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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 in Aviation Safety and Human Factors, Operations, and 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.


Six credit hours are gained through three, five-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.

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.

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.

Application Deadline

The deadline for applications and all supporting documents is February 1st for the following August cohort. The application package is considered an indication of your ability to perform in a challenging, professional environment. It should be carefully and thoroughly prepared, completed, and submitted on or before the deadline of February 1st.


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.

Educational Goals

Graduates of the Ph.D. in Aviation degree program will:

  1. Contribute at the high levels of performance and productivity in academic, business, or scientific fields of aviation
  2. Conduct and disseminate scholarly research addressing contemporary or future problems in the global aviation industry
  3. Actively participate in national and international bodies to sustain continuous improvement in aviation
  4. Perform professionally and effectively across multicultural and multidisciplinary units in aviation

Program Assessment Measures Employed

  • Alumni Surveys
  • Program Student Surveys
  • End of Course Evaluations
  • Direct Measures of Student Performance in the Classroom
  • Research Publications by Students and Alumni

See all Student Achievement Information.



The four areas of specialization focus on:  

  • Aviation Safety: Students choosing this specialization will focus on managing risk culture through control of known and yet-to-be discovered techniques and safety applications in aviation.
  • Aviation Human Factors: Students choosing this specialization will focus on the capacity to design, conduct, and apply human factors and cognitive psychology research in aviation.
  • Aviation Operations: Students choosing this specialization will focus on the work that emphasizes research capabilities in a global aviation 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.

Qualifying Exam

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

  • Fall 2021 Cohort:
    Deadline is February 1, 2021

    Residency 2020

    • August 10-14

    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.

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    Student speaking with advisor
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    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.

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    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. 

    Also, Learn more about the Ph.D. in Aviation Advisory Board.


    Dr. Bruce Conway

    Dr. Bruce Conway

    Professor and Associate Dean of the College of Aeronautics (Worldwide)

    Read More about Dr. Conway

    Haydee Marie Cuevas

    Dr. Haydee Cuevas

    Associate Professor

    Read More about Dr. Cuevas


    Dr. David Esser


    Dr. Steven Hampton

    Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies, College of Aviation

    Read More about Dr. Hampton

    Alan Stolzer

    Dr. Alan Stolzer

    Dean, College of Aviation

    Read More about Dr. Stolzer

    Dothang Truong

    Dr. Dothang Truong

    Program Coordinator and Professor

    Read More about Dr. Truong

    Scott Winter

    Dr. Scott Winter

    Assistant Professor

    Read More about Dr. Winter