My University of North Dakota (UND) Visit

Hello Y’all,
I promise there are pictures and not a wall of text
This is a 2hr Campus tour and a 4hr Aviation tour crammed into a brief summary

If you don’t know what the University of North Dakota is or even never heard of them, they are one of the top flight schools in the entire United States. The university has had their flight school for 51 years now. UND is located in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Some other info before we get into the aviation school

The college itself is beautiful and is a pretty big college with many buildings and many different open areas. The greenery is kept very nice and isn’t a problem if you want to study under a tree or even hang outside in nice weather.
Now winters are a whole different story. Since it does get to the negatives in North Dakota the university has that covered. They have under ground tunnels or skyways from building to building so you never have to go outside. The only time they said you have to go outside is if you’re coming from your dorm.

What is the university known for?
Well other than their aviation program, they are known for having one of the best college hockey teams, the UND Fighting Hawks (Or the old name, fighting Sioux). The team has been the starting points for some of the NHL’s top players, such as T.J. Oshie or Jonathan Toews.

Anyways, Let’s get on with main point of this topic,

The aviation program is one of the best in the nation and as mentioned above, this upcoming year will be their 51 years since the aviation school was founded. The Aviation School as founded by John Odegard in 68’ where it as first a business school for aviation and then grew into a flight training program which then grew into the school it is today.

Degrees in Aviation
The degrees alone for aviation is a long list, but here we go:
B.B.A Airport Management, B.B.A Aviation Management, B.S. Air Traffic Management (ATC), B.S. Aviation Technology Management, B.S. Commercial Aviation (Commercial Pilot), Flight Education, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Operations, M.S. in Aviation, Ph.D. in Aerospace Sciences. Now this isn’t all the possible degrees you can choose from, but for Aviation focus, it’s all the aviation degrees.

B.B.A = Bachelor of Business Administration
B.S. = Bachelor
M.S. = Masters of Science
Ph.D. = Doctor of Philosophy
B.A = Bachelors of Arts

Now let’s get to the technical portion,
If you are coming into UND, there are some different things with you academics in High School.
First, if you have a GPA of a 3.0+ with a minimum ACT score of 24 or SAT score of 1160-1190 you get into the program and are priority. If you have anything lower there is a good chance to get in, as a aviation student or pre-aviation

With the first level of a 3.0+ and a 24 ACT or 1160-1190 SAT, you get to start flying in the fall of the freshman year, if you are in the level 2 and have the 2.5+ and ACT 20 you will come in as a pre-aviation and start flying in the Spring
The Admissions Administrator stated their is no advantage in either, but could be good to start in the Spring to lower the stress of the program.
If you have a 2.5 and lower or lower test scores than the minimum you will have to change your degree until you meet the transfer requirements to switch into the Aviation Major.

Each aviation major comes with a ground school training.
For the UAS, you do have to be a U.S. Citizen since you will be working with retired USAF drones, and I’ll get into that a little later.

Each aviation student who will be flight training are required to hold a FAA Medical Certificate of a 2nd Class or 1st Class (1st Class is required by all Commercial Airlines). There are many possibilities of why you won’t get the certificate such as past medical history or any type of drug or alcohol abuse. Color vision restrictions is another common problem. Along with any type of depression or Attention Deficit Disorder, but you can get further tested and passed for this.

While flying at UND, you are apart of the Drug and Alcohol Misuse Prevention Program. Random drug tests will be required by the school around flight training times. This also goes for the partiers out there. If you are caught drinking as a minor the school is notified along with the airport and you are put on hold for flight training for 3-6 months. This program is to reflect the “No Tolerance” in the aviation industry.


This is a big thing in the aviation field and college in general, and that is costs.
For normal UND Degrees it’s the following, which include prices for Basic Tuition & Fees, along with room & meal plane, and Books & supplies:

North Dakota Residents= $18,669
Minnesota Residents= $19, 536
All other U.S. Residents= $22,281
International Students= $30,733

For Aviation it is more expensive, since they are getting new technology, costs for staff and upkeep. Costs are as follows, including Basic Tuition & Fees, along with room & meal plane, Books & supplies, costs per credit, and academic program fee:

North Dakota Residents= $21,001
Minnesota Residents= $21,986
All other U.S. Residents= $37,224
International Students= $41,530


For Training is listed below:

Airport Management=
$5,491 including Survey of Flight and Intro ATC
$13,765 including Private Pilots and Intro to ATC
$47,359 including Private, Commercial, Instrument, Multi Engine, and Intro to ATC

Air Traffic Management=
$13,636 including Survey of Flight and ATC lab Fees
$21,910 including Private and Simulator along with ATC Lab Fees

Aviation Technology Management=
$5,491 including Survey of Flight and Intro ATC
$13,765 Private Pilots and Intro to ATC

Commercial Aviation - Fixed Wing
$64,892 including Private, Commercial, Instrument, Multi Engine, CFI, CFII, Intro to ATC, Altitude Chamber (Hypoxia Chamber), CRJ200 FTD/GATT

Commercial Aviation - Helicopter
98,184 including Private, Commercial, Instrument, Intro to ATC, Altitude Chamber (Hypoxia Chamber), GATT

Flight Education
$66,783 including Private, Commercial, Instrument, Multi Engine, CFI, CFII, MEI, Intro to ATC

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Operations -Medium and High Altitude Long Edurance
$57,844 including Private, Commercial, Instrument, Multi Engine, Intro to ATC, UAS Certification, Survey of UAS, UAS Operations

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Operation -Low Altitude
$34,507 including Private, Commercial, Instrument, Intro to ATC, UAS Certification, Survey of UAS Operations

B.S. with Electrical or Mechanical Engineering
13,165 Focus in Aerospace, including Private pilot certificate

So all of these costs are a one time payment with the tuition per year.
The way the costs work for flight time and program costs (Not including Tuition) is like a bank account. You put money in that is automatically pulled out with each lesson or lab cost. You have to have a minimum of $200 in the account to keep moving with the lessons/courses.

Fun Part about UND Aviation
So yes, if you read this far or skipped through you got to the cool and fun parts of the Aviation school at UND.

The Aviation buildings are at two locations.
On campus is 4 Aviation buildings, the Odegard, Clifford, Ryan, and the Robin.
The Odegard houses the class rooms and hypoxia chambers.

Here is the chamber, which splits into two chambers. The side you are looking at is the popular side you see on Youtube with other schools, but the class sits in there and the pressure is raised to a certain altitude. Half the class will remove their masks and do a worksheet, except two students will do a card sorting game or a block sorting box. There are 40 symptoms you can feel and you may only get 3. The order of symptoms you get is the same exact order you will always get them in, for the rest of your life. It’s to know what to look for in others and yourself while flying with pressurized aircrafts.

The other side is a rapid decompression in oxygen at a lower altitude and the instructors distract you and your partner for it to be more random. You then have 5 seconds to get the masks on and start the oxygen flow. In real life at 30,000ft you only have 9 seconds to do this before you get hypoxia and pass out.

The next image is also in Odegard and shows all the National banners UND has won with their Flying Team and Aerobatic Team, which compete in competitions.

Traveling over to the Clifford with house the Space studies. I didn’t take pictures but they have classrooms. The Space Study Students work with Nasa to make updated Space Suits along with other things to prepare students to work in the Space Fields

Then heading to Ryan, which houses the simulators for both ATC and Pilots.

The image here is the ATC simulator which is a full 360 degrees. Here every pilot will have to spend at least 1 hour in ATC training so you know what they are talking about on Frequency. This is the main training source for ATC pilots long with other simulators along with Radar equipment.

Then traveling down to the another portion of the building is the flight sims. These sims are level 6 and the CRJ200 is level 5 and are certified by the FAA. About 15% of the total 1000hrs can be sim time.


CRJ200 Simulator

The CRJ200 simulator is the last thing you train in before graduating as it prepares you for flying at regional carriers and to prepare you for their simulators. UND is know for their smooth transition from college to airlines

Continuing to the Robin which is the newest Aviation building built in 2016. This house the UAS training. For the UAS Training you have to be a U.S. Citizen. There isn’t very much info given since the drone you train with is a recently decommissioned drone from the USAF. You HAVE to sign a contract that states you will not talk about the drone, the training, the functions, or anything about it, except it’s a drone. All the books are paper and MUST stay in the class room along with student notes.

The rest of the Robin Building holds study areas for Aviation/Non-Aviation Students. Very nice building.



Next they took us to the KGFK to see the rest of the UND Buildings at the airport.

This is the dispatch building where they verify you have $200 in the account to fly, along with your flight lesson and aircraft. They also monitor weather along with SOF. Just recently they had a pop up thunderstorm and forced all students to land at the nearest airport and wait for it to pass before returning to GFK.

UND has their own callsign. The Callsign is Sioux, for the old nae Fighting Sioux, and when the University had to change the name, they couldn’t change it under the FAA. The flight numbers are based off the last 2 digits in the registration of the aircraft. For example If N508ND pictured below, would be Sioux 08

We also got to tour the hangars where maintenance is done.
More Pics of the hangars

They also opened up some of the aircrafts for visiting students to climb in

Piper Archer
Piper Seminole
ACA Super Decathlon Used for Aerobatic and Tail Wheel landing, and certificates cost a couple extra thousand
Cessna 172S
Cessna 150
Beechcraft King Air
Cubs Crafters Top Cub Sea Plan, assuming it goes under tail wheel landing costs

They do have a pretty good fleet and all the aircrafts do take up multiple ramps at GFK

Now with maintenance. The aircrafts go through 4 maintenance checks a year. So the first one might be a deep inspection on the engine and the rest is just minimal inspection. Then goes back out. Next inspection may be on the interior, and the other parts are inspected, then heads back out. This will happen 2 more times to make the annual inspection. Each inspection takes 1 day vs. the 1 week to inspect the entire aircraft at once. Each aircraft is washed with each inspection.

Find a Problem?
UND has mechanics on speed dial and if you do your walk around before you flight and find a problem, you can call the mechanic and he will come out and inspect. He will either fix it there in minutes, or show you how to fly/fix the part in flight if the problem is to occur. Rarely though, unless it’s with a vital system does your flight get cancelled, unless weather of course.

Now North Dakota gets brutal winters and that doesn’t stop flying. Flights still happen as long as the temperature outside doesn’t drop below -20 degrees, or -25 degrees with wind chill. Yes I am not joking, has to be in the negatives to cancel lessons.

We then also got to go in the 5 story building at the airport. That concluded the tour. I’ll finish this off with pictures of the airport.![IMG_5450|800x600,50%](upload://8i


I will be visiting the University of St. Louis, so stay tuned for that college visit. Hope this was informational for those who are thinking of attending UND or want to see what some other universities for aviation look like.


WOW! What an amazing visit and thanks for sharing. UND is most likely were I will be attending collage considering it is relatively close to home!

EDIT: I bookmarked this topic so I can keep coming back to it for reference

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It’s been a school I wanted to go to since I fell in love with aviation. To see the campus in real life is just spectacular.

Here is the Robin tonight from the Hilton Gardens which is connected to the campus. The building changes colors


That’s awesome! I hope to visit myself some day soon!

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Visits are done everyday I believe and you get a free lunch with the visit

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Thank you for sharing this!! I was actually planning a college visit to UND next year. Now I have an answer for almost everything I was curious about in a post ;)

Since I’m a Floridian, I have ERAU right down the road, but I’ve always been interested in UND because of their style and training fleet.

Also, my email inbox has been spammed by them every so often because I chose to sign up for their newsletter haha

Thank you for this, it will really help me choose an aviation college :)

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Good to know. Yeah they do send emails quite a bit. I go to SLU tomorrow so that’s also an option. I’ll post another topic on that

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For an update, I got more info from UND sent to me. Once I get home, I’ll post it

This is very good information because I’m looking into collages with these programs

That you could have found on their website😆

Well I didn’t have to I guess

True. But OP did a phenomenal job to make someone’s job super easy if they were thinking about going to UND.

Short of you making a campus visit he covered everything.

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