautics as a major divide the department into sub-categories.  Indeed, you might be asked to focus on aeronautical systems engineering, aeronautical studies, air traffic control, flight technology or aviation management.  Your coursework will touch upon topics like flight systems, propulsion and aircraft design.  And you can expect to partner your classroom work with practical application requirements such as internships or flight lessons.     

Should you major in aeronautics, you will find it’s important to be a person who works well under pressure and doesn’t get overwhelmed by stress.  It’s also a field that revolves around people.  Therefore, strong communication skills and patience will be required in spades.  And of course, you should be able to tell the difference between Wilbur and Orville Wright.

 

Nuts and Bolts

As an aeronautics major, your coursework will cover a range of aviation topics, such as: Elements of Flight Theory, Fundamentals of Air Traffic Control, Aviation Safety Theory, Aviation Law, Applied Flight Dynamics I, Airport Management, Aircraft Design, Fluid Dynamics, Meteorology, Instrument Pilot Theory, Electronics and Fuel Systems, Human Factors in Aviation, Commercial Flight Training and Aeronautical Systems Engineering Technology.

Decisions, Decisions

Combining their love of flight and technology (and throwing in some business for those interested in airport management), aeronautics majors might also enjoy studying aerospace engineering, physics, astronomy, electrical engineering, information technology, mechanical engineering, atmospheric science, mechanical engineering, applied mathematics, astrophysics and business management.

What's Next

As you have likely already deduced, aeronautics majors typically seek career opportunities within the aviation industry.  Jobs exist both in the private and public sector and recent grads can find employment with flight schools, airports, defense contractors, aircraft manufacturers, the military, consulting firms, government transportation agencies and insurance companies (among others).  More specifically, aeronautics majors ultimately might become pilots or air traffic controllers.  They can also work as flight instructors or systems engineers with companies like Boeing.  And of course, some graduates make their way to the business side of aviation, working in airline and airport management or as industry analyst. 

 

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