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Space engineering master of science in USA

Space engineering master of science in USA

Space engineering master of science in USA

Hi there!
I have been admitted to the following 4 graduate programs (M Sc) in the USA, with a scholarship from my country (i'm international), amongst others, but those are the most interesting ones. The problem now is getting to decide which one to attend! If you could please explain why you recommend X or Y, I'd really appreciate it. It's a lot of money that will be spent for it, so I'd like to go to the best program possible... And last but not least, I'd like to work on the space sector.

So the 4 options are (not in order of preference):
-Option A: M Sc in Astronautical Engineering, University of Southern California, in Los Angeles.
-Option B: M Sc in Aerospace Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder, in Boulder.
-Option C: M Sc in Aerospace Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, in Austin.
-Option D: M Sc in Aeronautics & Astronautics, University of Washington, in Seattle.

I'm truly lost and need to make a decision soon.

Thank you very much!

RE: Space engineering master of science in USA

All 4 are very good schools. Do you have any ideas of what specialty you want to go into?

RE: Space engineering master of science in USA


Engineering internships are a great way to find out what your working career will be like. But being a foreign student, there are strict ITAR regulations likely prohibiting you from interning with any US aerospace company involved with export controlled technology/products. From what I have read ITAR is not intended to restrict basic research efforts at US universities. However, US ITAR regulations are very complicated and open to interpretation. So if US ITAR restrictions on what you can participate in during your grad program is a concern, you might contact each of the universities on your list and ask about their policies. Here is a presentation on the issue that you might find helpful.

Good luck to you.

RE: Space engineering master of science in USA

For each school, you should find out who your thesis advisor will be, and what thesis topics are available.

Or pick a school based on the local weather. Those 4 have very different climates.

RE: Space engineering master of science in USA

Thank you very much for your answers!

@btrueblood: I'm happy that you consider those 4 universities to be strong. About the specialty, I would like to gain knowledge and hands-on experience on space systems. So which one of the 4 aforementioned do you reckon fits me the best?

@tbuelna: The topic seems very complicated indeed. I have been looking at the presentation (thanks btw) and I got even a bit dizzy. I might contact the universities as you suggest, even though I am not completely sure what to ask and what to expect as answer, but it definitely seems like a thing to take into account.

@SWComposites: The thing is that some of the programs do not expect me to carry on a thesis at the end of the Master of Science (for example, in USC only 3 units of research can count towards the unit degree requirements, or in Boulder / UW there is the option either doing coursework or doing a thesis...), and I am not even sure about whether I want to keep on towards a PhD after, so I am not completely sure this is a valid criteria for me. I find it interesting though that you mention the weather. I clearly have preferences in this area (I hate very high temperatures, so for example Austin, which seems to be boiling hot in summer, would not be a place for me). Do you therefore think that the level of those universities is similar enough to use the weather as a decision factor?

Again, thank you guys, really appreciate it. I am so afraid of not making the right decision!


RE: Space engineering master of science in USA

If you are looking for hands on type experiences you should look to see if the are any student clubs involved with any space related projects (rockets, cubesats, etc).

For instance, UW has had a formula SAE race car group for a long time.

If you are going to school full time Inwould suggest doing a thesis. You will get more interactions with profs and other students in the labs.

RE: Space engineering master of science in USA

And SpaceX, Northrup in El Segundo (LA)

Boeing, Blue Origin, etc are in Seattle area

LockheedMartin, Ball Aerospace in CO

RE: Space engineering master of science in USA

Here is SpaceX policy regarding foreign students and engineering internships. I'm sure most other US aerospace companies have similar policies. It's a bit unfortunate in some cases, but the US federal government takes ITAR/technology export compliance very seriously.

"Are International Students Eligible to Apply to University Opportunities?
To conform to U.S. Government space technology export regulations, applicant must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident of the U.S., protected individual as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3), or eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State."


RE: Space engineering master of science in USA

Hands on? Might also put Johns Hopkins on your list.

RE: Space engineering master of science in USA

Hey guys! Thanks again for your answers.

So... You are basically telling me that it is going to be very hard for me, if not impossible, to find even an internship in a US company, in the aerospace sector? With a J-1 or F-1 Visa, I do not qualify to work there after finishing the master's degree? That is highly disheartening... And if that's the case, is it because the aerospace sector is especially restrictive, or in all the technical fields you find that problem? For example, in mechanical engineering, or in engineering management...

Thanks again!

RE: Space engineering master of science in USA

"space" is very restrictive ... "aero" not so. Why not ask one of your intended employers (spaceX, etc) if you're employable ? How about more local (not sure where you are) space industry ??

another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ?

RE: Space engineering master of science in USA

The issue is that aerospace and space, in general, is dual-use, i.e., can be used for commercial and military applications. Almost all of the space launch companies will likely, if they are successful, be launching a combination of military and civilian payloads. Any engineers that cannot hold a security clearance would potentially be barred from working on military payloads, even if the launch could be made unclassified, simply because an accumulation of unclassified information could still lead to classified results.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: Space engineering master of science in USA


Sorry to cause you heartburn.

I work in the US aerospace industry and have seen firsthand how much effort companies put into ITAR/EAR compliance. The list of items covered by US ITAR and EAR regulations is quite extensive, and not limited to just aerospace. Since US ITAR/EAR violations can significantly affect a company's ability to conduct business, they naturally have very strict policies regarding ITAR/EAR compliance. While this will limit your options for internships/jobs with US companies, it should not have much effect on what you can do during your post grad program.

Here is a link to the ITAR/EAR policy of one university on your list (USC): https://policy.usc.edu/international-collaboration...

Good luck to you.

RE: Space engineering master of science in USA

Thank you guys again. I have lots of information to read now, and a lot to think about.

You have been most kind.


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