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.
The MSAA must be completed with a master's thesis. MSAA students who meet minimum academic criteria are eligible to continue on for a Ph.D.
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 and 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.Current students are able to access detailed information about degree requirements, deadlines, and policies on the A&A Graduate Student Resource Canvas.
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: While completing a thesis, students must enroll in AA 700, "Master's Thesis." (9 credits minimum) See "Master's Thesis" below
Students 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.
- 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 their 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
MS students who wish to continue to the PhD program after completing the MS degree should submit an electronic application to the PhD in the Autumn of their second year (by the December deadline). This will ensure the student is duly considered for PhD admission/continuation immediately following completion of the MS at the end of their second year. If a student is finishing an MS but missed the December application deadline for continuing admission or wishes to transfer to the PhD program without completing the MS degree, they may submit a petition. Please contact the staff Graduate Adviser for more details.