UC Berkeley to establish aerospace engineering major for fall 2022

Photo of the Engineering Building
Caroline Lobel/Staff
UC Berkeley College of Engineering set to launch the aerospace engineering major in fall 2022 for undergraduate students in response to a resurgence of aerospace-related research and development.

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UC Berkeley College of Engineering announced an aerospace engineering major Wednesday, set to begin fall 2022.

The aerospace engineering minor was established in fall 2020, and the major will be launched by campus’s department of mechanical engineering in response to a “resurgence” of aerospace-related research and development, according to campus professor Panos Papadopoulos, the faculty lead spearheading the major’s development. Many faculty members in the College of Engineering have expertise in fields related to aerospace engineering, Papadopoulos added, and a number of clubs on campus provide opportunities to explore the subject.

“The new major is intended to train the next generation of engineers who will assume leadership roles in the design of aerospace systems and technologies,” Papadopoulos said in an email.

UC Berkeley has had long-standing ties to the field of aerospace engineering, such as through the Space Sciences Laboratory, an engineering research unit that supports space missions. Students majoring in aerospace engineering will also benefit from campus’s connections to NASA.

Campus is close to the NASA Ames Research Center and has collaborated on projects with the center.

With its wealth of resources and connections, Papadopoulos feels confident that the UC Berkeley community will excel in aerospace research and development.

“With our existing strength in this field, we are customizing a set of new courses that will give students a wide range of specialty curricula and technical knowledge,” said Tsu-Jae King Liu, dean of the College of Engineering, in a Berkeley News article.

The College of Engineering designed the major in two phases involving committees composed of faculty from all its departments, according to Papadopoulos. The first phase created a plan of the major’s course requirements, which can be found at the College of Engineering’s website, and the second phase consisted of a complete proposal.

Because of the work done by campus engineering faculty, students who are new to UC Berkeley will soon be able to declare the aerospace engineering major. Approximately 40 freshmen will be able to enroll in fall 2022, Papadopoulos said in the email, and in fall 2024, the inaugural junior transfer cohort will also be able to enroll.

Aerospace engineering covers a broad range of topics in technology-applied science, so students in the major will be able to explore these subjects “in a more comprehensive manner” than they could in the minor, Papadopoulos added.

“The College of Engineering received — and continues to receive — enthusiastic support by both prospective and existing students,” Papadopoulos said in the email.

Contact Diego Lapayese-Calderón and Aditya Katewa at [email protected].