University Profile: University of North Dakota Aerospace

University Profile: University of North Dakota Aerospace

By Ifediba Zube University of North Dakota Aerospace has a lot to teach on determination. In 1968, John D. Odegard embarked on a vision to build one of the best Aviation universities in North America. At the time all he had was two aircraft that ...

By Ifediba Zube

University of North Dakota Aerospace has a lot to teach on determination. In 1968, John D. Odegard embarked on a vision to build one of the best Aviation universities in North America. At the time all he had was two aircraft that had been donated, twelve students, a handful of teachers and a strong determination to turn his dream into reality. Five decades later, UND Aerospace offers many aerospace related programs to over 1,900 students from every state and more than 50 foreign countries, a wide curriculum of various aerospace programs, and an impressive school fleet of over 120 aircraft, possibly the largest fleet of civilian flight training in North America.

But Captain Odegard’s determination did not stop there. His life was an inspiration filled with accomplishment. He logged over 10,000 hours of flight time in his lifetime, built an impressive portfolio of certifications, flew as a crop duster to pay for college and received a host of accolades and awards from within the industry. To honour his legacy and pioneering work, UND Aerospace changed its name to John D Odegard school of Aerospace Sciences in 1977.

The Legacy Continues
Since then, UND Aerospace has continued the vision of a creating an affordable and well rounded school with pilots trained in all aspects of flight. To make this possible, UND defined the vision with a mission statement, “working together, we will deliver the highest quality education, research, and service in aviation and related disciplines to our students, our college, and the worldwide aerospace community” and defined the markers of the mission statement with these five clear aviation program objectives:

  • Creating graduates that harbor excellent aviation technical abilities
  • Strive for human excellence through the use of a liberal education
  • Instil characteristics that will fully develop our students’ human potential
  • Promote a solid foundation for the continued utilization of technology
  • Provide skills to build and promote a culture of safety in the aerospace industry

More than just a Mission Statement
Another strategy was to successfully combine a liberal arts core curriculum with a comprehensive aviation education. Interestingly, this brilliant combination is used in the various degree programs available. The curriculum which was designed to give students an all season flight training, is also reinforced with a competent staff of deans, associate deans, professors, associate professors, lecturers, program directors, coordinators and academic advisors. To provide students with exclusive training experience, UND Aerospace has state of the art facilities, technologically advanced simulators, sophisticated geospatial laboratories, remote learning classrooms, two atmospheric science field research installations and a wireless network that is available on the aerospace campus and airport.


One of the Largest Civilian Fleets in North America
The university has a fleet of over 123 aircraft, including 100 airplanes, 7 helicopters and 9 unmanned aerial vehicles. Most of these aircrafts are based at Grand Forks International Airport and the others are kept at the two satellite campuses. The aircraft are used to train students as private pilots and are also used for advanced training courses.

The fleet is primarily made of Skyhawks used to teach students in private pilots courses and other advanced training. In addition to the Skyhawks, the fleet also has new technologically advanced aircraft to give students a better learning experience. Here’s a look at a few of them:

  • Piper Archer
  • Cessna 172S
  • Piper Seminole
  • Cessna 150
  • Piper Arrow
  • Beech King Air 90
  • Decathlon
  • Piper Cubcrafters
  • Robinson R44 Cadet
  • Sikorsy 300C

A Quick Walk Around the Aerospace Complex
At an estimated $83 million dollars, Aerospace Complex is one of the most technologically advanced environment for aerospace education in the world. The main campus in Grand Forks is a comfortable setting of state of the art facilities arranged on a 570 wooded acre with sprawling landscapes. Also known as West Campus, buildings on the main campus are connected by a series of skyways and walkways. An aerial view of the campus shows an intentional, spacious network of buildings.

The buildings include Odegard Hall, the oldest of the four halls, which is the main building with classrooms, a portion of faulty offices, the administrative office for the college, an altitude chamber, a full motion spatial disorientation simulator and a couple of other laboratories.

Streibel Hall houses the computer science department and is neatly attached to Odergard Hall by a breezeway.

Then there’s Clifford Hall which houses the Atmospheric Sciences Department, the Space Study Department, the department of Earth Systems and Policy, the UAS administrative offices and Scientific Computing Centre.

And finally, Ryan Hall houses the college’s Air Traffic Control Faculty and over 16 flight simulators, remote classrooms and state of the art digital classrooms. Robin Hall is the newest building under construction to accommodate the growing UND aerospace community. Other buildings on the campus include the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Skalicky Tech Incubator.

An important part of Aerospace Complex is Grand Forks International Airport which houses a dispatch office, a display hangar, 11 heated hangars which provides a home for about 130 aircraft, administrative offices, and a cafeteria.

An Intentional Community
UND Aerospace is a community for nurturing students into competent pilots driven by passion and values. Because the four years spent here can be quite demanding and rigorous, a design of student friendly practises and culture was intentionally created to help students not just cope with academic pressure but also thrive in it.

From low cost accommodation and dining, student job opportunities, campus safety, campus shuttle, scholarships and over 18 student organizations, UND Aerospace demonstrates its value for students. A University Village opposite the campus has shopping centres, malls, cinemas, restaurants, student wellness centre and gym facilities. The campus is also surrounded by a bubbling cultural and retail community of theatres, parks, museums, nightlife, sporting events and clubs. All these provide students with social and extra curricular opportunities and interactions. There are also special services to meet unique, individualized needs. A couple of them include:

  • American Indian Health Services
  • Career Services
  • Disability Services
  • Counselling Centre
  • Multicultural Student Services
  • Student Health Services
  • Women’s Centre
  • International Programs
  • Diversity Services and Resources
  • Veteran and Military Services

A well rounded and friendly community is part of what makes the learning experience in UND Aerospace a memorable one. Visit to learn more about these student services.

A Comprehensive Array of Collegiate Programs
UND Aerospace offers one of the most comprehensive collegiate programs in the world. A combination of first hand knowledge in every field of the aviation industry, professionalism, innovation and creativity in teaching sets UND Aerospace apart from other aviation colleges. They currently offer degrees in these five major academic departments:


  • B.B.A in Aviation Management
  • B.B.A in Airport Management
  • B.S in Aeronautics: Commercial Aviation
  • B.S in Aeronautics: Air Traffic Control
  • B.S in Aeronautics: Aviation Technology Management
  • B.S in Aeronautics: Flight Education
  • B.S in Aeronautics: Unmanned Aircraft System Operation
  • M.S in Aviation

Earth Systems Science and Policy

  • M.E.M in ESSP
  • M.S in ESSP
  • Ph.D in ESSP

Atmospheric Sciences

  • B.S. in Atmospheric Sciences
  • M.S. in Atmospheric Sciences
  • Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences

Space Studies

  • M.S. in Space Studies
  • Ph.D in Aerospace Sciences

Tuition and Scholarships
UND Aerospace offers about seven academic majors, each with its own flight course requirements which affect the cost of a degree program. Although tuition may be demanding, UND Aerospace still strives to maintain the original mission of John D Odegard to provide the highest standard of professional aviation education at a reasonable cost to the student.

To reduce the demand of tuition on students, about $370,000 worth of scholarships are awarded each year. Scholarships are awarded based on academic merit, leadership, flight achievement, financial burden on the student and other criteria. Several scholarships are accessible to both prospective and current students who major in professional flight. To learn more about tuition and scholarships, go here

Life after UND Aerospace
To increase chances of employment, UND Aerospace has defined career pathways with major airlines. The aim is to help students familiarise with corporate culture of an airline before committing to it. These airlines require completing or having a completed bachelor’s degree with an aviation major from UND Aerospace. Look at this list of a few of those airlines:

  • Endeavor Air
  • Envoy
  • ExpressJet
  • JetBlue
  • Piedmont
  • PlaneSense
  • PSA
  • Republic
  • SkyWest

UND Aerospace has about 75 different job positions available in several airlines, internships, customer service, faculty, flight service, maintenance, management, meteorology, and dispatchers. From Cadet Pilot Programs to Flight related internships and public safety officer, UND Aerospace offers equal opportunities and is not discriminatory to race, ethnic group or religious beliefs.

Are You Ready for The Flight of Your Life?
UND Aerospace trains its students through a four year university degree. These four years mark the turning point in a pilot’s career and demand time, discipline and some sacrifices. On the bright side, these four years can be one of the most rewarding and exciting time of a student’s life.

The life of a pilot is a controlled one with rules, regulations and restrictions. Before you consider learning in an aviation university, you should be certain of your willingness to live under the norms that regulate drug, alcohol use and other lifestyle choices. It is good to point out that most students who made the decision to go through the rigours of aviation training in UND Aerospace were glad that they did. Apart from the rich amount of aviation education they had, they also developed skills in leadership, teamwork, independence, organization, reliability and of course, diligence. These skills are necessary not only for a successful career in the aviation industry, but also for making the most out of life.

Admission into UND Aerospace involves:

  • Application for the UND Undergraduate Admissions form
  • Successful completion of 14 units of high school core courses
  • High school GPA
  • ACT or SAT score

Other additional requirements depend on individual department requirements.
Go to to know more about admission requirements.

See You at the Top!
Aviation training at UND Aerospace is an experience worth experiencing. Safety, innovation, technology, and a well rounded education are a few of the values that set UND Aerospace apart from other aviation universities. Do you wish to start your career in the aviation industry? UND Aerospace would love to help you get started. Your journey may begin at UND and lead you to the cockpit of a corporate or airline jet! See you at the top.

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Last update was on: March 24, 2020 6:25 pm
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