Career advancement in this field often requires a Doctor of Aerospace Engineering degree. Becoming part of the massive aerospace industry promises to be an exciting and fulfilling career experience.

If an online Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering interests you, there are a few educational institutions that can provide you with the opportunity.

Some programs are offered by schools entirely online, allowing for flexibility and convenience for those who plan to pursue a Ph.D. degree in the field without compromising their professional and personal lives.






School Highlights: The University of Alabama is a highly respected online school that provides a prestigious Ph.D. program in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics.

The curriculum is 72 credit hours and is completed primarily online with some brief visits to campus required each semester. It is an incredibly affordable doctoral degree with a tuition rate for online students of $440 per credit hour: one of the lowest for this program level.

Students work through online coursework, lectures, and projects, and also write and defend a dissertation on specific aerospace engineering topics. Students at this fabulous distance education institution earn an esteemed doctorate from a high-quality state school replete with remarkable resources.

Coursework Sample:

  • Experimental Aerodynamics
  • Micro-Aerial Vehicles
  • Helicopter Theory

Campus Location: Tuscaloosa, AL


  • Higher Learning Commission
  • Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology

Acceptance Rate: 79% Retention Rate: 89% Graduation Rate: 71%





School Highlights: Mississippi State University provides an exciting opportunity to earn a doctoral degree in Aerospace Engineering that includes eleven unique concentrations.

There are excellent online and on-campus options available at this outstanding institution of higher education. Yet, all students take advantage of start-of-the-art facilities and resources such as the low-speed wind tunnel and the two-stage light gas gun, both of which are fully operational on the Mississippi State University campus.

The curriculum is designed, implemented, and instructed by industry experts and is kept up-to-date to reflect all changes in the aerospace engineering field. There is also an accelerated program option for students who qualify!

Concentration Options:

  • Aeroacoustics
  • Aerodynamics
  • Aeroelasticity
  • Autonomous systems
  • Structures and composites
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Design optimization
  • Fatigue and fracture
  • Fluid-structure interaction
  • Guidance and Control
  • Nondestructive evaluation

Campus Location: Mississippi State, MS


  • Higher Learning Commission
  • Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology

Acceptance Rate: 76% Retention Rate: 81% Graduation Rate: 61%





School Highlights: At the University of North Dakota, doctoral students in the aerospace degree take classes in policy, business, law, engineering, and science.

This curriculum emphasizes an understanding of all the discipline’s most crucial areas. It is a flexible 90-credit program offered both on-campus and online, which can be completed in 4-7 years, depending on individual students’ paces of learning and scheduling conflicts.

UND maintains national acclaim for its achievements in aviation education, space studies, and atmospheric research. As an interdisciplinary degree, this Ph.D. in Aerospace Sciences is an excellent fit for future managers, researchers, policymakers, and professors.

Coursework Sample:

  • Space Law
  • Human Performance in Extreme Environments
  • Strategic Airport Planning

Campus Location: Grand Forks, ND


  • Higher Learning Commission
  • Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology

Acceptance Rate: 83% Retention Rate: 81% Graduation Rate: 60%





School Highlights: Auburn University provides online and on-campus options for students pursuing a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering. There are also excellent master’s degrees in this field that can be completed 100% online before continuing education in the doctor of philosophy.

The master’s to doctoral degree transition is quite flexible and perfect for students with a bachelor’s in an applicable discipline. The Ph.D. includes extensive coursework in astrodynamics and aerodynamics, control theory, flight dynamics, propulsion, and much more.

Auburn University is a fabulous choice for international students, as well, because there are no language requirements.

Coursework Sample:

  • Spacecraft Attitude Dynamics and Control
  • Flight Dynamics and Hypervelocity Vehicles
  • Orbit Determination

Campus Location: Auburn, AL


  • Higher Learning Commission
    230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500
    Chicago, Illinois 60604, (800) 621-7440
  • Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology

Acceptance Rate: 44% Retention Rate: 81% Graduation Rate: 60%



Why earn a Ph.D. AE degree?

There is an increasing growth in the number of people who fly for commercial or military reasons such as tourism, migration, or even national defense. Whatever the reason may be, flying has contributed to the continuously growing aerospace or aviation industry.

Also, there are several technological triumphs, including the latest news on Opportunity, the robot that extended her life to 15 years instead of 90 days roving around the planet Mars.

An online doctorate program in Aerospace Engineering has the same quality as the traditional doctorate program offered on campus.

In this setting, students will not worry about getting an online degree since they have the accessibility to their online courses through the school’s online learning platform, attend classes live and collaborate with their instructors and classmates. If their schedule permits, students can attend lectures and seminars on campus; however, it is not mandatory.

What are the duties of Aerospace Engineers?

doctor of aerospace engineering

Aerospace Engineers have two major specializations in engineering namely astronomical engineering, and aeronautical engineering. Aerospace engineers work with several branches of science and technology in dealing with spacecraft.

They work on small satellites and traditional big satellites regarding how they perform inside and outside the Earth’s atmosphere. On the other aspect, aeronautical engineers work with the design, development, maintenance, and aerodynamic performance of the aircraft

Additionally, aerospace engineers play a variety of roles in several industries. They develop new technologies for the aviation industry, defense systems, and spacecraft. Aerospace engineers assess proposals for the project’s feasibility in terms of financial and technical aspects.

They facilitate acceptance criteria for design methodologies, the standard of quality, maintenance after delivery, and dates of completion.

They ensure that projects meet those standards, and carefully inspect damaged products to identify problems and possible solutions.

They have the option to choose to design different types of aerospace products such as remotely piloted aircraft; spacecraft which includes satellites and launching vehicles; helicopters, commercial and military aircraft; and rockets or missiles for combat.

What are the essential qualities of Aerospace Engineers?

doctor of aerospace engineering

Aerospace Engineers are employed as workers who design and build aircraft, spacecraft, or even missile systems for national defense. They work in industries that engage in manufacturing, analyzing, designing, research, and development, or in the federal government.

A set of skills is needed to become an efficient Aerospace Engineer:

  • Analytical skills – Aerospace Engineers must be able to distinguish factors that do not meet their requirements and find ways or alternatives to improve the performance of those factors.
  • Writing skills – Considering some aerospace engineers work in the research and development field, they must be able to work on white or research papers that explain their proposals or designs clearly and create documentation for future use.
  • Business skills – One of the significant roles of aerospace engineers is meeting federal government standards. They must know standard business principles and practices including commercial law and ISO standards. Also, they must have a background in project management which will provide benefits for them as they progress in their careers.
  • Mathematical skills – Aerospace Engineers deal with a lot of measurements in their field of work. They apply their learnings in trigonometry, calculus, and other mathematical principles in the analysis, development, designing, and troubleshooting of their careers.
  • Critical-thinking skills – Aerospace Engineers must know how to ask the right type of questions, and find answers. They must ensure that the products they developed meet regulatory standards, and identify why a specific product does not work.
  • Problem-solving skills – Aerospace engineers use their education and professional experience to innovate and improve products such as enhanced safety measures and increased fuel efficiency as well as reduce the impact on the environment.

What does the coursework of the Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering degree program typically consist of?

doctor of aerospace engineering

The Ph.D. AE program is a rigorous and highly technical degree that involves complex areas of study and systems operating from within the Earth’s atmosphere to in-depth space explorations.

The Ph.D. AE degree gives students a solid background in engineering, science and technology, law, and business. It is designed to help individuals who are already established in the field and want to pursue an advanced level of knowledge and expertise in the aerospace engineering field.

Coursework under this online aerospace engineering program includes:

  • the theory of elasticity,
  • orbital mechanics,
  • intermediate dynamics,
  • space systems,
  • intermediate fluid mechanics,
  • advanced dynamics of flight
  • ethics in aerospace,
  • life support systems,
  • extraterrestrial resources,
  • and human performance in extreme environments.

In addition to the set of coursework, a dissertation research requirement on a topic that contributes to the field of aerospace engineering and mechanics must be fulfilled by the students for graduation.

What are the job prospects I can get from earning a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering degree program?

doctor of aerospace engineering

A graduate with an online Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering can land jobs as an operations technician or as an aerospace engineer who maintains and operates equipment in developing, testing, and producing new spacecraft or aircraft.

They utilized computer-based applications and tools in the processes of their work as well as innovating and automation products.

Graduates can work as computer hardware engineers who research, develop, design, and test components such as circuit boards, routers, networks, and processors found in aircraft/spacecraft.

Another job position includes electrical and electronics engineer responsible for the design, development, testing, and supervision of electrical equipment manufacturers such as communication systems, radar and navigation systems, and electric motors.

Mechanical Engineers, Industrial Engineers, Architectural and Engineering Managers, or Material Engineers are some of the rewarding careers you can land as graduates of the online Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering degree program.

Aerospace Engineers typically spend their time in an office environment since their work requires the use of advanced computer equipment and software applications in modeling, evaluating, developing, testing, and conducting research and development.

The average annual pay of aerospace engineers is $126,880. The top industries that hire aerospace engineering graduates are the federal government with a median yearly wage of $127,150; research and development with a $141,730 annual median salary; engineering services with $122,480; and navigational and control instruments manufacturing with a $129,880 yearly median wage.

The largest employers of the aerospace engineering field are in aerospace products and parts manufacturing which comprises 34% of the population of aerospace engineers.

Can I earn a Doctor of Aerospace Engineering degree through an online program?

Yes, some universities offer online Doctor of Aerospace Engineering programs. However, the majority of these programs require some amount of on-campus instruction or laboratory work. Make sure to check individual program requirements to determine what type of instruction is required.

What schools offer an online Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering degree program?

doctor of aerospace engineering

Luckily, there are a few schools that provide a completely online program for earning a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering. The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama offers a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics through the Bama By Distance that requires 72 credit hours for completion.

The Ph.D. AE program offered by the University of Colorado Boulder equips students with advanced knowledge and prepares them through exceptional training and research and land careers in the academic institution, commercial, and governmental sectors.

Mississippi State University encourages highly qualified individuals to take advantage of the accelerated Ph.D. AE program offered by the Bagley College of Engineering. Students can take graduate-level coursework and at the same time earn their graduate credits and undergraduate credits simultaneously.

The University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, North Dakota offers a Ph.D. in Aerospace Sciences that is housed by the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences which is recognized as a world-class renowned institution for aerospace studies.

Another school that provides aerospace studies in Alabama is Auburn University which offers several opportunities for students to strengthen their expertise and knowledge through their advanced set of coursework and training.

If you can juggle between your professional life and personal life by integrating a Ph.D. AE, is fulfilling and rewarding. It is a challenging endeavor, but you will undoubtedly thank yourself for not giving up on your aviation or space exploration dreams.

With the rising demand for aviation and aerospace services, you are assured of a successful career at the same time reap the benefits while being employed in the company. Are you ready to soar high with a rewarding career in the aerospace engineering field? Enroll in a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering.

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