The Doctor of Philosophy Degree
Close interaction between the student and his/her research advisory committee plays a pivotal role in the successful completion of the Ph.D. program. Equally important is the discipline and dedication of the student, as independent study is a critical element for timely program completion.
The Air Force Institute of Technology Ph.D. in Logistics
Doctoral study in Logistics provides a path for Air Force and Department of Defense (DoD) personnel (service members as well as civilians) to pursue advanced research topics in Logistics. Admission requirements for civilian or DoD students (full- or part-time) are the same. Non-Air Force quota DoD students do not affect the Air Force educational quotas outlined in Section 1.2. Limited Ph.D. Assistantships are available for qualified civilians. See Appendix A for details on Assistantships.
Air Force Ph.D. educational quotas have been established to satisfy three general categories of Air Force needs: (1) At-large quotas referred to as “Air Force sponsored,” (2) Pipeline instructor quotas with a commitment to join the AFIT faculty upon completion of the degree, and (3) U.S. Air Force Academy instructor quotas. This Ph.D. program supports at minimum Air Force education codes 1ACY, 1AMC, 1AMG, 1AMJ, 1AMM, 1AMN, 1AMS,
1AMY, 1ATY, and 1CBF, (all in logistics areas).
Category (1) quotas provide logisticians for any Ph.D. assignments in the Air Force while the others are specifically geared toward faculty assignments. Applicants interested in either category (1) or category (2) should indicate their preference when they apply. Category (3) quotas are controlled by the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA), which sends selected faculty for a doctoral degree upon completion of an initial teaching assignment.
Eligibility and Admission Requirements for the Ph.D. Program
To be considered for Ph.D. admission, an applicant must first establish eligibility by submitting an application for review of eligibility, including transcripts and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) scores, to the AFIT Admissions Office (AFIT/ENER). Exceptions are made only for students currently enrolled in the master's programs in residence at AFIT who seek extension directly into the Ph.D. program. In such cases, the student submits a Change of Enrollment Status Form, available from the Registrar’s Office, which the Admissions Office forwards to the Logistics faculty who performs the eligibility screening. In addition to the requirements listed above, all applicants are required to submit a letter to the departmental point of contact for Applications and Personnel Matters (see end of this guide) summarizing their background and potential research interests. Additionally, each student must submit a short essay (no more than one page) describing his/her reasons for pursuing doctoral studies.
In accordance with the AFIT Doctoral Council Policy Letters, a student possessing a master's degree who seeks to enter a doctoral program must meet the following minimum requirements:
(1) A quality bachelor’s degree with grades averaging at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
(2) A quality master’s degree with grades averaging at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale
(3) Successful completion of a master’s thesis is very desirable
(4) GRE scores of at least 156 (verbal) and 151 (quantitative) on the Education Testing Service (ETS) 2012 GRE Concordance Table (which is based upon performance of all examinees who tested between 1 Aug 2011 and 30 April 2012; or 550 (verbal) and 650 (quantitative) for GRE tests taken/scored under the old scale used by ETS prior to August 2011; or GMAT scores of at least 650.
Eligibility also requires background, education, and experience compatible with advanced graduate study in Logistics. (Typically, students entering the Ph.D. program will possess a M.S. degree in logistics, supply chain management, operations research, operations management, industrial engineering, or other relevant field.) All application packages are referred to the Logistics faculty of the Department of Operational Sciences for review and recommendation. Waivers to the above criteria may be granted on a case-by-case basis.
Each year, the AFIT Admissions Office forwards records of all applicants for the Ph.D. program to the Department of Operational Sciences for review. The Department considers this pool along with potential, in-resident master’s degree candidates at AFIT. Assessing the research potential of each candidate is an integral part of the evaluation process. The Department returns a prioritized list of active duty Air Force officer candidates to the Admissions Officer, who then forwards the list to the Air Force Personnel Center (AFPC). Final assignment decisions are made by AFPC. All other applications from U.S. citizens may be considered at anytime. Once eligibility has been established, the applicant is notified by letter. Likewise, AFPC is informed of the eligibility and, if applicable, the volunteer status of the candidate.
BACHELOR’S degree entry into the Ph.D. Program
This program allows exceptionally well-qualified students to pursue a Ph.D. directly from Bachelor degree programs. Participants in the program need to fulfill all the requirements of the Logistics M.S. program and those prescribed in this guide. These students are governed by the doctoral policy letter entitled Bachelor Entry to Ph.D. Program, approved 29 June 2007, policy letter #3 at http://org.eis.afit.edu/dept/en/doctoralcouncil/policyltrs/Forms/AllItems.aspx
This program requires significant advance planning for success. A Pro-Tem advisor will be appointed by the Head of the Department of Operational Sciences in consultation with the Ph.D. program director as far in advance of the beginning of the student’s program as is reasonable. The Pro-Tem advisor fills a wider role for this type of student as compared to an entering student with an appropriate M.S. degree. As prescribed in the policy letter, the Pro-Tem advisor is expected to be the M.S. thesis advisor and, subsequently, the Ph.D. research advisor as well. Hence, these students will be required to provide detailed information on their potential areas of research interest prior to the assignment of a Pro-Tem advisor.