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All students taking the AFMCP qualifying exam (QE) will be required to take both a written and an oral exam.

Written component – The written component shall be a 2 hour, written, closed-book examination. The written questions will test knowledge of core AFMCP topics (based on the general list and references given below) and the following courses: a) AE 311, b) AE 312, and c) AE 433.

Oral component – The oral component, to be administered after the written exam (generally within 2 weeks), will consist of questions that can be drawn from material in the core AFMCP topics, as well as from material drawn from up to two courses on the student’s transcript and/or in the student’s area of specialization. The duration of the oral exam will not exceed 1 hour.

The Head will appoint an oral exam subcommittee that will include 3 faculty members, not necessarily the same for each student, with at least 2 faculty members that which must be in the AFMCP group. The chair of the subcommittee will be the thesis advisor of the student taking the exam. If the student’s thesis advisor is not a tenure-track or tenured faculty member in the AE Department, the Head will select a chair among the AFMCP group. In this case, the non-AE faculty member can be on the subcommittee, but cannot be chair.

By necessity, a student's identity may be revealed to the AFMCP facutly for scheduling, planning, and testing purposes for the oral portion of the qualifying exam.

Evaluation - The AFMCP primary discipline (PD) Examination Committee will grade the written exam portion "blind", referring to the Test Number, and the oral exam will be graded by the oral exam subcommittee. A passing score on the qualifying exam is based on the written and oral exams graded separately and not the average of the two exams. After scoring the two exams, and before recommending a result, the student's identity in the written exam will be revealed to the AFMCP PD Examination Committee, and the student's Ph.D. advisor(s) will be consulted. The PD committee will then evaluate the student's exam performance. Finally, the Chair of the AFMCP PD Examination Committee will communicate the final grade (numerical score and PASS/FAIL) to the Department Head. If the student is found deficient in an area, the committee may recommend corrective measures, e.g. taking the exam for a second time or the taking of another course, and will so state in the letter. The Head will be responsible for the final results and for communicating these to the student, the advisor, and the Graduate College. If the QE is not passed on the second try, the student will be dropped from the Ph.D. program. If objections are raised to the results of a QE, the Head may call a special meeting of the faculty, or may ask the AE Graduate Policy Committee to make recommendations to the Head on issues relating to the QE. If a member of the GPC has a conflict of interest, the Head will appoint a suitable replacement. AFMCP students must pass both the written and oral portions of the qualifying exam. A passing score on the qualifying exam is based on the written and oral exams graded separately and not the average of the two exams.

Core Topics

Core topics for each PD are given below. These core topics can be adjusted for each candidate based on the courses submitted for the qualifying exam.

Aerodynamics and Propulsion

  1. Incompressible Flow
    • Governing equations (intergral and differential forms)
    • Control volume analysis
    • Potential flow
    • Airfoil theory
    • Finite wings
    • Viscous flow
    • Applied aerodynamics
  2. Compressible Flow
    • Conservation of mass, momentum, and energy of a fluid
    • Isentropic flow
    • One-dimensional compressible flow
    • Oblique and normal shock waves
    • Prandtl-Meyer expansions
    • Shock-expansion method and method of weaks waves
    • Quasi-one-dimensional flow
    • Unsteady waves
  3. Propulsion
    • Conservation of mass, momentum, and energy, thrust equations
    • Combustion chemistry
    • Ram-, turbo-, and fan-jets: ideal cycles and efficiency
    • Subsonic and supersonic inlets
    • Component analysis of compressors, turbines, combustors, and nozzles
    • Off-design behavior
    • Throughflow Theory - the Euler turbine equation

Sample Texts:

  1. Foundations of Aerodynamics, Bases of Aerodynamic Design, (4th edition, 1986) by A.M. Kuethe and C. Chow, John Wiley and Sons
  2. Fundamentals of Aerodynamics, (6th edition, 2017) by J.D. Anderson, McGraw Hill
  3. Modern Compressible Flow: With Historical Perspective, (3rd edition, 2002) by J.D. Anderson, McGraw-Hill
  4. Aerothermodynamics of Gas Turbine and Rocket Propulsion, (1988) by G.C. Oates, AIAA
  5. Aircraft Propulsion, (2nd edition, 2014) by S. Farokhi, Wiley

Undergraduate Contacts                                   Graduate Contacts

Brian S. Woodard

Brian S. Woodard
Director of Undergraduate Programs
(217) 300-8109

Laura Ann Gerhold

Daniel J. Bodony

Daniel J. Bodony
Associate Head
(217) 244-3844

Staci L. McDannel

Staci L. McDannel
Coordinator of Academic Programs
(217) 333-3674

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