WMU to offer state's second grad program in aerospace engineering

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Photo of WMU's Parkview Campus.

WMU's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—In response to a growing work force need as well as requests by students, Western Michigan University will begin offering a Master of Science in aerospace engineering starting with the fall 2014 semester.

The program is the second graduate program in aerospace engineering to be offered in Michigan. The only other higher education institution in the state with a graduate program in the field is the University of Michigan.

"Our undergraduate aerospace engineering program has experienced astounding growth in the past decade. The student enrollment and faculty numbers have almost doubled, and the program has expanded from aeronautical to aerospace engineering," says Dr. Parviz Merati, chair and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering.

"There's been a lot of demand from our undergraduate students to start a master's program. They know the high-caliber faculty and facilities we have here, and they want to stay on and earn their graduate degree here. We also expect to draw graduate students from those who are already employed at aerospace companies in Michigan. In addition, we frequently get inquiries from international students looking for advanced degrees in aerospace-related research fields."

M.S. in aerospace engineering

WMU's master's program in aerospace engineering consists of a minimum of 30 credit hours of coursework and includes new courses that have been developed for the program. Students will have the option of focusing their studies on one of three concentrations:

  • Aerospace structure and materials.
  • Aerodynamics and propulsion.
  • Flight dynamics and control.

Graduates of the program will be qualified to pursue mid- to high-level positions in such areas as electric propulsion, structural mechanics of aerospace vehicles and structures, mechanics of composite materials, finite element analysis, experimental and computational fluid dynamics, flight dynamics and control of aerospace vehicles, and advanced control theory and its application to aerospace systems.

Aerospace engineering at WMU

The Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering has the highest enrollment among the departments in WMU's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. In the past 10 years, its annual undergraduate student enrollment in aerospace engineering has increased steadily to more than 200. Also, seven of the department's 20 full-time faculty members have doctoral degrees in aerospace engineering.

Students in the new graduate program will have access to a full range of the engineering college's research facilities. These facilities include the Aerospace Laboratory for Plasma Experiments; Advanced Thermal Science Laboratory; Applied Aerodynamics Laboratory, which houses two wind tunnels; Center for Advanced Vehicle Design and Simulation; Fuel Cell Evaluation and Research Center; and Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, to name a few.

In addition to the master's program in aerospace engineering, WMU offers bachelor's degrees in both mechanical and aerospace engineering as well as a master's and doctoral degree in mechanical engineering.

For more information, contact Parviz Merati in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at parviz.merati@wmich.edu or (269) 276-3414.