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Bulletin Archive

This archived information is dated to the 2009-10 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Doctor of Philosophy in Aeronautics and Astronautics

The University's basic requirements for the Ph.D. degree are outlined in the "Graduate Degrees" section of this bulletin. Department requirements are stated below.

Qualifications for candidacy for the doctoral degree are contingent on:

  1. Having fulfilled department requirements for the master's degree or its substantial equivalent.
  2. Maintaining a high scholastic record for graduate course work.
  3. Completing 3 units of a directed research problem (AA 290 or an approved alternative).
  4. In the first year of doctoral study, passing an oral Ph.D. qualifying examination given by the department during Autumn and Spring quarters.

Detailed information about the deadlines, nature, and scope of the Ph.D. qualifying examination can be obtained from the department. Research on the doctoral dissertation may not be formally started before passing this examination.

Beyond the master's degree, a total of 90 additional units of work is required, including a minimum of 36 units of approved formal course work (excluding research, directed study, and seminars). The courses should consist primarily of graduate courses in engineering and related sciences, and should form a strong and coherent doctoral program. At least 12 units must be from graduate-level courses in mathematics or applied mathematics (a list of approved courses is available from the department student services office). University requirements for continuous registration apply to doctoral students for the duration of the degree.

Dissertation Reading Committee—Each Ph.D. candidate is required to establish a reading committee for the doctoral dissertation within six months after passing the department's Ph.D. Qualifying exams. Thereafter, the student should consult frequently with all members of the committee about the direction and progress of the dissertation research.

A dissertation reading committee consists of the principal dissertation adviser and at least two other readers. Reading committees in Aeronautics and Astronautics often include faculty from another department. It is expected that at least two members of the AA faculty be on each reading committee. If the principal research adviser is not within the AA department, then the student's AA academic adviser should be one of those members. The initial committee, and any subsequent changes, must be officially approved by the department Chair.

University Oral and Dissertation—The Ph.D. candidate is required to take the University oral examination after the dissertation is substantially completed (with the dissertation draft in writing), but before final approval. The examination consists of a public presentation of dissertation research, followed by substantive private questioning on the dissertation and related fields by the University oral committee (four selected faculty members, plus a chair from another department). Once the oral has been passed, the student finalizes the dissertation for reading committee review and final approval. Forms for the University oral scheduling and a one-page dissertation abstract should be submitted to the department student services office at least three weeks prior to the date of the oral for departmental review and approval.

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