Home » Blog » MIT & edX Online Course: Introduction to Aerodynamics

MIT & edX Online Course: Introduction to Aerodynamics

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private research university located in Cambridge, United States. MIT with edX is starting free online course “Introduction to Aerodynamics”. MIT has five schools and one college including a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific, engineering and technological education and research.

Aerodynamics is a branch of Dynamics which deals in study of forces and the resulting motion of objects through the air, such as an airplane wing. The term “aerodynamics” is often used synonymously with gas dynamics; with the difference being that “gas dynamics” applies to the study of the motion of all gases, not limited to air. The rules of aerodynamics explain how an airplane is able to fly. Aerodynamics affects the motion of a large airliner, a model rocket, a beach ball thrown near the shore or a kite flying high overhead. Aerodynamics even acts on cars, since air flows around cars.

Recent work in aerodynamics has focused on issues related to compressible flow, turbulence, and boundary layers, and has become increasingly computational in nature. The course will discover the basic fluid dynamic concepts behind aircraft analysis and design.


This is a course about conceptual understanding of aerodynamic models used to predict the forces on and performance of aircraft.aerodynamics1

Topics covered are relevant to the aerodynamic performance of wings and bodies in subsonic, transonic and supersonic regimes. Specifically, it includes source/vortex panel methods; viscous flows, including laminar and turbulent boundary layers; aerodynamics of airfoils and wings, including thin airfoil theory, lifting line theory, panel method and supersonic airfoil theory.

For study students need not to buy the textbooks as all study material is included in the edX course and is available online. Various videos related with the course will be provided online which include discussion on concept questions, sample problem solutions and some short lectures on selected topics.

Grades will be given to students on the basis of responses to questions embedded in the reading, weekly homework problems and two exams, one at the mid of the course and one at the end of the course.

Duration of the Course

The course will start from 26th September 2013 and the time for study should be 12-14 hours/week.


-The student should have some basic knowledge of physics, vector calculus, and differential equations.

-Should be familiar with introductory gas dynamics (in particular control volume analysis).


On successful completion of the course with passing grade students will be awarded with the honour code certificate of mastery. The certificates will be issued by edX under the name of MITx.

Course Staff

David L. Darmofal, Professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT and member of the MIT Aerospace Computational Design Laboratory.

Dr. Alejandra Uranga, Research Engineer in the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. She holds a MASc from the University of Victoria, BC, Canada and a PhD degree from MIT.

Chad Lieberman, Postdoctoral Associate in the MIT School of Engineering  in Education. He has earned a PhD. in Aeronautics & Astronautics, S.M. in Computation for Design & Optimization, B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and B.S. in Mathematics, all from MIT.