PhD Programs in Aerospace Engineering in the USA

Aug 10, 2019

Earning a PhD in Aerospace Engineering is a process that will entail coursework, exams, and a dissertation. Learn more about specific requirements of PhD in Aerospace Engineering programs that are located in the USA.

If you have an interest in research and design related to aircraft, spacecraft, and missiles, or in university teaching, then a PhD in aerospace engineering may be the right choice for you. In this article, we will explore several PhD in Aerospace Engineering programs that are all located within the USA.

Specific USA PhD Programs in Aerospace Engineering

University of Central Florida

The University of Central Florida, which is located in Orlando, Florida, has a PhD in Aerospace Engineering degree program that requires 72 credits beyond the bachelor's degree, with 45 of those credits being coursework and 27 of them being research and dissertation hours. Students who already hold a master's degree must earn 42 credits. Some of the elective coursework that makes up this program explores such subjects as navigation control, flight dynamics, and aerospace vehicles. You will also need to complete qualifying exams and a dissertation. In this program, you will have opportunities for teaching and research assistantships.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

At the Daytona Beach, Florida, campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, you can earn a PhD in Aerospace Engineering. If you already hold a master's degree, then you will need to earn 42 credits for your PhD, and for those with a bachelor's degree, you would need to complete the requirements for a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering as well as the 42 credits. This program allows you to specialize your PhD with a concentration in aerodynamics and propulsion, dynamics and control, or structures and materials. You will take qualifying exams in your chosen specialty as well as in mathematics, complete a preliminary exam, and go through the dissertation process that includes an oral defense.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts, offers a PhD in Aerospace Engineering that requires 90 credits beyond the bachelor's degree and 60 credits beyond the master's degree, which is based on 7-week terms, as opposed to semesters. Your specific coursework will entail core coursework on spacecraft propulsion, aeroelasticity, and space vehicle dynamics as well as mathematics courses. You will also complete dissertation credits and complete qualifying exams. This university also has several labs and facilities where you can conduct research, including an aerodynamic test facility and fluid dynamics laboratory.

The University of Alabama

Located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the University of Alabama has a 72-credit PhD in Aerospace Engineering degree program. To earn this degree, you take core courses in the realm of space systems, wind theory, and fluid mechanics, along with mathematics courses and electives. This specific PhD program's format consist of online learning and alternative residency where you meet with an advisor on campus once a semester and also attend your PhD defense and a graduate colloquium on-campus. You may also attend full- or part-time. PhD qualifying exams and a dissertation are also part of this program.

Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech, which is located in Blacksburg, Virginia, also offers a PhD in Aerospace Engineering. This is a 90-credit beyond the bachelor's degree program that will require coursework credits and 30 research and dissertation credits. You will also need to complete preliminary exams and a final oral exam in order to earn your PhD. Your dissertation will be a research project that focuses on your chosen field of study, but could be about such topics as space engineering, dynamics and control, or structural dynamics.

Common Admittance Requirements for the PhD in Aerospace Engineering

While each university has its own standard of graduate admission, many PhD in Aerospace Engineering programs will have a similar set of application requirements, including an application, letters of recommendation, transcripts, and a statement that speaks about your research goals. Also, most programs will want you to submit GRE scores from within the last five years. Many programs require that you already hold a bachelor's or master's degree in the field of aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering, or a related field. Some programs have other special requirements that could include having a 3.0, or above, cumulative GPA during your previous work, and undergoing an interview.

On your way to earning a PhD in Aerospace Engineering through various schools located in the United States, you will take coursework, undergo exams, and complete a dissertation. Most programs recommend that you first earn either a bachelor's or master's degree in aerospace engineering or a closely related field before pursuing the PhD.

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