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GATE Syllabus for Aerospace Engineering

Given here is the complete syllabus for GATE AE paper. The GATE exam syllabus is defined and published by IITs and IISC for the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering.  The GATE syllabus for AE has four main topics namely Engineering Mathematics, Flight Mechanics, Space Dynamics, Aerodynamics, Structures, and Propulsion.

Please note – The GATE exam will also have General Aptitude section. The General Aptitude section GATE syllabus is defined separately.

GATE Syllabus for Aerospace Engineering (AE)

Important Note for Candidates: In each of the following subjects the topics have been divided into 2 categories –

  • Core Topics
  • Special Topics

The corresponding sections of the question paper will contain 90% of their questions on Core Topics and the remaining 10% on Special Topics.

Engineering Mathematics

Core Topics

Linear Algebra: Vector algebra, Matrix algebra, systems of linear equations, rank of a matrix, eigenvalues and eigenvectors.

Calculus: Functions of single variable, limits, continuity and differentiability, mean value theorem, chain rule, partial derivatives, maxima and minima, gradient, divergence and curl, directional derivatives. Integration, Line, surface and volume integrals. Theorems of Stokes, Gauss and Green.

Differential Equations: First order linear and nonlinear differential equations, higher order linear ODEs with constant coefficients. Partial differential equations and separation of variables methods.

Special Topics

Fourier Series, Laplace Transforms, Numerical methods for linear and nonlinear algebraic equations, Numerical integration and differentiation.

Flight Mechanics

Core Topics

Basics: Atmosphere: Properties, Standard atmosphere. Classification of aircraft, Airplane (fixed wing aircraft) configuration and various parts.

Airplane performance: Pressure altitude; equivalent, calibrated, indicated air speeds; Primary flight instruments: Altimeter, ASI, VSI, Turn-bank indicator. Drag polar; takeoff and landing; steady climb & descent, absolute and service ceiling; cruise, cruise climb, endurance or loiter; load factor, turning flight, V-n diagram; Winds: head, tail & cross winds.

Static stability: Angle of attack, sideslip; roll, pitch & yaw controls; longitudinal stick fixed & free stability, horizontal tail position and size; directional stability, vertical tail position and size; dihedral stability. Wing dihedral, sweep & position; hinge moments, stick forces.

Special Topics

Dynamic stability:  Euler angles; Equations of motion; aerodynamic forces and moments, stability & control derivatives; decoupling of longitudinal and lateral-directional dynamics; longitudinal modes; lateral-directional modes.

Space Dynamics

Core Topics

Central force motion, determination of trajectory and orbital period in simple cases.

Special Topics

Orbit transfer, in-plane and out-of-plane.


Core Topics

Basic Fluid Mechanics: Conservation laws: Mass, momentum (Integral and differential form); Potential flow theory: sources, sinks, doublets, line vortex and their superposition; Viscosity, Reynold’s number.

Airfoils and wings: Airfoil nomenclature; Aerodynamic coefficients: lift, drag and moment; Kutta-Joukoswki theorem; Thin airfoil theory, Kutta condition, starting vortex; Finite wing theory: Induced drag, Prandtl lifting line theory; Critical and drag divergence Mach number.

Compressible Flows: Basic concepts of compressibility, Conservation equations; One dimensional compressible flows, Fanno flow, Rayleigh flow; Isentropic flows, normal and oblique shocks, Prandtl-Meyer flow; Flow through nozzles and diffusers.

Special Topics

Elementary ideas of viscous flows including boundary layers; Wind Tunnel Testing; Measurement and visualization techniques.


Core Topics

Strength of Materials: States of stress and strain. Stress and strain transformation. Mohr’s Circle. Principal stresses. Three-dimensional Hooke’s law. Plane stress and strain; Failure theories: Maximum stress, Tresca and von Mises; Strain energy. Castigliano’s principles. Analysis of statically determinate and indeterminate trusses and beams. Elastic flexural buckling of columns.

Flight Vehicle Structures: Characteristics of aircraft structures and materials. Torsion, bending and flexural shear of thin-walled sections. Loads on aircraft.

Structural Dynamics: Free and forced vibrations of undamped and damped SDOF systems. Free vibrations of undamped 2-DOF systems.

Special Topics

Vibration of beams.
Theory of elasticity: Equilibrium and compatibility equations, Airy’s stress function.


Core Topics

Basics: Thermodynamics, boundary layers and heat transfer and combustion thermochemistry.

Thermodynamics of aircraft engines: Thrust, efficiency and engine performance of turbojet, turboprop, turbo shaft, turbofan and ramjet engines, thrust augmentation of turbojets and turbofan engines. Aerothermodynamics of non-rotating propulsion components such as intakes, combustor and nozzle.

Axial compressors: Angular momentum, work and compression, characteristic performance of a single axial compressor stage, efficiency of the compressor and degree of reaction.

Axial turbines: Axial turbine stage efficiency.

Centrifugal compressor: Centrifugal compressor stage dynamics, inducer, impeller and diffuser.

Rocket propulsion: Thrust equation and specific impulse, vehicle acceleration, drag, gravity losses, multi-staging of rockets. Classification of chemical rockets, performance of solid and liquid propellant rockets.

No Special Topics

GATE Exam Pattern for Aerospace Engineering

  • The GATE exam paper for AE would contain 25 questions carrying 1-mark each (sub-total 25 marks) and 30 questions carrying 2-marks each (sub-total 60 marks).
  • The question paper will consist of questions of multiple choice and numerical answer type.
  • For numerical answer questions, choices will not be given.
  • Candidates have to enter the answer (which will be a real number, signed or unsigned, e.g., 25.06, -25.06, 25, -25 etc.) using a virtual keypad. An appropriate range will be considered while evaluating the numerical answer type questions so that the candidate is not penalised due to the usual round-off errors.

Download GATE Syllabus for AEClick here to download syllabus of GATE 2018 for Aerospace Engineering.

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