Aerospace Engineering

2014-15 Tuition

Research degree: $29,500; Professional degree: $47,050

Application deadlines

Ph.D: Fall, Dec. 15; no spring admissions. M.Eng: Fall, Feb 1; Spring, Oct. 15

Requirements summary

Ph.D., M.Eng.

Degrees

  • M.Eng.
  • Ph.D.

Subjects

  • Aerospace Engineering (Ph.D., M.Eng.)

Major concentrations

  • aerodynamics
  • aerospace systems
  • biomedical mechanics
  • dynamics and control
  • materials and structures
  • propulsion
  • thermal sciences
  • The program emphasizes basic aerospace sciences to prepare students for the diversity found at the frontiers of research and industrial development. The faculty is particularly strong and active in fluid dynamics and aerospace systems, including fundamental and applied projects in noise generation, numerical methods, transonic flows, turbulence, nonequilibrium gas dynamics, unsteady and vortical flows, combustion processes, transport processes in microgravity, chemical kinetics, and dynamics and control of space structures.


The M.S./Ph.D.and Ph.D. programs provide advanced levels of training suitable for students pursuing careers in research and development, education, or advanced engineering analysis and design. The field does not admit students into an M.S.-only degree program; applicants may apply for the Ph.D. program directly from a bachelor's degree. Doctoral degree candidates must take a qualifying examination in addition to the examinations required by the Graduate School. Teaching experience for two semesters, normally satisfied by a teaching assistantship, is required of Ph.D. students.

The professional degree of Master of Engineering (Aerospace) provides a one-year course of study for those who want to develop a high level of competence in current technology and engineering design and who plan to practice engineering in industry or professionally. The program has a thirty-credit curriculum and requires an engineering design project.

Application:
Applicants should hold a bachelor's degree in engineering or the physical sciences. All applicants must submit GRE general test scores. Admission is for the fall semester except in unusual cases.

Shefford Baker -- Concentrations: materials and structures; Research interests: mechanical behavior of materials for structural, nano-scale, and biological applications
Lawrence Bonassar -- Concentrations: biomedical mechanics; materials and structures; Research interests: synthesis and mechanics of polymers and composites
Mark Campbell -- Concentrations: dynamics and control; aerospace systems; Research interests: space systems; estimation and control; autonomy in aerospace systems; controlled structures
David Caughey -- Concentrations: aerodynamics; propulsion; Research interests: fluid dynamics; computational fluid mechanics; transonic flow; computational aerodynamics
Lance Collins -- Concentrations: aerodynamics; propulsion; thermal sciences; Research interests: turbulence physics; combustion; aerosol coagulation and breakup dynamics; polymer drag reduction
Paul Dawson -- Concentrations: materials and structures; Research interests: material processing; micromechanics; plasticity; computational mechanics
Olivier Desjardins -- Concentrations: propulsion; thermal sciences; Research interests: Computational Fluid Dynamics
David Erickson -- Concentrations: thermal sciences; Research interests: micro/nanofluidics; optical fluidics; labs-on-a-chip; nanoscale integration; single nucleotide polymorphisms
Elizabeth Fisher -- Concentrations: propulsion; thermal sciences; Research interests: combustion; combustion chemistry
Yingxin Gao -- Concentrations: biomedical mechanics; materials and structures; Research interests: effects of aging on mechanical properties of skeletal muscles; effect of force on skeletal muscle
Albert George -- Concentrations: aerodynamics; aerospace systems; propulsion; thermal sciences; Research interests: aerodynamics; acoustics; helicopter and automotive aerodynamics and aeroacoustics
Frederick Gouldin -- Concentrations: propulsion; thermal sciences; Research interests: fluid dynamics; combustion; propulsion; spectroscopy; air pollution; incineration
Brandon Hencey -- Concentrations: dynamics and control; Research interests: switched and gain-scheduled control; robust optimal control; control of energy systems
Christopher Hernandez -- Concentrations: biomedical mechanics; materials and structures; Research interests: orthopaedic biomechanics; solid mechanics imaging
Anthony Ingraffea -- Concentrations: biomedical mechanics; materials and structures; Research interests: computational and experimental fracture mechanics
Brian Kirby -- Concentrations: aerodynamics; biomedical mechanics; propulsion; thermal sciences; Research interests: micro- and nanofluidics; microbioanalytical devices; laser microfabrication; interface science
Donald Koch -- Concentrations: aerodynamics; thermal sciences; Research interests: particulate and multiphase flows; colloids and aerosols; non-continuum gas flows
Hadas Kress-Gazit -- Concentrations: dynamics and control; Research interests: autonomous systems; hybrid systems; control; robotics
Sidney Leibovich -- Concentrations: aerodynamics; Research interests: fluid dynamics; wave propagation; air-sea interactions; stability theory; vortex dynamics
Hod Lipson -- Concentrations: aerodynamics; dynamics and control; biomedical mechanics; aerospace systems; Research interests: computer-aided design and design automation; artificial intelligence; evolutionary robotics; rapid prototyping
Michel Louge -- Concentrations: thermal sciences; Research interests: granular segregation and gas-solid flows; experiments in microgravity; fluidized beds; flow instrumentation; dielectric properties of snow
Matthew Miller -- Concentrations: materials and structures; Research interests: experimentally based material model development; effect of processing on properties
Francis Moon -- Concentrations: dynamics and control; Research interests: nonlinear dynamics/chaos, fluidelastic vibrations; dynamics of machining; electromechanical systems
Subrata Mukherjee -- Concentrations: materials and structures; Research interests: computational mechanics; boundary element methods; shape sensitivity analysis; shape optimization; MEMS
Mason Peck -- Concentrations: dynamics and control; aerospace systems; materials and structures; Research interests: dynamics and control; spacecraft design; systems engineering
Perrine Pepiot -- Concentrations: propulsion; thermal sciences; Research interests: Computational Fluid Dynamics
Stephen Pope -- Concentrations: aerodynamics; propulsion; thermal sciences; Research interests: combustion; fluid mechanics; turbulence; numerical methods; aerospace propulsion
Mark Psiaki -- Concentrations: dynamics and control; aerospace systems; Research interests: guidance, optimization, estimation, control and modeling for dynamic systems; modeling, analysis, dynamics and control of aerospace systems
Robert Shepherd -- Concentrations: dynamics and control; Research interests: Soft Robotics, Material Intelligence for Control Systems
Meredith Silberstein -- Concentrations: materials and structures; Research interests: polymer physics, mechanochemistry, micromechanical experiments and modeling, continuum mechanics
Marjolein van der Meulen -- Concentrations: biomedical mechanics; materials and structures; Research interests: orthopedic biomechanics; skeletal functional adaptation; bone structural behavior; mechanics of musculoskeletal tissues
Jane Wang -- Concentrations: aerodynamics; Research interests: biological fluid dynamics; scientific computing and modeling; statistical physics
Zellman Warhaft -- Concentrations: aerodynamics; thermal sciences; Research interests: experimental fluid mechanics; turbulence; micrometeorology
Charles Williamson -- Concentrations: aerodynamics; Research interests: fluid dynamics; aircraft vortex instabilities; vortex-induced vibration; wakes; turbulence; fundamental vortex interactions
Nicholas Zabaras -- Concentrations: dynamics and control; aerospace systems; materials and structures; thermal sciences; Research interests: inverse problems in solidification; mechanics of large deformations
Max Zhang -- Concentrations: thermal sciences; Research interests: air pollution; environmental nanoparticles; transportation and air quality; energy systems; climate changes

Graduate School Professors (emeritus)

Royal Colle -- Concentrations: Research interests: Communication

Overview

The graduate field of aerospace engineering emphasizes fundamental and applied engineering, physics, and mathematics principles to prepare students for the diversity of research and development found at the frontiers of academia and industry.  Faculty are particularly strong and active in astrodynamics, aerospace systems and design, estimation and system identification, robotics and autonomous systems, dynamics and control, mechanics of materials and materials processing, fluid dynamics, and propulsion.

The field offers three degrees:

1.      Ph.D.

2.      Master of Science

3.      Master of Engineering

The field typically has about 55 active graduate degree candidates, including about 30 Ph.D. candidates, two master of science candidates, and 25 master of engineering candidates.

The Ph.D. Degree

The following proficiencies are expected from students receiving a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering. A student receiving a Ph.D. should:

1.      Make an original and substantial contribution to the discipline

  •   Think originally and independently to develop concepts and methodologies
  •   Identify new research opportunities within one’s field

2.      Demonstrate advanced research skills

  •  Synthesize existing knowledge, identifying and accessing appropriate resources and other sources of relevant information and critically analyzing and evaluating one’s own findings and those of others
  •  Master application of existing research methodologies, techniques, and technical skills

3.      Demonstrate commitment to advancing the values of scholarship

  •  Keep abreast of current advances within one’s field and related areas
  •  Commit to professional development through engagement in professional societies, publication, and other knowledge transfer modes
  •  Create an environment that supports learning—through teaching, collaborative inquiry, mentoring, or demonstration

4.      Demonstrate professional skills

  •  Advance ethical standards in the discipline
  •  Communicate in a style appropriate to the discipline
  •  Listen, give, and receive feedback effectively

Assessment for the Ph.D. Degree

The ability of Ph.D. students to meet the above stated proficiencies is measured using the following metrics and evidence:

1. PhD dissertation, as assessed by the committees and approved by the thesis
    approval form upon completion of the evaluation  (addresses proficiencies 1,2,3)

2. Dissertation defense (B exam) and presentations, as assessed by the
    committees, and reported on the B exam form (addresses proficiencies 1,2,4)

3. Admission to candidacy (A exam) and presentations, as assessed by the
    committees, and reported on the A exam form (addresses proficiencies 2,4)

4. Qualifying exam, as assessed by the qualifying exam committee, and summarized by
    a report from the Q exam committee chair to the DGS (addresses proficiencies 2)

5. Publication of scholarly articles, as tracked by the students and the field during the
    annual review, measures the ability of students to make an original and substantial
    contribution to the discipline (addresses proficiencies 3, 4)

6. Participation and presentation at professional meetings, as tracked by the students
    and the field during the annual review, develops the students ability to make
    presentations, give and receive feedback (addresses proficiencies 3, 4)

7. Grade point average in courses taken, as tracked by the registrar, measures the
     proficiency of technical skill acquired (addresses proficiencies 2)

8. Teaching evaluations, as tracked by the field, measures the student's commitment to
     teaching (addresses proficiencies 2)

9. Time to Degree, as tracked by the graduate school, measures the number of
    semesters from matriculation to graduation (addresses proficiencies 1,2,3)

10. Residency units, as tracked by the student advisors and the graduate school each
      semester, measures the satisfactory progress of each student towards completion
      of a degree (addresses proficiencies 1,2,3). Annual graduate field reviews, as tracked
      by the field, assesses student's general progress towards completing the
      PhD objectives in a timely manner and identifies any systematic obstacles
      to graduations (addresses proficiencies 1,2,3)

11. Graduate and alumni survey, administered by the field, asks graduating students and
       alumni how well learning outcomes were achieved, how effective was the teaching
       and what can be improved (addresses proficiencies 1,2,3)

12. Improvement

The data listed above (reports, grades, and lists) are tracked by the field members, field administrator, registrar, and the graduate school and compiled for each individual student and for the entire field. The loop is closed in the following ways:

  • The chair of each student’s committee monitors each student’s overall progress towards completion of the PhD objectives, and provides feedback to the student as necessary
  • The director of graduate studies monitors the overall status of the field and adjusts policies and strategies, in consultation with field members
  • The field meets in an annual meeting to discuss data and identify action items for improvement of student learning and of collection of data.

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Master of Science Degree

The Master of Science (M.S.) programs provide advanced levels of training suitable for students pursuing careers in development, education, advanced engineering analysis and design. The field does not admit students into an M.S. program directly but may offer the degree in certain circumstances.

Learning Outcomes

The following proficiencies are expected from students receiving a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering. A student receiving a M.S. should:

1.      Learn advanced research skills

  •  Synthesize existing knowledge, identifying and accessing appropriate resources and other sources of relevant information and critically analyzing and evaluating one’s own findings and those of others
  •  Apply existing research methodologies, techniques, and technical skills

2.      Demonstrate commitment to advancing the values of scholarship

  •  Keep abreast of current advances within one’s field and related areas
  •  Show commitment to personal professional development through engagement in professional societies and other knowledge transfer modes

3.      Demonstrate professional skills

  •  Adhere to ethical standards in the discipline
  •  Communicate in a style appropriate to the discipline
  •  Listen, give, and receive feedback effectively

Assessment

The ability of M.S. students to meet the above stated proficiencies is measured using the following metrics and evidence:

  1. Master thesis, as assessed by the committees and summarized by a report from the committee chairs to the DGS upon completion of the evaluation  (addresses proficiencies 1,2,3)
  2. Thesis defense  and presentations, as assessed by the committees, and summarized by a report from the committee chair to the DGS (addresses proficiencies 1,2,4)
  3. Grade point average in courses taken, as tracked by the registrar, measures the proficiency of technical skill acquired (addresses proficiencies 1,3)
  4. Average time to degree, as tracked by the graduate school, measures the number of semesters from matriculation to graduation (addresses proficiencies 1,2,3)
  5. Graduate and alumni survey, administered by the field, asks graduating students and alumni how well learning outcomes were achieved, how effective was the teaching and what can be improved (addresses proficiencies 1,2,3)

The data listed above (reports, grades, and lists) are tracked by the field members, field administrator, registrar, and the graduate school and compiled for each individual student and for the entire field. The loop is closed in the following ways:

  • The chair of each student’s committee monitors each student’s overall progress towards completion of the MS objectives, and provides feedback to the student as necessary
  • The director of graduate studies monitors the overall status of the field and adjusts policies and strategies, in consultation with field members
  • The field meets in an annual meeting to discuss data and identify action items for improvement of student learning and of collection of data

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Master of Engineering Degree

The MEng degree at Cornell differs substantially from the MS and other primarily research degrees, being mostly regarded as a ‘professional masters’ program.  It has been the subject of two highly in-depth reports over the past decade which have looked extensively at every aspect of the degree program, many of these having very direct relevance to the current document.

In assembling the attached summaries of the 15 subject foci, it should be observed that each program has circulated drafts amongst their colleagues for approval, and each has agreed that over time they can gather the stated data for self-evaluation.  The express intent is not that each ‘outcome’ be assessed every year, but that each year one or more ‘outcomes’ will be investigated, the feedback from which can then be used to inform the conduct of the program.

Learn more about M.Eng. learning assessment.

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