Answers to Frequently Asked Aerospace Engineering Advising Questions

We heard your questions.

The following are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions received by the Graduate Advising Office of  the Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering. They cover in the areas of academic advising, M.S. course requirements, M.S. proposals, M.S. defenses, Ph.D. course requirements, Ph.D. qualifying exams (Quals), Ph.D. proposals, Ph.D. defenses, the MSAE Distance Learning program, international education, and graduation requirements.


Academic Advising

Q: How do I get an academic advisor? 

The associate chair of Graduate Programs will assign you to an academic advisor during Graduate Student Orientation.

Q: Whom do I notify regarding the change of academic advisor?

You must notify the AE School Academic Office about the change via email.

Q: How do I get an academic advisor if I am a Distance Learning student?

If you are a Distance Learning student, you will be assigned two advisors. The academic program manager will be your academic advisor throughout the program. In addition, during the last semester of studies, you will be assigned a faculty advisor to work on your AE 8900 research project.


M.S. Course Requirements

Q: What are the M.S. degree requirements? 

The following table summarizes the requirements for the M.S. degree:

MS Credit-hour Requirements

MS without Thesis
(33 cr. hr. total)
MS with Thesis
(33 cr. hr. total)
AE Graduate Seminar AE 8801* AE8801*
Formal Courses
(not including thesis, research AE 8900)
30 24
  • GT AE Class (minimum)
12 9
  • Math (minimum)
6 6
  • Non-technical (maximum)
6 3
  • 6000-level or above (minimum)
21 15
Research Coursework 3
(AE 8900)
9
(AE 7000)
Q: Is AE 8801 a mandatory course?

AE8801 (1 credit-hour. P/F) is required during your first year in residence in the graduate program at Georgia Tech, but it does not count toward the 33 credit-hours needed for your degree. This requirement is waived for Distance Learning students and all students who started the program before the Fall 2018 semester. 

 Q: What are technical/non-technical courses? 

Technical courses are defined as any course taught in the College of Engineering, College of Science, or College of Computing. All other courses are considered non-technical.

Q: How many credit-hours earned outside of Georgia Tech can be transferred towards a master’s degree at Georgia Tech? 

You may receive up to six (6) credit-hours of transfer credit for graduate-level courses taken at an accredited institution in the United States or Canada AND that are not used for credit toward another degree.   

To transfer credit, you must confer with your academic advisor to confirm that the courses to be transferred are a logical part of your program of study. If the courses are appropriate, you must provide a current transcript that verifies completion of the credit, plus necessary descriptive materials, including catalog descriptions and textbooks for evaluation of the credit. 

Q: What is the minimum number of credit-hours in which students must be enrolled? 

You should be enrolled for at least three (3) credit-hours; however, it is possible to register for just 1 credit-hour during your final semester of the program. This opportunity is only given once.

 Q: What is considered full-time? 

Full-time students must be enrolled for at least 12 credit-hours on a letter-grade or pass-fail basis. AE graduate research assistants (GRAs) and graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) should be enrolled for 21 credit-hours (course work + research hours).

Q: How do I proceed with a grade of “I” (Incomplete)? 

The “I” grade must be removed and changed to a letter grade by the end of the student’s next academic term. If the student is not enrolled during the next academic term, the grade “I” needs to be changed by the end of the academic year from the day the incomplete was assigned.  

Q: How do I proceed with a grade of “F” (fail)? 

If you have a grade of “F” in a required course you must schedule to re-take that course the next time it is offered. When a course in which a “D” grade was earned is repeated and a grade of “F” is earned, you must file a Petition to the Faculty to be allowed to use the “D” grade to meet graduation requirements.


M.S. Proposal 

 Q: How many committee members do I need for my M.S. proposal? 

Your M.S. proposal committee must consist of three committee members: the academic advisor as the committee chairperson and two others who are well qualified in the subject matter of the research. At least two members of your committee must be general faculty from School of Aerospace Engineering and hold an earned Ph.D. degree.   

Q: When do I announce my M.S. proposal? 

Your M.S. proposal announcement has to be submitted to AE’s Academic Office no later than two weeks prior to the date of the proposal. 

Q: How do I announce my M.S. proposal? 

Your M.S. proposal announcement is publicly announced. You must submit your announcement in a text document that includes the your name, your proposal title, the date/place/time of your proposal, a one-paragraph abstract, and a list of your committee members. You are encouraged to use this template.

Q: How and where do I sign and submit documents after my M.S. proposal? 
  1. Carefully review the information found on the Thesis & Dissertation Forms page.  Afterwards, click on the corresponding form to send an invitation to sign.
  2. On DocuSign, add your signature and send the completed document in an envelope to Georgia Tech Office of Graduate Studies.  
    Manuals on DocuSign are elaborated here.
  3. Email the Georgia Tech Office of Graduate Studies a final copy, certified by the thesis advisor at thesis@grad.gatech.edu 

M.S. Defense

 Q: How many committee members do I need for my M.S. defense? 

Your M.S. defense committee must consist of three committee members: the advisor (as the committee chairperson), and two others who are well qualified in the subject matter of the thesis. At least two of the committee members must be faculty in Georgia Tech's School of Aerospace Engineering.  

Q: When do I announce my M.S. Defense? 

Your M.S. defense announcement has to be submitted to AE’s Academic Office no later than two weeks prior to the date of your defense.

Q: How do I announce my M.S. defense? 

Your M.S. defense announcement is publicly announced. You are encouraged to use this template to submit your announcement in a text document that includes the following information: your name, your defense title, the date/place/time of your defense, a one-paragraph abstract, and a list of committee members.

Q: How and where do I sign and submit documents after my M.S. defense? 
  1. Carefully review the information in Office of Graduate Studies' Thesis & Dissertation Form page. Afterwards, click on the corresponding form to send an invitation to sign.
  2. On DocuSign, add your signature and send the completed document in an envelope to Georgia Tech Office of Graduate Studies.  
    Manuals on DocuSign are elaborated here.
  3. Have your thesis certified by your thesis advisor at thesis@grad.gatech.edu and then email a final copy to the  Georgia Tech Office of Graduate Studies.

Ph.D. Course Requirements

Q: What are the doctoral degree requirements? 

The following table summarizes the requirements for the doctoral degree: 

Ph.D. Credit-Hour Requirement Hours Completed after a Bachelor's Degree

AE Graduate Seminar

8801

Formal Courses
(not including thesis, research or AE8900)

42 credit-hours
total
  • GT AE courses (minimum)
18 credit-hours
  • Math (minimum)
9 credit-hours
  • Non-Technical (maximum)
6 credit-hours
  • Hours at 6000-level or above (minimum)
36 credit-hours
Q: Is it mandatory to take AE 8801?  

AE8801 (1 credit-hour, P/F) is required during your first graduate year in residence at Georgia Tech but does not count toward the 42 credit-hours needed for the degree. 

 Q: What are technical/non-technical courses? 

Technical courses are any courses that are offered in the College of Engineering, the College of Science, or the College of Computing. All other courses are considered non-technical. 

Q: How many credit-hours earned outside of Georgia Tech can be transferred towards a Ph.D. at Georgia Tech? 

You may receive up to 30 credit-hours of transfer credit for graduate-level courses taken at an accredited institution in the United States or from anywhere in the world. To transfer credit, you must confer with your academic advisor to confirm that the courses to be transferred are a logical part of your program of study. If the courses are appropriate, you must provide a current transcript that verifies completion of the credit, plus necessary descriptive materials including catalog descriptions and textbooks for evaluation of the credit.

Q: What is the minimum credit-hours in which students can be enrolled? 

You should be enrolled for at least three (3) credit-hours; however, it is possible to register for just one credit-hour during your final semester of the program. This opportunity is given once only.  

 Q: What is considered full-time? 

Full-time students must be enrolled for at least 12 credit-hours on a letter grade or pass-fail basis. AE’s graduate research assistant (GRAs) and teaching assistants (GTAs)  should be enrolled in 21 credit-hours (course work + research hours).

Q: How do I proceed with a grade of “I” (Incomplete)? 

The “I” grade must be removed and changed to a letter grade by the end of your next academic term. If you are not enrolled during the next academic term, the grade “I” needs to be changed by the end of the academic year from the day the incomplete was assigned. 

Q: How do I proceed with a grade of “F” (fail)? 

If you have a grade of “F” in a required course, you must re-take that course the next time it is offered. When a course in which a “D” grade was earned is repeated and a grade of “F” is earned, you must file a Petition to the Faculty to be allowed to use the “D” grade to meet graduation requirements.


Ph.D. Qualifying Exams (Quals)

 Q: When is the best time to take qualifying exams? 

You are generally expected to take the exams during your second year of full-time graduate study.  

Q: What qualifies me to take the exams? 

If you want to be approved to take the qualifying exams, you must have taken a minimum of 12 credit-hours of coursework at Georgia Tech. In addition, you must have at least a 3.25 grade point average in coursework taken at Georgia Tech, which will count toward the 42 credit-hour Ph.D. requirement. If you retake a class, only the most recent grade will be used to compute your eligibility for the AE Ph.D. qualifying exam.   

 Q: How many chances am I given to pass the exams? 

If you fail one or both examination areas, a reexamination will be automatically permitted. This reexamination must be taken the next time the exams are offered. The reexamination will be given in the same two areas as the first examination; however, if you obtained unanimous passing grades in one of the areas during the first attempt, you do not need to be reexamined in that area. A second failure of the examination will result in dismissal from the AE Ph.D. program.


Ph.D. Proposal

Q: How many committee members do I need for my Ph.D. proposal? 

Your Ph.D. proposal committee must consist of three committee members: your academic advisor (as the committee chairperson), and two others who are well-qualified in the subject matter of your research. At least two members of the committee must be general faculty of School of Aerospace Engineering and hold an earned Ph.D. degree. 

Q: How many committee members can attend from a remote location? 

Two.

Q: When do I announce my Ph.D. proposal? 

Your Ph.D. proposal announcement has to be submitted to AE’s Academic Office no later than two weeks prior to the date of your proposal. 

 Q: How do I announce my Ph.D. proposal? 

Your Ph.D. proposal announcement is publicly announced. You are encouraged to use this template to incorporate all required information in your announcement: your name, proposal title, date/place/time of the proposal, a one-paragraph abstract, and a list of committee members.

Q: How and where do I sign and submit documents after my Ph.D. proposal? 
  1. Carefully review the information in Office of Graduate Studies' Thesis & Dissertation Form page.  Afterwards, click on the corresponding form to send an invitation to sign.
  2. On DocuSign, add your signature and send the completed document in an envelope to Georgia Tech Office of Graduate Studies.
    Manuals on DocuSign are elaborated here. 
  3. Email a final copy to the Georgia Tech Office of Graduate Studies, certified by the thesis advisor, to thesis@grad.gatech.edu

Ph.D. Defense 

Q: How many committee members do I need for my Ph.D. defense? 

Your Ph.D. defense committee must consist of five committee members: the academic advisor; two general faculty from the School of Georgia Tech faculty who are well-qualified in the subject matter of the research and who hold an earned Ph.D. degree; and two others (at least one but no more than two members from outside the general faculty of School of Aerospace Engineering). Any member of this committee who is not part of the general faculty of the Institute must be approved by the AE Graduate Committee.

Q: How many committee members can attend from a remote location? 

Two committee members may attend from a remote location.

 Q: When do I announce my Ph.D. defense? 

Your Ph.D. defense announcement has to be submitted to AE’s Academic Office no later than two weeks prior to the date of defense.

Q: How do I announce my Ph.D. defense? 

Your Ph.D. defense announcement is publicly announced. You are encouraged to use this template to submit all required information to the Academic Office: your name, defense title, date/place/time, a one-paragraph abstract, and a list of committee members.

Q: How and where do I sign and submit documents after my Ph.D. defense?
  1. Carefully review the information in Office of Graduate Studies' Thesis & Dissertation Form page.  Afterwards, click on the corresponding form to send an invitation to sign.

  2. On DocuSign, add your signature and send the completed document in an envelope to Georgia Tech Office of Graduate Studies.
    Manuals on DocuSign are elaborated here.

  3. Email the Georgia Tech Office of Graduate Studies a final copy, certified by the thesis advisor at thesis@grad.gatech.edu


Distance Learning MSAE Program

Q: What courses are offered through the Georgia Tech Distance Learning MSAE program?

Each semester, the AE  School offers a range of in-demand graduate classes, composed to accommodate the anticipated demand as well as the required sequencing of different subject matter. Here is a list of the online MSAE courses that are typically taught during the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters.

Q: What if there's an AE course I want to take that's not on the list of Distance Learning MSAE courses?

Students may petition the AE School to add an AE graduate course to the list of online MSAE courses offered during any given semester. If a sufficient number of DL master's students request the course, and the petition has been submitted in time, the AE School will make every effort to offer the course. Here's a list of DL master's courses that have been taught by petition or request.

Q: Where can I get orientation information for Distance Learning students? 

Two weeks prior to the beginning of the semester, orientation information will be provided to you via email by your academic advisor. 

Q: Whom do I contact to change the status of my graduate program? 

If you are taking classes on the Atlanta campus and you are seeking program status change to Distance Learning, you must contact the academic program manager via email.  

Q: What is the minimum number of credit-hours for which I must register? 

To maintain part-time student status as a distance learning student, you may sign up for as little as three (3) credit-hours.

Q: How do I submit forms for proposals, defenses, or theses? 

All aforementioned forms are to be submitted electronically.  

  1. Carefully review the information in Office of Graduate Studies' Thesis & Dissertation Form page.  Afterwards, click on the corresponding form to send an invitation to sign.
  2. On DocuSign, add your signature and send the completed document in an envelope to Georgia Tech Office of Graduate Studies.
    Manuals on DocuSign are elaborated here.
  3. Email the Georgia Tech Office of Graduate Studies a final copy, certified by the thesis advisor at thesis@grad.gatech.edu
Q: When and how do I determine my faculty advisor for AE 8900? 

As your program nears its end, you will need to get in touch with a faculty academic advisor. Advisors for AE8900 are usually set the semester before you register for the course. At that time, you should provide the academic program manager with your resume, area of your research, and a list of AE faculty members who best match your research interests. Your faculty academic advisor will then be assigned based on this information.

Q: How and when do I register for AE 8900? 

Typically, you will be registering for AE 8900 during your last semester of studies. After you get in touch with your assigned faculty academic advisor, you should enter the course number (AE8900) followed by the first three letters of your faculty advisor’s last name. For example, you would enter AE8900-GUN if your advisor was Prof. Brian Gunter. 

Please notify the Academic Office when you sign up for the course by filling out the Permit Form that can be found here.

Q:  I have courses that I would like to transfer from another university. How can I initiate the process?

You may transfer up to 6 credit-hours of coursework that did not count towards a previous degree. To initiate the process, you must collect and send the following information to the AE graduate program manager:

  • Transcript from previous institution that shows the courses did not count towards a previous degree.
  • Syllabus of each course from previous institution. 
  • Proof of equivalency: Get GT instructor approval that the courses are equivalent OR use the equivalency table via the following link:  https://oscar.gatech.edu/pls/bprod/wwsktrna.P_find_location
Q: I am a BS/MS student getting ready to start their MSAE next semester. When can I register for graduate classes?

You will receive a time ticket to register for your respective graduate semester during Phase II registration. You can find the dates for Phase II registration using the following link: https://registrar.gatech.edu/calendar

Q: I am an incoming graduate student. When can I register for graduate classes? 

You will receive a time ticket to register for your respective graduate semester during Phase II registration. You can find the dates for Phase II registration using the following link: https://registrar.gatech.edu/calendar


International Students

Q: Where do I begin with immigration documents request? 

You should consult with the AE academic program manager prior to requesting documents through i-START

Q: How do I extend/renew my program? 

You should place a program extension request through i-START. 

Q: How do I change the level/major of program? 

You should place level/major change request through i-START.

Q: Do I need to notify anyone if I am traveling outside of the United States? 

International students must notify the Office of International Education (OIE) and obtain a travel signature in their passport before departure.

Q: Can I continue my program if my visa has expired? 

Yes,  you may continue to study in the United States with an expired visa; however, you will always need to have a valid, not expired i-20.


Graduation Requirements

See also: https://ae.gatech.edu/applying-graduate-ms-or-phd

 Q: When and where do I submit Program of Studies? 

 You must fill out, sign, and submit a Program of Studies form to the AE Academic Office before the last semester of your program.

Q: How do I apply to graduate? 

You must apply to graduate through OSCAR after submitting your Program of Studies form to the AE Academic Office.  

Q: What is the minimum GPA required to graduate?  

The minimum GPA required for graduating with a master's or master's of science degree is 2.7. The minimum GPA required for graduating with a PhD degree is 3.0.  

 Q: When is Summer Commencement?

If you want to graduate during the Summer semester, you are invited to participate in the next Fall Commencement exercises, typically held in December. You will be asked to register an email address with the Commencement Office during Summer semester to receive information after graduation.  

Q: I'm also pursuing a minor. Do I have to officially declare my minor? 

Yes, in order to submit your Online Application for Graduation (OAG)  including your minor, you will need to officially declare your minor. The forms are provided by the Georgia Tech Registrar.

Q: I applied to graduate in a previous term, but the degree was not awarded. When and how can I apply again to graduate? 

First, you will have to cancel your online application for graduation from previous semester. Then, you have to re-apply to graduate in the upcoming semester. At the same time, you are required to re-submit a new Program of Studies to AE’s Academic Office.