August 22, 2023

Purdue University, U.S. Naval Test Pilot School to partner on joint graduate degree program

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University and the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School have signed an educational partnership agreement designed to enable USNTPS students to earn Purdue graduate degrees online with credit for their USNTPS training.

Under the agreement, the plan is to develop a curriculum pathway utilizing a number of courses in the intensive, 48-week curriculum taken by students at USNTPS to count toward Purdue graduate degrees, with the students also taking advantage of online courses from Purdue's College of Engineering and the Purdue Polytechnic Institute to complete their degrees.

USNTPS, located onboard Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River in Maryland, is part of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) and the Naval Test Wing Atlantic. USNTPS trains Navy test pilots, flight officers, engineers, and industry and foreign partners in a full spectrum of test and evaluation techniques for aircraft and aircraft systems. The school is at the forefront in development of, and leads aviation in, standardization of modern flight testing. It is the only domestic source of rotary wing test pilots and serves as the dedicated rotary wing test pilot school of the U.S. Army. Its highly competitive program also has graduated more than 90 NASA astronauts to date.

“This is an incredible opportunity for both Purdue and NAWCAD, the Wing, and TPS,” said Capt. Elizabeth Somerville, commander, Naval Test Wing Atlantic. “It’s a win-win for all parties. The speed in which this effort is moving is a testament to how eager we all are to bring higher education excellence to TPS and NAWCAD personnel.”

To start, the partnership would involve Purdue online master’s degrees in engineering technology and interdisciplinary engineering, and include Purdue’s online Doctor of Technology degree for personnel who already have earned a master’s. The 100% online interdisciplinary Master of Science in Engineering (MSE/MS) is a unique and flexible engineering program from Purdue’s College of Engineering, which U.S. News & World Report ranks No. 2 in the nation for online graduate programs. The 100% online engineering technology degree is a synergistic combination of Purdue’s electrical and computer engineering technology, industrial engineering technology, manufacturing engineering technology, and mechanical engineering technology programs.

The agreement also has the potential for pathways to make some of the courses from the USNTPS curriculum available to Purdue engineering and Purdue Polytechnic students.

In addition, this partnership presents possibilities for broader research collaborations with potential areas of collaboration in artificial intelligence, unmanned and autonomous aerial systems, hypersonics and sustainable energy solutions.

Additional Information

“This partnership not only benefits Navy personnel and Purdue students educationally, it presents other exciting opportunities and is in line with Purdue’s intent to be a leading partner for the Department of Defense in innovation to maintain and enhance national security,” said Dimitrios Peroulis, senior vice president for Purdue University Online.

Purdue University and Navy leaders signed the educational partnership agreement during a bilateral engagement at NAS Patuxent River on Aug. 1, 2023. The estimated timeline for USNTPS students to begin enrolling in Purdue’s online graduate programs is during the fall of 2023. 

Writer: Greg Kline, 765-494-8167,

Source: Dimitrios Peroulis,

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