Ph.D in Aviation Sciences

Doctor of Philosophy
Classroom, Online, Field
Main Campus - Melbourne
Major Code: 9103 Degree Awarded: Doctor of Philosophy
Age Restriction: N Admission Status: graduate
Delivery Mode/s: classroom, field, online Location/s: main campus
Admission Materials: 3 letters of recommendation, résumé, objectives

The doctor of philosophy program is designed to prepare students to have an understanding of the diverse and multidisciplinary nature of the critical issues facing the aviation industry, to acquire the capacity and experience needed to perform autonomous research that will advance the frontiers of aviation knowledge, and to assume leadership positions within the aviation community in both academic and non-academic settings. The focus of the program is a combination of theory and practice, and dissertation research is oriented for aviation professionals to solve both research- and theory-based aviation problems and apply solutions to real problems in the field.

Admission Requirements

An applicant to the doctoral program in aviation sciences must have a master's degree from an accredited institution in aviation, engineering, science, technology, education or an equivalent field with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale. The applicant should have enough practical experience to qualify as a professional in the aviation field. Ideally, this would equate to at least three full years of work experience in the aviation industry, government or higher education. International applicants must hold a master's degree in one of the above fields from an international institution that has provided suitable preparation for doctoral-level studies.

General admission requirements and the process for applying are presented in the Academic Overview section.

Degree Requirements

The Doctor of Philosophy in Aviation Sciences is conferred on students who successfully complete a minimum of 51 semester credit hours beyond the master's degree as described below.

General degree requirements are presented in the Academic Overview section.


The following core courses must be taken at Florida Tech (exceptions may be considered only through a written petition to be reviewed by the college's graduate faculty).

  • AVM 5101 Legal and Ethical Issues in Aviation
    Credit Hours: 3
    Uses current issues as vehicles for study of the legal and moral concepts that influence developments in both national and international air law. Addresses legal and ethical considerations directly confronting the aviation professional through case studies.
  • AVS 5205 Aviation Statistics
    Credit Hours: 3
    Explores a variety of quantitative data analysis procedures applied to available aviation databases (NASDAC, ASRS, BTS, NTSV) and other aviation-related problem sets. Emphasizes parametric and nonparametric techniques.
    Graduate program chair approval
  • AVS 6000 Quantitative Research Designs in Aviation Research
    Credit Hours: 3
    Introduces experimental, correlational, causal-comparative and survey research methodologies and designs. Includes corresponding statistical procedures. Emphasizes preparation of an APA-compliant quantitative research proposal related to the aviation field.
  • AVS 6010 Qualitative and Mixed Methods Designs in Aviation Research
    Credit Hours: 3
    Introduces qualitative research methods and mixed methods research designs. Covers sampling and data gathering strategies, interviewing techniques, data analysis methods, and rigor and ethical issues associated with qualitative research. Emphasizes preparation of an APA-compliant qualitative research proposal related to the aviation field.
  • AVS 6100 Applied Multiple Regression and Correlation Analysis for Aviation Research
    Credit Hours: 3
    Introduces multiple regression and correlation procedures for analyzing quantitative data involving two or more predictor variables and a single, continuous outcome variable. Covers coding strategies for categorical variables, interactions, ANCOVA and missing data strategies. Emphasizes aviation-related topics and data.
  • AVS 6200 Contemporary and Future Issues in Aviation
    Credit Hours: 3
    Focuses on current practices and research in aviation. Examines future trends in aviation and aerospace to identify research opportunities. Includes federal involvement, the Federal Aviation Administration and federal advisory committees, national and international law, global and cultural issues in pilot training, and safety and security.

Additionally, students must satisfactorily complete three semester credit hours of Research Practicum (AVS 6900). The remainder of the requirements includes at least 18 semester credit hours of Dissertation (AVS 6999) and at least 12 semester credit hours in an area of specialization.

Area of Specialization

A minimum of 12 master's degree-eligible semester credit hours beyond the bachelor's degree must be taken in an area of specialization. Areas of specialization include aviation human factors, aviation safety, airport development and management, education and training, organizational development, operations research, environmental/sustainability and meteorology. The area of specialization may include courses from previous graduate degrees as well as courses taken as part of the doctoral program.

Comprehensive Examination Requirement

Written and oral comprehensive examinations must be completed in the same semester. The doctoral comprehensive examinations are given twice a year, during the last full week of January and during the last full week of September.