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

Credit Hours

A total of 72 semester credit hours is required for a Ph.D. degree. These credit hours consist of:

  • 6 hours of Core mathematics coursework
  • 6 hours of Mathematics coursework
  • 36 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.

Aerospace Core

  • AEM 569 Orbital Mechanics
  • AEM 582 Space Systems
  • AEM 614 Airfoil and Wing Theory
  • AEM 668 Advanced Dynamics of Flight

Mechanics Core

  • 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 2020-2024 Course Rotation.

Mathematics Requirement

A total of six credit hours of mathematics is required. Consult with your advisor regarding approved math courses.

Elective Coursework Requirement

A student must complete at least 36 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

Students in the Ph.D. program are required to successfully complete the qualifying examination based on the student’s core coursework. The qualifying examination may only be taken twice. A student should pass the qualifying examination within 18 months of completing 24 credit hours of AEM coursework and at least 12 months prior to graduation. The written examination is offered twice a year, usually in early October and early March. 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.

Transfer Credit

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

For More Information

For additional graduate program information, contact Dr. James P. Hubner.