Space Systems Design and Engineering This is a Track

College : Engineering and Computer Science Degree :MSAE
Department : Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Option : Thesis, Nonthesis
Program Websites :


The Master of Science in Space Systems Design and Engineering (MSAE) is designed to prepare students for careers as engineers in aerospace. The program includes the fields of controls and dynamics, space environment, instrumentation and communications, structures and materials, thermal analysis, and design.


The MSAE is awarded upon completion of a minimum of 30 credit hours, including 12 credit hours of required courses, 12 credit hours of elective courses selected from an approved list of courses, and an additional 6 credit hours in either a thesis or nonthesis option.
Total Credit Hours Required:
30 Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Bachelor's Degree

All students must identify an adviser and file an official degree program of study prior to the completion of 9 credit hours of study. The program of study must be approved by the department and therefore students should consult with the MMAE Graduate Director for assistance in filling out their program of study.

A student with an undergraduate degree outside of the selected departmental discipline may also be required to satisfy an articulation program. Substitutions to the program of study must meet with the approval of the adviser and the department.

Prerequisites (or equivalent)

  • MAP 2302 Differential Equations
  • EML 3034C Modeling Methods in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
  • EAS 4134 High-Speed Aerodynamics
  • EAS 4105 Flight Mechanics or EAS 4400 Spacecraft Attitude Dynamics
  • EAS 4200 Flight Structures or EAS 4210 Space Structural Dynamics

Required Courses—12 Credit Hours

  • EML 5060 Mathematical Methods (3 credit hours)
  • EML 5271 Intermediate Dynamics (3 credit hours)
  • EML 5311 System Control (3 credit hours)

Select one of the following courses:

  • EML 5152 Intermediate Heat Transfer (3 credit hours)
  • EML 5237 Intermediate Mechanics of Materials (3 credit hours)
  • EML 5713 Intermediate Fluid Mechanics (3 credit hours)

Elective Courses—12 Credit Hours

All students, both thesis and nonthesis, must complete at least 12 credit hours of electives. The following list are suggested electives to be taken in the program of study. 

  • EAS 6403C Attitude Determination and Control (3 credit hours)
  • EAS 6415 Guidance, Navigation and Control (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 6616 Adaptive Control (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 6621 Nonlinear Control Systems (3 credit hours)
  • EML 5152 Intermediate Heat Transfer (3 credit hours)
  • EML 5713 Intermediate Fluid Mechanics (3 credit hours)
  • EML 6211 Continuum Mechanics (3 credit hours)
  • EML 6233 Fundamentals of Fatigue Analysis (3 credit hours)
  • EML 5237 Intermediate Mechanics of Materials (3 credit hours)
  • EML 6155 Convection Heat Transfer (3 credit hours)
  • EML 6157 Radiation Heat Transfer (3 credit hours)
  • EAS 6808 Space Environment and Payload Instrumentation (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 5432 Satellite Remote Sensing (3 credit hours)
  • EEE 5542 Random Processes I (3 credit hours)
  • EEL 5881 Software Engineering I (3 credit hours)

Thesis Option—6 Credit Hours

The thesis option requires 30 credit hours, at least half of which must be at the 6000 level and will include 6 credit hours of thesis credit. A student pursuing the thesis program may not register for thesis credit hours until an advisory committee has been appointed and the committee has reviewed the program of study and the proposed thesis topic.

  • EAS 6971 Thesis (6 credit hours)

Additionally, students pursuing the thesis option must enroll in the following course:

  • EML 5090 Mechanical and Aerospace Seminar (0 credit hours)

Students must register for the course a minimum of two times during their graduate career in the master's program (thesis option). The students must also complete the course with a satisfactory (S) grade in both attempts. If the student does not complete the course with a satisfactory grade, the student will be asked to repeat the course to meet program requirements.

Nonthesis Option—6 Credit Hours

The nonthesis option is primarily designed to meet the needs of part-time students and requires 30 credit hours of course work, at least one-half of which must be at the 6000 level. Students pursuing the nonthesis option are required to take one additional elective and take either EML 6085 Research Methods in MMAE (or XXX 6918 Directed Research, with approval)* as part of their 30-credit-hour course requirement.

  • Elective (3 credit hours)
  • EML 6085 Research Methods in MMAE (3 credit hours)

*For students who are not on campus and upon prior approval from the graduate coordinator, XXX 6918 Directed Research (3 credit hours) may be substituted as the student's independent learning experience.  If the substitution of XXX 6918 is approved, a letter must be provided by the member of the faculty supervising the directed research certifying independent learning.

EML 6085 and XXX 6918 fulfill the independent learning requirement and either course is required for nonthesis students. 

Equipment Fee

Students in the Aerospace Engineering MSAE program pay a $90 equipment fee each semester that they are enrolled.

Independent Learning

The independent learning requirement is met by successful completion of a master's thesis for the thesis option. The nonthesis option independent learning experience is provided by the required course, EML 6085 Research Methods in MMAE (3 credit hours). For students who are not on campus and upon prior approval from the graduate coordinator, XXX 6918 Directed Research (3 credit hours) may be substituted as the student's independent learning experience. If the substitution of XXX 6918 is approved, a letter must be provided by the member of the faculty supervising the directed research certifying independent learning. 

Application Requirements

For information on general UCF graduate admissions requirements that apply to all prospective students, please visit the Admissions section of the Graduate Catalog. Applicants must apply online. All requested materials must be submitted by the established deadline.

The College of Engineering and Computer Science strongly encourages prospective applicants to request a free pre-screening ( of their qualifications prior to submitting an online application for graduate admission. However, a pre-screening is not required; rather, it is offered as a courtesy to all prospective applicants before they commit to submitting a complete online application and paying an application processing fee.

Admissions decisions are made on the basis of a complete online application only, and not on the basis of any pre-screening. Prospective applicants who are encouraged to apply to their intended graduate program based on the information provided for their pre-screening are not assured of admission or financial assistance when they submit a complete online application. Although it is possible, it is not likely, that prospective applicants who are discouraged from formally applying to a graduate program at the pre-screening stage will be admitted if they elect to submit a complete online application anyway.

In addition to the general UCF graduate application requirements, applicants to this program must provide:

  • One official transcript (in a sealed envelope) from each college/university attended.
  • Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering or closely related discipline.
  • Résumé.
  • Statement of educational, research, and professional career objectives.
  • Applicants applying to this program who have attended a college/university outside the United States must provide a course-by-course credential evaluation with GPA calculation. Credential evaluations are accepted from World Education Services (WES) or Josef Silny and Associates, Inc. only.

Faculty members may choose to conduct face-to-face or telephone interviews before accepting an applicant into their research program.

Additional courses may be required to correct deficiencies. Students should contact the MMAE graduate program director for further information.

Application Deadlines

Space Systems Design and Engineering *Fall Priority Fall Spring Summer
Domestic Applicants Jan 15Jul 15Dec 1


International Applicants Jan 15Jan 15Jul 1


International Transfer Applicants Jan 15Mar 1Sep 1


*Applicants who plan to enroll full time in a degree program and who wish to be considered for university fellowships or assistantships should apply by the Fall Priority date.


Graduate students may receive financial assistance through fellowships, assistantships, tuition support, or loans. For more information, see the College of Graduate Studies Funding website, which describes the types of financial assistance available at UCF and provides general guidance in planning your graduate finances. The Financial Information section of the Graduate Catalog is another key resource.


Fellowships are awarded based on academic merit to highly qualified students. They are paid to students through the Office of Student Financial Assistance, based on instructions provided by the College of Graduate Studies. Fellowships are given to support a student’s graduate study and do not have a work obligation. For more information, see UCF Graduate Fellowships, which includes descriptions of university fellowships and what you should do to be considered for a fellowship.