2019-2020 Graduate Catalog 
    May 07, 2021  
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Aerospace Engineering PhD ♦

College: Engineering and Computer Science  Degree: PhD                                   
Department: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Option: Dissertation 
Program Websites: http://www.mae.ucf.edu

Program Description

The Aerospace Engineering PhD program offers students the opportunity, through both coursework and research, to meet the highest standards of academic achievement in the core areas: Aerodynamics. Aerospace Systems Design. Astrodynamics and Space  Applications, Dynamics and Control. Propulsion. Structures and Materials.

The Doctor of Philosophy degree in Aerospace Engineering is intended for students who have earned an MS or BS degree in Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical Engineering or a closely related field of Engineering.


The Aerospace Engineering PhD program requires a minimum of 72 credit hours beyond a bachelor’s degree. This program requires 15 Dissertation (XXX 7980) credit hours minimum and may include up to a total of 12 credit hours combined Directed (XXX 6918) or Doctoral Research (XXX 7919) and/or Independent Study (XXX 6908) with an approved Program of Study. At least 45 hours of the Program of Study must consist of formal coursework exclusive of Directed Research (XXX 6918), Doctoral Research (XXX 7919) and Independent Study (XXX 6908).

Students entering the program with a master’s degree are required to complete 42 credit hours minimum, of which 15 credit hours must be formal coursework. The remaining 12 hours can be chosen by the student in consultation with the adviser and the dissertation committee and with the approval of the graduate program coordinator. These credit hours may include doctoral directed research hours or doctoral dissertation hours.

Total Credit Hours Required: 72 Credit hours minimum beyond the bachelor’s degree 42 Credit hours minimum beyond the master’s degree.

Unless a completed (signed) Program of Study itemizing the study plan is approved prior to the end of the first semester of studies, the Graduate Director of the MAE Department may choose not to accept any part of the coursework (including independent studies and/or directed research) taken by the student on a Program of Study subsequently submitted by the student.

Admission to doctoral status requires that the student (1) pas a PhD Qualifying Examination, (2) establish a Doctoral Advisory Committee and (3) submit a departmentally approved Program of Study. These steps are normally completed within the first year of study beyond the master’s degree. 

Additionally, all student pursuing the doctoral program must enroll in the following course:

Elective Courses—57 Credit Hours

Students are also permitted to take courses from other specialization areas. Students may take courses from Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and other departments, including but not limited to Industrial, Civil and/or Electrical Engineering; Computer Science; Statistics; Mathematics and Physics, with the consent of the academic adviser.

Suggested elective courses include:

Dissertation—15 Credit Hours

  • EAS/EML 7980 Doctoral Dissertation 15 Credit Hours Minimum


In addition to the Qualifying Examination discussed above, the student must pass a Candidacy Examination and a Dissertation Defense Examination. The Candidacy Examination is taken near the end of the coursework and consists of a written and oral presentation of a research proposal. The MAE Department typically requires a PhD student to submit his/her Candidacy Exam in the academic semester immediately following his/her successful passing of the PhD Qualifying Exam. The Dissertation Defense Examination is an oral examination taken in defense of the written dissertation. The College of Engineering and Computer Science requires that all Dissertation Defense Examination announcements are approved by the student’s advisor and posted on the College’s website and on the Events Calendar of the College of Graduate Studies website at least two weeks prior to the defense date.

Dissertation Committee

The Doctoral Advisory Committee must consist of a minim of four members: two must be graduate faculty members from the MAE Department and one must be at large from outside the MAE Department and will serve as the external committee member. The committee Chair must be a member of the graduate faculty approved to direct dissertation. Join faculty members may serve as members from within the MAE Department as well as committee Charis. Adjunct faculty and off-campus experts, if approved graduate faculty scholars, may serve as the external person in the committee. The UCF College of Graduate Studies reserves the right to review appointments to advisory committees, place a representative on any advisory committee or appoint a co-adviser. 

All committee members vote on acceptance or rejection of the dissertation proposal and the final dissertation. The dissertation proposal and final dissertation must be approved by a majority of the Doctoral Advisory Committee.

Admission to Candidacy

The following are required to be admitted to candidacy and enroll in dissertation hours (enrollment in dissertation hours begins the semester following the completion of these requirements). Evidence of meeting these requirements must be received by the Colleg of Graduate Studies by the day before the first day of classes for the semester in which a student wishes to enroll in dissertation hours.

  • Completion of all coursework, except for dissertation hours.
  • Successful completion of the Candidacy Examination.
  • Successful defense of the written dissertation proposal. 
  • Formation of the Doctoral Advisory Committee, consisting of approved Graduate Faculty and Graduate Faculty Scholars.
  • Submission of an approved Program of Study.

MAE Department Graduate Seminar Requirement

The MAE Graduate Seminar is a zero credit hour (S/U) course that is offered each fall and spring academic semesters. Prior to graduation, all MAE graduate students who are pursuing PhD dissertation required to register, participate, and receive a satisfactory (S) for four semesters of MAE Graduate seminar, with at least two of these taken prior to candidacy.

Independent Learning

The independent learning requirement is met by successful completion of a student’s Candidacy and Dissertation Defense Examinations. 

Application Requirements

For information on general UCF graduate admissions requirements that apply to all prospective students, please visit the Admissions  section of the Graduate Catalog. Applicants must apply online. All requested materials must be submitted by the established deadline.

In addition to the general UCF graduate application requirements , applicants to this program must provide:

  • One official transcript (in a sealed envelope) from each college/university attended.
  • Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Aerospace or Mechanical Engineering or closely related discipline.
  • Official, competitive GRE score taken within the last five years.
  • Résumé.
  • Statement of educational, research, and professional career objectives.
  • Three letters of recommendation.

Faculty members may choose to conduct face-to-face or telephone interviews before accepting an applicant into their research program.

Additional courses may be required to correct deficiencies. Students should contact the graduate program director for further information.

Application Deadlines

Aerospace Engineering PhD *Fall Priority Fall Spring Summer
Domestic Applicants Jan 15 Jul 15 Dec 1  
International Applicants Jan 15 Jan 15 Jul 1  
*Applicants who plan to enroll full time in a degree program and who wish to be considered for university fellowships or assistantships should apply by the Fall Priority date.


Graduate students may receive financial assistance through fellowships, assistantships, tuition support, or loans. For more information, see the College of Graduate Studies Funding website, which describes the types of financial assistance available at UCF and provides general guidance in planning your graduate finances. The Financial Information section of the Graduate Catalog is another key resource.


Fellowships are awarded based on academic merit to highly qualified students. They are paid to students through the Office of Student Financial Assistance, based on instructions provided by the College of Graduate Studies. Fellowships are given to support a student’s graduate study and do not have a work obligation. For more information, see UCF Graduate Fellowships, which includes descriptions of university fellowships and what you should do to be considered for a fellowship.

Contact Info

Graduate Program

Jihua Gou PhD
Telephone: 407-823-2155
ENGR1 - 307

Graduate Admissions

Ashley Rivera Mercado
Telephone: 407-823-2766
Millican Hall 230
Online Application
Graduate Admissions

Mailing Address
UCF College of Graduate Studies
Millican Hall 230
PO Box 160112
Orlando, FL 32816-0112

Institution Codes
GRE: 5233
TOEFL: 5233
ETS PPI: 5233

Graduate Fellowships

Grad Fellowships
Telephone: 407-823-0127

Graduate Financial Aid

UCF Student Financial Assistance
Millican Hall 120
Telephone: 407-823-2827
Appointment Line: 407-823-5285
Fax: 407-823-5241