“At Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, what we do — and do best — is teach the science, practice, and business of the world of aviation and aerospace.”
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (generally referred to as Embry-Riddle or ERAU) is a private, not-for-profit, coeducational institution serving culturally diverse students seeking careers in aviation, aerospace, business, engineering, and related fields. Called “The Harvard of the Sky” by TIME Magazine, ERAU is the world’s oldest, largest, and most prestigious university specializing in aviation and aerospace higher education. ERAU offers a wide variety of air- and space-related courses, with over 50 degrees for undergraduate and graduate students to choose from. Among these are the most well-respected Aerospace Engineering and Aeronautical Science programs in the country, and the nation’s only undergraduate engineering physics program focusing on aerospace. ERAU even offers a Ph.D. in Aviation, the first such program in the world.
The curriculum at ERAU covers the operation, engineering, research, manufacturing, marketing, and management of modern aircraft and the systems that support them. The university engages in extensive research, consulting, and related activities that address the unique needs of aviation, aerospace, and related industries. ERAU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and its various degrees are accredited by other relevant official bodies (for example, its engineering programs are accredited through the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology). ERAU’s certificate programs in flight (private, commercial, instrument, multi-engine, flight instructor, and instrument flight instructor ratings) and flight dispatch are approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.
ERAU has a history dating back to the early days of aviation. The Embry-Riddle Flying School of Cincinnati, Ohio, was founded in 1926 by entrepreneur T. Higbee Embry and barnstormer John Paul Riddle, just 22 years after the Wright brothers’ first flight. The school was re-established in 1939 as the Embry-Riddle School of Aviation, partnering with the University of Miami to provide flight training under the Civilian Pilot Training Program immediately proceeding World War II. In 1944, the Embry-Riddle school was purchased by John G. McKay, and the two original co-founders were no longer involved. When McKay died in 1951, his wife Isabel took over as the first and only female president. In 1959, she established the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Institute as a non-profit Florida corporation. The institute moved to Daytona Beach in 1965 and was renamed Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 1970. The campus in Prescott, Arizona, opened in 1978.
While ERAU’s residential campuses in Daytona Beach and Prescott provide an education in a traditional setting, Embry-Riddle Worldwide makes instruction available through a network of more than 150 centers at military bases, technical colleges, and other installations throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. For military personnel and working civilians whose schedules or geographic locations prevent them from attending classes at a residential campus or Worldwide location, a virtual “online campus” serves and connects the students through Web-based support groups, e-mail discussions, and other online forums. In addition, ERAU’s Center for Professional Education offers continuing education credits and non-degree programs to adult learners. Last year there were over 27,000 students enrolled in the worldwide campus, many serving with the United States Armed Forces.
ERAU Associate’s degrees are offered in Aviation Business Administration, Aviation Maintenance, Professional Aeronautics, and Technical Management. Bachelor’s degrees are offered in Aeronautical Science; Aeronautical Systems Maintenance; Aeronautics; Aerospace Electronics; Aerospace Engineering; Aerospace Studies; Air Traffic Management; Applied Meteorology; Astronomy; Aviation Business Administration; Aviation Environmental Science; Aviation Maintenance Science; Aviation Management; Business Administration; Civil Engineering; Communication; Computer Engineering; Computer Science; Electrical Engineering; Engineering Physics; Fire Science; Global Security and Intelligence Studies; Homeland Security; Human Factors Psychology; Mechanical Engineering; Safety Science; Software Engineering; and Space Physics. For a complete list of degrees available at each campus location, see: http://www.erau.edu/degrees/all-degrees.html.
About 80 percent of ERAU students are male, and 20 percent are female. Given the university’s unique, specialized studies, it’s no surprise that student life is a little different. ERAU may be the only school with a fleet of more than 90 instructional aircraft on hand, and a student organization specifically for future air traffic controllers. ERAU is a very military-friendly school, with one of the most extensive ROTC programs in the United States. ERAU’s two Air Force ROTC detachments produce more pilots, commissioned officers, and other rated officers for the Air Force than any other institution except the Air Force Academy. Students can also join any of the many other student organizations, write for the student newspaper, or pledge with one of over a dozen Greek-letter organizations. ERAU offers a variety of on-campus recreational sports opportunities, as well as 16 varsity athletic teams appropriately named the Eagles.
Many types of financial aid, including scholarships, grants, and loans, are available to ERAU students, with 91% of residential campus students receiving some form of financial aid. Each student is considered for scholarships automatically based on everything submitted during the application process. This includes high school transcripts, SAT/ACT scores, two letters of recommendation (teacher, boss, flight instructor, etc.), and the optional essay and resume. (Although an essay and resume are not required for admission to ERAU, they will greatly help those seeking scholarships.) Admissions decisions are based on the “Whole-Person” concept including extracurricular activities, leadership experience, flight experience, GPA, and types of classes taken related to your degree interest. All academic programs at ERAU are approved for veterans’ educational benefits and are accompanied by personalized academic advisement. For more information about admissions, see: http://www.erau.edu.
ERAU students come from all 50 states as well as from 97 nations around the world. Notable alumni include: Jerry Doyle (Babylon 5 actor and radio talk show host), James Hagedorn (Scotts Miracle-Gro CEO), US Air Force F-16 pilot Scott O’Grady, six astronauts, an Iowa State Representative, a former U.S. Congressman, a former White House Fellow, and many military leaders and airline pilots (including Patrice Clarke Washington, the first African-American female pilot with a commercial airline). Another alumnus, David Charlebois, was the first officer on American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11. (There was talk for some time about closing ERAU to foreign students after learning that the school may have unknowingly taught several 9/11 terrorists how to fly airplanes; but ERAU remains open to international applicants, who make up 9% of ERAU’s residential campus student population.)
ERAU’s 185-acre Daytona Beach campus is adjacent to the Daytona Beach International Airport and less than 15 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean. ERAU’s overall enrollment on the Daytona Beach campus is about 5,100. The main campus consists of an aviation complex, academic quad, and residence halls surrounding the student center and Jack R. Hunt Aviator Park. A new College of Arts and Sciences building is under construction, complete with a 9-ton galvanized steel dome, which will house the largest university-based telescope in the state. The telescope will be placed inside the dome in January 2014, when the 140,000-square-foot, five-story building will be ready for students.
Aeronautical science (flight training) and aerospace engineering are the most popular of 54 different degree programs offered at the Daytona Beach campus. ERAU at Daytona Beach is also offering the first-of-its kind Commercial Space Operations bachelor degree, focusing on producing a skilled workforce for the emerging space tourism industry. The new Commercial Space Operations degree will help fill management jobs needed in training personnel and participants who want to fly; flight planning; space policy and laws; and overall operations and safety, including contingency planning if something goes wrong. When these students graduate, many of the companies building commercial space vehicles will be looking to hire the graduates to start their programs and train passengers who plan to go into space.
At a mile-high elevation in the mountains of central Arizona, just a two hour drive from Phoenix and the Grand Canyon, Prescott is a family-friendly town with many grounded churches, low crime, and wonderful opportunities for outdoor recreation. Prescott has mild seasonal weather with moderate daytime temperatures, beautiful views, and ideal conditions for flying year-round. The 539-acre ERAU campus is a short distance from Prescott airport’s Ernest A. Love Field, home to the school’s Golden Eagles Flight Team, which competes in the National Intercollegiate Flying Association. Even though ERAU is a nonsectarian university, the Prescott campus tends to be very conservative and has devout Christians serving in multiple departments. They opened up the ERAU Activity Center to the public for a memorial service in honor of the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who lost their lives on June 30, 2013. ERAU’s Prescott campus has an enrollment of about 1,700 students, with 21 different degrees offered there, including the only Global Security and Intelligence Studies program in the country. ERAU at Prescott also has the country’s only master’s degree in safety science, which prepares students for careers in aviation, general industry, and government agencies.
ERAU’s Prescott campus has a new 48,000 sq. ft. Academic Complex with an advanced weather center and meteorology suite, computer design lab, and classrooms; a multi-lab Aerospace Experimentation and Fabrication Building; state-of-the-art engineering and wind tunnel labs; aviation safety center with crash lab, industrial hygiene lab, and ergonomics lab; advanced flight simulators; flight line with an extensive fleet of training aircraft; Library and Learning Center; student union, dining hall, residence halls, and Haas Interfaith Chapel. The Prescott campus also has a space-oriented Physics Department that involves undergraduate students in research projects funded by NSF and NASA. Athletic facilities include a softball field, intercollegiate soccer field, tennis courts, sand volleyball courts, outdoor swimming pool, racquetball courts, running track, multi-sport recreation field, indoor volleyball and basketball courts, fitness center, training room with whirlpool, multi-purpose gym, and a matted room for wrestling, aerobics, and martial arts. The fitness center is undergoing a major renovation due for completion in the next couple of years. All campus life is centered in a one-mile area.
Homeschoolers at ERAU
Susanne Bain, a homeschool mom and author of Home Schooling: A Better Education for Your Child, proved that homeschooling works. Her son Sean graduated with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from ERAU at age 19, a year older than most students graduate from high school! Her daughter Heather was one of the youngest students ever accepted to ERAU at age 14! Sean Bain now works as an Aerospace Engineer at ITT Exelis in Fort Washington, Maryland. He majored in spacecraft design with a minor in global security and intelligence. One of 30 young graduates who talked about life and work after ERAU, Sean said, “Embry-Riddle gave me the background to face the challenges of industry….I have reached a point early in my career where I can honestly say I LOVE my job and I am being offered rewarding opportunities.” [“30 Under 30: Young ‘Riddle Graduates Talk About Living Their Dreams.” THE LEADER, Spring 2008.]
David Hernandez, Assistant Director of Admissions at ERAU in Prescott, is a homeschool father of five children, a lifetime member of HSLDA, and a devout Christian. He stated in an e-mail on June 11, 2013: “I believe Embry-Riddle is a fantastic environment for homeschooled students! We have small class sizes (avg. 25), with a student/faculty ratio of 14:1, which allows our students to get personal attention from our professors (our professors know their students by name). Our size also allows our undergraduates to get extensive hands-on time in our engineering, space physics, and flight labs- beginning freshman year.” Mr. Hernandez added, “Knowing the value and quality of homeschooling curriculum and students, Embry-Riddle aggressively seeks out opportunities to share about ERAU with homeschool families/groups. We have many homeschooled students flourishing here, and we do not have any special requirements for homeschool applicants.”
A few noteworthy facts about Embry-Riddle:
* The major airlines hire more alumni from Embry-Riddle than from any other collegiate aviation program.
* Embry-Riddle ranks in the top 3% of all U.S. universities in Return on Investment, and the top 15% in starting salaries.
* Our Aerospace Engineering Program has been ranked #1 in the Nation for 13 straight years by U.S. News and World Report
* Our overall engineering program (Aerospace, Mechanical, Electrical, Computer, Software) consistently ranks in the top 20 in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report.
* Our Space Physics bachelor’s degree is one of a kind in the nation, involving the study of astronomy, cosmology, remote sensing, particle and astrophysics, and exotic propulsion systems.
* Our Space Physics undergraduate students regularly take part in research conducted at numerous Dept. of Energy research laboratories domestically and internationally.
* Our student/teacher ratio is 14:1, with an average class size of 25. All courses are taught by the professors themselves–we have no graduate students. Professors know their students by name, and undergraduate students are often involved in research, corresponding with researchers at universities and labs worldwide. At the Prescott Campus, we have only 1,700 students total.
* Last year, an Embry-Riddle Robotics Team was awarded the “Judges Innovation Award” by NASA engineers at their Lunabotics Competition at Kennedy Space Center–it was our first year competing in the event.
* Our programs are very hands-on by design–undergraduate students get direct access to materials labs, wind tunnels (5 total, one of them supersonic), electronics labs, robotics labs, etc.
* Six Embry-Riddle Alumni are current/former astronauts. Embry-Riddle graduates work throughout NASA, including the current Chief of NASA Mission Control and the Chief of Engineering at Johnson Space Center in Houston.
* Boeing (the world’s largest aerospace company) employs more Embry-Riddle graduates than any other university in the nation (over 3,700 Embry-Riddle alumni)
* Embry-Riddle is also known for its professional pilot programs–1 in 4 airline pilots is an Embry-Riddle graduate.
* Embry-Riddle recently won its 9th National Championship for flight (and 2nd in a row!) in the last 15 years
* One of every six students on our campus is in Air Force or Army ROTC, with a large majority of them on scholarship.
* Embry-Riddle AFROTC cadets consistently beat the national average in the number of pilot slots they receive. Last year, 100% of our cadet applicants received pilot slots, with 95% receiving pilot slots this year. In fact, Embry-Riddle produces more AF Officers and Pilots than any other university in the nation other than the Air Force Academy.
* Our Global Security and Intelligence Studies (GSIS) degree combines forensics, intelligence collection, counter-terrorism studies, etc. and is taught by former CIA, FBI, and military intelligence specialists.
* GSIS graduates are being employed by the CIA, FBI, military intelligence agencies, private security firms, and the State Dept.
* Our Cyber-Intelligence and Security (CIS) degree program produces professionals well-versed in offensive and defensive aspects of cyber warfare, including cryptography, computer forensics, database management and data mining. Students train in state-of-the-art facilities, including running reality-based scenarios in our “Hacker Lab.”