Prospective Graduate Students

Nine AE graduate students with an aircraft
Aircraft created by AE students

The KUAE graduate program unites faculty and students to conduct exciting research in all the traditional subdisciplines of aerospace—aerodynamics, astrodynamics, design, dynamics and control, propulsion, and structures and materials.  Our faculty is made up of international leaders in the areas of unmanned aerial systems, aerospace system design, computational fluid dynamics, and airborne remote sensing systems. 

As a KUAE graduate student, you could:  

  • Embark on a research endeavor in which you camp on the side of an arctic glacier while flying a radar-equipped UAS  

  • Develop numerical algorithms and tools to simulate turbulent flow through future jet engines and reduce noise generated by electric airplanes, automobiles, and wind turbines 

  • Build digital, data-driven tools to model, design, and optimize the next-generation rocket and gas turbine engines 

  • Join our tradition of excellence in winning numerous AIAA and international design competitions—including almost 40 awards over the last decade. 

Check out Graduate Degree Option and Course Schedule Examples Below!

Perspective Students

The KUAE department offers five different graduate degrees including a coursework-only ME degree, thesis and project MS degree options, a traditional PhD program, and a project management-focused Doctor of Engineering (DE) degree.  

Starting in Fall 2023, we are improving our degree flexibility by offering an online option for all our Master’s degrees. All of our degree programs are designed to support your research interests. Our coursework requirements enable our students to take courses in a variety of disciplines. These courses support next-generation multidisciplinary research.  

We offer help to perspective graduate students when identifying which program will best help them meet their career goals. You can find out more by checking out our graduate degree page or emailing

Our faculty members have a strong background in graduate education and industry/government laboratory practice. All faculty members are active in research.  The faculty’s research strengths include:  

  • Airborne remote sensing 

  • Astronautics 

  • Composite and adaptive structures 

  • Computational fluid dynamics 

  • Flight dynamics and controls 

  • Unmanned aerial systems 

Learn more about the exciting research being conducted by our internationally-recognized faculty and get a closer look into the research labs you could join below. 


Outstanding candidates will be considered for graduate research assistantships (GRA), graduate teaching assistantships (GTA), fellowships, and scholarships. GRA and GTA positions provide tuition support, a stipend, and insurance coverage. Our PhD students are also eligible for the prestigious Self Graduate Fellowship, which includes guaranteed four-year financial support, professional advancement opportunities and leadership development training. To receive priority consideration, candidates must apply by December 1. In addition, we encourage you to reach out to prospective faculty advisors. 

Located on top of Mount Oread, KU’s main campus overlooks the lovely city of Lawrence, KS and is considered one of the most beautiful in the nation. Lawrence is home to the historic Massachusetts Street (Mass St.) which consistently ranks as a top downtown entertainment area. The area consists of music venues, world-class dining, shopping, and a variety of art spaces. The vibrant community hosts live music, parades, farmers’ markets, and other events nearly every weekend on Mass St.  

KU’s basketball program is one of the most storied programs in the nation, having won four NCAA national championships—including our most recent victory in 2022. Traditions such as “waving the wheat”, parading on Mass St. after a victory, and the numerous Rock Chalk chants make game days in Lawrence unlike any other.   

Today, Lawrence is home to over 30 music venues, 54 city parks and 100 miles of trails and paths. The University of Kansas and the city of Lawrence go hand-in-hand. Together, they create a culture that celebrates students, innovators and artists who uphold the unmistakably Lawrence legacy.  

What types of projects will I work on as a graduate student? 

You can check out our department research page to see research areas of our faculty as well as the research centers the department is affiliated with. In addition, several faculty members have a webpage for their labs that provide more detail on specific projects. Many of our faculty collaborate with the Center for Remote Sensing and Integrated Systems (CReSIS), which routinely sends our students to some of the most remote parts of the planet to conduct research. 

Where do KUAE graduate students get jobs after they completed their degree? 

The short answer is anywhere and everywhere. KUAE graduate students have gotten jobs at employers ranging from major commercial companies to federal labs and have even gone on to start their own successful start-ups. Recent placement of students include: 

  • Air Force Research Lab 

  • Aurora Flight Sciences 

  • Electric Boat 

  • Office of Naval Warfare 

  • Raytheon 

  • Skunkworks 

  • SpaceX

I’m considering KUAE for a graduate degree, but I’m curious what types of courses I would take? 

The strength of the KUAE graduate program curriculum is the flexibility in what courses you take. We believe that your curricular plan should be tailored to best meet your interests, research, and career goals. You can find a full list of AE graduate courses here, and several representative plans here.  

How can I find funding for my graduate degree? 

Most Doctoral or M.S. graduate students receive some funding via research or teaching assistantships during their graduate career. To be competitive for funding opportunities, you need to identify a research advisor before the semester begins. There are several first-year scholarships and fellowships provided by the School of Engineering. All applicants that meet the priority deadline are considered for these opportunities. Decisions are made by the graduate admissions committee and are based on the application materials.  

AE doctoral students are also eligible for the prestigious Self Graduate Fellowship as well as several other doctoral fellowship opportunities offered by KU (please see the Funding page on the KU Graduate Studies website.). If you think you are a good candidate for one of these opportunities, please contact the AE graduate coordinator at  

Note these nominations are also based on your graduate school application, so your application must be complete before you will be considered. 

What are housing costs in Lawrence? 

The Office of Graduate studies has put together a site about housing options both on-campus and off-campus. Begin your housing search here

Ready to apply or need more information?

Check out the links below to apply to the AE graduate program, request information about the program, or learn more about KU's graduate admissions.