Ph.D. in Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering


Parks College offers a Ph.D. degree in Engineering with an Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering emphasis that can be tailored to the student’s career goals and interests.

The information below is a summary of the degree requirements in the graduate education catalog.

Ph.D. Degree Requirements

Required Courses

The Ph.D. in engineering requires a total of 60 credit hours beyond a bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 12 credit hours of dissertation research. Of the 60 credit hours, a maximum of nine credit hours may be comprised of course work at the 4000 level; all other course work must be at the 5000 or 6000 level. Those students who earn a Master of Science degree may include up to 24 Master of Science degree course credits, but not the thesis or project credits in the 60 credit hours which are required for the Ph.D. degree.

The Qualifying Exam

Ph.D. students in engineering are required to take a Qualifying Examination, normally at the end of the first year of full-time Ph.D. study at SLU. This examination will focus on topics related to the required courses and the student’s general preparation for graduate study and research. All qualifying examinations will be conducted by the student’s Guidance Committee supplemented at the discretion of the Graduate Programs Director.

The intent of this exam is to determine if the student is prepared to continue doctoral studies. The result of the exam may be a pass, no-pass, or conditional-pass. The Guidance Committee will report the results of the Qualifying Exam to the Graduate Program Director. The conditional-pass will normally require that the student correct specific weaknesses, and modify the Degree Plan accordingly. 

Proposal Defense and Dissertation

A Ph.D. student will ordinarily develop a dissertation proposal under the supervision of the research mentor and present at the Proposal Exam prior to the third year of studies. During the development of program proposals, engineering Ph.D. candidates will have assistance from a faculty team in the selection of courses and focus for the dissertation. The associated academic department administers the dissertation proposal exam and the results are reported to the Graduate Program Director. On successfully completing the Proposal Exam, the student becomes a Ph.D. degree candidate.

Dissertation Defense

Upon completion of the final thesis document, a final public defense is held. Following the open forum seminar-style presentation, the student will continue the defense in a private session with the Guidance Committee.

Normally Ph.D. degree students will publish with their Faculty Mentors during the Dissertation research. Although not a rigid requirement, Ph.D. degree candidates are expected to submit a minimum of one manuscript for journal publication prior to completing the degree.

Doctor of Philosophy Resources

For more information, visit the Parks College graduate program website.


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Explore our offered degrees, areas of research and get a sense of what defines Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology in our latest Graduate Programs Brochure.


All inquiries, questions and applications may be directed to our Graduate Programs Assistant at 314-977-8306 or