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University Bulletin
Graduate Degree Programs

Aerospace Engineering (AERSP)

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PHILIP J. MORRIS, Interim Head of the Department
229 Hammond Building
814-865-2569; Fax: 814-865-7092;

Degrees Conferred:

Ph.D., M.S., M.Eng.

The Graduate Faculty


Opportunities for graduate study are available in the following areas: low-speed aerodynamics, airplane and helicopter aerodynamics; V/STOL aircraft, turbulence, astrodynamics, turbomachinery, air breathing propulsion, aeroacoustics, gas dynamics, stability and control of aerospace vehicles, aerospace structures, structural dynamics, aeroelasticity, rotorcraft engineering, computational fluid dynamics, experimental fluid dynamics, space propulsion, space vehicle dynamics, and high-performance computing.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must submit official scores from the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) for admission to the graduate program and consideration for financial assistance. In addition to general Graduate School requirements stated in the GENERAL INFORMATION section of the Graduate Bulletin, the department poses a number of specific requirements. The entering M.Eng. or M.S. student must hold a bachelor's degree in engineering, physical science, or mathematics, and may be required to complete (without degree credit) undergraduate course work in fluid and solid mechanics and intermediate mathematical analysis, if not already completed. The department will consider students with a 3.0 junior/senior grade-point average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale; students with special backgrounds, abilities, or interests may request a waiver to this GPA requirement. The best-qualified applicants will be accepted up to the number of spaces that are available. Admission to the Ph.D. program requires satisfactory completion of a master's program in engineering, physical science, or mathematics. Admission to the Ph.D. program prior to completion of a master's degree may be considered upon the student passing the Ph.D. candidacy exam. A student must have completed at least 18 course credits beyond the baccalaureate degree in order to take the Ph.D. candidacy exam, and is not granted official status as a doctoral candidate until the master's degree is complete and the candidacy exam has been passed. Application materials are available at:

M.Eng., M.S., and Ph.D. Core Requirements

  1. Basic field theories. Complete two courses for 6 credits, one from a prescribed list in each of two of the following categories: fluid mechanics, solid mechanics, or system dynamics.
  2. Numerical/computational methods. Complete one 3-credit course that addresses the numerical analysis of differential equations, from a prescribed list.
  3. Applied mathematics. Complete one 3-credit, 500-level course from a prescribed list.
  4. Teaching assistants and teaching aides who have classroom or laboratory instructional responsibilities must satisfactorily complete ENGR 588. Those with responsibilities limited to grading, holding office hours, and offering problem sessions must take ENGR 588 or a grading seminar.

Master of Engineering Degree Requirements

The M.Eng. degree is a nonthesis professional master’s degree. A total of 30 credits are required, including courses in the core requirements. A minimum of 18 credits must be taken at the 500-level are required.  At least 18 credits in Aerospace Engineering courses are required, and a student may count a maximum of 9 credits of 400-level course work toward the degree.  Each student must complete the capstone course.

Master of Science Degree Requirements

A total of 30 credits is required, including courses in the core requirements. Twelve credits must be in Aerospace Engineering courses with at least 6 credits at the 500 level. A student may count a maximum of 6 credits of 400-level course work toward the degree. Six credits of thesis research are also required. A completed M.S. thesis and its public presentation are required for graduation.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

There is no foreign language requirement for the Ph.D. degree; however, students must demonstrate proficiency in reading, writing, and speaking English through an examination administered by the department. This must be completed to satisfy the Graduate School's requirement before taking the comprehensive exam. The candidate's doctoral committee decides which, if any, courses are required in addition to those specified in the core requirements; this typically involves 24 course credits beyond the M.S. degree. Ph.D. candidates must also demonstrate evidence of experimental experience.

Over the course of a Ph.D. program, the department and doctoral committee administer three examinations: The candidacy examination is given as a preliminary aptitude test before the end of the second semester following admission to the program. A comprehensive examination, which covers the major and minor fields of study, is administered after the candidate has substantially completed the required course work. The final oral examination, which is related mainly to the dissertation, is given after the candidate has satisfied all other degree requirements. All Ph.D. students must maintain continuous registration until the thesis is approved. A completed Ph.D. dissertation and its public defense are required for graduation.

Student Aid

Graduate assistantships and other forms of financial aid are described in the STUDENT AID section of the Graduate Bulletin.


Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 599 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.


Last Revised by the Department: Summer 2015

Blue Sheet Item #: 44-01-000

Review Date: 08/25/2015


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