Indiana State University Newsroom

Bachelor's degree is latest development for growing unmanned systems program

June 15, 2015

Indiana State University's unmanned systems program has received another boost with approval to offer a bachelor's degree beginning this fall.

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education approved the 120 credit hour program that had the support of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and the Indiana Office of Defense Development.

"We are pleased the commission expedited its approval of this important program which will go a long way to ensuring that Indiana and Indiana State continue to lead the way in this exciting new technology," said Robert English, dean of Indiana State's College of Technology.

The bachelor's degree is the first of its kind in Indiana and one of only a handful throughout the country.

"Unmanned systems have applications in a variety of industries that touch our lives daily," said Richard Baker, chair of the aviation technology department. "The capabilities in mobile robotics provide new methods to address such areas as disaster response, crisis management, precision agriculture and construction. From entertainment and journalism to insurance and logistics, businesses will increasingly rely on this technology to maintain a competitive advantage."

Earlier this year, Indiana State received Federal Aviation Authority approval to operate unmanned aerial vehicles at Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field and the Indiana National Guard's Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in southeastern Indiana. Indiana State is also an associate member of an educational, government and industry partnership based at Mississippi State University that was selected last month to help develop rules regulating unmanned flight.

Nearly 300 students are enrolled in aviation flight technology or aviation management at Indiana State. The university has offered a minor in unmanned systems since 2011. More than 60 students have graduated with the minor and another 100 students from nearly a dozen programs are in the pipeline. The university projects 80 students will enroll in the new bachelor's degree program during the next five years.

Contact: Richard Baker, chair, aviation technology department, College of Technology, Indiana State University, 812-27-2641 or

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or