PhD in Aviation


Program Description

Ph.D. students in aviation science at Saint Louis University complete coursework before scheduling a qualifying exam that focuses on topics related to the coursework and assesses general preparation for graduate research. Upon successfully passing the qualifying exam, students develop a dissertation proposal under the supervision of a research mentor. Then students present and defend the dissertation proposal. After conducting research and writing a dissertation, students defend the dissertation in a public forum and then privately to the committee.

Curriculum Overview

Students will work with their advisor and Ph.D. committee to determine the specific coursework to complete the program. Those students holding an appropriate Master of Science degree may include a maximum of 27 credits of the associated M.S. degree course credits, but not the thesis or project credits, in the 63 credits required for the Ph.D. degree.


Graduates with a Ph.D. in aviation science are uniquely qualified to conduct aviation-related research in academia, government, and industry.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Graduates will be able to assess relevant literature or scholarly contributions in the field(s) of study.
  2. Graduates will be able to apply the major practices, theories, or research methodologies in the field(s) of study.
  3. Graduates will be able to apply knowledge from the field(s) of study to address problems in broader contexts.
  4. Graduates will be able to articulate arguments or explanations to both a disciplinary or professional audience and to a general audience, in both oral and written forms.
  5. Graduates will be able to evidence of scholarly and/or professional integrity in the field of study.
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Admission Requirements

Most admitted students meet the following criteria:

  • GRE quantitative score is greater than 650 (old grading system) or greater than 150 (new grading system).
  • Undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0.
  • A four-year undergraduate degree in aviation or related field of the desired graduate program.

Application Requirements

  • Online application form and fee.
  • Official transcript(s) of all previous degrees.
  • Three letters of recommendation (preferably from recent instructors).
  • GRE scores.
  • Curriculum vitae/résumé.
  • Professional goal statement.

Requirements for International Students

All admission policies and requirements for domestic students apply to international students along with the following:

  • Demonstrate English Language Proficiency.
  • Proof of financial support must include:
    • A letter of financial support from the person(s) or sponsoring agency funding the time at Saint Louis University.
    • A letter from the sponsor's bank verifying that the funds are available and will be so for the duration of study at the University.
  • Academic records, in English translation, of students who have undertaken postsecondary studies outside the United States, must include the courses taken and/or lectures attended, practical laboratory work, the maximum and minimum grades attainable, the grades earned or the results of all end-of-term examinations, and any honors or degrees received. WES and ECE transcripts are accepted.

Application and Assistantship Deadlines

The department is only reviewing applications for the fall semester. To be considered for enrollment in the fall semester, students should submit their application materials by May 31.

Admitted students who want to be considered for an assistantship must submit a separate application for assistantship consideration by March 1.

Review Process

Once all the materials are received and the online application is complete, the application is reviewed by the Parks College Office of Graduate Education and Research before being sent to the Department of Aviation Science for a recommendation. The final decision is made by Parks’ director of graduate programs.

Admissions decisions are made based on the background and educational experience of students. Applications are reviewed when completed, and decisions are generally made within a few weeks.

Last updated Jan 2020

About the School

Founded as America's first federally certified school of aviation, Saint Louis University’s Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology have forged a path of innovation in all the discipline ... Read More

Founded as America's first federally certified school of aviation, Saint Louis University’s Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology have forged a path of innovation in all the disciplines we serve. From robots to rockets and everything in between, we’ve developed future-focused programs to address the current and future needs of the profession and society. Read less