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Aerospace Studies

Aerospace Studies | Courses | Faculty

Contact: Lt. Colonel McEldowney
Office: 202 Dickinson Hall
Phone: (413) 545-2437/2451

Head of Department: Professor (Lt. Colonel) McEldowney; Assistant Professor (Captain) Bate, Assistant Professor (Captain) Christie.

The Department of Aerospace Studies—also known on campus as “Air Force ROTC”—is unique in that it is the only agent through which a student can, upon graduation, receive a commission as an officer in the United States Air Force. To earn this commission, a cadet (a student pursuing a commission) must meet the Reserve Officer Training Corps eligibility requirements, enroll in Aerospace Studies courses, attend a two-hour, no-credit leadership lab each week, pass an Air Force Officer Qualifying Test, be physically qualified, attend an officer field training program, and receive a baccalaureate or postgraduate degree. Upon graduation and commissioning, the officer will normally serve a period of active duty in the Air Force. Qualified students in good academic standing, in any recognized major, are eligible for a commission. The department places no demands upon the student’s curriculum. Aerospace Studies academic courses are open to all students.

Air Force ROTC Advantages
The Air Force ROTC program combines valuable hands-on leadership and management training which greatly enhances a student’s overall college education and future job opportunities either in the United States Air Force or the civilian sector. The goal is to produce future leaders for the Air Force and the nation. Qualified students may explore these opportunities during the first two years of the program with no military obligation. This experience also includes visiting Air Force installations, receiving Air Force aircraft flight orientations, flying light aircraft, and participating in a variety of challenging and unique training programs.

Basic Program
The Four-Year Air Force ROTC program is comprised of the General Military Course (GMC) and the Professional Officer Course (POC), and is tailored for cadets with three or more years of undergraduate study remaining. In the GMC, a cadet learns the mission and structure of the Air Force, examines military life, and studies the strategies, doctrines, and missions of aerospace power from balloons to today’s use of space vehicles. The leadership lab, which is required for all cadets, is cadet-led. This leadership experience prepares them for increased levels of responsibility and their future role as military officers. Activities include a variety of professional and social functions. Course textbooks are available to all students at no cost, and uniforms and other essential materials are also provided to cadets at no cost.

When cadets complete the GMC, they compete to attend field training. This rigorous program of leadership training, physical conditioning and small arms familiarization increases a cadet’s potential to be an Air Force officer. Travel to and from the field training base is paid for by the Air Force. After successful completion, cadets may enroll in the Professional Officer Course (POC).

The POC offers advanced training in leadership, management, and communication skills and focuses on Air Force situations. It also takes an in-depth look at the theories of management and their application. Students analyze the role of the armed forces in contemporary American society, examine a broad range of American domestic and international military relationships, and study the environment in which American national security policy is developed and implemented. Cadets competing for a commission are required to attend the leadership lab at which leadership and management theories are applied. Cadets also participate in planning, organizing, directing, and controlling the cadet corps.

During this program, cadets also have the opportunity to pursue professional development and interservice programs. The Air Force pays the cadet to work and learn, providing housing, meals, and transportation.

Air Force ROTC Scholarships
Air Force ROTC one- to four-year college scholarships are available on a competitive basis to qualifying high school and college students. Scholarship recipients are selected using the whole person concept. This includes objective factors (grade point average) and subjective factors (interview evaluation). In selected academic areas, scholarships may be extended to meet a five-year degree program recognized by the college. Most scholarships cover full college tuition and most laboratory fees, and mandatory fees; plus a tax-free allowance during the school year ranging from $300 to $500 per month, and an annual $900 textbook stipend.

Eligible veterans may enroll in Air Force ROTC while in college, complete degree requirements, and earn an Air Force commission. Veterans can use their GI Bill or veteran’s benefits, receive the tax-free allowance, and compete for other scholarship and financial aid programs.

The Minor

The Department of Aerospace Studies also offers a minor in Aerospace Studies. While the minor is most appropriate for those wishing to pursue a commission as an officer in the Air Force, it is open to all students at the university without incurring any military obligation. A minor in Aerospace Studies provides knowledge about the aerospace studies field, aviation history, military law, aspects of national security, and developing management and leadership skills. Training gained through the minor is an asset to those students interested in government employment (non-military and military) or aerospace-related industries in the private sector.

Students must complete a minimum of 15 credits, taken from AEROSPAC 111-112 (1 cr each); AEROSPAC 223-224 (1 cr each), AEROSPAC 335-336 (3 cr each); or AEROSPAC 441-442 (3 cr each). AEROSPAC 496 (Independent Study, 1-6 cr) may be substituted for any of these requirements. The required minimum GPA for the minor is 2.000. For more information on the minor, contact the Aerospace Studies Department, tel. (413) 545-2437, email:

Aerospace Studies | Courses | Faculty