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Today Colorado is teeming with career opportunities in the aviation and aerospace industry. The state is a national center for innovation with top aerospace contractors such as Lockheed Martin, Ball Aerospace, Raytheon and Jeppesen-Boeing positioning metro Denver as the second highest in industry employment among the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the country.

As Colorado’s impact on the industry has grown, so has the MSU Denver Department of Aviation and Aerospace Science. We are one of the largest and most advanced collegiate aviation programs in the country, yet remain the most affordable. 

Partnerships with the industry have been key to MSU Denver building and maintaining the state-of-the-art facilities and technology available to our Aviation and Aerospace Management students. For instance, thanks to AGI Corp., you’ll be trained in AGI’s Systems Toolkit (STK) advanced navigation and space commercialization simulation technology ? the same software they use at NASA. Plus MSU Denver’s Aviation and Aerospace Management majors take advantage of the close relationship we have with the industry in Colorado for incredible internship and job opportunities.

You will also take classes in MSU Denver’s new Aerospace and Engineering Sciences Building, a dynamic learning space that combines engineering, aviation, aerospace and advanced manufacturing, opening in 2017.

Program Options

Aviation and Aerospace Management 

Minor in Aviation Technology

Minor in Aviation Management

The department also offers the following three degree programs:

  • Aviation and Aerospace Science Concentration in Aerospace Operations
  • Aviation and Aerospace Science Concentration in Professional Flight Officer
  • Aviation and Aerospace Science Concentration in Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative

In addition, two bachelor of science degree programs in Aerospace Physics and Aerospace Systems Technology and minors in Space Commercialization and Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps are offered as  in partnership with the Center for Individualized Learning.

 are also available.


Career Opportunities for Our Graduates

Image of Aerospace careers

MSU Denver Aviation and Aerospace Management graduates have a variety of options for careers, including

  • Airport manager
  • Airline manager
  • Airport planners
  • Airport operations supervisors
  • Aviation program directors
  • Safety/security managers
  • Positions that integrate the business of aerospace and space commercialization with aeronautical management

Potential employers include:

  • Aircraft manufacturers and suppliers
  • Airport authorities
  • Cargo airlines
  • Chambers of Commerce
  • Colleges/universities
  • Medical and/or airline transport services
  • Military
  • Passenger carriers/air taxi services
  • Corporate flight services
  • Public relations
  • Tourism boards

Examples of average industry salaries in April 2017 listed by include:

  • Airport manager ? $74,730
  • Airport technology program manager ? $95,490
  • Aviation station manager ? $55,000

The Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook lists median salaries for 2015 as:

  • Aerospace engineers ? $107, 830
  • Aerospace safety engineers ? $84,600


The MSU Denver Aviation and Aerospace Science Department received the Loening Trophy, the oldest and most prestigious award in collegiate aviation, in 2011.


Jeff Forrest_Aviation and AerospaceJeff Forrest

Professor and Chair Jeff Forrest (MSU Denver ’91) serves on the board of directors of the Colorado Division of Aeronautics. He has written several books, including “Practical Airport Operations, Safety and Emergency Management” and “Practical Aviation Security” with colleague Professor Jeff Price. 



TJ De Cino_Aviation and AerospaceThomas De Cino

Instructor Thomas “T.J.” De Cino (MSU Denver ’08) is the manager of the World Indoor Airport. He specializes in educational technology research, human factors and usability analysis, online education, simulation and computer systems engineering.



James Simmons_Aviation and AerospaceJames Simmons

Professor James Simmons’ career expertise spans airline operations and management, aviation law, air cargo aviation safety program management and aviation security management.




Learn more about Aviation and Aerospace Science faculty.

Featured Alumni

Hear from an Aviation and Aerospace alumnus:

“One thing that separates MSU Denver is that it offers a broad range of things from a commercial space track to air traffic control, aircraft maintenance and airport management. With all these disciplines together, you get perspective. You get an understanding of how an airport works.”

David Ulane, MSU Denver ’90, is director of the aeronautics division of the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Read more.

Alumni at Work

MSU Denver Aviation and Aerospace Alumni have been hired by the following:

  • Airport authorities across the U.S.
  • Aviation management consulting services companies around the world
  • High-technology avionics and aircraft supply manufacturers
  • Aerospace commercial services: SNC, Lockheed and small aerospace engineering tech firms
  • Airlines and charter services from small commuter to nationals to flagship international carriers
  • Government agencies such as the FAA and NTSB

MSU Denver Aviation and Aerospace Management alumni have been accepted for post-graduate study at the University of Colorado Boulder, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Webster University, Colorado State University and others.

Sample Classes

Image of students in Aerospace class.

  • Airline Planning
  • Flight Dispatcher and Load Planning
  • Space Flight Operations
  • Aerospace Commercialized Operations
  • Human Factors and Physiology of Flight
  • Aviation Safety Program Management
  • Aviation Law and Risk Management
  • Aviation Security
  • Space Flight Operations

Learn more about your Aviation and Aerospace Management curriculum.


Facilities and Resources

Watch for the fall 2017 opening of our Aerospace and Engineering Sciences Building! 

Nearly $40 million in flight and space- related training systems are housed in the Aviation and Aerospace Science Department, including:

  • Advanced Aviation and Aerospace Flight Training (AAAFT) laboratory with Advanced Navigation and Space Commercialization simulation technology that is an official training center for AGI Corp. Systems Toolkit (STK)
  • Canadair Regional Jet training software and flight planning resources
  • Technology for building and flying balloon satellites applied to field-data collections
  • Satellite simulators and training devices
  • Robert J. Mock World Indoor Airport Lab
    • 10 single-engine, five light twin-engine, two turbo-prop and four Cessna 172XP G1000 simulation systems
    • Cessna Mustang VLJ business jet
    • 18 controller position Air Traffic Control (ATC) system, proving simulation of an operational air traffic control radar facility
    • Advanced weather planning and forecasting technologies
    • Flight-planning area with charts, maps, approach plates, and other materials for preparing and filing flight plans

Our students participate in organizations such as the MSU Denver Student Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives, MSU Denver Precision Flight Team, the Aerobatic and Glider Club, American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics, Students for the Exploration of Space and many others!

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