PhD in Aviation Program Information
Learn about Ph.D. programs in aviation, including residency requirements for online programs. Find out about popular career options for program graduates.
Doctorate degree programs in aviation are rare. The few that are available are mainly offered online and have several multiple-day residency requirements. These programs can be completed in three to five years. Students usually complete qualifying exams in the second or third year of their program and defend their dissertation at the end of the program in order to graduate.
Most students who enter aviation Ph.D. programs are working professionals, such as pilots, who are interested in teaching. Program curricula include education training, in addition to topics in fundamental aviation theories, safety management, aviation economics, regulatory policies and foundational physics. Students learn to solve research-based and theory-based aviation problems and then apply their solutions to real problems in the field. The principal goal of doctorate students' work is to add to the current body of knowledge by producing original research, a pursuit aided by an advisor or an advisory committee.
Those who wish to enroll in doctorate aviation programs must hold both a bachelor's and master's degree, usually in an aviation field, like aviation technology, aeronautical science, aviation maintenance or aviation electronics. Those who don't possess a bachelor's or master's degree in a relevant field are usually required to have work experience in aviation. Students should also expect to submit GRE scores, writing samples, a resume and letters of recommendation.
Courses in doctorate programs in aviation usually cover several basic areas, including the history of aviation, business and finance, theory and application. Here are a few examples of classes you might see in this program:
- Foundations of aviation
- Aviation safety
- Economics in aviation
- Legal issues in aviation
- Quantitative research methods
- Parametric and nonparametric statistics
Popular Career Options
Graduates of doctorate programs in aviation have a variety of career options available. The most popular is to teach in aeronautical or aviation programs; however, here are some other career options:
- Sr. aviation consultant
- Aeronautical engineer
- Public administration careers in aviation
- Senior management in aviation programs
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