Graduate Degrees and Requirements
 

Graduate Degrees and Requirements

The aerospace engineering department offers the following graduate degree options:

  • Master of Engineering (M.Eng.)
  • Master of Science (M.S.)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Students may also earn a graduate minor in computational science and/or a graduate certificate in wind energy. General descriptions for each of these programs are provided below. Detailed descriptions of the requirements specific to each program can be found within the Graduate Studies Guide.

All students in the M.Eng., M.S., and Ph.D. programs must complete the Scholarship and Research Integrity (SARI) program requirements. The SARI program provides graduate students with opportunities to identify, examine, and discuss ethical issues relevant to their disciplines.

The SARI@PSU program is composed of two parts: an online training component (Part 1), and an interactive, discussion-based component (Part 2). The online training provides a common language and understanding of the history and principles of the responsible conduct of research. The discussion-based component provides an opportunity for in-depth exploration of important issues unique to each field of study.

For more information about the SARI program and requirements specific to aerospace engineering graduate students, click here

One-year, non-thesis Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) in Aerospace Engineering

Application Deadline: We follow a rolling admissions process for the M.Eng. program. Application deadline for Fall 2018 enrollment is December 15, 2017.

The M.Eng. is a non-thesis professional master’s degree. An intensive one-year, 30-credit program, the M.Eng. requires completion of a capstone experience. This is an ideal program for an engineer with a bachelor’s degree who wishes to expand his or her set of career possibilities in aerospace-related fields. It is also pursued by highly qualified students who wish to accelerate progress towards a Ph.D. degree.

Degree Requirements:

  • A total of at least 30 credits is required for the degree, including courses in the core requirements
  • Restrictions on course credits:
    • A minimum of 18 credits of aerospace engineering courses (600-level courses do not count towards this total)
    • A minimum of 21 credits at the 500 level
    • A maximum of 9 credits at the 400 level
  • Satisfactory completion of a capstone course or project (for 3 credits of EDSGN 558 or another graduate systems or vehicle design course)
  • Satisfactory completion of an Engineering Experimental and Data Analysis course (AERSP 597-1, AERSP 405, etc.)
  • Minimum of a 3.0 grade-point average

All courses used to satisfy degree requirements must be technical in nature, i.e., engineering, mathematics, or physical sciences.


Master of Science (M.S.) in Aerospace Engineering

Application Deadline (with or without funding):

  • December 15, 2017, for Fall 2018 enrollment
  • August 31, 2018, for Spring 2019 enrollment

Spring admission decisions are typically made by mid-October. Fall admission decisions are typically made by mid-March or early April.

The M.S. is a thesis-based master’s degree having a significant research component. It requires a minimum of 30 credits and is designed to be completed in two years. This is an ideal program for an engineer with a bachelor’s degree who wishes to go deeper into research in specific areas of interest. The M.S. may be a terminal degree for students who intend to pursue research-related careers, or it may be a stepping stone en route to a Ph.D. degree.

Degree Requirements:

  • A total of at least 30 credits is required for the degree, including courses in the core requirements
    • A minimum of 6 thesis credits (600/610)
    • A minimum of 24 course credits
  • Restrictions on course credits:
    • A minimum of 12 credits of aerospace engineering courses (600-level courses do not count towards this total)
    • A minimum of 18 credits at the 500, 600, or 800 level
    • A maximum of 6 credits at the 400 level
  • Satisfactory completion of an M.S. thesis, including a public presentation
  • Minimum of a 3.0 grade-point average

 All courses used to satisfy degree requirements must be technical in nature, i.e., engineering, mathematics, or physical sciences.


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Aerospace Engineering

Application Deadline (with or without funding):

  • December 15, 2017, for Fall 2018 enrollment
  • August 31, 2018, for Spring 2019 enrollment

Spring admission decisions are typically made by mid-October. Fall admission decisions are typically made by mid-March or early April.

The Ph.D. is a thesis-based doctoral degree. It is very strongly research-oriented and is a terminal degree for students who intend to pursue careers in research and development, research management, or university teaching. It is an excellent program for an individual with a master’s degree in engineering, physical science, or mathematics who wishes to pursue a career in academic, governmental, and/or industry research in the field.

Admission to the Ph.D. program requires satisfactory completion of a master’s program in engineering. For information on direct admission to the Ph.D. program, please refer to the Guide to Graduate Studies.

Degree Requirements:

Doctoral students must satisfy the core requirements. Graduate course requirements, in addition to those specified in the core requirements, are set by the candidate’s doctoral committee on an individual basis. In general, there is no specified number of credits for the Ph.D. degree; however, students typically take at least 24 course credits beyond the M.S. degree.

The doctoral dissertation will involve research activity normally exceeding one full year of full-time graduate work equivalent to 30 credits; exact requirements are determined by a student’s doctoral committee.

  • Restrictions on course credits:
    • A maximum of 6 credits at the 400 level
  • Experimental requirement (a student must do one of the following):
    • Perform dissertation research having an experimental component
    • Serve as Teaching Assistant (TA) for AERSP 305W
    • Take a course that emphasizes laboratory measurements and error analysis, such as AERSP 420, AERSP 597-1 (Advanced Experimental Methods), ME 530, ME 536, ME 544, E MCH 506, E MCH 528, or ACS 505
    • Perform independent study (1 credit AERSP 596) by arrangement of your advisor. This could involve assisting another graduate student with experimental measurements, supervising an undergraduate laboratory project, or another activity.
  • Minimum of a 3.0 grade-point average
  • Other requirements:
    • ENGR 888 (for Teaching Assistants and Teaching Aides)
    • Dissertation

In addition to the aforementioned requirements, doctoral students must satisfy the following Graduate School requirements:

  • Candidacy Exam
  • Advisors and Doctoral Committee
  • English Proficiency Exam
  • Comprehensive Examination
  • Final Defense of Dissertation
  • Residence Requirement
  • Continuous Registration

Minor in Computational Science

Application Deadline: Students must apply before their last semester.

The minor in computational science, administered by the aerospace engineering department, is an interdisciplinary minor that provides an opportunity for graduate students in all colleges and majors to pursue a focused set of courses that emphasize all aspects of computational science.

Computational science involves using computers to study scientific problems, and complements the areas of theory and experimentation in traditional scientific investigation. Each student's program is planned by the student and a designated computational science adviser, in consultation with the graduate adviser in the student's major field.

For more information, please visit the CSCI website.


Graduate Certificate in Wind Energy

The Graduate Certificate in Wind Energy is ideal for you if you are looking to get involved in or lead advances in the wind energy industry. Whether you are a current or aspiring practitioner in the field, the certificate program can provide you with the opportunity to improve your skills and further your career. The 9-credit online Graduate Certificate in Wind Energy is offered through Penn State's World Campus, making it possible to further your education while meeting your current responsibilities.

This certificate provides you with a highly relevant wind energy curriculum taught by faculty with world-class expertise. A graduate certificate in wind energy can help you add an important credential to your résumé — as you acquire a skill set valued across the wind energy industry. In addition, you get the convenience and flexibility of completing your coursework at times and places that fit into your life and current schedule.

For more information, please visit the Penn State World Campus website.

 
 

About

The Penn State Department of Aerospace Engineering, established in 1961 and the only aerospace engineering department in Pennsylvania, is consistently recognized as one of the top aerospace engineering departments in the nation, and is also an international leader in aerospace education, research, and engagement. Our undergraduate program is ranked 15th and our graduate programs are ranked 15th nationally by U.S. News & World Report, while one in 25 holders of a B.S. degree in aerospace engineering in the U.S. earned it from Penn State. Our students are consistently among the most highly recruited by industry, government, and graduate schools nationwide.

The department is built upon the fundamentals of academic integrity, innovation in research, and commitment to the advancement of industry. Through an innovative curriculum and world-class instruction that reflects current industry practice and embraces future trends, Penn State Aerospace Engineering graduates emerge as broadly educated, technically sound aerospace engineers who will become future leaders in a critical industry

Department of Aerospace Engineering

229 Hammond Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-2569