UTIAS is a graduate studies and research institute, forming part of the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering at the University of Toronto . The continuing involvement of the University of Toronto in the aerospace sciences since World War I eventually led to the establishment of this institute in 1949. Originally called the Institute of Aerophysics, it is now known as the Institute for Aerospace Studies. In 1959, UTIAS moved to a permanent 7.6 ha site about 22 km north of the main campus. Extensions to the original building were added in 1961, 1963, 1987 and 1989. A dome-shaped building housing an air-cushion vehicle track was erected adjacent to the main building in 1973, and the Microsatellite Science and Technology Centre was added in 2012.
In addition to its responsibilities as the Graduate Department of Aerospace Science and Engineering, Institute staff provide undergraduate teaching in aerospace studies through the Aerospace Option of the Engineering Science program.
UTIAS derives its funding from many sources, both private and government.