Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) at the University of Virginia is a thriving program of undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty with a commitment to exploration, innovation, and engineering excellence. The Aerospace program’s research strengths include the Applied Research Laboratory, the Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Center for Advanced Propulsion, and projects in combustion and wind energy. Key research strengths for the Mechanical program include the Center for Applied Biomechanics (world leaders in auto safety engineering with $10 million in annual research), the Center for Rotating Machinery (more than 40 member companies), a new $7.8 million MURI in bio-propulsion, and award-winning nano-scale research.

MAE’s focus on engineering excellence has led to many national awards, scholarships and fellowships. For several students these have included NDSEG Fellowships, and for one individual, the AIAA Abe Zarem award. In addition, faculty have received the Cambridge Jefferson award, the AFOSR Young Investigator Award, and a Distinguished Scientist/Engineer Award. With new MAE department chair Eric Loth, a plan for 2020 has been established to build on these strengths and enhance cross-cutting research, such as cyber-physical drone platforms. Through this combination, our department plans to increase both the faculty and the graduate student population by 50% in the next five years.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Virginia has increased research citations and funding for tenured/tenure-track (T3) professors.  MAE annual research expenditures are now increased to $547K per T3 faculty and the average H-index at 25.   In addition, Science Citation Papers Index reached a new high of 6.5 and GRE Quantitative scores averaged 164.  These numbers compare favorably with top institutions such as Georgia Tech, MIT, Penn State, Princeton, Stanford and Virginia Tech. See more faculty metrics at our “Research Excellence: By the Numbers” page.


The vision of the University of Virginia’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering is to realize its mission through an educational framework that is embedded in a vibrant community of scholars and is underpinned by critical thinking in science, engineering, and humanities.


The mission of the University of Virginia’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering is to educate undergraduate and graduate students to apply the principles of the physical sciences, mathematics and engineering to solve challenging multidisciplinary problems; to empower the students to teach themselves new knowledge and ideas to solve problems far beyond the factual boundaries of their education; to develop socially conscious, informed, articulate, and transformative leaders of the profession, academia, and society as a whole.

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