Examine the entire system surrounding the unmanned aerial industry, including design, operations, sensors, commerce and policy.

Unmanned Aerial Systems

Unmanned Aerial Systems Major

Drones, or unmanned aircraft, will be soon be part of everyday life. Companies who adopt the technology will need experts to help them navigate flight paths as well as rules and regulations. A major in unmanned aerial systems (UAS) will equip you to be a leader in this new career field. In fact, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International believes 70,000 new jobs will be created within three years after unmanned aircrafts are integrated into the U.S. airspace system.

This major examines the entire unmanned aerial system. You will learn about the different aircraft, how they are made and how they work. You will explore how they fit into the larger aviation system, including safety policies and regulations. Most exciting, professors believe, is the exploration of the possibilities for unmanned aircraft. They are already in use for agricultural, scientific and military purposes. You will research more creative uses for your project-based final capstone experience.

During your pursuit of an unmanned aerial systems degree, you’ll work with faculty in the School of Aviation and Transportation Technology who have years of experience in industry or research.


  • Learn about the entire unmanned aerial system, including how to fly the aircraft
  • Gain experience through data collection on research projects for various industries.
  • Qualify for certification as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operator.
  • Strengthen teamwork skills as you work with students and professors from a variety of majors in professional flight, airline management and operations, aviation management and more.
  • Study at an aviation school with the country’s first university-owned airport with the state’s second busiest air traffic control tower. The Purdue University Airport gives Purdue students an opportunity for real-time immersion in an aviation setting.
  • Engage with industry on a regular basis and be considered for their internships and other placement opportunities. Beyond Purdue University and Polytechnic career fairs, unmanned aerial systems majors can take advantage of an annual career fair planned for all students in the School of Aviation and Transportation Technology.
  • Utilize the Polytechnic learning environment to become a career-ready graduate

What can I do?

UAV pilot
Flight operations analyst
Test and airworthiness engineer
Geospatial scientist

Where can I go?

Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation
There are infinite opportunities to do things beyond classwork. The flight program has more to offer than just the skills it takes to be a pilot. There are hidden gems – fly a glider or fly along on the jet. It’s unique having our own airport and the amenities of a big university.
Sebastian Andrade
Professional Flight
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About the school/department

The School of Aviation and Transportation Technology is focused on providing the education and skills necessary to create and build airworthy machines, manage all facets of the aviation industry, and safely pilot aircraft for a variety of consumers. Research projects touch on the same topics as well as NextGen aviation challenges, alternative aviation fuel and general aviation issues.

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Prospective students can reach out to aviationadvisors@purdue.edu to request an appointment to speak with a School of Aviation and Transportation Technology advisor or student services professional.

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Continuing Education