PhD in Engineering


Program Description

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs focus on a specific research topic. The students are expected to conduct original academic research that culminates in a dissertation and peer-reviewed publications. Additional coursework related to the chosen research area is also required.

Ph.D. students prepare a program of study that must be approved by the Faculty Advisor, Department Chair, and the Director of Graduate Programs. This program of study is developed and then reviewed within the context of students’ background and career goals, allowing students to customize their program to suit their professional goals.

Graduate students in Engineering at Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology will demonstrate:

  1. enhanced professional and analytical skills through the development of an in-depth understanding of theoretical and practical concepts;
  2. excellent communications skill through written and oral presentations;
  3. creative thinking skills through mastery of topics required to solve complex engineering problems; and
  4. depth of knowledge required to pursue advanced work in a modern, ever-changing world through entrepreneurial experiences woven into their program.

These attributes will be assessed during the required examination milestones. For a Ph.D. degree, the required milestones include a qualifying exam, a written dissertation proposal and corresponding oral defense, and a written dissertation and corresponding oral defense presentation.

Curriculum Overview

The Ph.D. in engineering requires a total of 60 credits of coursework beyond the bachelor’s degree, with a minimum of 12 credits of dissertation. A limited number of courses may be at the 4000 level; all others must be at the 5000 or higher level. Those students who earn an M.S. degree may include a maximum of 24 master’s degree course credits with departmental approval, but not the thesis or project credits in the 60 credits for the Ph.D. degree.

There are three concentrations in the engineering doctoral program:

  • Aerospace and mechanical engineering
  • Biomedical engineering
  • Civil engineering

Fieldwork and Research Opportunities

The expert faculty of Parks College collaborate with graduate students in ground-breaking research in the following areas:

  • Aircraft engine aerodynamics
  • Cardiovascular and assist devices
  • Energy, sustainability and environmental
  • Engineering education
  • Flight control systems
  • Haptic and human-machine interfaces
  • Human factors/physiology
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Medical robotics
  • Orthopedic biomechanics
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Robotics and mechatronics
  • Safety
  • Sensors and systems
  • Signal processing
  • Space systems
  • Structures and bridges
  • Thermal-fluid sciences
  • Tissue engineering
  • Transportation
  • Unmanned aerial systems
  • Water resources and hydraulics


Graduates of the doctoral program seek employment in the industry, government or university professors.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Graduates will be able to apply knowledge of advanced concepts and analytical skills within engineering that enhances or adds to the scientific consensus.
  2. Graduates will be able to communicate clearly and creatively a mastery of topics required to solve complex engineering problems through peer-reviewed research and oral presentations.
  3. Graduates will be able to conduct independent research that addresses problems in broader contexts.
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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 3.00.
  • A four-year undergraduate degree in engineering related field of the desired graduate program.

Application Requirements

  • Application form and fee.
  • Transcript(s) from all colleges and universities attended.
  • Three letters of recommendation (preferably from recent instructors).
  • GRE scores.
  • Résumé or curriculum vitae.
  • 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.

Assistantship Application Deadline

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, materials will be reviewed by the Parks College's Office of Graduate Education and Research before being sent to the engineering department for a recommendation. The final decision is made by the Parks College Associate Dean of Graduate Education and Research.

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