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Graduate Requirements

Introduction

Status quo is virtually an unknown concept in the aerospace industry. The technology with which aerospace works and the national and international regulations by which it must abide are subject to rapid, frequent, and sweeping change. Aerospace touches every sphere of modern personal and business life and, therefore, must be sensitive to and respond to stimuli from a variety of unrelated sources. A healthy aviation industry is critical to the nation’s economic well-being and security.

Embry-Riddle graduate degree programs are designed to stress pragmatic solutions to the managerial, technological, and organizational challenges in the aviation and aerospace industry today. The problems currently confronting industry are brought into the classroom for analysis, making use of the latest theories, tools, and techniques available to engineers, operations personnel, and managers. Case studies, simulations, computer-aided analysis, and computer-assisted design, as well as experiential exercises are interspersed throughout the curricula to achieve a balance between theory and the realities of the aviation/aerospace industrial world of the 21st century.

In most programs, opportunities are provided in each degree program to tailor the curriculum to meet specific, individual career objectives. Classes are scheduled to accommodate both full-time and part-time study. Many of the masters-level courses are nonsequential, allowing study to begin in any term. Electives needed to complete the requirements of any masters degree are selected from among the 500/600 numbered courses (except BA 503 and the AED course series) listed in this catalog with approval of the degree program coordinator.

Graduate Internships

Graduate internships are temporary professional or industrial work opportunities available to graduate students. There are two types of internships: residential and nonresidential. Resident internships are professional work activities supported by a partnership between industry and the University and conducted on campus under the supervision of a faculty/staff sponsor in conjunction with the employer. Nonresident internships are professional work activities conducted off-campus at the supporting organization’s facility. Full-time employees of the offering organization are not eligible for an internship appointment and cannot receive academic credit for their professional position.

Masters students who have full graduate status, are degree seeking, in good standing with a minimum of six graduate credit hours completed, and who have earned a cumulative GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 basis are eligible to apply for graduate internships. Students must demonstrate adequate communication and technical skills.

Students selected for an internship may register for the approved number of credit hours in the appropriate departmental internship course and will be charged tuition for one credit hour. Masters-level academic credit is awarded at a rate of one credit hour for every 200 clock hours of work completed, up to a maximum of three credit hours in one semester. Three internship credit hours may be applied toward degree requirements in many degree programs. Students are advised to consult with their Graduate Program Coordinator for approval to use internship credits in their degree program curriculum.

Thesis, Graduate Research Project and Graduate Capstone Project Options

Requirements

Students who elect a thesis, graduate research project or graduate capstone project must obtain approval of the research topic. The University encourages masters students to select thesis, graduate research/capstone project topics that permit them to participate in faculty research. Once approved, a research advisor and one or more additional committee members are selected and approved by the department coordinator or designee. Normally, if a student is working with a faculty research team as part of his/her thesis or graduate/capstone research project, the faculty member who is directing the student’s research should generally be the student’s research advisor. The graduate research/capstone project option may not be available for all programs.

Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering

The objective of this Ph.D. program is to provide an opportunity for highly qualified students to complete a rigorous program of advanced study and engage in research centered on developing new knowledge for a field related to aerospace engineering.

The program is open to students who have already earned a bachelor's or master’s degree in a closely related engineering discipline, have an exemplary academic record and have demonstrated the ability and keen interest in independent scientific inquiry. For these students the program provides exceptional research opportunities in key areas of aerospace engineering to work on applied and interdisciplinary research projects that matter to industry.

The general areas of research are aerodynamics, dynamics and control, propulsion, and aerospace structures. The College of Engineering offers a number of mature masters degree programs including Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering (thesis), Master of Aerospace Engineering (non-thesis), Civil, Cybersecurity, Mechanical, Software, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Unmanned and Autonomous Systems which all have an aerospace focus consistent with the university niche and provide a rich menu of advanced graduate courses from which to select.

Graduates of the Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering program are expected to identify, formulate, and solve complex aerospace engineering problems through their great depth of understanding of fundamental principles of engineering sciences, the knowledge of advanced mathematical methods, a mastery of scientific and engineering research techniques, and expertise in today’s enabling numerical and computer-aided engineering tools. They are expected in their practice in industry, academia, or government to push boundaries of knowledge in aerospace engineering by conceiving, planning, producing, and disseminating original research.

Applicants to the Ph.D. program in Aerospace Engineering must have a minimum cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 3.5 have taken the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and have an acceptable score on both quantitative and verbal sections, and submit a complete application package before the deadline specified in the University catalog. The application package should include statements of goals (two to five pages) and reasons for wishing to pursue doctoral studies, incorporating interests and background as well as three letters of recommendation.

International applicants whose primary language is not English must also achieve the minimum score requirement of TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Test System) as required by the University.

A minimum of 18 credit hours of coursework beyond a master’s degree is required for the Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering. The goal of the coursework is primarily to support the student’s research endeavors; therefore, courses outside the concentration area or outside the AE department are allowed as deemed appropriate by the advisor. At least one 3-credit-hour advanced mathematics course is required. All courses must be graduate level courses (i.e., 500 or 600), and must be approved by the student’s advisor. A Ph.D. student must maintain a minimum of a 3.0 GPA for each semester enrolled in the program and a 3.0 CGPA throughout his/her doctoral studies.

A minimum of 24 credit hours of dissertation research must be completed. Ph.D. students may register for no more than 6 credit hours of dissertation each semester after they pass the qualifying exam. The Ph.D. requires a minimum of 42 units beyond the Master’s degree, including both coursework and dissertation units.

Candidates for the Ph.D. are required to take and pass written qualifying examinations directly related to the area of concentrated study, plus an additional exam in mathematics.

While the program requires a rigorous course work beyond the master’s degree, any coursework prescribed for candidates is intended to prepare him/her for the work on the thesis. The award of the Ph.D. is based on the submission of a satisfactory thesis.

Specific information about the program, including admission and course requirements, can be found in the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Doctoral Programs Catalog and at the program Web site: http://daytonabeach.erau.edu/degrees/phd-program/aerospace-engineering/index.html

Ph.D. in Aviation

The demand for aviation professionals with the skills to conduct research and solve problems continues to grow in response to the increasing complexity and evolution of the aviation field. The Ph.D. in Aviation program is designed to address that need by allowing students to pursue doctoral studies in aviation in a diverse, intellectually versatile and multi-disciplinary environment. It is the first Ph.D. in aviation in the U.S.

Courses are offered online for greater accessibility to the working professional. Participation in three six-day on-campus residency seminars is required during the program. This program format provides doctoral degree students an innovative way to achieve their personal, educational, and professional goals.

The Ph.D. in Aviation program is designed to enable students to achieve the following learning objectives: develop mastery of the central theories and concepts in the field of aviation, including foundations, safety management, economics, and regulatory procedures; pose and solve theory-based and research-based problems designed to advance applications in the field of aviation; extend the aviation body of knowledge by conceiving, planning, producing, and communicating original research; develop and demonstrate expertise in instructional processes; and demonstrate leadership, collaboration, and communication necessary for scholarly work in aviation.

Courses are offered during three 15-week terms per year. The program requires completion of four aviation core courses, a four-course sequence in statistics and research methodology, and four specialization or cognate courses. A qualifying exam tests student’s mastery of core and cognate subject matter and is conducted at the end of the course work. Completion and defense of a dissertation is the final phase of the program. The dissertation is a formal academic paper that constitutes the culmination of the doctoral program. The purpose of the dissertation is to prepare students to be professionals in a discipline, to develop the skills necessary to engage in independent research, and to advance the body of knowledge in aviation. The program requires completion of 90 credit hours of coursework, residency seminars, and dissertation courses, including 30 credit hours from the student’s master’s degree.

Specific information about the program, including admission and course requirements, can be found in the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Doctoral Programs Catalog and at the program Web site: http://aviationphd.erau.edu.

Ph.D. in Aviation Business Administration

The objective of this unique Ph.D. program is to provide an opportunity for highly qualified students to complete a rigorous program of advanced study and engage in research centered on developing new knowledge for a field related to aviation business administration.

The program is open to students who have already earned a Master’s degree in a closely related business discipline, have an exemplary academic record and have demonstrated the ability and keen interest in real world aviation business challenges. For these students the program provides exceptional research opportunities in key areas of business to work on applied and interdisciplinary research projects that matter to the business of aviation and aerospace industries. The program has been designed to accommodate working professionals who seek to advance their knowledge and conduct high-quality research in aviation business while being employed.

The general areas of research are management, economics, finance, operations, marketing, strategy, and management information systems focused towards aviation. The Daytona Beach College of Business has been the first to offer Master’s degree programs in business administration. Currently it offers MBA, MBA in Aviation Management, Masters in Aviation Finance and supporting similar degrees offered by the Worldwide campus in terms of course design and delivery. The Daytona Beach College of Business currently offers a diverse range of courses to the students with different specializations from which to choose.

The Ph.D. graduates are expected to lead the aviation industry, formulate, and solve complex business oriented challenges through their great depth of understanding of fundamental principles of business administration. These graduates will be the leaders in industry, academia, or government conceiving, planning, producing, and disseminating original research.

Applicants to the Ph.D. program in Aviation Business Administration must have a solid background in terms of their GPA, have taken the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and have an acceptable score on both quantitative and verbal sections, and submit a complete application package before the deadline specified by the University catalog. International applicants whose primary language is not English must also achieve the minimum score requirement specified by the University.

The Ph.D. requires completion of 60 credits, including both coursework and dissertation units. The Ph.D. students are expected to complete 36 credit hours of coursework for the Ph.D. in Aviation Business Administration. These courses are divided into 3 groups. The first group consisting of 15 credit hours provides the necessary foundation of aviation business disciplines. The second group consisting of 9 credit hours is designed to support the student’s quantitative skills in business and prepare them for analytical research. The third group consisting of 12 credit hours is designed to help students get a deeper understanding of their proposed area of research by being exposed to the latest developments in the field. These courses will help students to pursue research endeavors and therefore courses outside the concentration area or outside the Daytona Beach College of Business are allowed as deemed appropriate by the advisor. Students may be exempted from some of the coursework if they have taken them before or show substantial industry experience in the field as recommended by the Doctoral Degree Program Committee.

A Ph.D. student must maintain a minimum of a 3.0 GPA for each semester enrolled in the program and a 3.0 CGPA throughout his/her doctoral studies.

A minimum of 24 credit hours of dissertation research must be completed. Ph.D. students may register for no more than 6 credit hours of dissertation each semester after they pass the qualifying and preliminary exams.

Candidates for the Ph.D. are required to take and pass written qualifying and preliminary examinations directly related to the area of proposed research. While the program requires a rigorous course work beyond the Master’s degree, any coursework prescribed for candidates is intended to prepare them for the work on the dissertation. The award of the Ph.D. is based on the submission of a satisfactory dissertation.

Specific information about the program, including admission and course requirements, can be found in the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Doctoral Programs Catalog and at the program Web site.

Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EE&CS) are the endpoints for a range of related intellectual domains that includes Computer Engineering, Software Engineering, and Systems Engineering as well. With inclusion of computational elements that communicate wirelessly in more and more engineered systems, particularly those in aerospace and aviation, there is increasing demand in industry, government, and the academy for researchers capable of exploring the frontiers of knowledge within each of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and across the related domains. The Ph.D. in EE&CS gives qualified students the opportunity to develop and display their ability to execute original research and engage in knowledge discovery in any and all of these domains.

The focus of the program is research: students in the program must perform original research culminating in a publishable dissertation. The program supports the Electrical, Computer, Software, and Systems Engineering (ECSSE) department’s strategic research thrusts of see and avoid for unmanned and autonomous systems, of assured systems engineering including cybersecurity engineering, and of modeling and simulation as applied in the worlds of aerospace and aviation. Other research interests developed by program participants in conjunction with their research advisor are anticipated, as is appropriate for the range of intellectual areas encompassed by EE&CS.

In addition to the dissertation credits of 24 hours, students must complete coursework appropriate to the intended dissertation research. Students entering from the master degree must complete 18 credits of coursework (total 42 credits after the master’s); those entering from the bachelor degree, 48 credits of coursework (total 72 credits after the bachelor’s). Coursework must include at least 3 credits of mathematics at the 500-, 600-, or 700- level. All program students must complete a qualifying exam early in their program of study and later a preliminary dissertation exam based on their proposed research. Upon completion of the research program, the student must successfully defend their dissertation before a committee comprised of their research advisor and four others, including at least two other members of the ECSSE faculty and one member from outside the department. Committee members external to ERAU, such as individuals from industry or other academic institutions, may be included as allowed by ERAU doctoral policies.

Qualified applicants will have a 3.2/4.0 GPA with a bachelor’s degree from an ABET accredited undergraduate institution or international equivalent; those applying with a master’s degree will also have a 3.2/4.0 GPA in their graduate studies. The Graduate Record Exam must have been taken within five years prior to application, with scores having been reported to ERAU. Those for whom English is not their native language must demonstrate competence in spoken and written English as per ERAU policies.

Specific information about the program, including admission and course requirements, can be found in the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Doctoral Programs Catalog

Ph.D. in Engineering Physics

The Ph.D. in Engineering Physics provides advanced education and research opportunities to exceptional students by providing a research environment that fosters collaboration, creative thinking, and publishing of findings in peer-reviewed archival journals and proceedings. The general areas of research are Spacecraft Engineering, Space Physics, and Upper Atmospheric Physics. The program is a natural outgrowth of the M.S. program in Engineering Physics, and of the B.S. program in Engineering Physics, which is one of the largest ABET-accredited B.S. in Engineering Physics programs in the nation.

Graduates of the Ph.D. in Engineering Physics program are expected to identify, formulate, and solve space science and spacecraft engineering problems; develop and apply expertise in advanced space physics, upper atmospheric physics, and spacecraft engineering; develop a mastery of scientific and engineering research techniques; and extend the knowledge base in space science and spacecraft engineering by conceiving, planning, producing, and communicating original research.

The minimum entry requirement to the program is a master’s degree in engineering or physics or closely related discipline. A minimum CGPA of 3.2/4.0 is required for both the bachelor’s and Master’s degrees completed. The program also requires a minimum GRE (verbal plus quantitative) score of 1200 obtained within the previous two years of the application. Moreover, applicants are required to submit statements of goals (two to five pages), to include reasons for wishing to pursue doctoral studies, incorporating interests and background, and three letters of recommendation.

The Ph.D. in Engineering Physics curriculum is modeled after traditional programs in engineering and physics at other institutions. The program requires 45 hours beyond a master’s degree, to include 12 hours in core, a minimum of 6 hours of electives and 27 hours of dissertation, the successful completion of a two-day written comprehensive examination prior to beginning the dissertation, the successful presentation of a dissertation research proposal, the successful completion of a written dissertation, and the successful oral defense of the dissertation before the dissertation committee and an audience of peers and other interested scholars.

Specific information about the program, including admission and course requirements, can be found in the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Doctoral Programs Catalog

Ph.D. in Human Factors

The Ph.D. program in Human Factors (HF Ph.D.) provides an opportunity for highly qualified students, from a variety of backgrounds, which may include Psychology, Physiology, Life Sciences, and Engineering, to pursue a rigorous program of advanced study, engage in high-quality research, and develop new knowledge within specialized areas of Human Factors. Although a relatively new discipline, Human Factors has grown tremendously for the past several decades, both as a discipline and a profession. Highly educated and experienced Human Factors professionals are in great demand in academia, government agencies and as researchers in private companies.

The Ph.D. in Human Factors is an 84 credit, five-year program for students entering with a BS degree or 48 credits (3 years) for students entering with a MS degree.  The program focuses on core educational elements of the discipline including sensation, perception, cognition and statistics, with specializations offered in three key research areas: aviation/aerospace human factors, medical human factors, and technology-enhanced and game-based learning and testing.

Students enrolling should have an interest in one of the three research areas mentioned above with a goal of entering a career in academia or as a researcher in a government agency or private corporation. The program will be offered as a traditional doctoral program, with classes being offered face to face and not through remote delivery. Students will be expected to be full-time and in residence at the Daytona Beach Campus in order to complete coursework and embark on a research specialization. 

Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering

The Ph.D. program in Mechanical Engineering offers highly-qualified students an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to conduct original applied and/or interdisciplinary research and to develop new knowledge in the field. Mechanical Engineering is a broad, dynamic, and in-demand field and graduates will be well prepared for research careers in industry, government, or academia.

The program is open to students who have earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a closely related engineering discipline, have an exemplary academic record, and have demonstrated ability to and interest in conducting independent scientific inquiry. The Mechanical Engineering department’s key focal areas of high performance vehicle systems, robotics and autonomous systems, clean energy systems, and biomechanical systems will serve as foci for research, but the program is designed to be customizable to individual research topics commensurate with the broad nature of the field.

Applicants to the Ph.D. program in Mechanical Engineering are required to have a minimum CGPA of 3.5/4.0 and have achieved an acceptable score on the GRE.  Applicants must also demonstrate an aptitude for high-level research through submission of resumes, publications, portfolios, or interviews and must submit a written statement outlining the student’s research interests and personal goals. The package must also include three letters of recommendation and be submitted before the deadlines specified in the catalog. International applicants whose primary language is not English must also achieve the minimum score requirement on the TOEFL or IELTS exams as required by the University.

The requirements for the Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering are focused heavily towards enabling and requiring the student to establish, complete, and defend a program of original research. Students will be required to define and complete a plan of study containing a minimum of 18 credit hours of graduate-level coursework beyond the master’s degree and 24 credit hours of dissertation research. Students entering the program with only a bachelor’s degree will also be required to complete either the thesis or non-thesis options of the MSME program.

In addition to coursework, students in the program must pass a qualifying exam to demonstrate aptitude in and mastery of the fundamentals of engineering and mathematics. Students will then be required to prepare and defend a dissertation proposal that outlines the student’s proposed research in a preliminary examination to be admitted to degree candidacy. Candidates will complete the degree by completing a program of original research and preparing and defending a dissertation.

Specific information about the program, including admission and course requirements, can be found in the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Doctoral Programs Catalog.