Become a aerospace engineering graduate student

The information on this page pertains to applications for the M.S. and Ph.D. programs. Those interested in earning an M.Eng. degree should visit the Office of Advanced Engineering Education website

Application Deadlines

All admission decisions and offers of financial assistance are made on a rolling basis. Most admission decisions and offers of financial assistance are made relatively early in the review process which is why applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their applications far in advance of the posted deadlines.

All applicants (M.S. and Ph.D.) seeking assistantship funding are encouraged to apply by December 1st, our priority deadline.

The majority of our review process for Fall semester occurs between January and early March so applicants are strongly encouraged to have their application materials submitted by the priority deadline as some of our faculty extend assistantship offers earlier in the review process.

For more detailed information about application deadlines, please refer to the online Graduate School Catalog. Please direct all admissions inquiries to

  • The priority deadline for applicants seeking assistantship funding: December 1 (All applicants)
  • The final deadline for all U.S. applicants is April 2, 2024.  (M.S. and Ph.D.)
  • The final deadline for all international applicants, including international applicants currently studying at U.S. institutions, is March 15, 2024.
  • The final deadline for all U.S. applicants is October 3, 2023. (M.S. and Ph.D.)
  • The final deadline for all international applicants, including international applicants currently studying at U.S. institutions is September 29, 2023. (M.S. and Ph.D.)

Here is a general timeline to help you plan for applying to graduate school. This process applies to beginning graduate school in the fall semester following graduation.

If you are applying to the University of Maryland, please be sure to read everything on the Graduate School website about the application process.

Summer Before Senior Year

  • Begin researching potential schools
  • Take a practice GRE test and register for GRE general test
  • Gather information from schools that interest you
  • Ask professors for recommendations or contacts at your prospective programs
  • Take GRE General test and have scores sent to your prospective schools
  • Carefully examine each of the program applications and note any questions or essay topics that will require your attention
  • Draft a statement of purpose
  • Consider which faculty members to ask for letters of recommendation


  • Finalize your list of prospective schools
  • Pick professor(s) who share your research interests from each program
  • Study their work to see how much it interests you
  • Contact your professors who are providing recommendations
  • Revise statements of purpose
    • Tailor each one by school and areas of research that you would pursue (use the information on your potential professor’s work if relevant)


  • Research sources of financial aid
  • Have a friend or writing aid proof-read your admissions essays


  • Finalize your admissions essay
  • Apply for fellowships and other sources of financial aid, as applicable


  • Submit applications
    • NOTE: If you are an international student, the timeline may be different, be sure to contact the graduate admissions office for complete deadlines
  • Track to ensure applications are received and that schools have received your applications and supplementary materials


  • Fill out the Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application


  • If possible, visit the schools that you were accepted to that are your top choices
  • Discuss acceptances and rejections with a faculty member or the career/graduate admissions counselor at your school
  • Notify the program of your acceptance
  • Notify programs that you are declining

Minimum Expected Admission Requirements

  Minimum Expected Requirements Averages of Admitted Students
Masters Program  
GPA 3.2 3.73
GRE Quantitative Percentile Ranking 85 91
Doctoral Program  
GPA 3.5 3.79
GRE Quantitative 90 91

Graduate Records Examination (GRE)

The GRE is encouraged for applicants seeking financial support. Students who submit GRE scores are expected to meet the following minimum scores:

  • Masters Program: GRE quantitative percentile ranking of 85
  • Doctoral Program: GRE quantitative percentile ranking of 90
The conversion for a GRE score (0-170) to a GRE percentile ranking (0-100) changes slightly from year to year.  For scores that qualify as being at or above a minimum ranking of 85 or 90, please refer to the GRE Guide to Scores published by the GRE Examination Organization for the year in which you took the exam.  
For those who took the exam in the 2020-2021 cycle, please page 19 of the GRE Guide to the Use of Scores, where you will find that a numeric score of 165 places you at a percentile ranking of above 85, and a numeric score of 167 places you at a percentile ranking of above 90.  
(Please note that this is not the same as scores of 85% and 90%, i.e not numeric scores of .85 x 170 = 144 and .9 x 170 = 153).

International Applicants: IBT/TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Requirements

Please see the university's policy on English language requirements here.

The Aerospace Engineering Graduate Program encourages applicants with other related engineering backgrounds to apply to our program. The Graduate Admissions Committee may recommend that an incoming student take selected undergraduate courses before the core courses.

The Graduate School requires students to maintain a 3.0 GPA in all courses for credit since enrollment. Prerequisite courses are listed to assure that students have the necessary academic background before enrolling in a given course. The ENAE 283 course (Introduction to Aerospace Systems) is required for students without any aerospace engineering background.

  1. ENAE283 Introduction to Aerospace Systems

    Prerequisite: ENES 102, PHYS 161 and MATH 141
    Co-requisite: PHYS 260 and PHYS 261

    Introduction to airplanes and space vehicles as aerospace systems. Fundamentals that describe these systems. Elements of aerodynamics, airfoils, and wings. Airplane performance, stability, and control. Aircraft and rocket propulsion. Fundamentals of orbital motion. Aspects of vehicle conceptual design.

  2. ENAE311 Aerodynamics I

    Prerequisite: ENAE202, ENAE283, ENES220, MATH241, MATH246, MATH461, PHYS270, and PHYS271
    Co-requisite: ENME232 or ENME320

    Fundamentals of aerodynamics. Elements of compressible flow. Normal and oblique shock waves. Flows through nozzles, diffusers and wind tunnels. Elements of the method of characteristics and finite difference solutions for compressible flows. Aspects of hypersonic flow.

  3. ENAE414 Aerodynamics II

    Prerequisite: ENAE 311

    Aerodynamics of inviscid incompressible flows. Aerodynamic forces and moments. Fluid statics/buoyancy force. Vorticity, circulation, the stream function and the velocity potential. Bernoulli's and Laplace's equations. Flows in low speed wind tunnels and airspeed measurement. Potential flows involving sources and sinks, doublets, and vortices. Development of the theory of airfoils and wings.

Graduate Admissions FAQs

More Information for Applicants

The Aerospace Engineering Graduate Program encourages applicants with other related engineering backgrounds to apply to our program. The Graduate Admissions Committee may recommend that an incoming student take selected undergraduate courses before the core courses. Please review our Graduate Program Prerequisites page.

The University of Maryland’s Graduate School accepts applications through Before completing the application, applicants are asked to check the Admissions Requirements site for specific instructions.

Please note: When completing the Educational Intent section in the online application, there are two entries for the A. James Clark School of Engineering. The Master's and Ph.D. programs are listed in the second entry that says "A. James Clark School of Engineering - Research Programs.

As required by the Graduate School, all application materials are to be submitted electronically:

  • Graduate application
  • Transcripts
  • Statement of purpose
  • Letters of recommendation
  • All Program/Department additional supporting documents (writing samples, CV/resume)
  • Non-refundable application fee ($75) for each program to which an applicant applies

The electronic submission of application materials helps expedite the review of an application. Completed applications are reviewed by an admissions committee in each graduate degree program. The recommendations of the committees are submitted to the Dean of the Graduate School, who will make the final admission decision. Students seeking to complete graduate work at the University of Maryland for degree purposes must be formally admitted to the Graduate School by the Dean. 

UMD's Step-by-Step Guide to Applying

Applicants are encouraged to contact the Hobsons online application’s helpdesk for any technical issues. 

For questions related to the admissions process, prospective students may contact the Graduate School.

The University of Maryland is dedicated to maintaining a vibrant international graduate student community. The office of International Students and Scholars Services (ISSS) is a valuable resource of information and assistance for prospective and current international students.  International applicants are encouraged to explore the services they offer, and contact them with related questions.

The University of Maryland Graduate School offers admission to international students based on academic information; it is not a guarantee of attendance.  Admitted international students will then receive instructions about obtaining the appropriate visa to study at the University of Maryland which will require submission of additional documents.  Please see the Graduate Admissions Process for International applicants for more information.

For information regarding additional requirements and documents needed for your application, please visit the Office of International Services website.

Additional Resources for International Applicants

The student's files are evaluated by the members of the Graduate Admissions Committee and by a faculty member(s) whose area of research is related to the student's stated research interest. Only students who meet or exceed the admissions standards of the Department of Aerospace Engineering will be considered for admission.

The following are some of the criteria used in deciding whether to admit an applicant:

  • An applicant’s competitive ranking among other applicants, based on test scores and GPA
  • The quality of an applicant’s letters of recommendation, including the authority of the author
  • A match of the applicant’s research interests with the interests of the Aerospace Engineering faculty
  • An applicant’s degree of professional experience
  • The availability of funding

Since admission into the program is frequently contingent on the availability of financial support, which requires the student to engage in focused research, applicants should determine carefully which areas of aerospace engineering most interest them, and to indicate their interests explicitly in their statement of goals and experiences. Contacting faculty directly may be useful, but the applicants should carefully examine the field of interest of the faculty member(s) whom they wish to contact.

Admission recommendations and offers of financial support are made on a rolling basis. Most graduate assistantship offers are made before the May 15 deadline. Rejection letters to candidates who do not have the required qualifications are also sent out also on a rolling basis. In some cases no decision is made until May 31 for the Fall Semester or October 31 for the Spring Semester.

  • A maximum of 6 semester hours of graduate coursework taken at other regionally accredited institutions prior to matriculation in the Graduate School, or afterward, may be applied toward the Master's degree. The course must have been taken within the time limits for completing the Master's degree; the Graduate Director must agree that the specific courses are appropriate to and acceptable in Aerospace Engineering, and the student is responsible for providing an official transcript of this work to the Graduate School.
  • Due to academic and procedural differences between U.S. regionally accredited and foreign institutions, credit from foreign universities is not normally acceptable for transfer.
  • The grades on transfer work do not affect the grade point average of the work taken at the University of Maryland. A grade of "A" from another institution cannot balance a "C" in a course here.
  • Transfer work cannot be used to satisfy the requirements for upper level courses in a student's program. The required credits of 600 level or above must be part of the work taken at the University of Maryland.
  • No credit transfer will be allowed for any courses which have been used in fulfillment of the requirements of any other degree. No credit will be granted for correspondence courses.
  • The request for transfer credit shall be submitted to the Graduate School for approval at the earliest possible time. The candidate is subject to final examination by this institution in all work offered for the M.S. degree.

The University of Maryland and the Clark School of Engineering recognize the critical importance of a diverse student body and are strongly committed to ethnic and gender diversity. Within the Clark School of Engineering are two offices: the Center for Minorities in Science and Engineering (CMSE) and the Women In Engineering Program (WIE). Their mission is to recruit, retain, and graduate underrepresented minorities and female students in the engineering and science fields. CMSE and WIE offer many programs, including mentoring, research internships, and summer programs, all of which are designed to aid in maintaining diversity goals.

Supporting the efforts of CMSE and WIE, and providing valuable assistance to the Clark School, are three student societies—the Black Engineers Society, the Society of Hispanic Engineers, and the Society of Women Engineers.


For all inquiries regarding Graduate Admissions to the Department of Aerospace Engineering you may contact:

Aerospace Engineering Graduate Program: