PhD in Aviation Management: Info on Doctoral Programs

If you're interested in a management, executive, teaching or engineering role in the aviation industry, a Ph.D. in Aviation Management program can train you for these careers. Find out about the core areas of instruction, common prerequisites and career data, like possible salary and employment projections.

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Essential Information

Postgraduate degree programs in aviation are designed to allow aviation professionals to explore advanced theories in the areas of aviation management, economics, safety and regulatory procedures. Although very few institutions offer it, the most advanced graduate program available in the field is a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Aviation.

Ph.D. programs in aviation are ideal for pilots, flight instructors, aviation managers, airline safety specialists, aviation engineers and other professionals who are interested in furthering research and development in the aviation industry. Such multi-disciplinary programs include classroom lectures and individual research projects that help students explore the central concepts of aviation safety management, management principles, airline industry foundations and airline regulations. Students learn how to pool their collective knowledge and experience to solve real-world industry problems and advance technologies and procedures in each of these areas.

Many Ph.D. programs in the field of aviation are highly selective and enroll individuals who have been working in the aviation field for quite some time. In addition to regular classroom and research hours, programs require that students complete a dissertation project.

Education Prerequisites

A baccalaureate and master's degree are standard prerequisites for gaining admittance into a Ph.D. program in aviation. Some programs that might be strong prerequisites for a Ph.D. in Aviation include those related to aviation technology, aviation management, aeronautical science, aviation electronics and aviation maintenance. Professional experience in the aviation industry is also often required.

Program Coursework

Courses in a Ph.D. program in aviation cover advanced theories and concepts in several different components of the aviation industry. Some of these include:

  • Foundations of the aviation industry
  • Historical developments in aviation
  • Aviation safety management
  • Aviation and the economic environment
  • Aviation and law
  • Quantitative research methods
  • Data analysis
  • Data mining and modeling in aviation

Popular Career Options

A Ph.D. in Aviation doesn't prepare individuals for any specific career in the aviation industry, but instead provides them with an extra level of knowledge that can help them in their current careers. It can also prepare them to move into areas of research or academics in the aviation field. Some positions that are open to graduates of a Ph.D. program include:

  • Airline executive
  • Airline safety regulations manager
  • Flight instructor
  • Aviation management professor
  • Aeronautical engineer

Salary and Career Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that postsecondary teachers overall should enjoy about a 19% increase in employment throughout the 2012-2022 decade, while aerospace engineers and top executives will see 7% and 11% growth, respectively (www.bls.gov). In May 2012, the median salary for a college professor was $68,970; however, salaries varied by specific subject. Aerospace engineers made a median of $103,720 during that year, while chief executives managing private companies made the highest salary, roughly $210,120 on average in 2012.

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must complete an application online and submit transcripts for their highest degree earned.
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    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
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    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
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    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
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    Areas of study you may find at Brown University include:
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    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
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    Areas of study you may find at University of Notre Dame include:
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    Areas of study you may find at Georgetown University include:
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    Areas of study you may find at Vanderbilt University include:
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    Areas of study you may find at University of Florida include:
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      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
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