New graduate certificate in hypersonic flight offered

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Robert MacDermott
  • Air Force Institute of Technology

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio--The Air Force Institute of Technology’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics now offers a graduate certificate program in hypersonic flight. The field of hypersonics has emerged as a technical discipline that is critical to ensure the United States will be able to fight and win future conflicts.

The graduate certificate in hypersonic flight is specifically designed to produce technical professionals who can understand, evaluate and communicate the unique complexities of the hypersonic flight environment.

The program consists of a rigorous collection of graduate-level courses offered in-residence at the AFIT main campus located on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Students must complete three core classes and then select one elective course for a total of 16 quarter hours of graduate-level studies.

The three core courses cover the areas of inviscid hypersonic flows, high temperature gas dynamics and hypersonic propulsion. The one elective course will further the student’s understanding in either computational fluid dynamics, nonequilibrium phenomena, reentry dynamics or chemical propulsion. 

The courses are:

  • Hypersonic Flight Core Courses [required]
    • AERO 622 – Introductory Hypersonics
    • AERO 729 – Theory of Gases for Aerodynamics and Propulsion
    • MENG 634 – Hypersonic Propulsion
  • Hypersonic Flight Elective Courses [choose one of the following]
    • AERO 640 – Hypersonic Computational Fluid Dynamics
    • AERO 740 – Nonequilibrium Hypersonic Flows
    • MECH 637 – Astrodynamic Reentry
    • MENG 530 – Chemical Rocket Propulsion

Upon completion of the program, graduates will have a general understanding of the differences between hypersonic flight regimes and the subsonic and super-sonic flight regimes that make the hypersonic environment unique.

They will also have a thorough understanding of the aerothermodynamic properties of hypersonic flows and how to approach and appropriate engineering analysis given hypersonic flight conditions. 

Finally, graduates will be equipped with the skills needed to critically analyze hypersonic vehicle systems and subsystems at the appropriate fidelity. 

Registration is currently open for students who wish to apply. Prospective students should hold an ABET-accredited degree in aeronautical, aerospace, astronautical or mechanical engineering with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 point basis) in that degree. Waivers to the degree or GPA requirement may be considered on an individual basis.

Questions about the certificate program may be directed to the program chair, Lt. Col. Robert MacDermott. Additional details are available on the AFIT website: