SSAU is located in the city of Samara, on the southeastern edge of what is considered European Russia. There are currently 54 undergraduate programmes and 34 post-graduate specialisms at the university.
SSAU specialises in scientific study and research, and in 2006 won an inaugural innovation contest among Russian universities as part of the National Priority Project. Together there is a combined total of twenty faculties and institutions at the university. One of the most established of these is the Space Engineering Institute; in collaboration with experts from the Space Rocket Centre the institute has developed small spacecraft known as Aist, which have orbited in near-Earth space.
Outside of scientific study SSAU can also boast of faculties in Economics, Law, Philology, History, Psychology, and Sociology. At the faculty of Law, students are given ample opportunities for the practical application of their studies, as it is both affiliated with the law office of the Samara regional Duma and they are invited to give legal assistance to local residents.
Since 1990 SSAU has had an international exchange programme, which has grown to become one of the most extensive among Russian universities. Since 2010, SSAU have offered double degrees in partnership with Harbin Polytechnic Institute in China. In 2012, the university took part in student projects with the Higher Institute of Aviation and Cosmonautics, with the intention of launching French probe CanSAT as a payload of the Russian rocket Soyuz-2. Annually since 2003 SSAU has also hosted the International Summer Space School, which aims to involve young people with the latest aeronautic developments and experimentants in space.
Eight masters programmes are taught in English at SSAU, including Metallurgy and Mechatronic Systems, and the PhD subjects of Nanostructures and GMSS technology.