Jul 16, 2024  
2024-2025 Florida Tech Catalog 
2024-2025 Florida Tech Catalog

Aerospace Engineering, Ph.D.

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Major Code: 9134 Degree Awarded: Doctor of Philosophy
Delivery Mode(s): Classroom Admission Status: Graduate
Admission Materials: Letters of recommendation, objectives, résumé/CV, transcripts Location(s): Main campus - Melbourne

The doctor of philosophy degree program is offered for students who wish to carry out advanced research in any of the four areas of specialization listed under the master of science program. Other research areas within the field of aerospace engineering may be pursued depending on current faculty interests and available facilities.

Admission Requirements

A candidate for the doctoral program in aerospace engineering will normally have completed a master’s degree in aerospace or mechanical engineering, or a closely related area of engineering, and have adequate preparation in areas of fundamental science and mathematics. Doctoral applicants should have strong academic records including a 3.2 cumulative GPA during master’s degree study. Applicants must provide two letters of recommendation, a statement of objectives, a résumé/CV, and transcripts.

General admission requirements and the process for applying are presented under Graduate Academic Information .

Degree Requirements

The degree of doctor of philosophy is conferred primarily in recognition of creative accomplishment and the ability to investigate scientific or engineering problems independently, rather than for the completion of a definite curriculum. The program consists of advanced studies and research leading to a significant contribution to the knowledge of a particular problem. A student’s research may have analytical, computational or experimental components or some combination of these. Each student is expected to complete an approved program of study beyond that required for a master’s degree as determined by the dissertation committee, pass the comprehensive examination (both written and oral parts), present a dissertation proposal acceptable to the student’s committee, complete a program of significant original research and prepare and defend a dissertation detailing the research.

The program consists of a minimum of 42 credit hours of study beyond the master’s degree. Of the minimum 42 credit hour requirement, at least 24 shall be for dissertation registration.

The purpose of the comprehensive examination is to cover the student’s area of specialization and areas important to the major field. The examination is given when, in the judgment of the student’s advisory committee, the student has had sufficient preparation in his or her field of study by completing significant coursework in the major area, two related areas of specialization and mathematics, and by initiating doctoral research. The examination must normally be taken before the end of the student’s fourth academic semester after admission into the doctoral program. The written portion of the examination consists of individual parts given by each member of the advisory committee. These written examinations are intended to cover each of the student’s areas of specialization and mathematics. The written portion of the comprehensive examination is followed by an oral component that provides the advisory committee an opportunity for a more in-depth assessment of the student’s readiness for doctoral candidacy. Subsequent to the completion of both written and oral components of the comprehensive examination, a dissertation proposal must be submitted to the student’s advisory committee for evaluation. Upon determining that the proposed research is of doctoral quality and that completion is feasible, the student is advanced to candidacy for the doctoral degree.

General degree requirements are presented under Graduate Academic Information .


The doctoral program of study must be approved by the student’s advisory committee and the department head. Considerable latitude is allowable in course selection, although appropriate advanced courses are expected to form a part of the student’s program. A representative distribution of these courses taken beyond the master’s degree should include, as a minimum, six courses in any combination from the major area, the two related areas and mathematics. The following illustrates a minimum credit requirement for the doctoral program of study beyond the master’s degree.

Coursework and Dissertation Summary

  • Major area of specialization, two related areas of specialization and mathematics credit hours: 18
  • Dissertation credit hours: 24

Total Credits Required: 42

Selected course offerings from other engineering and science programs can be taken to fulfill the related area requirements. Each student takes mathematics courses from those offered each semester based on the areas of interest and in consultation with the student’s committee. Note that the dissertation credits are a minimum and the committee may require additional credits if they feel sufficient work has not been completed.

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