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 Graduate Fields of Study. 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.
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.
DOCTORAL PROGRAM OBJECTIVES & OUTCOMES
AeroAstro’s doctoral program objectives are:
to produce original research and technologies critical to the engineering of aerospace vehicles, information, and systems.
to educate future leaders in aerospace research and technology.
Upon graduation, our doctoral students will have:
a strong foundation in analytical skills and reasoning
the ability to solve challenging, engineering problems
an understanding of the importance and strategic value of their research
the ability to communicate their research with context and clarity
These degrees, for which the requirements are identical, are for students who wish to carry out original research in a focused field, and already hold a master’s degree. AeroAstro offers doctoral degrees in 13 fields. A description of general MIT doctoral requirements appears in the MIT Course Catalogue.
A student seeking entrance to the department’s doctoral program must complete a course-based evaluation in their chosen field of study. Information about the doctoral program and the doctoral qualifying process can be found in the department’s Doctoral Program Guide.
Field Evaluation Process Timeline
The Field Evaluation Course List will be made available on the Department website for future planning purposes. This is the finalized list (with possible course additions being the only change from that published the previous Fall) for the class of students that will initiate the FE process in September.
All students are welcome to attend the information seminar on the Field Evaluation Process provided by the Graduate Program Administrator and the Chair of the GC.
Fall Registration Day: Initiation Forms are due to the Graduate Program Administrator from students who are in the 3rd semester of their graduate program.
Late December/Early January
Fall Grade Deadline: Completion Forms are due to the Graduate Program Administrator, including PhD advisor signature, grades, and cumulative GPA.
Completion/Outcome of the Field Evaluation is confirmed for all participating students.
PhD Orientation session for all students who pass the FE. Students who have yet to initiate the exam check-in with their advisors on progress towards their FE course completion.
Field Exams will be held for students who need to take them.