Degree Programs

Explore the requirements and other details for pursuing your advanced degree. AEM offers two options for graduate degrees: Master of Science, Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics and Doctor of Philosophy, Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics.

Master of Science (M.S.)

This program emphasizes coursework in the engineering sciences that is fundamental to this field: fluid mechanics, aerospace systems, and solid mechanics. It also includes optional coursework, in aerodynamics and aerospace systems, dynamical systems, materials properties, and fluid and solid behavior, all of which is inspired by and focused upon our faculty’s cutting-edge research.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

The Ph.D. program requires approximately two years of coursework and is typically followed by another two to three years of thesis research. The first year’s coursework is similar to the M.S. program, and most Ph.D. students receive a master's degree. By the end of the first year, students identify a faculty research adviser.

The second year is devoted to more advanced coursework and beginning research. Subsequent years still include some coursework, but focus increasingly on research. The time required to complete a research project varies, but students who enter with a bachelor's degree usually finish the Ph.D. program within four to six years.

If you have any questions on the graduate program, feel free to contact Professor Elliott, Director of Graduate Studies or email us a aem-dgs@umn.edu.

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Master of Science (MS)

Requirements

Students will:

  • Complete the M.S. degree in two years minimum and no more than 3 years.

  • Complete 30 credits of coursework composed of a minimum of 14 credits in AEM , and a minimum of 6 credits in a related field, such as mathematics or mechanical engineering.

  • Maintain a cumulative GPA higher than 2.8 at the end of the program.

  • AEM Colloquium attendance - Students admitted before Fall 2021, must attend at least 2 semesters worth of seminar, you do not necessarily need to enroll in the course both semesters. Students admitted Fall 2021 or later, must register for at least 2 semesters of AEM Seminar (AEM 8000). A maximum of 4 total seminar credits can be applied, as long as the additional 2 credits are not AEM 8000.

Plans

There are three pathways (“plans”)  for Master’s students:

  • Plan A: requires 14 major credits, 6 credits outside the major, and 10 thesis credits (AEM 8777). The final exam is oral.
  • Plan B: requires 14 to 24 major credits and 6 to 16 credits outside the major. A capstone project is required. (Capstone Project: AEM 8880; 3 credits must be completed in consultation with the advisor. The project and its results are the topic of the final oral examination.)
  • Plan C: requires 14 to 24 major credits and 6 to 16 credits outside the major. There is no final exam.

Students declare a plan by the end of the first year, with advisor approval.

Additional Info

Incoming students who have not covered basic aerodynamics, airplane dynamics, structures, and propulsion studies in their undergraduate programs may be required to complete this coursework in addition to the 30-credit graduate program.

Masters students typically register for between nine and 12 credits per semester.

Master's Degree Milestones & Progress

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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Requirements

Students will:

  • Complete the Ph.D. degree in four to five years and no more than six years.

  • Complete 42 credits of coursework and 24 thesis credits.

  • Maintain a cumulative GPA higher than 3.0 at the end of the program.

  • Maintain active/registered status for a minimum of five semesters.

  • AEM Colloquium attendance - Students admitted before Fall 2021, must attend at least 4 semesters worth of seminar, you do not necessarily need to enroll in the course both semesters. Students admitted Fall 2021 or later, must register for at least 4 semesters of AEM Seminar (AEM 8000). A maximum of 6 total seminar credits can be applied, as long as the additional 2 credits are not AEM 8000.

  • Pass the written preliminary exam, the preliminary oral exam, the final oral exam, and produce a thesis.

Additional Info

Ph.D. students typically register for between nine and 12 credits per semester.

Ph.D. Degree Milestones & Progress

Ph.D Exam Requirements