What Are Some Astronaut Colleges?


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The National Aeronatics and Space Administration does not require astronauts to have attended any particular colleges, although they should major in one of the following fields: engineering, mathematics, computer science, physical science or biological science. Aspiring astronauts can view the biographies of numerous current and former astronauts on NASA.gov to see which colleges successful astronauts have attended. For example, Michael S. Hopkins, whose selection year is 2009, attended University of Illinois for his bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering.

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Hopkins also earned a master's degree in aerospace engineering from Stanford University in 1992. Selected for NASA in 2013, Anne C. McClain attended U.S. Military Academy at West Point, earning a B.S. in mechanical and aerospace engineering in 2002. She then received a master's degree in international relations from the University of Bristol in 2005.

Purdue University College of Science recommends a degree in earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences for aspiring astronauts.

NASA hires two different types of space flight astronauts: pilots and mission specialists. Advanced degrees are desirable for both types of astronauts, and both types must also pass long-duration space flight physicals. As of 2016, candidates wishing to assume non-pilot positions need at least three years of relevant experience. Pilot candidates need to have spent a minimum of 1,000 hours performing pilot-in-command duties in jet aircraft. They should ideally also have fight test experience.

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