Press Releases

University of North Dakota’s official press release archive.

UND announces new bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering

Expected for Fall 2023, one of UND’s latest programs will leverage existing connections between engineering and aerospace 

UND archival image.

The University of North Dakota’s College of Engineering & Mines has introduced a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering, expected to be offered for the Fall 2023 semester.

The four-year degree program, offered on-campus and online, is the first of its kind in the state.

College officials are looking forward to offering an experience that’s hands-on, collaborative and in-demand in the region.

Brian Tande, dean of the College of Engineering & Mines, remarked that the addition of aerospace to UND’s suite of engineering programs has been long in the making.

“With our long history in aviation and strong connections to the aerospace industry, UND is a natural place for an aerospace engineering program,” Tande said. “I’m very happy that this is now becoming a reality through collaborations between the College of Engineering & Mines and the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences.

“The program will serve students interested in designing systems for both air and space. It will also help support UND’s National Security Initiative and help strengthen our ties to the U.S. Air Force, Space Force and industry partners.”

The initiative to which Tande referred is a recent series of investments on UND’s part for research, education and workforce training to expand the University’s capacity to pursue, secure and execute projects with federal agencies including the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security.

This new degree program – housed in the Department of Mechanical Engineering – represents the latest step in pairing UND’s academic offerings with an increased focus on national defense, including UND’s role in the Space Force University Partnership Program.

On the aerospace side of the degree, UND Aerospace Dean Bob Kraus said engineering has been of consistent interest to prospective and current aerospace students alike.

Students pursuing Aerospace Engineering at UND can expect to complete courses based in the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, according to the College of Engineering & Mines.

“We look forward to assisting the College of Engineering & Mines in developing and delivering this new degree, building on the success of our Aviation and Space Studies programs,” Kraus said.

Opportunities ahead

UND’s aerospace and engineering forces have long been in league with each other, said William Semke, professor and associate dean for academic affairs at the College of Engineering & Mines.

Semke has worked on aerospace-related research and technological development for more than 20 years while at UND. In turn, that type of interdisciplinary collaboration with UND Aerospace helped give rise to the University’s Research Institute for Autonomous Systems.

He added that both the timing and support from all levels of the University make it the right moment to add Aerospace Engineering to the fold.

“Given the leadership we have at the University, between both President Andy Armacost’s and Dean Bob Kraus’ strong backgrounds in engineering as well as in the Air Force, and the historically excellent work our Colleges have done together, now is the right time,” Semke said.

“UND’s world-class reputation for all things aviation makes the formal connection of aerospace and engineering a real strength for us,” Semke continued. “For incoming students, that link can be easily understood. Between the two Colleges, there are many things already in place that we can leverage to create an incredible degree program.”

National studies show that the field is expected to grow, which means graduates with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering will have career opportunities ahead. And with the rapid rise of UAS companies operating in the Grand Forks area, the regional outlook is even stronger, said Semke.

“At UND, our students are in a perfect place to get exposure to the entire field of aerospace, including the terminology and perspective that pilots and flight controllers rely upon,” Semke remarked. “In talking to our colleagues at UND Aerospace, there are plenty of opportunities ahead for collaboration and support.”