Doctoral Curriculum

Collage of three AE professors with their doctoral grads, all in graduation regaiia

Highly qualified students who are committed to pursuing a career in research, development, or at an academic institution are encouraged to apply to Georgia Tech's aerospace engineering doctoral program. The program considers applications from both undergraduate and masters candidates.

The Georgia Tech AE doctoral curriculum includes coursework, research, a qualifying examination, an approved thesis proposal, and an approved thesis defense. The Institute also offers aerospace and other students an opportunity to pursue four different multidisciplinary degrees: the doctorate of philosophy with a major in computational science and engineering, the doctor of philosophy with a major in robotics, the doctor of philosophy with a major in machine learning, and the doctor of philosophy with a major in bioengineering.

The following chart summarizes the overall distribution of credit-hours that all PhD AE students must follow

Ph.D. Credit-hour requirements

Credit-hours after completing
bachelor’s degree

AE Graduate Seminar

AE 8801*

Formal Courses (not including: thesis, research or AE8900)

42 credit-hours total

AE Classes (minimum)

18

Math (minimum)

9

Non-technical** (maximum)

6

Hours at 6000 or above (minimum)

36

*AE8801 (1 credit hr. P/F) is required during the first graduate year in residence at GT but does not count toward the 42 credit-hours needed for the degree. The AE8801 requirement is waived for distance-learning students.

**Technical courses are any courses in the College of Engineering, College of Science or College of Computing; all other courses are considered non-technical.


The following is a brief summary of the requirements and is not meant to cover all aspects. Students should see the AE 2019 Graduate Handbook (pdf) for a complete description of the requirements for the Ph.D. AE degree.

Students pursuing a doctoral degree from the School of Aerospace Engineering must complete 42 credit-hours of graduate-level coursework:

  • Complete one (1) semester of the AE Graduate Seminar course (AE8801) during the first year in residence in the AE graduate program;
  • No fewer than 36 credit-hours of coursework must be at the 6000-level or above;
  • Up to six (6) credit-hours of graduate coursework may be taken at the 4000-level;
  • Any 4000-level courses taken as a required course in the undergraduate AE major cannot count toward the fulfillment of the doctoral degree;
  • Up to 30 credit-hours of coursework may come from the fulfillment of a masters degree, earned at Georgia Tech or at any accredited institution in the world;
  • Nine (9) credit-hours of graduate study must be in courses that have a prefix of "MATH" or taken from the approved list of mathematics classes in the AE Graduate Handbook.