PhD Programs in Aviation Science and Safety

Doctoral candidates in an aviation Ph.D. program solve theory-based problems and conduct research to advance the field of aviation. Learn about what courses are included in aviation Ph.D. programs, program prerequisites and related degrees.

What Courses Will I Take in an Aviation Science and Safety Ph.D. Program?

Most aviation Ph.D. programs are offered on-campus; some programs are designed for the working professional and offer online classes combined with several on-campus residency requirements. Both types of programs require similar courses, an internship, a written research-based dissertation and oral final exams. Your program may allow you to specialize in aviation science and safety.

Some programs may offer an option to choose a secondary discipline such as education or business. A typical Ph.D. curriculum facilitates the mastery of aviation theories and concepts through courses like:

  • Safety management
  • Aviation law and regulations
  • Aviation economics
  • Aviation trends
  • Operational decisions
  • Global aviation
  • Foundations of aviation
  • Research methods

Common CoursesAviation economics, global aviation, research methods, aviation trends, safety management
Admission RequirementsMaster's degree, GRE results, minimum GPA, work experience, good writing skills
Other Similar ProgramsDoctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Applied Studies with an emphasis in aviation
Median Salary (2018) $115,220 (for all aerospace engineers)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 6% growth (for all aerospace engineers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Are There Any Prerequisites?

Doctoral aviation programs are highly competitive and require an entrance exam; most admit only a small number of candidates. Most aviation Ph.D. programs require you to have earned a master's degree in aviation. You may be asked to submit your Graduate Records Exam (GRE) scores. Additional prerequisites might include above-average writing skills, English fluency, a 3.5 grade point average and at least 3 years of aviation-related work experience.

Are There Any Other Types of Aviation Ph.D. Degrees?

A Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in applied educational studies with an emphasis in aviation is another possible degree within the field. The Ed.D. program requires field experience, internships, professional seminars and a final research-based dissertation within your chosen specialization. The program curriculum focuses on the administration of aviation programs with an emphasis on aviation law, safety, international aviation and aircraft accident investigations. You'll explore a range of topics, including:

  • Instructional effectiveness
  • Aircraft performance
  • Aviation security
  • Leadership and management
  • Safety program development