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UT Austin
Grad Catalog 01-03


Graduate Study

Admission and


of Study

Members of
Graduate Studies




Aerospace Engineering

Degrees Offered
Master of Science in Engineering
Doctor of Philosophy


The aerospace engineering graduate program focuses on teaching and research in analytical, computational, and experimental methods in the areas of aerothermodynamics and fluid mechanics; solids, structures, and materials; structural dynamics; guidance and control; and orbital mechanics. The student may concentrate in any of these five areas. The objectives of the program are to enable the student to attain a deeper understanding of aerospace engineering fundamentals, a knowledge of recent developments, and the ability as a master's degree student to participate in research and as a doctoral degree student to conduct individual research. The goals are accomplished through coursework, seminars, and active research programs.

Areas of Study and Facilities

Aerothermodynamics and fluid mechanics. This concentration involves study and research in experimental, theoretical, and computational aerodynamics, gas dynamics, heat transfer, and combustion. Research is presently being conducted in computational fluid dynamics, shock-boundary layer interactions, compressible shear layers, supersonic flow over cavities, nonequilibrium and rarefied gas flows, applications of laser diagnostics, and nonlinear flow interactions. Facilities include Mach 2 and Mach 5 blowdown tunnels, shear layer and wake tunnels, a turbulent flame facility, lasers, a digital camera system, and a variety of high-speed digital data acquisition systems. The excellent computational facilities include a variety of workstations and access to the Cray supercomputers.

Solids, structures, and materials. This concentration involves study and research in mechanics of composite materials, fracture mechanics, micromechanics of materials, constitutive equations, mechanical behavior at high strain rates, structural analysis, and structural stability. Experimental facilities include equipment for static structural testing; digital data acquisition equipment; uniaxial and biaxial materials-testing machines; custom loading devices; environmental chambers; microscopes; photomechanics facilities; composites processing equipment; facilities for microstructural analysis; and high-speed imaging and high strain rate mechanical testing facilities. Computing facilities include workstations, supercomputers, and networks of workstations.

Structural dynamics. This concentration involves study and research in theoretical, computational, and experimental structural dynamics, including wave propagation. Included are aeroelasticity, linear and nonlinear structural system identification, modeling and control of flexible structures, multi-flexible-body dynamics, structural acoustics, and wave propagation in various media. Computational facilities include several workstations, and experimental facilities include actuators and sensors and several data-acquisition systems for structural system identification and control. Wind tunnel facilities are available for testing aeroelastic models.

Guidance and control. This concentration involves study and research in system theory, control theory, optimal control theory, approximation theory, estimation theory, and stochastic control theory and their application to the navigation, guidance, control, and flight mechanics of aerospace vehicles. Research is primarily analytical and numerical in nature, and excellent computational facilities are available for this purpose.

Orbital mechanics. This concentration involves study and research in the applications of celestial mechanics, analytical dynamics, geophysics, numerical analysis, optimization theory, estimation theory, mathematics, and computer technology to the dynamic behavior of both natural and artificial bodies in the solar system. Research is supported by a large database of satellite measurements and a variety of computers, including a workstation cluster and a Cray supercomputer. Two areas of interest are satellite applications and spacecraft design.

Satellite applications involve the study of active and passive satellite remote sensing for research in earth, ocean, atmospheric, and planetary science; satellite positioning, primarily using the Global Positioning System (GPS) for earth science research; and satellite tracking techniques for a variety of geophysical and geodetic studies, including the study of Earth's gravity field and rotation. Research is supported by a large database of satellite remote sensing measurements, a variety of computer workstations, GPS receivers, and image processing equipment.

Spacecraft design involves the application of all disciplines of aerospace engineering to the design of aerospace vehicles, missions, and related systems. Research is primarily applied in nature and involves the synthesis of information from all engineering disciplines, mathematics, the natural sciences, economics, project management, and public policy.

Graduate Studies Committee

The following faculty members served on the Graduate Studies Committee in the spring semester 2000-2001.

Maruthi R. Akella
Eric B. Becker
Jeffrey K. Bennighof
Robert H. Bishop
Graham F. Carey
Noel T. Clemens
Roy R. Craig Jr.
Clint Dawson
Leszek F. Demkowicz
David S. Dolling
Raynor L. Duncombe
Wallace T. Fowler
David B. Goldstein
David G. Hull
John Kallinderis
Stelios Kyriakides
     Kenneth M. Liechti
E. Glenn Lightsey
Hans Mark
Mark E. Mear
R. Steven Nerem
Cesar A. Ocampo
J. Tinsley Oden
John W. Porter
Krishnaswa Ravi-Chandar
Gregory J. Rodin
Richard A. Schapery
Bob E. Schutz
Ronald O. Stearman
Byron D. Tapley
Philip L. Varghese

Admission Requirements

The prerequisite for graduate study in aerospace engineering is a bachelor's or master's degree in aerospace engineering or in a related field of engineering or science. Graduate study in orbital mechanics is possible for those with degrees in engineering, science, or mathematics.

Degree Requirements

Master of Science in Engineering. Students seeking the master's degree have three options. The thesis option requires thirty semester hours of coursework, of which six hours are earned in the thesis course. The report option requires thirty-three semester hours of coursework, of which three hours are earned in the report course. The option without thesis or report requires thirty-six semester hours of coursework. Regardless of the option chosen, a student is required to take six hours of supporting coursework outside the major. Students receiving financial aid through the sponsorship of the department are expected to choose the thesis option; however, those studying aerospace design may choose the report option. Master's degree students may not count courses taken on the credit/no credit basis toward the degree. They are also limited in the number and level of business-related courses that may be counted.

The following is a template for the student beginning the MSE degree program in a fall semester. A student who follows this schedule will be considered to be making satisfactory progress toward the degree.

  1. Take courses during the fall and spring semesters and begin research.
  2. Complete research for thesis during the summer.
  3. Complete coursework in the second fall semester.
  4. Write thesis and graduate within one and one-half years.

Doctor of Philosophy. The PhD program consists of coursework, qualifying examinations, and the dissertation. Students who have master's degrees must complete at least twenty-four hours of coursework; those who enter the graduate program with bachelor's degrees must complete at least forty-eight hours of coursework.

To be admitted to candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy degree, the student must pass both a written and an oral examination. The written examination is general in nature and covers subject matter studied through the first year of graduate work. The oral examination is in the student's specialty area and is conducted by a committee of faculty members whose interests are in that area. Students may not take courses on the credit/no credit basis until they have passed the written qualifying examination.

The following is a template for the student with an MSE degree who begins the doctoral degree program in a fall semester. A student who follows this schedule will be considered to be making satisfactory progress toward the degree.

  1. Take courses during the fall and spring semesters and begin research.
  2. Pass the written qualifying exam during the summer.
  3. Pass the oral qualifying exam soon after the written exam.
  4. Apply for candidacy before the end of the second fall semester.
  5. Continue research for the next two years.
  6. Write the dissertation and graduate within four and one-half years.

For More Information

Campus address: W. R. Woolrich Laboratories (WRW) 215D, phone (512) 471-7595, fax (512) 471-3788; campus mail code: C0600

Mailing address: Graduate Program in Aerospace Engineering, Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712-1085



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Aerospace Engineering Courses: ASE



Graduate Catalog

Chapter 1 - Graduate Study
Chapter 2 - Admission and Registration
Chapter 3 - Degree Requirements
Chapter 4 - Fields of Study
Chapter 5 - Members of Graduate Studies Committees
Appendix - Course Abbreviations

Related Information
Course Schedules
Academic Calendars
Office of Admissions

Office of the Registrar
University of Texas at Austin

26 July 2001. Registrar's Web Team

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