Doctor of Philosophy
The Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics offers a Doctor of Philosophy degree on campus and through alternative residency (distance learning). A research-based degree, students are required to propose, complete and defend an approved dissertation on a research topic that contributes to the field of aerospace engineering and/or engineering science and mechanics.
Ph.D. Program Requirements Checklist
A total of 72 semester credit hours is required for a Ph.D. degree. These credit hours consist of:
- 6 hours of Core coursework
- 9 hours of Mathematics coursework (including GES 551 and GES 554)
- 33 hours of Elective coursework
- 24 hours of AEM 699 Dissertation Research
Elective coursework must be approved by the student’s advisor. Of the 48 coursework credit hours, at least 24 must have an AEM designation.
Core Course Requirements
All students must complete a minimum of one (1) class from the Aerospace Core listing of classes and one (1) class from the Mechanics Core listing of classes.
- AEM 567 Orbital Mechanics
- AEM 582 Space Systems
- AEM 614 Airfoil and Wing Theory
- AEM 668 Advanced Dynamics of Flight
- AEM 500 Intermediate Fluid Mechanics
- AEM 530 Continuum Mechanics
- AEM 562 Intermediate Dynamics
- AEM 637 Theory of Elasticity
For more information about when courses are offered, see the 2016-2020 Course Rotation.
A total of nine credit hours of mathematics is required. GES 554 Partial Differential Equations, three credit hours, is required and counts toward the nine credit hour mathematics requirement. The remaining six credit hours of mathematics coursework must be approved by the advisor.
Elective Coursework Requirement
A student must complete at least 33 hours of elective coursework. These courses are typically AEM courses, but other approved courses are acceptable. The specific courses must be approved by the student’s advisor, in consultation with student’s graduate advisory committee.
Ph.D. Qualifying Examinations
Ph.D. qualifying examinations are required of all doctoral candidates. Students in the program are required to successfully complete two qualifying examinations, one in the area of mathematics and one based on the student’s core coursework. Each qualifying examination may only be taken twice, meaning a student has only two chances to pass each of the qualifying examinations. A student must pass all Ph.D.-qualifying examinations within 18 months after completing 24 credit hours of AEM coursework and at least nine months prior to graduation.
The written mathematics qualifying examination will be offered twice per year and will cover the material presented in:
- GES 551 Matrix and Vector Analysis,
- GES 554 Partial Differential Equations, and
- MATH 238 Applied Differential Equations.
The oral core coursework qualifying examination will be organized twice per year and will be administered by the student’s faculty advisor and a faculty committee of instructors from each of the core areas. The Graduate Program Coordinator coordinates the Ph.D. qualifying examinations.
Test Pilot School
Students that seek credit for Test Pilot School completed through the United States Air Force may send official transcripts from the TPS to the UA Graduate School for transfer credit. The student must receive a grade of at least a B in TPS for the credit to transfer. Additionally, the transfer of credit from TPS is subject to the restrictions placed on the transfer of credit by the Graduate School and the AEM Department. A maximum of six hours can be transferred. For additional information, view the transfer credit policy at the UA Graduate School website.
With approval of the UA Graduate School, a maximum of 24 hours of graduate credit for coursework completed at another institution may be applied toward the 48 credit hour coursework requirement for the Ph.D. degree. The maximum of 24 hours of graduate transfer credit includes the six hours of credit transferred from TPS, if applicable. Note that transfer credit must have been completed within six years of admission to the UA Graduate School.
Students who have an earned a master’s of science degree are encouraged to explore transfer credit opportunities. For additional information, view the transfer credit policy at the UA Graduate School website.
Ph.D. Program Requirements Prior to 2015
- Ph.D. Requirements Checklist: AEM Degree (pre Fall 2015 enrollment)
- Ph.D. Requirements Checklist: ESM Degree (pre Fall 2012 enrollment)
For More Information
For additional graduate program information, contact Dr. James P. Hubner.