PhD in Aviation Program Information

Most students who enter aviation Ph.D. programs are working professionals interested in teaching. Topics include aviation theories, safety management, regulatory policies and aviation economics.

Essential Information

Ph.D. programs in aviation are uncommon and the few that are available are mainly offered online and have several multiple-day residency requirements. These programs can be completed in three to five years. Qualifying exams typically occur in the second or third year, while the end of the program is spent defending their dissertation in order to graduate.

Those who wish to enroll in doctorate aviation programs must hold both a bachelor's and master's degree, usually in an aviation field, like aviation technology, aeronautical science, aviation maintenance or aviation electronics. Students without the necessary educational background need to have a professional background in aviation. Applicants also need to submit GRE scores, writing samples, a resume and letters of recommendation.

Ph.D. Studies in Aviation

Students learn to solve research-based and theory-based aviation problems and then apply their solutions to real problems in the field. Courses in doctorate programs in aviation usually cover several basic areas, including the history of aviation, business and finance, theory and application. The principal goal of doctorate students' work is to add to the current body of knowledge by producing original research, a pursuit aided by an advisor or an advisory committee. Here are a few examples of classes you might see in this program:

  • Foundations of aviation
  • Aviation safety
  • Economics in aviation
  • Legal issues in aviation
  • Quantitative research methods
  • Parametric and nonparametric statistics

Popular Career Options

Graduates of doctorate programs in aviation have a variety of career options available. The most popular is to teach in aeronautical or aviation programs; however, other options include:

  • Sr. aviation consultant
  • Aeronautical engineer
  • Public administration careers in aviation
  • Senior management in aviation programs

Doctoral aviation students are often already working within the aviation field, with the prerequisites for these programs usually entailing relevant work experience along with other requirements. Graduates usually continue into careers as professors, with other possible positions including aeronautical engineer and aviation program management.

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