Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering

Aerospace Engineering Undergraduate Concentration

Find your place

in space.

Pursuing an aerospace engineering concentration will expand your knowledge of the design, manufacturing, and operating techniques of air flight capable machines. 

Our aerospace faculty are experts and leaders in the aerospace industry and will guide you through the understanding of engineering disciplines such as fluid mechanics, chemical propulsion, stability and control, and structures as it applies to aircraft and rockets that fly within and above Earth’s atmosphere. 

Earn an undergraduate concentration in aerospace engineering when you complete 12 credit hours (four technical electives) of approved coursework.

A message from Tory Bruno, CEO of United Launch Alliance

Aerospace Engineering


The Mechanical Engineering Department will award up to four $5,000 scholarships
to students who declare an undergraduate concentration in aerospace engineering. Scholarships will apply to the next academic year.

Minimum GPA required: 3.0 

Application deadline: March 1, 2021

Explore out-of-this world


Aerospace Internships and Careers

Many Colorado aerospace companies offer internships that lead to employment opportunities.
Read industry profiles below and learn about recent MECH graduates whose internships landed them their dream jobs. 

Caitlin Robinson’s internship at United Launch Alliance secured her full-time position with the company’s Mechanical Ground Support Equipment group. She now designs and models components and test fixtures for the Movable Launch Platform on the Vulcan rocket.  

Read Caitlin’s story

Danelle Lazcano-Concelman was a first-generation student who changed her plan of pursuing a career in renewable energy to one in aerospace after her internships at NASA. She now works at NASA as a cryogenic propulsion systems engineer.

Read Danelle’s story

Average salary of Colorado aerospace engineers in 2019 – US Bureau of Labor Statistics​

My parents always told me, “the sky’s the limit” and “reach for the stars.” Here I am reaching past the stars, and I know the sky is no longer the limit.

– Danelle Lazcano-Concelman, SP’20, NASA Cryogenic Propulsion Systems Engineer

Programs, Clubs, and Organizations

The NASA Space Program at CSU has a 30-year history of providing undergraduate students with educational and professional opportunities in aerospace studies through the Colorado Space Grant Consortium’s (COSGC) project-based team challenges and competitions. 

This past spring, employees from NASA, Ball Aerospace, and Lockheed Martin were on the panel of judges who presented awards to three teams of CSU Mechanical Engineering students at COSGC’s Undergraduate Space Research Symposium. 

Read “CSU students win big for space grant anniversary”

We have tapped into this community of individuals and mentors with whom we got to connect and who want to continue to help us, and that’s already an opportunity. My teammates and I have also begun considering other careers that we otherwise wouldn’t have. Like positions at NASA.

– Vanessa Montoya, 2019-20 Space Grant program student

The American Institute of Aeronautics is the world’s largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession, with over 30,000 members worldwide. 

AIAA at CSU is an organization that is dedicated to introducing students to aerospace industry connections, as well as providing opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience in the fields of aeronautics and astronautics through a collection of lectures, seminars, and competitions centered on the aerospace industry.

Know of a K-12 student that is interested in aerospace? It’s never too early to get started! 

Rocket Kids is a club started by mechanical engineering undergraduate students to inspire interest in aerospace. Check out their website for learning videos, at-home projects, and more. 

The CSU Rocket Team formed in 2014 as a senior design team. Since then, the group has grown from four to fourteen students, and innovations to the Aries rocket have record-breaking wins in intercollegiate competitions.  

The four female leads of the 2019-20 team were one of the winning teams at the Colorado Space Grant Consortium’s (COSGC) Undergraduate Space Research Symposium.

Read about the team’s journey to the 2019 Spacesport America Cup, an intercollegiate competition held in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Over 120 teams participated – CSU was the only one to launch a liquid rocket, AND they made it to 9,500 feet, which is more than twice as high as any liquid rocket ever traveled in the contest.

Read With liquid-fueled rocket, CSU team aiming high at Spaceport America Cup

Research on Martian propulsion, testing a mixture of nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide as oxidizers with a high metal content fuel grain.

People and Research

Our department has a long history of aerospace research programs, beginning in 1962 with the Electric Propulsion & Plasma Engineering Lab. Initial research focused on developing a “plasma” wind tunnel to simulate the space environment that satellites in low-Earth-orbit experience. The lab’s research expanded shortly after to include the development of electric propulsion devices used on satellites for both deep space and near Earth missions.

Mechanical Engineering researchers work closely with government research laboratories and currently executing on over $16M in aerospace-related research grants from NASA, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Meet the Mechanical Engineering researchers and a few of the students who are impacting the aerospace industry with their research in Energy and Materials and Manufacturing.

Transportation Systems and Aerospace

MechE Researchers
In the News

Iman Babazadeh

Iman earned his master’s degree in July 2020. 

He began his graduate program in the cookstoves laboratory at the Powerhouse Energy Campus working on pathogen eradication using LED lights as a graduate research assistant, and later taught lab courses as a graduate teaching assistant.

But Iman knew he wanted to study rocket propulsion for a master’s thesis project; he has wanted to become an astronaut for as long as he can remember. His research included testing the combustion of metal powders with carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide in a hybrid rocket motor – the goal being that one could use natural resources on the planet Mars as propellants in a rocket motor to send samples of rock and soil back to Earth, or use the rocket propulsion to traverse the landscape in search of news areas of interest.

Seth Thompson

Seth is a graduate student in the Electric Propulsion & Plasma Engineering Lab. Seth’s research includes testing the performance electric propulsion thrusters inside vacuum test facilities. The largest test facility is Orion, a 5-ft diameter 15-ft long vacuum chamber that contains a plasma diagnostic suite that evaluates the performance of thrusters used in the propulsion of satellites.

Email Seth if you are interested in learning more about his research! 

We are welcoming new faculty to enhance our offerings in aerospace engineering.

Dr. Karen Thorsett-Hill (a.k.a. “Dr. KTH” or “Dr. Karen”) is an associate professor of practice whose teaching specializations include fluid mechanics, heat transfer, and thermodynamics. Dr. Thorsett-Hill joins us from the University of North Carolina—Charlotte, where she founded and mentored the nationally acclaimed NASA USLI Rocketry Team and Club and the student chapter of AIAA.


Students who complete 12 credit hours from the lists of courses below will earn a concentration in aerospace engineering. The 12 credit hours fulfill the technical elective requirement for mechanical engineering students. Courses in bold are recommended if students have a specific interest in that thematic area. Courses can be selected from a single theme or multiple. 

For 500-level courses, students must have a 3.0 GPA or instructor approval.

Declare a Concentration

To declare a concentration in aerospace engineering, you must have completed MECH 342: Mechanics and Thermodynamics of Flow Processes. Once you have completed this course, please work with your advisor to declare the concentration.

Fluid Flow


Structures and Systems

Materials and Manufacturing


Ellen Plese is an engineering and program management executive with over 30 years of experience designing, building, and operating large rockets. She retired from United Launch Alliance in October 2014 as the General Manager for Human Launch Services and is now the Manager of Strategic Planning and Operations in the CSU Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Ellen is passionate about engineering development and mentoring students and early career professionals. Please reach out to Ellen by phone or through email to receive guidance on pursuing aerospace education, research, and career opportunities.

Undergraduate Academic Advising Team

Mechanical Engineering at Colorado State University is about using our knowledge of materials, energy, and health to solve society’s global engineering challenges.

Mechanical Engineering at Colorado State University is about using our knowledge of materials, energy, and health to solve society’s global engineering challenges.

Join Us.


Programs and Information


Programs and Information


Faculty and Staff


Labs and Researchers