a man maintains an aircraft

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU), the world's largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is an independent, nonprofit, nonsectarian, and coeducational university that offers more than 70 undergraduate and graduate degrees, ranging from associate to PhDs for more than 32,000 students. The ERAU-Worldwide Campus operates a globally recognized learning system that provides online, face-to-face, and hybrid instruction through a network of education facilities designed to support student advancement in the U.S. and abroad. ERAU-Worldwide has developed several multidisciplinary unmanned systems-related education options, closely mapped to the needs and demands of the industry and field.

Undergraduate Degree Options

The 120-credit Bachelor of Science in Unmanned Systems Applications (BSUSA) degree has been designed to provide broader and more affordable access to an undergraduate-level education in a topic under-represented in global educational institutions, the application of unmanned system technology. The educational focus of the BSUSA supports the growth, innovative development, and effective use of unmanned system technology across the respective domains (air/space, ground, and maritime) to identify and address significant industry challenges. The BSUSA degree features 36-credits of general education coursework, 48-credits of core unmanned systems topics, and 36-credits associated with a student selected track of study (administration, operations, and development) covering subject relevant to the industry. The Small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) Operation minor was added to promote and strengthen applicable knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA)s, specific to Part 107 operations in the U.S. National Airspace System.

NOTE: Students must contact their Academic Advisor regarding additional cost, possible travel, and FAA Testing, prior to enrolling in the first course of the sUAS Operations minor or graduate concentration/ specialization. 

The Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics (BSA) degree is closely mapped to the needs and demands of the aviation/aerospace industry and general education guidelines. The BSA features an option to pursue an 18-credit minor course of study in sUAS Operations (promote and strengthen applicable KSAs specific to Part 107 operations in the U.S. National Airspace System). 

The 122-credit Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology (BSET) degree emphasizes the real-world application of general engineering principles, supporting the development of the skills to design, refine and apply engineering technologies across a range of industries, including unmanned systems. The BSET has been designed to help students prepare for the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, the first step for any engineer to earn a Professional Engineering (PE) license.  Besides technical core courses in areas such as mechanics, materials, fluids, circuits, thermodynamics, and controls, the BSET program has students choose two 18-credit areas of concentration.  Two options related to the unmanned systems industry are the UAS and aeronautical science areas of concentration.  Other concentration areas include aviation safety, facilities and construction management, helicopter operations and safety, transportation, logistics management, management information systems, occupational safety and health, project management, and security and intelligence.

Graduate Degree Options

The Master of Science in Unmanned Systems (MSUS) degree is a 30-credit program designed to produce graduates qualified to enter or enhance their applicability towards the application, development, management, policy-making, and support of unmanned systems. The MSUS curriculum features topics, interactive activities, collaborative engagement, and research and development projects aligned towards supporting the development and refinement of student KSAs. The educational focus supports the investigation and development of strategies and solutions to address major challenges within the industry.

The Master of Science in Unmanned and Autonomous Systems Engineering (MSUASE) degree is a 30-credit, online program designed to enable career establishment and advancement in a rapidly changing field. The program features the development of innovative solutions operating along the spectrum of autonomy, including unmanned aircraft, autonomous cars, robotic surface and underwater vessels, spacecraft, and industrial robots. The degree is built on rigorous multi-disciplinary coursework to provide a flexible option to develop and demonstrate knowledge attainment through project-based experiences. The curriculum features integration and application of concepts, protocols, and techniques in unmanned and autonomous systems: systems engineering, architecture, and design; safety and certification; requirements development analysis; modeling; command, control, and communication (C3); and human factors. Through the review of design, performance, and operational specifications to system testing and evaluation of end-to-end solutions, students gain comprehensive insight and practical experience affecting development, acquisition, fielding, and sustainment of unmanned system designs. The MSUASE culminates in a two-term capstone project, conducted independently or in a team setting, to develop a technical solution to a critical real world challenge and leading to publication.

The 30-credit Master of Science in Aeronautics (MSA) is an advanced degree designed to broaden a student’s knowledge, diversify talents, and cultivate an edge in the competitive field of aviation. The MSA features the option to pursue a 12-credit graduate specialization in either Unmanned Systems (emphasizes obtaining a comprehensive understanding of topics, challenges, and application) or sUAS Operations (promote and strengthen applicable KSAs specific to Part 107 operations in the U.S. National Airspace System). 

The 30-credit Master of Systems Engineering (MSYSE) prepares and qualifies students to coordinate diverse teams, understand complex technology and tools, integrate interdepartmental work processes, and manage efforts across industries, including unmanned systems. The MSYSE features the option to pursue one of two tracks, the technical track, which is focused on completion of coursework relating to system design, analysis, and implementation or the engineering management track, which is concentrated on organization, process, and management. The technical track features selection of 12-credits of electives (four courses), which may include unmanned systems specific graduate course options, such as unmanned aerospace systems; robotics and control; command, control, and communications (C3); sensing, perception, and processing; autonomy and automation power, propulsion, and maneuvering; operations and payloads; and human factors.

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Worldwide Campus
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
1 Aerospace Boulevard
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
Brent Terwilliger

About the Author

Dr. Brent Terwilliger

Associate Professor, College of Aviation

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