Degree Requirements

Doctor of Engineering in Aerospace Engineering

The Doctor of Engineering emphasizes systems design and management skills and requires 66 credit hours beyond the B.S degree. These 66 hours consist of 36 credit hours of course work, 18 credit hours of project and 12 credit hours of industrial internship. Breadth courses of at least 12 credit hours must be distributed outside the area of specialization in aerodynamics, structures and materials, dynamics and controls, design, propulsion and astronautics. Depth courses of at least 15 credit hours of technical courses (600 and above) in the area of specialization are required

Core courses of at least 9 credit hours of graduate mathematics beyond the B.S. are required. The 9 credit hours must include a minimum of 6 credit hours of graduate-level mathematics courses. AE 712 is considered a mathematics-intensive engineering course. Graduate mathematics courses are MATH 590 or any other math course 600 level or above.

Credit hours earned completing a master’s degree can satisfy a portion of these requirements when appropriate. Unique situations can be accommodated with the approval of the graduate advisor and the major professor.

In addition to general rules and regulations, a student must meet the following departmental requirements. After 2 semesters following completion of M.S. or M.E. requirements (or at a comparable level for non-M.S. or non-M.E. students), the student is evaluated. To be allowed to continue, the student must

  1. Have a minimum grade-point average of 3.5 in M.S. course work,
  2. Pass a qualifying examination, and
  3. Submit a Plan of Study.

The qualifying examination tests breadth of knowledge and determines the student’s ability to formulate mathematical representations of real physical situations. The examination covers mathematics and 3 of these 5 areas:

  • Aerodynamics,
  • Astronautics,
  • Structures and materials
  • Dynamics and controls, and
  • Propulsion.

A student is allowed only 2 attempts to pass this examination.

The aspirant forms a project committee and completes a Plan of Study after the first semester and before the end of the second semester. The project committee must have at least 5 members, including 3 tenured or tenure-track faculty from aerospace engineering and at least 1 member from engineering management. The committee approves the aspirant’s program and administers the comprehensive examination and the formal oral defense and project.

When the aspirant has completed most of the course work and satisfied the research skills, responsible scholarship and residency requirements, he or she must take the comprehensive examination. Before being admitted to the comprehensive examination, the aspirant must satisfy the department’s basic research skills, responsible scholarship and residency requirements. The research skill requirement provides the aspirant with a research skill distinct from, but strongly supportive of, the dissertation research. One research skill is required. Possible research skills include computer science, mathematics, statistics, specific laboratory skills, and specific skills in the physical or biological sciences. The selected research skill must be listed on the Plan of Study form. A separate statement attached to the Plan of Study must list the work to be completed to obtain the research skill. The responsible scholarship requirement serves to ensure that students are trained in responsible research practices. Aspirants can satisfy the responsible scholarship requirement by enrolling in 2 semesters of AE 690, Professional Development for Graduate Students. This course covers ethical behavior for graduate students, intellectual property, and technical writing. The residency requirement is met by completing 2 semesters, which may include 1 summer session, in resident study and enrollment in 6 credit hours or more. During the period of residence the student must be involved full time in academic pursuits, which may include up to half-time teaching or research.

The comprehensive exam is made up of two parts. The first part must consist of a written project proposal outlining in some detail the work to be done for the project. The second part is an oral examination in which she or he must defend the project plans and demonstrate competence in his or her particular and related areas. Upon passing the comprehensive examination, the aspirant becomes a candidate for the D.E. The project committee directs preparation of the approved project topic. A formal oral and public defense of the project is required before the committee, any other interested members of the Graduate Faculty, and the general public. Candidates for the D.E. must satisfy the university’s general requirements for the degree.

A 12-month continuous internship in an industrial or governmental organization is required before assumption of the project responsibilities. This internship must be under joint guidance of a preceptor, who is appointed to the adjunct faculty and a regular faculty member. The internship requirement cannot be satisfied by working in any KU facility.

Because the internship is a degree requirement and because KU cannot guarantee internship employment, the student must indicate in writing how the internship requirement is to be satisfied before completing the first semester after passing the qualifying examination. This can be a letter from the faculty advisor indicating a grant availability, notice of a project appointment or assignment, or a letter from a company or agency (U.S. or abroad) expressing willingness to sponsor the student in an internship.

Contact Info

Department of Aerospace Engineering

Learned Hall
1530 West 15th St., Room 2120
Lawrence, KS 66045-7618
785-864-4267
http://www.ae.engr.ku.edu/
Z.J. Wang, Chair
785-864-4267

Department of Aerospace Engineering

Learned Hall
1530 West 15th St., Room 2120
Lawrence, KS 66045-7618
785-864-4267
http://www.ae.engr.ku.edu/
Z.J. Wang, Chair
785-864-4267

Department of Aerospace Engineering

Learned Hall
1530 West 15th St., Room 2120
Lawrence, KS 66045-7618
785-864-4267
http://www.ae.engr.ku.edu/
Z.J. Wang, Chair
785-864-4267
Zhongquan Charlie Zheng , Graduate Advisor
785-864-4267
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