Aerospace Engineering

jet engine of an aircraft
Doctor of Philosophy

About the Program

Design and develop aircrafts, spacecrafts, satellites and missiles with a PhD in Aerospace Engineering from Case Western Reserve University, where we relish making the impossible possible. Through intensive coursework and research, you’ll become an expert in aerostructure design, flow dynamics, thermodynamics, propulsion, structural mechanics, heat transfer and more. Our faculty have a long history of working in the aerospace industry and have a close collaboration with the nearby NASA Glenn Research Center, one of the top institutions for aerospace engineering. In fact, our location in Cleveland, Ohio, positions you for research collaborations with some of the brightest minds in aeronautics; many NASA Glenn research scientists teach in our program—and regularly bring in our students to partner on their projects.

What to Expect

If you come into our program directly following an undergraduate program, you can expect to invest about five years working on your PhD; if you enter with a master’s degree, you can complete your PhD in four years.

Currently, we offer five curricular tracks:

  • Biomechanics
  • Dynamics, Control and Manufacturing
  • Fluids and Thermal Sciences
  • Solid Mechanics
  • Online and other courses

While each track varies in focus, all programs of study must include a minimum of 18 credit hours of thesis research, six breadth and basic science courses and six graduate-level courses in mechanical or aerospace engineering. Usually, these courses follow a logical development of a branch of mechanics, dynamics and design determined in conjunction with your dissertation advisor to meet the objectives of your dissertation research topic.

Growing up with shows like Star Trek intensified my desire to expand humanity’s reach and go where no man has gone before; and while space exploration has not yet reached the romanticized heights of the fiction I grew up with, I hope to inch society closer to that goal through robotics and aerospace engineering.

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Beyond the Classroom

Your time in the classroom is just the beginning at Case Western Reserve. Here, your research will take you to new heights by involving you with projects currently in progress by NASA and other aerospace companies.This real-world experience has helped many of our students go on to work at employers such as NASA Glenn Research Center, Boeing and more.

Plus, nearly all of our students—practically 99%—participate in some form of experiential learning during their time in the program. From joining any of our 25 dynamic student organizations, to making discoveries in research jobs both on and off campus, to studying abroad—opportunities abound for you to connect with your classmates, mentors and friends on campus and around the world.

By the Numbers


years, average degree completion


student organizations 


centers and institutes


of students participate in experiential learning


alumni in more than 70 countries

Admission Requirements

If you wish to pursue this degree you must successfully pass the qualifying examination consisting of both written and oral components. We offer qualifying exams on applied mechanics, dynamics and design, or fluid and thermal engineering sciences.

When reviewing your profile for admission consideration, we require the following:

  • Completed online application
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution 
  • Statement of purpose
  • Current resume/CV
  • Transcripts
  • Test scores for GRE (waiver available)
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Results of TOEFL or IELTS exam (waiver available)

Contact Us

Carla Wilson
Carla Wilson
Student Affairs Coordinator
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

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