In addition to the traditional Ph.D. program, the AE Department offers a Direct Ph.D. program, which allows highly qualified applicants, generally with a B.S. degree GPA of 3.75 equivalent or better, to be admitted directly into the Ph.D. program without an M.S. degree. The student’s graduate GPA will be considered in their application to the direct Ph.D. when the student has completed at least one semester of graduate study. The admission application for this program must be supported by a faculty advisor. The direct Ph.D. program has the same coursework requirements as the MS plus Ph.D. route. However, students in the direct Ph.D. do not write an M.S. thesis and do not receive an M.S. degree.

AE's Direct PhD curriculum requirements are below:

  • 96 hours of credit, including 48 hours of course work (a maximum of 4 of the total hours of course work may be in independent study; independent study with thesis advisor is not allowed)
  • 24 hours of course work of the 48 total required must be at the 500-level. 12 of the 24 hours must be in Aerospace Engineering (no substitutions allowed).
  • 8 hours of approved math with 4 hours at the 500-level
  • 2 core courses in separate Aerospace Engineering Breadth Requirement areas.
  • Completion of the the AE 590 seminar requirement.
  • Hold at least one 25 percent Teaching Assistantship during the graduate program.
  • The qualifying exam must be taken by the third offering after enrollment.
  • The preliminary exam can be taken at any time after the qualifying exam is passed.

Direct PhD Checklist

Undergraduate & Graduate Contacts

Brian S. Woodard

Brian S. Woodard
Director of Undergraduate Programs
(217) 300-8109
bswoodrd@illinois.edu

Laura Ann Gerhold

John Lambros

John Lambros
Interim Director of Graduate Studies
(217) 333-2242 
lambros@illinois.edu

Jenna Russell


Jenna Russell
Graduate Programs Coordinator 
jennar@illinois.edu

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