What major can prepare you for a career in film or law enforcement? You guessed it, drones.

The unmanned aircraft systems major prepares students for the fundamentals including maintenance, customization, acquisition, and commercial use. Rather than building drones from the ground up, students use products and adapt them to meet specific needs.  

What You’ll Do  

As an unmanned aircraft systems major, you’ll understand the concepts required to be a UAS professional including electronics, mechanical design, and programming. Courses include programming, electrical and electronic systems, mechanical operations, flight, drone design, sensing systems, mission planning, regulations and safety.  

  • Gain a specialized knowledge in UAS including flight, design, policy, and mission planning. 
  • Tailor the program for you with specific application areas like agriculture, criminal justice, geographic information systems, and automation. 
  • Work closely with faculty who have industry experience to gain career-ready practical experience. 

 What Can You Do with an Unmanned Aircraft Systems Degree?

Unmanned Aircraft Systems graduates work in a wide variety of fields, ranging from agriculture and delivery services to telecommunications and first response, far exceeding their current primary use in military applications. Examples of job titles include commercial drone pilot, instructor, drone system operator, UAS engineer, and UAS technician.

Career Opportunities

  • UAS Mission Planner
  • UAS Operator/Pilot
  • UAS Technician
  • UAS Designer 
  • Law Enforcement and Disaster Response
  • Agriculture and Forestry
  • Videography and Photography
  • Surveying and Inspection

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (BS) Degree Map

Explore the courses you'll need to complete your degree.

Outcomes & Careers

  • $62k

    Camera Operator

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual salary for a camera operator is $62,420. 

  • $63k

    UAS Operator

    According to Glassdoor, the average base pay for an unmanned aircraft system operator is $62,531. 

  • $122k

    Drone Engineer

    According to Zip Recruiter, the national average salary for a drone engineer is $122,037. 

What You’ll Study

Degree Map

In the unmanned aircraft systems program, you’ll be ready for a wide range of fields ranging from agriculture and delivery services to telecommunications and first response. You’ll complete a minimum of 120 credit hours to complete this degree, including the general education requirements and at least 39 senior division hours.

Required Courses: 

  • ET160 Basic Electric Circuits (3) 
  • ET380 Vision and Sensor Systems (3) 
  • ET381 Fundamentals of Aviation in UAS (3) 
  • ET382 UAS Fundamentals (3) 
  • ET383 UAS Design (3) 
  • ET384 UAS Law, Policy, and Safety (3) 
  • ET385 UAS Mission Planning and Applications (3) 
  • ET450 UAS Capstone Experience (3) 
  • GO340 Remote Sensing (3) 
  • GO418 Meteorology (4) 
  • GT101 Introduction to GIS 1 (3) 
  • GT102 Introduction to GIS 2 (3) 
  • IM300 Technical Communication (3) 
  • IM301 Industrial Safety Supervision (3) 
  • IM506 Projects in Ind. And Eng. Technology (3) 
  • MA116 Precalculus A (3) 
  • MN220 Engineering Economic Systems (3) 
  • TN255 Microcomputer Maintenance and Troubleshooting (3) 

Choose 3 hours: 

  • CS101 Introduction to Computer Programming (3) 
  • MN260 Technical Computer Programming Applications (3) 

Choose 4-5 hours: 

  • PH106/107 Physical Concepts and Lab (3+1) 
  • PH120/020 Introductory Physics I (5) 

Some requirements may be fulfilled by coursework in major program.

  • Social and Behavioral Sciences – 6 hours
  • Constitution Requirement – 3 hours
  • Written Communication – 6 hours
  • Oral Communication – 3 hours
  • Natural Sciences – 7 hours (from two disciplines, one to include a lab)
  • Mathematics – 3 hours
  • Humanities & Fine Arts – 9 hours (from at least two disciplines)
  • Additional requirements – 5 hours (to include UI100 for native students)
  • Civics examination

*Many major courses are on a set rotation and dependent on when prerequisites are completed. The actual semester a course is taken may vary based on the rotation.

Freshman Year

Fall Semester (15 Hours)
  • UI100 (1)
  • EN100 (3)
  • MA116 (3)
  • TN255 (3)
  • General Education (3)
Spring Semester (13-15 Hours)
  • CS101/MN260 (3-4)
  • ET160 (3)
  • PH106/107 or PH120/020 (4-5)
  • General Education (5)

Sophomore Year

Fall Semester (15 Hours)
  • ET381 (4)
  • GT101 (3)
  • IM301 (2)
  • MN319 (3)
  • General Education (3)
Spring Semester (15 Hours)
  • ET382 (3)
  • GT102 (3)
  • IM300 (3)
  • General Education (3)
  • Elective (3)

Junior Year

Fall Semester (15 Hours)
  • ET383 (3)
  • GO340 (3)
  • IM506 (3)
  • General Education (3)
  • Elective (3)
Spring Semester (15 Hours)
  • ET384 (3)
  • GO418 (3)
  • MN220 (3)
  • General Education (3)
  • Elective (3)

Senior Year

Fall Semester (15 Hours)
  • ET380 (3)
  • General Education (3)
  • General Education (3)
  • Elective (3)
  • Elective (3)
Spring Semester (15-17 Hours)
  • ET385 (3)
  • ET450 (3)
  • General Education (3)
  • Elective (3)
  • Elective (3-5)


Get Funding for Your Education

Missouri’s opened the door to a more educated workforce. We want to help you walk through it. If you’re an adult learner and a Missouri resident returning to college, learn about the Fast Track Workforce Incentive Grant. It’s a statewide financial aid program that can be used to pursue a certificate, degree or industry-recognized credential in a high need area in Missouri. This major is eligible for the Fast Track grant.

Become a Redhawk.

Do more than dream about the future. Take the first steps to make it all happen.

Professional Pilot Degree

If you have an interest in flying a larger aircraft, Southeast just launched a professional pilot Bachelor of Science. The program includes laboratory and flight hours at the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport and prepares students to attain FAA certifications to become a professional pilot.

Getting the Job

Your education is just one piece to launching an extraordinary career. Once you’ve mastered the material, you still have to find the job you want, make the right connections, sell your knowledge and experience—and if all this is giving you anxiety, don’t panic. SEMO’s Career Services office is here to help you with the next step. They’ll provide the expertise and support you need, so you’re landing your dream job in no time.


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