Ph.D. in Aviation Business Administration

Worldwide Embry-Riddle Ph.D Aviation Business Administration

The objective of this Ph.D. program in Aviation Business Administration is to educate Ph.D. level students and professionals in conducting state of the art research in this important field of study.

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Aviation Business Administration will be conferred in recognition of creative accomplishment and the ability to investigate scientific or business research problems independently. The doctorate degree also recognizes the potential for completion of advanced coursework that helps students build a solid foundation for Ph.D. - level research.

For specific information about this program, including admission and course requirements, visit the  Ph.D. in Aviation Business Administration website.

Flexible Degree

The Doctor of Philosophy in Aviation Business Administration has been designed to accommodate working professionals who seek to advance their knowledge and conduct high-quality research in pertinent aviation business disciplines. Industry, military and government professionals with strong academic credentials, and a passion for aviation business research, will find this Ph.D. program both attainable and rewarding. Delivery of the program, which includes both a one-week “residency” in Daytona Beach, Florida and on-line courses through the Worldwide Campus, allows the candidates to continue their profession while pursuing a doctoral degree.  Domestic or international students with a prior Master’s degree in business or other related discipline are eligible to be accepted into the Ph.D. in Aviation Business Administration program.

Admission Requirements

Applicants to the Ph.D. program in Aviation Business Administration must:

  • Have completed a Master’s degree in Business Administration or closely related discipline.
  • Have superior academic records as determined by the College of Business Doctoral Degree Program committee.
  • Have taken either the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examination (GRE) within the last 5 years and have acceptable scores on both quantitative and verbal sections as determined by the Doctoral Degree Program committee.
  • Applicants from countries where English is not the official language need to show proficiency in English by taking and satisfying the University’s approved tests including TOEFL, IELTS and other requirements.
  • Submit a complete application package including resume, official transcripts, two (2) Letters of Recommendation, statement of purpose, statement of research interests, and a description of aviation, aerospace or relevant industry experience.


The Ph.D. program requires the completion of 60 credit hours of graduate study. These credit hours are spread over aviation business core classes, research methods and quantitative models, electives and Ph.D. thesis as follows.

Aviation Business Core Courses (15 credit hours)

All Ph.D. students need to take the following courses.  (view course descriptions)

BA 705 Advanced Aviation Economics3
BA 710 Advanced Marketing Management in Aviation3
BA 715 Advanced Aviation Accounting3
BA 720 Advanced Managerial Finance in Aviation3
BA 725 Advance Organizational Behavior in Aviation3
Total Credits15

Research Methods/Quantitative Models (9 credits)

All Ph.D. students need to take the following courses. These courses help the students with the analytical skills necessary for their research.(view course descriptions)

BA 805 Statistics and Multivariate Analysis3
BA 810 Advanced Topics in Business Quantitative Methods3
BA 815 Seminars in Research Methods3
Total Credits9

Research Seminars (12 credits)

All Ph.D. students need to take 4 elective research seminars to help them further develop research skills necessary for completion of their dissertation and beyond. These classes are in the format of research seminars. These seminars are research oriented topics and follow a flexible delivery dependent on professors teaching the courses. The objective is to familiarize the students to conduct research in a specialized topic. Research topics are a collaborative effort between the student, faculty, and their peers if a team-based activity is prescribed. In these seminars, students are expected to conduct a literature review, criticize previous research work and identify limitations, propose and conduct a rational course of action, and submit a completed research paper. It is expected that these papers are suitable for at least conference presentations and/or proceedings. Suggested research seminar topics may include: (view course descriptions)

BA 830 Research Seminar/Special Topics in Airline Management3
BA 835 Research Seminar/Special Topics in Air Cargo and Logistics3
BA 840 Research Seminar/Special Topics in Aviation Operations3
BA 840 Research Seminar/Special Topics in Aviation Operations3
BA 845 Research Seminar/Special Topics in MIS Applications in Aviation3
BA 850 Research Seminar/Special Topics in Airport Management3
BA 855 Research Seminar/Special Topics in Aviation Supply Chain Management3
BA 860 Research Seminar/Special Topics in Aviation Entrepreneurship3
BA 865 Research Seminar/Special Topics in Globalization in Aviation 3
BA 870 Research Seminar/Special Topics in Leadership in Aviation3
BA 875 Research Seminar/Special Topics in Aviation Human Factors3
BA 880 Research Seminar/Special Topics in Aviation Law3
BA 885 Research Seminar/Special Topics in Advanced Aviation Finance3
BA 890 Research Seminar/Special Topics in Advanced Aviation Economics3
BA 895 Research Seminar/Special Topics in Aviation Business Administration3
Total Credits45

Dissertation (24 credits)

All students need to conduct aviation business related research leading to original contribution to the knowledge in the field supervised by their dissertation advisors.  The following sections provide detailed information on format, progress, expectations and delivery of dissertation.

Ph.D. Degree Program Format and Duration

The students are expected to take 6 credit hours per semester. Summer A and Summer B are treated as one semester. Students may register for up to 3 credit hours for summer semesters.

A semester is defined as a 12 week sessions with start dates coinciding with Daytona Beach Campus residential-based semesters. All courses are presented using the technology prescribed by Daytona Beach College of Business faculty and offered through our Worldwide technology services.

While the typical time for completing the Ph.D. degree in Aviation Business Administration will be three to four years, it will be the policy of the Daytona Beach College of Business that the total duration of the doctoral study should not exceed seven years.  Exceptions will be allowed when justified.

Course Delivery Mode

The Ph.D. program is designed to accommodate working professionals who wish to pursue their degree using a distance-mediated format facilitated through our Worldwide Campus. Course offerings will include online content containing a variety of delivery techniques, and variable by course.  Such techniques may include recorded lectures, interactive discussion boards, course projects, synchronous discussions, etc.


Each student is required to complete one week on campus residency each year independent of their levels or stage in the Ph.D. program. These residencies allow students the opportunity to network face to face with peers and instructors. The residencies are scheduled during mid-August and are approximately one week long (Monday to Friday).

Some of the activities during these residencies include:

  • Introduction to the College and Daytona Beach campus
  • Introduction to technology, delivery modes, software, databases
  • Research seminars offered by faculty
  • Research presentations by the students
  • Interaction with advisers and committee chairs
  • Face to face classes
  • Introduction and seminars on:
    • Critical thinking
    • Writing skills
    • How to perform in research seminars
    • Literature reviews
    • Preparation for qualifying exams
    • Working with advisors on dissertations

Qualifying Examinations

Students are required to take and pass written qualifying examinations to demonstrate their ability to pursue the Ph.D. degree. Qualifying examinations are designed to evaluate students’ mastery of the fundamentals of aviation business that support their research endeavor. Participation in the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination requires a GPA of 3.0 or above in the course work. It is recommended that students take the qualifying exam within two semesters after the course work. Students should plan up to one week to complete the online exam. Passing the qualifying examination will require that the student achieves a satisfactory score on each section. A student must pass the qualifying examination in not more than two attempts. A student who fails to achieve acceptable scores in all trials will be dismissed from the program at the end of that semester.

The qualifying examinations are developed and administered by the Daytona Beach College of Business faculty with subject matter expertise drawn from appropriate sources. A Ph.D. student who passes the qualifying examinations is eligible to register for dissertation research credit and is classified as a Ph.D. candidate. The Ph.D. candidates are required to work with the Doctoral Degree Program Committee, to select a qualified dissertation advisor(s), and form their committee before taking any dissertation research credit.

Dissertation Advisor and Committee

Upon entry into the Ph.D. in Aviation Business Administration Program, the Doctoral Degree Program Committee advises students on course selection and develop a plan of study.  Upon completion of the Qualifying Exams and elevation to candidacy status, candidates must select a qualified dissertation advisor(s) from the faculty of the College of Business in Daytona Beach, College of Arts and Sciences in Prescott, or College of Business at Worldwide.

Any appropriately qualified tenured or tenure-track business faculty with a relevant terminal (doctoral) degree and expertise in a research area closely related to the candidate’s area of interest may serve as the dissertation advisor(s) for a Ph.D. candidate student. The Daytona Beach College of Business Doctoral Degree Program Committee provides administration of the Advisor Process and grants final approval for those selected to be Ph.D. dissertation advisors. A student must work with his/her dissertation advisor(s) to form a proposed calendar of program events, milestones, and a dissertation committee, all of which receives final approval from the Doctoral Degree Program Committee. This dissertation committee is composed of four appropriately qualified faculty members from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

In the event that a student is involved in collaborative research with an outside institution and/or company, one qualified member from these entities may serve on the dissertation committee, in addition to the four faculty members from ERAU. The student’s dissertation advisor(s) typically serves as the chair of the dissertation committee or may request the Doctoral Degree Program Committee assign another faculty with closer research expertise to the candidate’s proposed research interests.

The Ph.D. candidates are expected to meet with their dissertation advisor(s) and/or committees once a semester at a time convenient to all parties. The Doctoral Degree Program Committee schedules all such meetings and are announced at least 4 weeks in advance.

Proposal Examinations

The purpose of the proposal examinations (also known as preliminary examinations) is to evaluate students’ readiness for conducting their proposed research. The preliminary examinations assess the students’ ability to use their knowledge to perform high quality, independent and creative research, and assure their potentials for successful completion of the Ph.D. dissertation. The examining committee is composed of the student’s dissertation committee as well as a representative from the Dean of the College of Business at Daytona Beach. A Ph.D. student must take the preliminary examination within one year after completing the qualifying examinations.

The preliminary examination consists of a written research proposal and an oral presentation made to the examining committee.  At least one month before the preliminary examination, the student must provide written copies of the research proposal to each of the members of the examining committee. The purpose of this proposal is for the student, with the guidance of the dissertation advisor(s), to define the focus of the research and to enable the examining committee to offer maximum assistance and advice to the student. The proposal should contain a clear statement of the proposed topic of aviation business research; a review of the literature relating to the problem; and an outline of the proposed methodology for solution to the problem. The proposal also should include an estimated cost of needed resources; and a schedule that identifies key milestones and events for measuring the progress of the intended effort. The preliminary examination evaluates the student’s readiness for completing the proposed research. Students who fail to meet the expectation of the committee will be informed of the areas of weakness and given one additional opportunity to amend and correct their proposal. Students who fail to show improvements in the research proposal in their second trial will be dismissed from the program at the end of that semester.

Dissertation Defense

The purpose of the defense examination is to evaluate the student's overall research effort and written dissertation to determine whether or not the candidate is qualified to receive a Ph.D. degree in Aviation Business Administration. At least one month before the defense, the student must provide written copies of the final draft of the dissertation to each of the members of the examining committee. The dissertation defense is the candidate’s oral presentation of the final work of the dissertation. There will be an additional representative from the Daytona Beach Campus Chief Academic Officer’s (CAO) office and/or an external subject matter expert present in the defense. During the defense presentation, the results presented in his or her dissertation may be formally challenged by the dissertation committee .The defense is administered by the student’s dissertation committee in accordance with the guidelines of the Daytona Beach David B. O'Maley College of Business and the University. The major areas of emphasis of this examination are the quality and originality of the candidate’s research and his/her knowledge and understanding of the general areas of study related to the field. Like the preliminary exam committee, a student’s dissertation examining committee consists of the dissertation committee and representatives from Daytona Beach CAO’s office and the Dean of the Daytona Beach David B. O'Maley College of Business. The Ph.D. candidate’s dissertation advisor(s) and/or the Doctoral Degree Program Committee may invite other members from inside or outside ERAU to attend the defense. It is expected that the students at the minimum, cite at least one peer reviewed journal and conference paper as the lead author in their defense disseminated from their research work.

Students who fail to pass their defense can be asked to re-work part of their dissertation and to re-defend the results or may be dismissed from the program. The candidate’s dissertation advisor(s) will coordinate any needed remediation resulting from a failed defense.

Annual Progress Review

The students should maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 in all class work. After passing the qualification exam, the candidates must provide to the examination committee an annual progress report. The progress report summarizes the main accomplishments and progress in the previous year and identifies the work plan for the future work. The progress should be signed by the candidate and his/her dissertation advisor(s). The progress report should be submitted before the end of the second week in December each year. The dissertation committee will review the progress of the Ph.D. candidate once a year. The purpose of the review is to ensure that candidates continue to make satisfactory progress toward their degree objectives. All major recommendations from this annual review will be forwarded to the candidate with an assessment of achievements and of areas where improvements are expected. A copy of this report is sent to the Doctoral Degree Program Committee.

Dismissal Policy

Based on the recommendation from the Doctoral Degree Program Committee, a student will be dismissed from the program if the overall GPA is less than 3.0 for two successive semesters. Also, a student will be dismissed from the program if they twice fail the qualifying exam, fail the preliminary examinations, fails to pass the final dissertation defense (after remediation attempts), or if the seven-year program time limit is exceeded.

Estimated Cost of Attendance