Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) is a private university system offering associate, bachelor, master's, and PhD degree programs in arts and sciences, aviation, business, engineering, computer programming, cyber security and security and intelligence. It is the largest, fully accredited university system specializing in aviation and aerospace, and has campuses in Daytona Beach, Florida and Prescott, Arizona, and other locations.[6]


On December 17, 1925 Talton Higbee Embry and John Paul Riddle founded the Embry-Riddle Company at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati, Ohio. In spring 1926, the company opened the Embry-Riddle School of Aviation.[7] Following a merge with the Aviation Corporation (AVCO), the Embry-Riddle flying school was closed in 1930.[8]

The Fritz Hotel in Miami, Florida. Embry-Riddle occupied the building prior to moving to Daytona Beach, Florida.

In 1939 Riddle, John Graham McKay and wife Isabel re-established the school in Miami, Florida. Keeping the name, they partnered with the University of Miami to provide flight training under the Civilian Pilot Training Program, increasing the number of pilots immediately preceding World War II. Following rapid expansion, the school moved to the former Fritz Hotel.[9]

Preempting the announced closure of Tamiami Airport where then named Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Institute was conducting its flight operations, the school was moved to Daytona Beach in April 1965. Embry-Riddle was awarded university status in 1968 and changed its name to today's name in 1970. Embry-Riddle started its worldwide program the same year and opened a second residential campus in Prescott, Arizona, in 1978.[10]

Though it began as a regional school for pilots and aircraft mechanics, the university enrolls nearly 32,000 undergraduate and graduate students.[7]


The university is accredited as a level VI institution by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award degrees at the associate, bachelor, master's, and doctoral levels.[11] The university’s programs in aviation maintenance, air traffic management, applied meteorology, aeronautical science, aerospace and occupational safety, flight operations, and airport management are accredited by the Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI).[12] The bachelor and master’s programs in business are accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).[13] All engineering programs are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET) [14]

The programs in aeronautics, air traffic management, applied meteorology, and aerospace studies are certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).[15] In July 2014, the university also became the nation’s first FAA-approved training provider for student airline certification.[16]

The Embry-Riddle Athletics administration announced in July 2014 it was accepted into the NCAA Division II membership process. The transition to full NCAA Division II membership was completed in July 2017.[17]

Daytona Beach, Florida campus

The Wright Flyer statue is the centerpiece of the Daytona Beach campus. The Jack R. Hunt Memorial Library is visible in the background.

Embry-Riddle's oldest residential campus (185-acre (0.75 km2)) and academic headquarters has been in Daytona Beach, Florida since the move from Miami in 1965. Built adjacent to the Daytona Beach International Airport, the campus is connected to an aircraft ramp owned by the university for flight training. The main campus consists of an aviation complex, academic quad and residence halls surrounding the student center and Jack R. Hunt Aviator Park. The campus has seven residence halls and one off-campus housing complex.[18] Athletic facilities, the Brigadier General William W. Spruance ROTC Center and the ICI Center are at the east end of campus.

This university’s eastern campus serves approximately 5,700 undergraduates and 600 graduate students from over 100 countries.[19][20] All first-year students live on campus with sophomores, juniors, and seniors. 47 majors are currently offered at this location. The engineering physics program at the Daytona Beach campus is currently the largest undergraduate engineering physics program in the country and the only one specializing in aerospace.[21]

The Daytona Beach campus has a fleet of 42 Cessna Skyhawks, 6 Piper Arrows, 10 Diamond DA42 IV's, and the Super Decathlon. The ERAU Flying Club’s two (2) Cessna 172s and the two Cessna 150s of the Eagles Flight Team are also parked on the ramp.[22] The total of 67 aircraft in its fleet is second in the country only behind the University of North Dakota's John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences' total fleet of over 100 aircraft.[23]

Embry-Riddle's Daytona Beach campus has one of the most extensive Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) programs in the United States and the nation's largest Air Force ROTC program.[24] The ROTC program frequently wins national competitions.[25][26][27]

Prescott, Arizona campus

Arizona campus

Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott opened in 1978. The University's campus in Prescott, Arizona is 100 miles north of Phoenix. The high-desert climate offers nearly 300 days of sunshine a year. The campus has an enrollment of about 2,000 students and covers 539 acres of western terrain.[28]

The flight training center is at nearby Ernest A. Love Field. Facilities at the Prescott Campus include the Aerospace Experimentation and Fabrication Building, a wind tunnel lab with one supersonic and four subsonic wind tunnels, the aviation safety center with an accident investigation lab, library, the 48,000 sq ft. academic complex, the engineering and technology center, chapel, dining hall, student union and residence halls. The Prescott Campus features four academic colleges and offers 19 bachelor's degrees and two master's degrees, as well as educational programs for youths, students, and working professionals.[29]

The Prescott campus offers the only Global Security and Intelligence Studies program in the US.

The First Year Experience program is designed to help students transition to college on academic, social, and educational levels. Students in FYE housing are grouped together by major, when possible, and reside with a staff that is specially trained to handle first-year transitional issues. All first-year students under 21 years of age, without permanent residency in Yavapai County and with less than 28 earned credit hours, are required to live in University housing for their first full academic year. All FYE students reside in the Mingus Mountain Complex and are required to participate in the Dining Services meal program.[30]

Embry-Riddle's two Air Force ROTC detachments form the largest university-based Air Force commissioning source in the nation. Embry-Riddle's AFROTC detachments also produce more commissioned officers, more pilots and other rated officers for the Air Force than any other institution in the nation except the Air Force Academy. Army ROTC also operates a large detachment on the Prescott Campus.[31]

The Prescott campus is home to the Golden Eagles Flight Team, which competes in the National Intercollegiate Flying Association. Prescott's Golden Eagles Flight Team has won the regional championship each year for the past 31 years, and the team is also eleven-time National Champions winning in 1993, 1997, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2016, and 2017.[32] With their eleven national wins, the team has also been inducted into the San Diego Air & Space Museum's Hall of Fame.[33]

Worldwide campus

Sign Outside Worldwide Headquarters in Florida

Embry-Riddle serves more than 22,000 students online and at 130 campuses,[34] more than 90 on military bases and the option to take online courses.[35] It offers 40 degree programs covering many areas in aviation, business, communication, computers, emergency services, engineering, human factors, management, safety, security, logistics, and unmanned systems.[36] Classes are offered online, via video to a classroom or home, or face-to-face.[37]

Embry-Riddle Worldwide campus was established in 1970 and became a network of more than 130 learning locations,[6] including military bases.[38] Embry-Riddle Worldwide also provides a virtual "online campus". U.S. News & World Report ranked Embry-Riddle #1 Best out of almost 300 Online Bachelor's Programs in 2016.[39] Facilities with aviation functions are available for students not able to attend a residential campus. Programs of study are offered at the undergraduate and graduate level (as well as certificate and non-degree), including the rare Master of Business Administration in Aviation (MBA-A),[40] ranked #74 Best Online MBA Program (out of about 250) in 2015.[41]

Professional programs

ERAU hosts a variety of aviation-focused short-courses. All courses are offered in a classroom taught by industry experts.[who?] These courses — ranging in topic from Unmanned Aircraft Systems to Aircraft Accident Investigation and Management — are tailored for professionals involved in the operations, management, and supervision of aviation organizations.[42] The Worldwide campus offers courses either online, via video, or face-to-face globally and is headed by Gary Burke, Director -Office of Professional Education for the Worldwide campus.[43]

The Embry-Riddle Prescott Campus is home to the Robertson Safety Institute (RSI); a center for research, development, short courses, and corporate outreach in safety education. The campus has resources including the Robertson Crash Lab, Aviation Safety and Security Archives and immediate access to advanced engineering, scientific, and forensic resources.[44]


Daytona Beach
While rooted in aviation, research at Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus has expanded to include a diverse range of areas, including engineering, cyber and homeland security, human factors, modeling and simulation, and business. The same technologies and expertise faculty have developed and applied to aerospace and aviation related research, they now apply directly to other areas — space systems, high-performance vehicles, unmanned and autonomous systems, robotics, alternative and sustainable energy, medical human factors, commercial space operations and more.[45]

The university is expanding its partnerships with industry in developing the Aerospace Research and Technology Park adjacent to the Daytona Beach campus. Supported by new research centers and laboratories, this park will not only foster research growth on campus, but it will also provide an ideal setting for cross-fertilization and innovation between the campus and its partners. Embry-Riddle also manages the FAA NextGen Florida Test Bed, where technology is being developed that will support the nation’s expanding air transportation needs. Research will contribute to reducing fuel consumption and associated emissions, improving situational awareness for pilots, and providing safer and more efficient passenger service.[45]

In 2017, Embry-Riddle partnered with an Orlando non-profit, FireSpring Fund, to aid five startups in their research and creation process. FireSpring awarded each startup $25,000 and Embry-Riddle offered each entrepreneurial support, seed funding, mentorship and a home base at the new university research park. The startups were: Embedded Control Designs LLC, Myers Devices LLC, Censys Technologies Corporation, Weintraus LLC, and Sensatek Propulsion Technology Inc. They researched and designed in the areas of: gas-turbine stability, drone data processing and communications, medical safety devices and spacecraft transportation.[46]

At the Prescott Campus, a total of $60,000 in Eagle-Prize (E-Prize) Grants is available each year for student teams participating in collegiate, national or international design or research competitions. Teams that participate in high-stature competitions, have a diverse membership and demonstrate a great likelihood of success with sound methodology and clear business plans are most likely to receive funding.[47]

Ignite Grants, part of Embry-Riddle’s Quality Enhancement Plan, are available up to $48,000 annually for students wishing to participate in research and innovation under the tutelage of a faculty mentor.[47]


Administration announced in July 2014 that Embry-Riddle has been accepted into the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II membership process.[48] Embry-Riddle began intercollegiate athletics competition on its Daytona Beach Campus in 1988 and has since transformed into a highly successful program that sponsors 17 intercollegiate sports teams, as well as coed cheerleading. Embry-Riddle fields teams in baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, women’s rowing, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s track and field (indoor/outdoor), and women’s volleyball.[49]

The Prescott Campus competes in nine sports: Men’s Cross Country, Women’s Cross Country, Men’s Golf, Women’s Golf, Women’s Fast-Pitch Softball, Men’s Soccer, Women’s Soccer, Volleyball, Wrestling and Basketball (Starting in 2015).[50]

In June, the Athletics program at the Daytona Beach Campus won the Sun Conference Commissioner’s Cup for the 15th straight year.[51]

At the Prescott Campus, the athletics area takes up the western part of campus and includes the fitness center, gymnasiums, varsity soccer field and track, and recreation fields. Just north of these sits the outdoor swimming pool and courts for racquetball, tennis, and sand volleyball. Built in 2011, the 3,465-square-foot fitness center is home to a weight room and a new cardio room with flat-screen TVs, iPod/MP3-ready workout machines, an aerobics room and classes.[52]

The Athletics Center was also recently renovated with new a Fitness Center and locker rooms. The renovation, set to be completed by June 2015, is a $4.2M project that includes new basketball court and bleachers, new trainer’s facilities, offices and more. The Daytona Campus boasts an intercollegiate softball field; an NCAA-approved quarter-mile track; an intercollegiate soccer stadium; an intercollegiate baseball field; and nine lighted, hard tennis courts with an electronic scoreboard.[49]


Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University is ranked by U.S. News & World Report in several categories for 2017:[53][54][55]

Regional Universities South - Tie - 12th
Best Colleges for Veterans - 8th

Best Engineering Programs (At schools whose highest degree is a doctorate) - Tie - 84th
Best Graduate Engineering Schools - Tie - 104th
Aerospace/Aeronautical/Astronautical (At schools whose highest degree is a doctorate) - Tie - 16th

Best Online Bachelor's Programs - 1st
Best Online MBA Programs - Tie - 100th
Best Online Graduate Business Programs (Excluding MBA) - Tie - 55th

Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University is also ranked by Forbes' list of America's Top Colleges for 2016:[56]

Top Colleges: 480
Private Colleges: 319
Grateful Grads: 381
Forbes Financial Grade: B
America's Best Value Colleges: 280

In May 2014, the U.S. News & World Report ranked Embry-Riddle Worldwide one of the nation’s top online educators for veterans.[57]



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Further reading

External links

Coordinates: 29°11′19″N 81°02′55″W / 29.18857°N 81.04871°W / 29.18857; -81.04871