Aerospace Engineering - Ph.D. Program
Ph.D. Degree Admission Requirements
Admission to any PhD program in engineering requires that the student has completed
(or nearly completed) a bachelor's or master's degree in engineering or physical science.
Scores for the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) must be submitted.
Some students may find it necessary to take prerequisite courses to be able to meet
the course breadth requirements. The student is recommended to the graduate dean for
admission by the department chairperson in consultation with the graduate coordinator
of the department.
Ph.D. Course Requirements
To ensure proper breadth of course work, the Plan of Study must include at least 15 hours in the student's major field and 18 hours outside the major area. The 18 hours must include a minimum of six hours in a minor area (defined by the advisory committee) and a minimum of six hours of mathematics/statistics. A Plan of Study normally contains about 60 hours of course work, including courses typically from a master's degree, and should have a minimum of 60 percent of the hours (24 dissertation hours included) beyond master's work at the 800-900 level or equivalent.
Major or specialization areas, include:
Aerodynamics and Fluid Mechanics - AE 711, AE 716, and AE 812
Structures and Solid Mechanics - AE 722, AE 731, and AE 777
Flight Dynamics and Control - AE 707, AE 714, and AE 773
Multidisciplinary Analysis and Design (see advisor for details)
All graduate courses must be approved in advance of enrollment by a student’s graduate
Ph.D. Plan of Study and Advisory Committee
Within the first 12 hours of PhD course work, the department chairperson, in consultation
with the graduate coordinator and the student, recommend to the Engineering Graduate
Committee an advisory committee for each student. The committee will be composed of
a minimum of five graduate faculty, with at least four having full membership including
the chairperson who also must have authorization to chair doctoral committees. A majority
of the advisory committee members must be from the major department and at least one
member must be outside the student's major department. The chairperson of the advisory
committee should be the student's dissertation advisor. The student and advisory committee
chairperson will formulate a Plan of Study and a tentative dissertation topic for
approval by the advisory committee, the department chairperson, the engineering graduate
committee, and the graduate dean. The Plan of Study will include designation of major
and minor fields and all graduate level course work which is applicable to the degree.
Students Admitted with a Bachelor of Science Admission
Applicants with a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering or a closely-related field must have:
1. A minimum grade point average of 3.250/4.000 over the last two years or approximately
60 credit hours, and
2. A letter of recommendation from a faculty member in the department of aerospace engineering at Wichita State University stating that he/she would be the student's academic and research advisor.
For the student to remain in the program, he/she must:
1. Maintain a minimum graduate GPA of 3.250/4.000 for every semester over the first
30 credit hours. Failing to do so, the student will be transferred to the Master of
Science program in the appropriate category (full standing or on probation), or dismissed
from graduate standing.
2. Demonstrate active involvement in research by producing publications in national/international conferences or journals by the completion of the first 30 graduate credit hours.
Ph.D. Qualifying Examination
1. The qualifying exam is intended to reinforce and link pertinent high-level fundamentals.
Upon passing the qualifying examination, a student is known as an aspirant for the
2. The exam, which covers major field core courses, is offered three times annually and may not be attempted more than twice.
3. The current guidelines require passing the qualifying exam with an 80 percent average with no single portion below 70 percent.
4. Students who fail to take the exam within three semesters (one year) from first enrollment, lose an attempt. Students failing to pass the exam within four semesters from first enrollment, are dismissed from the program.
5. Students who are dismissed from the doctoral program will be allowed to use the course credit hours completed toward a master's degree in aerospace engineering. However, the student must fulfill the master's thesis or project requirement.
6. A student who was dismissed from the AE doctoral program, but went on to successfully complete a master's degree in aerospace engineering, will not be allowed to enroll in the AE doctoral program again in the future.
Ph.D. Time Limits and Residency Requirements
From the time the student starts to enroll in the program, no more than nine years may elapse until all requirements for the degree have been completed.
At least two semesters shall be spent in residency on the WSU campus involved in full-time
academic pursuits. This may include up to half-time teaching and research. Well-designed
plans for obtaining dissertation research experience under the supervision of the
student's advisor will be considered in lieu of the residency requirement.
Ph.D. Final Dissertation Examination
The student must defend the dissertation before the advisory committee. At least five
months must elapse between the DAE and the final examination. The final examination
will be open to the public. Invited guests or external examiners may be invited if
the committee desires.
Interested individuals are invited to contact the Graduate School for application materials at the following address:
Wichita State University
Wichita, KS 67260-0004
Phone: (316) 978-3095
All applications need to be made directly to the Graduate School. Additional information
about graduate studies in Aerospace Engineering can be obtained from:
Dr. Klaus A. Hoffmann
Graduate Coordinator, Ph.D. Program
Wichita State University
Department of Aerospace Engineering
Wallace Hall, Room 200
1845 North Fairmount
Wichita, Kansas 67260-0044
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