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The Institutional Council has approved the establishment of an undergraduate degree program in aerospace engineering at Utah State University.

The program will be administered by the USU Department of Mechanical Engineering, which will be renamed the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, said Alma Moser, department head.The curriculum will be introduced at the junior and senior level and will be integrated over a three-year schedule, with accreditation by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology expected by that time.

The undergraduate program complements an already existing graduate program in space engineering. It is a response to student interest and to projected needs for engineers in the aircraft and spacecraft industries in Utah and nationwide, said Frank Redd, director of the USU Center for Space Engineering.

He said that a recent report of an Aerospace Task Force appointed by the governor projects a Utah-based aerospace industry need for 1,426 engineers in the next five years.