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Aviation, Ph.D.

Saint Louis University's Ph.D. in aviation science is offered in an entirely online format, making it ideal for working professionals.

Ph.D. students in aviation science at Saint Louis University complete coursework before scheduling a qualifying exam that focuses on topics related to the coursework and assesses general preparation for graduate research. Upon successfully passing the qualifying exam, students develop a dissertation proposal under the supervision of a research mentor. Students then present and defend the dissertation proposal. After conducting research and writing a dissertation, students defend the dissertation in a public forum and then privately to the committee.

Curriculum Overview

Students will work with their advisor and Ph.D. committee to determine the specific coursework to complete the program. Those students holding an appropriate Master of Science degree may include a maximum of 27 credits of the associated M.S. degree course credits, but not the thesis or project credits, in the 63 credits required for the Ph.D. degree.  


Graduates with a Ph.D. in aviation science are uniquely qualified to conduct aviation-related research in academia, government and industry.

Admission Requirements

Begin your application for this program at

Most admitted students meet the following criteria:

  • Undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0
  • A four-year undergraduate degree in aviation or a field related to the desired graduate program

Application Requirements

  • Online application form and fee
  • Official transcript(s) of all previous degrees
  • Three letters of recommendation (preferably from recent instructors)
  • A writing sample solely authored by the applicant that has been preferably composed within the last two to three years. The sample should relate to a contemporary issue in aviation or describe the student’s proposed research agenda and how that contemporary issue or proposed research agenda matches to the research currently being conducted by faculty in the Department of Aviation Science. Submissions should be formatted to be APA document style compliant, be between 3,500-4,500 words in length, and include an abstract of less than 300 words.
  • Curriculum vitae/résumé
  • Professional goal statement

Requirements for International Students

All admission policies and requirements for domestic students apply to international students along with the following:

  • Demonstrate English Language Proficiency
  • Proof of financial support must include:
    • A letter of financial support from the person(s) or sponsoring agency funding the time at Saint Louis University
    • A letter from the sponsor's bank verifying that the funds are available and will be so for the duration of study at the University
  • Academic records, in English translation, of students who have undertaken postsecondary studies outside the United States must include the courses taken and/or lectures attended, practical laboratory work, the maximum and minimum grades attainable, the grades earned or the results of all end-of-term examinations, and any honors or degrees received. WES and ECE transcripts are accepted.

Application and Assistantship Deadlines

The department is only reviewing applications for the fall semester. To be considered for enrollment in the fall semester, students should submit their application materials by May 31.

Admitted students who want to be considered for an assistantship must submit a separate application for assistantship consideration by March 1.

Review Process

Once all the materials are received and the online application is complete, the application is reviewed by the Parks College Office of Graduate Education and Research before being sent to the Department of Aviation Science for a recommendation. The final decision is made by Parks’ associate dean of graduate education and research.

Admissions decisions are made based on the background and educational experience of students. Applications are reviewed when completed, and decisions are generally made within a few weeks.

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Scholarships and Financial Aid

Parks College offers graduate fellowship awards and assistantships each year. Assistantships provide tuition, stipend and health insurance. There are also many opportunities for students to receive funding through external research grants that are managed by individual faculty.

For more information, visit the student financial services office online at

  1. Graduates will be able to assess relevant literature or scholarly contributions in the field(s) of study.
  2. Graduates will be able to apply the major practices, theories, or research methodologies in the field(s) of study.
  3. Graduates will be able to apply knowledge from the field(s) of study to address problems in broader contexts.
  4. Graduates will be able to articulate arguments or explanations to both a disciplinary or professional audience and to a general audience, in both oral and written forms.
  5. Graduates will be able to evidence of scholarly and/or professional integrity in the field of study.

The Doctor of Philosophy in aviation requires a total of 63 credits beyond a bachelor's degree, including:

  • 12 credits of dissertation research
  • At least 12 credits of coursework in research methodologies
  • At least 12 credits in a second discipline complementary to the knowledge of aviation

Students will work with an adviser and Ph.D. committee to determine the specific coursework to complete the Ph.D. in aviation. If students have an applicable master’s degree, 27 credits of that program may count towards the 63 credits necessary, with department approval. No research or project credits will be counted towards the Ph.D.

Please note: the courses in the Ph.D. in Aviation curriculum are taught in an entirely online format.

Continuation Standards

Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 in all graduate/professional courses.