45.00 Hours Required

The Master's degree program requires 45 quarter units of course work, which must be taken at Stanford. The course work is divided into four categories:

  • Basic Courses
  • Mathematics Courses
  • Technical Electives
  • Other Electives

Basic Courses

Master's degree candidates must select 8 courses from the following 5 basic areas of Aeronautics and Astronautics (include one from each area):

  • Fluids
  • Structures
  • Guidance and Control
  • Propulsion
  • Experimentation

Students who believe they have satisfied Basic Course requirements previously may request a waiver of one or more courses (see section on Waivers, below).

Mathematics Courses

Master's degree candidates are expected to exhibit competence in applied mathematics. Students meet this requirement by taking 2 courses - a minimum of 6 units - of either advanced mathematics offered by the Mathematics department or technical electives that strongly emphasize methods of applied mathematics. Common choices include:

  • Linear Algebra with Application to Engineering Computations
  • Partial Differential Equations in Engineering
  • Linear Dynamic Systems
  • Probability

Technical Electives

Students, in consultation with their advisor, will select at least 4 courses from among the gradauate-level courses, totaling at least 12 units, from departments in the School of Engineering and related science departments. Normally, one course (3 units) may be directed research.

Other Electives

It is recommended that all candidates enroll in a humanities or social sciences course to complete the 45-unit requirement. Practicing courses in, for example, art, music, and physical education, do not qualify in this category. Language courses may qualify.

Program Proposal

Each Master's student must submit a "Master's Program Proposal" by the last day of classes in the first quarter of study. It must be signed by their advisor, then submitted to the A/A Student Services office for the Candidacy Chair's signature. Any changes to the program of study should be made in consultation with their advisor and the Student Services administrator. Such changes may be made more than once, but the final Program Proposal must be filed early in the quarter in which the degree is to be conferred. The changed program of study should be summarized on a Program Proposal marked "Revision," signed by the advisor and submitted to the A/A Student Services office for signature by the Candidacy Chair. The MS degree cannot be conferred unless the student has successfully completed all courses on the (most recent) fully-approved Program Proposal.

Degree Completion

A minimum letter grade average of 2.75 is required to fulfill the department's Master's degree requirements. Students must also meet the University's quarterly academic requirements for graduate students, as described in the Bulletin and in the Satisfactory Progress section of the Guide to Graduate Studies in Aeronautics and Astronautics. All courses (excluding seminars) used to satisfy the requirements for Basic Courses, Mathematics, and Technical Electives must be taken for a letter grade.

Below is an example of one possible path to earning your Master's Degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics at a distance. Note, the courses listed below are for "Basic Courses" and "Mathematic Courses" requirements only. For information about Technical and Other Electives that contribute to this area of degree study, please contact the department of Aeronautics and Astronautics directly: aa-admissions@stanford.edu


For course tuition and fees, please click Tuition & Fees.

Time Commitment

Most part-time students take an average of 3 to 5 years to complete the 45-unit requirement. You must complete a Master's degree within 5 years of starting the program. Note: Some on-campus attendance will be required for degree completion.


For assistance while in the application process, please contact the Aeronautics and Astronautics Student Services Office using the following email address: aa-admissions@stanford.edu


Waivers of the Basic Courses required in the Master's program can only be granted by the instructor of that course. Students who believe that they have had a substantially equivalent course at another institution should consult with the course instructor to determine if they are eligible for a waiver, and with their advisor to judge the effect on their overall program plans. To request a waiver officially, students should fill out a Petition for Waiver form (reverse side of the department's Program Proposal) and have it approved by the instructor and their advisor. One additional technical elective must be added for each Basic Course that is waived.

Additional Details