PhD in Aviation Program Information
Pilots who'd like to teach or master's degree holders looking to further their research might look into doctorate programs in aviation. Read on to find out about this degree and what you can expect from it.
Ph.D. in Aviation
Doctorate degrees in aviation are rare. Because of this, many are offered online. They can be completed in as little as three years but can last up to five years. Most programs require residencies, although residencies are typically completed in several multiple-day terms. For example, many residencies are completed in three 6-day terms. Students also usually complete a qualifying exam in the second or third year of the program and defend a dissertation at the end of the program in order to graduate.
Students can expect to gain a professional-level understanding of fundamental aviation theories, including safety management, aviation economics, regulatory policies and foundational physics. Programs typically teach students to solve both research-based and theory-based aviation problems and then to apply solutions to real problems in the field. The principle 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. Most students who enter aviation Ph.D. programs are working professionals interested in teaching; most programs, in that case, incorporate education training into the curriculum.
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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