how long does it take to get a phd in aerospace engineering

Last Updated on August 30, 2023

Of course, you can’t choose to become an aerospace engineer without putting in a lot of hard work and studying. And that’s why many of my readers ask me how long does it take to get a phd in aerospace engineering.

This article is trying to answer the question ‘How long does it take to get a PhD in Aerospace Engineering ?’

Phd in Aerospace Engineering

Aerospace Engineering deals with the scientific principles that govern the design of airplanes, spacecraft, and jet engines. The Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering degree program allows highly motivated students with a strong science and engineering background to conduct research and coursework in the areas of aerospace structures, propulsion, and aerodynamic systems, while earning their doctoral degree.

Admission to the program is reserved for candidates at the bachelor and masters levels, with high academic achievement and a desire to advance their career through scientific inquiry and knowledge discovery in areas related to aerospace engineering.

Program coursework focuses on cutting-edge research and development. Students have access to state-of-the-art labs designed specifically for instruction and research in aerodynamics, propulsion, dynamics, control, structures, and materials. 

Although the program is designed for delivery through traditional residential format, provisions are in place to allow highly qualified working individuals in industry or government to participate, when appropriate arrangements can be made.

In this post we will discuss at length How Long Does It Take To Get A Phd In Aerospace Engineering, phd in aerospace engineering mit, phd in aerospace engineering in germany, phd in aerospace engineering online and phd in aerospace engineering salary.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Phd In Aerospace Engineering

 On average, the Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering takes about 4-6 years to complete, depending on whether or not students already have their master’s.

If you’re interested in pursuing a major in aerospace engineering or aeronautics, you’ve come to the right place. There is a long list of colleges and universities that offer such programs, and finding the time to research and compare each and every one would be nearly impossible. But that’s our job at Best Value Schools, and that’s exactly what we’ve done. Using our characteristic approach, which combines an assessment of both cost and quality to bring you the very best in low cost, high reward education, we’ve put together a list of the 30 best value aerospace engineering degrees.

Because aerospace technology and engineering jobs are competitive, a student may choose to further their education in graduate school. A post-graduate degree would also be desirable for those wishing to achieve higher levels of leadership or research. Some bachelor’s programs offer an additional fifth year, which allows the student to receive their bachelor’s and master’s degree at the same time. Other master’s degree programs take two years to complete. For a doctorate degree, an additional two to four years is usually required.

phd in aerospace engineering mit

More details about phd in aerospace engineering mit, phd in aerospace engineering in germany, phd in aerospace engineering online and phd in aerospace engineering salary are discussed below

Graduate study in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics includes graduate-level subjects in Course 16 and others at MIT, and research work culminating in a thesis. Degrees are awarded at the master’s and doctoral levels. The range of subject matter is described under Sectors of Instruction. Departmental research centers’ websites offer information on research interests. Detailed information may be obtained from the Department Academic Programs Office or from individual faculty members.


The Master of Science (SM) degree is a one to two-year graduate program with beginning research or design experience represented by the SM thesis. This degree prepares the graduate for an advanced position in the aerospace field, and provides a solid foundation for future doctoral study.

The general requirements for the Master of Science degree are cited in the section on General Degree Requirements for graduate students. The specific departmental requirements include at least 66 graduate subject units, typically in subjects relevant to the candidate’s area of technical interest. Of the 66 units, at least 21 units must be in departmental subjects. To be credited toward the degree, graduate subjects must carry a grade of B or better. In addition, a 24-unit thesis is required beyond the 66 units of coursework. Full-time students normally must be in residence one full academic year. Special students admitted to the SM program in this department must enroll in and satisfactorily complete at least two graduate subjects while in residence (i.e., after being admitted as a degree candidate) regardless of the number of subjects completed before admission to the program. Students holding research assistantships typically require a longer period of residence.

In addition, the department’s SM program requires one graduate-level mathematics subject. The requirement is satisfied only by graduate-level subjects on the list approved by the department graduate committee. The specific choice of math subjects is arranged individually by each student in consultation with their faculty advisor.

Doctoral Degree (Ph.D. or Sc.D.)

AeroAstro offers Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) doctoral degrees that emphasize in-depth study, with a significant research project in a focused area. The admission process for the department’s doctoral program is described previously in this section under Admission Requirements. The doctoral degree is awarded after completion of an individual course of study, submission, and defense of a thesis proposal, and submission and defense of a thesis embodying an original research contribution.

The general requirements for this degree are given in the section on General Degree Requirements. Program requirements are outlined in a booklet titled The Doctoral Program [PDF]. After successful admission to the doctoral program, the doctoral candidate selects a field of study and research in consultation with the thesis supervisor and forms a doctoral thesis committee, which assists in the formulation of the candidate’s research and study programs and monitors his or her progress. Demonstrated competence for original research at the forefront of aerospace engineering is the final and main criterion for granting the doctoral degree. The candidate’s thesis serves in part to demonstrate such competence and, upon completion, is defended orally in a presentation to the faculty of the department, who may then recommend that the degree be awarded.

Thesis proposal and defense examples

The following are a few examples of successfully written and defended thesis proposals by doctoral candidates within AeroAstro. These may be downloaded and examined as part of your preparation for the Thesis Proposal Defense, a required part of our doctoral program.

  • Xun Huan – A Bayesian Approach to Optimal Sequential Experimental Design Using Approximate Dynamic Programming – 2013 – Proposal – Defense
  • Ashley Carlton – Scientific Imagers as High-Energy Radiation Sensors – 2017 – Proposal – Defense
  • Maria de Soria Santacruz Pich – Electromagnetic Ion Cyclotron Waves for RBR Applications – 2013 – Proposal – Defense

phd in aerospace engineering in germany


Pursuing your Master’s studies in Aerospace Engineering at a German university can be a great door opener for your career, in Germany or elsewhere. One great advantage the degree programs in this field of study offer, is that they work in close contact with leading players in the aerospace industry. If you study one of the programs offered in Berlin, for example, you will be in the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg region of space research and private industry players. Did you know that the Technical University of Berlin is the university with the most satellites in orbit worldwide? In one of the programs offered in Bremen, you will be close to Germany’s second biggest Airbus location. This provides excellent opportunities for internships throughout your studies.

Top-ranked German Universities in Aerospace Engineering

  1. Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg
  2. Braunschweig University of Technology
  3. Bremen University of Applied Sciences
  4. University of Stuttgart
  5. FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences
  6. RWTH Aachen University of Applied Science
  7. Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
  8. Private University of Applied Sciences Göttingen (PFH)
  9. International Graduate Center
  10. Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau
  11. Munich University of Applied Sciences
  12. Technical University of Munich
  13. Wildau Institute of Technology
  14. Technische Universität Berlin
  15. University of Bremen

phd in aerospace engineering online

Program Overview

The primarily online PhD in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics gives you the opportunity to become a thought-leader in the field of engineering. Your significant contributions can lead to job promotions, faculty appointments, impactful research discoveries and more.

The program is specifically designed for engineering professionals with five or more years of experience within their field. Through this primarily online program you can earn an affordable, research-based degree that allows you to propose, complete and defend an approved dissertation on a research topic that contributes to the field of aerospace engineering and/or engineering science and mechanics – all while working full time.

Other than delivery format, this PhD program in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics is identical to the degree program offered on campus.

Live, in-person proctoring is required to complete exams.

You will work directly with a faculty advisor to complete the program requirements. Courses are offered following the on-campus schedule. Lectures are available online. Exams are taken off-campus but require live proctors approved by the College of Continuing Studies. You have the option of pursuing this program either part-time or full-time to accommodate your schedule.

phd in aerospace engineering salary

Below is a comprehensive table showing the range of phd in aerospace engineering salary.

Job TitleRangeAverage
Aerospace Engineer$82k – $145k$106,938
Research Engineer$72k – $127k$95,749
Senior Systems Engineer$86k – $144k$112,963
Mechanical Engineer$69k – $135k$96,016
Controls Engineer$82k – $142k$106,268
Research Scientist$66k – $122k$92,039
Postdoctoral Research Associate$47k – $75k (Estimated *)$57,836

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