Master of Science in Astronautical Engineering

MSAE Program Educational Objectives

The overall Program Educational Objective of the NPS Astronautical Engineering Program is to support the NPS Mission by producing graduates who have knowledge and technical competence in astronautical engineering at the advanced level and who can apply that knowledge and competence to fill technical leadership roles in support of national security.  In order to achieve this goal, the specific objectives are to produce graduates who achieve the following within a few years of graduation:

  1. Are established as a valued source of technical expertise in research, design, development, acquisition, integration and testing of national security space (NSS) systems including formulation of operational requirements, plans, policies, architectures, and operational concepts for the development of space systems.
  2. Have assumed positions of leadership involving program management, systems engineering, and/or operational employment of space systems within the national security space (NSS) enterprise.
  3. Have effectively managed the operation, tasking, and employment of national security space (NSS) systems to increase the combat effectiveness of the Naval Services, other Armed Forces of the U.S. and our partners, to enhance national security.

Student Outcomes

  1. Graduating students will meet the ABET 1 through 7 outcomes either by previous attainment of an ABET BSAE Degree, or by having the knowledge and skills equivalent to an ABET-accredited BSAE.
  2. Graduating students will have a minimum of one (1) year of advanced study beyond the bachelor’s level and have advanced level knowledge in Astronautical Engineering as demonstrated by the ability to apply master’s level knowledge in one of the available specialized disciplines of Astronautical Engineering. 
  3. Graduating students will have the ability to apply technical knowledge in a leadership role related to national security.

The ABET (1) though (7) outcomes are:

1. an ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics
2. an ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors
3. an ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences
4. an ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts
5. an ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives 
6. an ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions
7. an ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies


The Master of Science degree in Astronautical Engineering requires a minimum of 48 quarter-hours of graduate level work. The candidate must take courses in an approved study program which address the Program Educational Objectives and satisfy the following requirements: There must be a minimum of 32 quarter hours of credits in 3000 and 4000 level courses, including a minimum of 12 quarter hours at the 4000 level. Of the 32 quarter hours at least 24 quarter-hours must be in courses offered by the MAE Department.

Astronautical Engineering Disciplines

A student seeking the Master of Science degree in Astronautical Engineering must demonstrate knowledge in the following disciplines:

  • Orbital mechanics
  • Space environment
  • Attitude determination
  • Guidance and control
  • Telecommunications
  • Space structures
  • Spacecraft/rocket propulsion
  • Spacecraft design

The student must also demonstrate competence at the advanced level in one of the above disciplines of Astronautical Engineering. This may be accomplished by completing at least eight quarter hours of the 4000 level credits by courses in this department in a particular area and a thesis in the same discipline area.

Thesis Requirements

An acceptable thesis for a minimum of 16 credits is also required for the Master of Science degree in Astronautical Engineering. An acceptable thesis for the degree of Astronautical Engineer may also meet the thesis requirement of the Master of Science in Astronautical Engineering degree. The student's thesis advisor, the Academic Associate, the Program Officer and the Department Chairman must approve the study program and the thesis topic.

Student Numbers

In Academic Year 2018, the Master of Science in Astronautical Engineering (MSAE) Degree Program graduated 11 students and there were 15 students on board at the end of the year.