Master of Science in Aeronautics & Astronuatics (MSAA)
The Master of Science in Aeronautics & Astronautics (MSAA) is a research-oriented graduate degree for students with an undergraduate degree in Aerospace Engineering or closely related field. The MSAA will prepare students to conduct independent research and to pursue careers in academia, government, or industry. (See Also: MSAA Admissions)
The MSAA can be completed with a master's thesis or through a selection of additional, masters-level coursework. MSAA students who meet minimum academic criteria are eligible to continue on for a Ph.D.
MSAA Degree Requirements:
Credits, Enrollment, & Time-to-Degree
Total Credits: MSAA students are required to complete a minimum of 45 graduate-level credits.
Enrollment: MSAA students can pursue their degree on a full-time or part-time schedule. Most MSAA students enroll full-time.
Time-to-Degree: Full-time MSAA students typically finish their degree within 2 academic years.
MSAA Curriculum & Requirements
The MSAA degree requirements are distributed among the following categories. Students should consult the Graduate Programs Adviser to determine course requirements appropriate to their area of concentration. Descriptions for all courses can be found in the course catalog.
1. Analytical: An approved sequence consisting of 3 graduate-level analytical/math courses. (~15 credits)
2. Core Coursework: A minimum of 5 graduate-level aerospace courses appropriate to their area of concentration. (~15 credits)
3. Breadth Electives: 2 courses outside their area of concentration. These courses must come from two different areas. (~6 credits)
4. Master's Thesis or Additional Coursework: Students may choose to complete their degree with a Master's Thesis or additional masters-level coursework.
- Master's Thesis: While completing a thesis, students must enroll in AA 700, "Master's Thesis." (9 credits minimum) See "Master's Thesis" below
- Master's Coursework: Students who choose to complete their MSAA with only coursework may satisfy their requirements by completing an additional 3 courses in their area of concentration. (~9 credits)
Students who choose to complete their degree with a master's thesis must identify a master's thesis committee that includes a primary faculty adviser (committee chair) and at least one other thesis reviewer. Master's thesis advisers must hold an appointment in the A&A Department. (Adjunct appointments are sufficient).
The student and advisor must agree on a thesis topic and final product. Theses typically result in a single paper of appropriate length and a presentation. Thesis-track students are urged to begin planning their project and research as early as possible.
Ph.D.-track students pursuing an MSAA en route to their doctorate are strongly encouraged to complete a thesis. Industry-bound students frequently benefit from the thesis-writing experience as well.
- Students must give a presentation (also referred to as Master’s Defense) that includes time for questions and answers. The presentation and questions and answers period is typically 60-90 minutes.
- Students are strongly encouraged to present no later than the last day of instruction. This allows a minimum of one week for edits and revisions before the complete thesis must be submitted to the Graduate School. Both committee members must be in attendance.
- Once a student has confirmed a date, time, and location for their presentation they must notify the graduate adviser. Presentations are announced to the department and open to the public.
- The student and reviewers must sign the Master's Supervisory Committee Approval Form. The student must submit the original, signed form to the UW Graduate School by 5 p.m. on the last day of the quarter.
- The student must also submit an electronic copy of her/his final thesis through the "Electronic Thesis/Dissertation (ETD) Administrator Site" by 11:59 p.m. on the last day of the quarter.
Refer to the UW Graduate School website for additional details regarding Master's Thesis policies and requirements.
Ready to Graduate
- At the beginning of the quarter in which they expect to graduate, students must submit an online degree request via the MyGrad website. Degree requests are reviewed by the department and the UW Graduate School to ensure all degree requirements have been satisfied. Students will be notified of any concerns or contingencies related to their requests.
- All library books must be returned and all outstanding fines/fees paid before students will be allowed to graduate.
- Graduating students must provide a reliable mailing address before graduating. This is the address where you will receive important materials such as your diploma. Addresses and contact information should be updated via MyUW. Diplomas and final transcripts are typically available 10-12 weeks after the end of the quarter in which the PhD is awarded.
Continue to PhD from MSAA
Students admitted to the MSAA program are eligible to take the qualifying exam only after completing the MSAA. Students seeking to continue toward the PhD are expected to take the qualifying exam during the first examination cycle following completion of the MSAA. To be eligible to take the Qualifying Exam, a student must have a minimum GPA of 3.4 and identify a faculty member who will serve as chair of their Doctoral Supervisory Committee. MSAA students will only be promoted into the PhD program after passing the qualifying exam.