The Aerospace and Ocean Engineering Department offers a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Aerospace Engineering. This degree is a research oriented degree which can be focused toward one (or more) of several disciplines. These disciplines include aerodynamics, structures and structural dynamics, flight dynamics and control, ocean engineering, multidisciplinary design, applied mathematics, and applied physics. 

All of these degrees require an in depth research project which will serve as the subject of the final dissertation. Research projects have been carried out in the areas of computational fluid dynamics (CFD), experimental fluid mechanics (both high and low speed), instrumentation development, composite materials, structural optimization, flutter analysis, nonlinear flight control, pilot- aircraft interactions, aerodynamic modeling, computer aided design, interdisciplinary design and optimization, trajectory analysis and optimization, space mechanics and space vehicle design, to name a few. Many of these programs are tied to industry and/or government sponsored projects and include interaction with personnel and facilities from those organizations.

Photo of a PhD graduate

The requirements for the degrees focused on applied physics or applied mathematics are slightly different from those of the other categories in that some required courses from the Aerospace and Ocean Engineering Department are replaced with others from either Physics or Mathematics respectively. These programs are specially tailored for students whose backgrounds are from outside the engineering environment and are interested in applying their skills to solving aerospace problems. Such programs encourage interaction with disciplines outside the usual engineering environment and result in new approaches to analyzing and solving problems.

Students in the PhD program work with faculty members known nationally and internationally for their contributions in their research area. Opportunities exist to work on the very latest research projects in the areas of aerodynamics, structures, flight dynamics and control, and multidisciplinary analysis and design. Many of these projects are in support of aerospace and non-aerospace industry, NASA, Navy and Air Force initiatives and include both analytical and experimental components. Modern computational and experimental facilities are available to each student including four subsonic wind tunnels and one supersonic wind tunnel. Advanced instrumentation is available for taking measurements of all type in these facilities.

A formal description of the Doctor of Philosophy in Aerospace Engineering degree and its requirements may be found here (pdf). A preliminary exam and a final comprehensive oral exam will be required of all students upon completion of the PhD degree requirements. Guidelines for the oral exam are described in the AOE Graduate Study Policies and Procedures Manual.

Select the following link for PhD Preliminary Exam Infomation.

Graduate Advising

Office Hours

  • Monday-Friday
  • 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM
  • 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Appointments are recommended to ensure availability but walk-ins are welcome. The graduate advisors can also be reached by phone or email. We look forward to the opportunity to help current and prospective graduate students with admission and progress to degree completion.

Kevin T. Crofton Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering (MC0203)
Randolph Hall, RM 215,
Virginia Tech
460 Old Turner St.
Blacksburg, VA 24061-0203

Phone: (540) 231-6611
Fax: (540) 231-9632