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PhD in Aerospace Engineering

The Ph.D. programme in Aerospace Engineering offers a top-notch opportunity to develop theoretical and applied research in aerospace sciences and technologies, paving the way for an international career in education or industrial cutting-edge research.

The Department of Aerospace Science and Technology (DAER) participates in – and contributes to – more than one PhD Programme at Politecnico di Milano:

  • the PhD Programme in Aerospace Engineering (IAER)
  • the PhD Programme in Science, Technology, and Policy for Sustainable Change (STEP CHANGE)

This page refers to the first one, the PhD Programme in Aerospace Engineering (IAER), namely its “historical” PhD Programme, fully organized by DAER. For the second one, please refer to its official web page: https://www.dottorato.polimi.it/corsi-di-dottorato/ingegneria/science-technology-and-policy-for-sustainable-change ↗

PhD in Aerospace Engineering

In Short

The PhD programme in Aerospace Engineering aims at educating world-class researchers in all the main technological disciplines relevant, but not limited, to the aerospace field. It is embedded in the Department of Aerospace Science and Technology and is part of the PhD School of the Politecnico di Milano. The programme has a duration of three (sometimes four) years and requires the acquisition of 180 credit points (ECTS), including possible study-abroad periods and internships in private or public institutions. Courses are mainly given at the Bovisa Campus of Politecnico di Milano.

Mission and Goals

The aim of the PhD programme is the acquisition of the high level of competence required to carry out innovative research and/or state-of-the-art advanced applications in industries, research centres, universities, and service companies operating in the aerospace industry and research establishment, including all fields with possible connections with aerospace at large. The level of the programme allows graduates to successfully compete in both the European and the international aerospace environment.

The PhD programme covers a wide range of topics related to the aerospace engineering field. Building on top of consolidated aerospace disciplines, such as Aerodynamics and Fluid Mechanics, Structures and Materials, Flight Mechanics and Control, Propulsion, and Space Mission Design, the programme includes currently emerging disciplines that require an enhanced multi-disciplinary approach. Typical research topics target fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, as well as spacecraft and space mission design and require a deep understanding of the underlying physical processes, integration of multiple disciplines, effective use of sophisticated mathematical models, and blending numerical and experimental methods. To reflect this, the program gives special emphasis to the development of multi-disciplinary thinking and problem-solving skills, while striving to give the students a solid knowledge of the fundamental physical phenomena and all necessary state-of-the-art methods and tools.

Our graduates are expected to be able to conduct and manage original cutting-edge research in the aerospace technology domain, with an ability to rapidly move in neighbouring high-tech engineering fields. Indeed, using both computational and experimental approaches, over the years PhD students in Aerospace Engineering have developed research relevant to aircraft and space applications, but also technical areas not strictly related to the aerospace field, such as wind power and automotive engineering.

Syllabus and Credits

PhD candidates in Aerospace Engineering must earn at least 20 credits. Of these, at least 10 must be earned through transversal courses that provide transferable skills. These courses are offered by the Phd School.

Transferable skills courses offered by the PhD School ↗

At least 5 credits must be earned through courses from IAER’s Syllabus.

Courses offered by the PhD Programme in Aerospace Engineering ↗

The remaining 5 credits can be earned through any doctoral-level course.
In addition, PhD candidates must present at least one contribution at an international conference, and/or submit at least one manuscript to an international journal with peer review.
PhD candidates are invited to attend the many seminars organized by DAER under the PhDAER label. The latest are listed here: https://www.aero.polimi.it/it/magazine/c/seminari-phdaer ↗

Career Opportunities

Due to the breadth and interdisciplinary nature of the aerospace arena, the professional skills attainable span a wide area and are not limited to just a few specific topics. Therefore, the PhD programme aims to create high-level specialists in most domains related to aerospace activities.
In this context, a high level of competence can be gained either in a single subject or in the integration of multiple subjects such as dynamics and control, fluid mechanics, systems and equipment, flight mechanics, rotorcraft dynamics, passive structural safety, intelligent and automated systems, structures and materials, aeroservoelasticity, aerospace propulsion, and space mission and satellite design.


For further information, please visit the Politecnico di Milano PhD School website:  https://www.dottorato.polimi.it/en/ ↗
(School of Doctoral Programmes - Politecnico di Milano at phdschool@polimi.it)

For further specific information on the aerospace engineering programme, visit the page of the PhD Course in Aerospace Engineering: https://www.dottorato.polimi.it/en/phd-programmes/engineering/aerospace-engineering/ ↗
(PhD course in Aerospace Engineering at phd-daer@polimi.it)