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What subjects to focus on as an EE interested in Aerospace?

  1. Jul 17, 2015 #1

    I am currently pursuing my BS in EE. I am interested in avionics and would like to eventually work in the aerospace industry. What sort of topics should I focus on?

    I did an initial search on the forums and people have noted that these subjects are relevant:
    - Control Systems
    - Communication Electronics
    - RF Systems/RF in Wireless Communications
    - Embedded Systems

    Is there anything else I should consider studying? Some other (perhaps relevant?) courses my school offers: digital signal processing, signal analysis and communications, EM radiation and antenna analysis.

    On a related note, would it benefit me at all to take courses in other departments (e.g., physics, CS, math) on the side? I'm mostly asking because I am interested in taking on a minor, and would love to know if there are any other areas of study that would fit well with my current academic goals. If it helps, I would eventually like to earn my Master's in either EE or Aerospace.

    Thank you in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 17, 2015 #2
    Aerospace industries vary depending on your nation. In the US, the Air Force and NASA dominate the field, and most jobs are either with NASA or DoD or their contractors. This gives rise to many peculiarities that may not exist in other countries.

    In the US, I would say that GPA, school reputation, research, and internship experience will count for more in landing a job than details of the courses you take. These jobs are very competitive.
  4. Jul 18, 2015 #3
    I'm in the US. And yeah, I know experience trumps college coursework when I'm trying to find a job. I just needed to fill up some extra space in my schedule and wanted to take some relevant classes. Well, thanks for your post anyway.
  5. Jul 22, 2015 #4


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    any of those would allow you to work in the aerospace industry. It depends on what you want to do.

    If you want to be an airfram desinger (control surfaces, dynamics, etc) then control systems 100%.

    if you want to work with the electronics subsystems, and of the other subcategories would work.

    if you want to be a systems engineer, any of the above would work.
  6. Jul 22, 2015 #5
    Control is a pretty big part of aerospace I gather so that's probably a good route to go generally. But as mentioned aerospace is pretty broad and so most areas of engineering find footing there.
  7. Jul 22, 2015 #6
    Thank you! I'm still thinking about what to specialize in, so I decided to throw in a bit of everything so I can figure out what I want to study in grad school. Nonetheless, I found your descriptions very helpful. Appreciate your post!

    I have heard this too, which is why I'm trying to include the two EE controls courses my school offers. Thanks a lot for your response!

    It was also suggested to me that I pursue an MSEE instead of an MSAE in order to strengthen existing EE skills and save time on "catching up" with prerequisite courses for AE, so I may just try to get into aerospace this way.
  8. Jul 22, 2015 #7
    I'm not sure if you're in the US or not, but this masters from USC (Uni of Southern California) might be up your alley; it's aerospace controls but from an EE perspective:

    http://ee.usc.edu/academics/grad_degree_programs_ms/msee_aerospace.htm [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  9. Jul 23, 2015 #8
    Hi, thanks so much for the link! Actually, I'm in California and USC is one of the schools I've been looking at. I have been trying to look for other masters programs that offer an aerospace option for EE's, but can't really find any, so USC sounds like my best bet for sure.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  10. Jul 23, 2015 #9


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    purdue and cornell are good options. They are listed as ME programs, but you can take EE classes and a lot of the ME courses would be seen in EE programs.
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