Ph.D. in

The mission of the Ph.D. in Aviation program is to produce outstanding scholars for careers in research and teaching in the aviation field. At Embry-Riddle, Ph.D. in Aviation students take part in a rigorous, research-driven program that pushes them to their greatest potential. The Embry-Riddle Ph.D. in Aviation program allows highly qualified students and professionals from diverse backgrounds and aviation career paths to immerse themselves in this high-powered world of aviation.

As the nation’s first Ph.D. program in Aviation, this degree is designed to educate students and professionals in conducting state-of-the-art research in all areas of this important field of study, extending the aviation body of knowledge. 

Your academic journey will focus on building skills and foundational knowledge to conduct research. Three areas of specialization are offered:

  • Aviation Safety and Human Factors
  • Operations
  • Intradisciplinary Studies

The program has been designed to accommodate working professionals who seek to advance their knowledge and conduct high-quality research in aviation while being employed; the flexible, mainly online and hybrid delivery of this program enables students to continue professional careers while pursuing doctoral education.

The program consists of 60 credit hours above a Master’s degree, 36 of which will come from online courses designed to provide Ph.D. students with aviation knowledge in their intended specialization. Eighteen credit hours are earned completing the dissertation, an extensive, real-world research project.

In addition, 6 credit hours are gained through three, six-day annual residencies at the Daytona Beach campus. Students are required to complete a minimum of three week-long Residency seminars at the Embry-Riddle Daytona Beach campus during the first three years in the program. 

Program faculty come from all three ERAU campuses — Daytona Beach, Prescott, and Worldwide. These nationally and internationally recognized scholars have extensive teaching, research, and publication records within their disciplines.

Deadline for applications to the program is February 1 for admission the following August. The application package is considered an indication of your ability to perform in a challenging, professional environment. It should be carefully and thoroughly prepared.


About Aviation at the Worldwide & Online Campus

The Ph.D. in Aviation program at ERAU takes place as a part of the world’s largest aviation-oriented university with extensive experience in graduate education and leading-edge research. The Ph.D. in Aviation degree is housed in the College of Aviation.

The Ph.D. program requires the completion of 60 credit hours of graduate study.  These credit hours are spread over aviation core classes, research methodologies and doctoral dissertation.  Courses, residencies, and the dissertation allow a student to accomplish the Program Educational Goals.

The program’s educational goals are to:

  • Develop mastery of the central theories and concepts in the field of aviation, including foundations, safety management, economics, and regulatory procedures.
  • Pose and solve theory-based and research-based problems designed to advance applications in the field of aviation.
  • Extend the aviation body of knowledge by conceiving, planning, producing, and communicating original research.
  • Develop and demonstrate expertise in instructional processes.
  • Demonstrate leadership, collaboration, and communication necessary for scholarly work in aviation.

Each student is required to complete one on campus residency seminar each year, allowing students the opportunity to network face-to-face with students, faculty, and advisory board members while participating in sessions which prepare them for the next phase of the program. The residencies are scheduled during mid-August and are approximately one week long.

The three areas of specialization focus on: 

  • Aviation Safety & Human Factors: Overall, technological advances have led to improved safety and human performance in the aviation and aerospace domain, but have also resulted in new, unexpected challenges.  Students choosing this specialization will focus on managing risk culture through control of known and yet-to-be discovered techniques and safety applications.
  • Operations: Students choosing this specialization will focus on the work that emphasizes research capabilities in a global marketplace while considering industry trends and innovations.
  • Intradisciplinary: For students with a broader interest in aviation, this specialization offers a cross-disciplinary approach to aviation where you work with your advisor to build a curriculum appropriate for a student's educational needs.

Once a student has met course requirements, they are required to pass a two-day Qualifying Exam specifically crafted based on their research proposals and completed coursework.

Students will likely spend far more time preparing for and writing their doctoral dissertation than they will in the virtual classroom.  The dissertation is a significant, real-world aviation-related research project developed during the course of study and conducted and finalized during the dissertation phase. Dissertations must be defended on the Daytona Beach campus.

Important Dates

Application Deadline

For full consideration for the fall 2017 Cohort:

  • February 1, 2017 

Residency 2017

  • August 14-18

Online Information Sessions 

E-mail to register. All times are Eastern.

Dates for February 2017 information sessions coming soon!

Online Courses (12 weeks)

  • September 7
  • January 7
  • May 7


We welcome you to apply to the Ph.D. in Aviation program. The Ph.D. application process is competitive, with limited positions in the program available.

Students are admitted only during the fall term each year with the residency seminar occurring in August and the term beginning September 7.

The application package is considered an indication of your ability to perform in a challenging, professional environment. It should be carefully and thoroughly prepared. 

The Admissions Committee carefully considers all applications completed by February 1.

Are you ready to become one of the world's leading authorities on aviation? Begin the application process to be considered for the Ph.D. in Aviation program.



Earning a Ph.D. in Aviation from Embry-Riddle comes with costs, but we’ve worked to make it as easy as possible for students to receive assistance and pay for their tuition and other expenses.

Many of our students earn grants, scholarships, and fellowship funding throughout their tenure in their program from various entities.  

Veterans are eligible to receive Financial Aid through several federal programs, and other students can receive aid from the government and private lenders.

We also break down the Estimated Cost of Attendance to see what expenses to expect during an online semester or on-campus residency.



Embry-Riddle is the world’s largest aviation-oriented university and has extensive experience in graduate education and leading-edge research.

The Ph.D. in Aviation program draws its faculty from all three campuses of ERAU: Daytona Beach, Florida; Prescott, Arizona; and from the University’s Worldwide Campus.

The doctoral faculty members are nationally and internationally recognized scholars in aviation and closely related disciplines and in research methods.

These faculty members have extensive teaching, research, and publication records in their disciplines.

Faculty members also participate in professional development to build their skills as instructional designers and facilitators and work with exceptional instructional designers to develop rigorous, engaging, and meaningful courses. 


Dr. Tim Brady

Interim Chancellor, Professor 

Read More

Dr. David Esser


Read More

Dr. Bruce Conway

Professor and Associate Dean

Read More

Dr. Mark Friend

Program Director, Professor

Read More

Dr. Haydee Cuevas

Assistant Professor

Read More

Dr. Steven Hampton


Read More

Dr. Irwin Price


Read More

Dr. Franklin Richey


Read More

Dr. John Sabel

Assistant Professor

Read More

Alan Stolzer

Dr. Alan Stolzer

Dean, College of Aviation

Read More

Dr. Dothang Truong

Associate Professor

Read More


Stephan Curran

Ph.D. in Aviation Student

Stephen Curran resides in Jamaica, where he is the Network Design Director for Digicel Group. He earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s of Electronic Engineering from Dublin City University in Ireland. He is also a member of Engineers Without Borders.

You may be interested in the following degrees: