Doctor of Philosophy in Aerospace Engineering

Aerospace Engineering

The aerospace engineer is concerned with the design, production, operation, and support of aircraft and spacecraft. Aerospace engineers conduct research to advance air flight and space exploration, by solving problems, developing products, and improving processes for the aerospace industry. Aerospace engineers typically work for aircraft and space vehicle industries, national research laboratories, commercial airlines, and federal government agencies. The curriculum includes traditional courses in aerodynamics, flight dynamics and control, propulsion, structures, manufacturing, instrumentation, and spacecraft systems.


KU Aerospace Engineering is an international leader in aerospace education and is committed to developing a global community of choice for students, educators, and researchers by strategically aligning teaching, research, and service missions. A world-class graduate and undergraduate education focused on designing, simulating, building, testing, and flying aerospace vehicles is provided. The department invests in research infrastructure and chooses outstanding students to work with faculty, and staff to conduct basic and applied research of relevance to aerospace vehicles and systems. The department supports the aerospace profession by educating the public, by maintaining the KU aerospace short-course program, and by advising policy-makers in government, industry, and disciplinary professional organizations.

Educational Objectives

The Aerospace Engineering graduate program objective is that our graduates contribute to the aerospace profession, related fields, and other disciplines through skilled professional practice in industry, government, and/or academia. Within a few years after graduation, we expect that:

  • Graduates are meaningfully employed or continuing graduate study in aerospace or other high technology fields, with the majority retained in aerospace or closely related engineering
  • Graduates have a positive professional career path including promotions, leadership, and/or continued education
  • Graduates recognize the value of their educational preparation for their current and future professional endeavors

Educational Outcomes

The Doctor of Philosophy program in Aerospace Engineering (PhDAE) is a traditional program that requires students to conduct independent, publishable, and impactful research that makes a significant contribution to the field of Aerospace Engineering.  Our program is designed to achieve our objectives by establishing measurable learning outcomes which graduates of the program must demonstrate:

  1. Demonstrate an ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to develop and conduct either 1) appropriate analytical approaches, 2) simulation, or 3) experimentation; analyze and interpret data; and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions.
  4. Demonstrate an ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences.