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 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 from the master's degree, and should have a minimum of 60 percent of the hours (24 dissertation hours included) beyond the master's work at the 800-900 level or equivalent.

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.

Ph.D. Comprehensive Examination

After the PhD Plan of Study has been approved, and after sufficient course work has been completed, the student must take the comprehensive examination given by the advisory committee. The comprehensive examination will cover the major field and any course that the advisory committee deems necessary. The student's advisory committee is responsible for ensuring that the student takes the comprehensive examination at the appropriate time. No part of the comprehensive examination may be attempted more than twice. Upon passing the comprehensive examination, a student is known as an Aspirant for the PhD.

Ph.D. Time Limits and Residency Requirements

From the time the student is admitted to the program, no more than six years may elaspe until requirements for the degree have been completed. However, the student may petition the advisory committee for a leave of absence to pursue full-time professional activities related to his/her doctoral program and long-range professional goals. 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. Dissertation Approval Examination (DAE)

When the PhD aspirant has completed the major portion of the course work, the advisory committee can petition for permission to administer the DAE. The aspirant will submit a written dissertation proposal to the advisory committee. After reading the proposal and receiving permission of the graduate dean, the advisory committee will conduct an oral examination to determine the aspirant's ability to carry out the proposed research and whether or not this research qualifies as a PhD dissertation. Any essential change in the project requires committee approval. After passing the DAE, the student is known as a Candidate for the PhD Degree. A candidate must be continuously enrolled in PhD Dissertation for a minimum of six hours each semester and two hours in the Summer Session until completion of the dissertation or 24 hours of PhD Dissertation have been taken. After this, two hours per semester and one hour per summer are required. In any case, no less than 24 hours of enrollment for PhD Dissertation will be required. The dissertation may be performed in absentia with the approval of the advisory committee.

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
Graduate School
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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