Graduate Catalog
2019-2020
 
Policies, Procedures, Academic Programs
Ocean Engineering
College of Engineering
Academics and laboratories; west section completed 1952; dedicated Oct. 24, 1953. Cost $884,070. East section completed Fall 1959; cost $889,944. Building contains 165,918 sq. ft. Attached to the building is a six-foot stability wind tunnel, acquired from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 1958 and made a part of building in 1959. Valued at $1,000,000 at the time, the tunnel was acquired for about $1,700 as surplus equipment.
Aerospace & Ocean Engineering (MC 0203) Randolph Hall, RM 215 Virginia Tech 460 Old Turner St. Blacksburg VA 24061
Randolph Hall
Degree(s) Offered:
• MS
MS Degree in Ocean Engineering
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Offered In:
Virtual
Blacksburg
Email Contact(s):
Web Resource(s):
Phone Number(s):
540/231-3579
540/231-6612
Application Deadlines:
Fall: Dec 30
Spring: Sep 01
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Randolph Hall

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Department Head : Eric Paterson
Graduate Program Director : Mayuresh Patil (Assistant Department Head for Graduate Studies)
Professors: Alan Brown; Robert Canfield; William Devenport; Rakesh Kapania; Lin Ma; Eric Paterson; Mark Psiaki; Pradeep Raj; Christopher Roy; Joseph Schetz; Craig Woolsey
Associate Professors: Jonathan Black; Stefano Brizzolara; Scott England; Mazen Farhood; Kevin Lowe; Mayuresh Patil; Michael Philen; Gary Seidel; Cornel Sultan
Assistant Professors: Colin Adams; William Alexander; Seongim Choi; Christine Gilbert; Luca Massa; Bhuvana Srinivasan; Kyriakos Vamvoudakis; Kevin Wang; Heng Xiao
NAVSEA Professor of Naval Ship Design: Alan Brown
Norris and Laura Mitchell Professor of Aerospace Engineering: Rakesh Kapania
Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Professor of Marine Propulsion: Eric Paterson
Fred D. Durham Endowed Chair Professor: Joseph Schetz
Kevin Crofton Professor: Mark Psiaki

Ocean Engineering Introduction

Master of Science Degree

The Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering offers a Master of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering and in Ocean Engineering. Each of these degrees has two options, a Master of Science with or without thesis. Although both degrees require the same number of credit hours for graduation, the thesis option requires some of these credits be devoted to a research project. The non-thesis option can be obtained by taking only course work, or it can include credits for a project and report. Such a project and report is generally not research oriented, but deals with other aspects of an engineering problem and may involve a team of students. 

In order to ensure that all our students can communicate with scientists and engineers outside their primary field of interest, all students take at least one course in the general areas of aerodynamics, structures, flight mechanics and control, and numerical methods. In addition, students in the non-thesis program are required to take additional courses in their area of study. Students in this program have the opportunity to work on advanced research projects in the three areas mentioned previously as well as in the interdisciplinary arena where familiarity with two or more disciplines is required. As a result many of our students are in a position to satisfy the rapidly growing demand for well rounded engineers and scientists.

In addition, the Aerospace and Ocean Engineering Department participates in the Systems Engineering interdisciplinary program where students take courses across several engineering departments and outside of the College of Engineering. The requirements for this program are set by the Systems Engineering Advisory Committee and are different from those indicated previously.

Students following the thesis route work with faculty that have both national and international reputations in their respective areas of research. These areas pose exciting new challenges to the students who have the opportunity to work closely with their faculty advisor on current problems. These problems reflect the latest interests in new advancements in science and technology by NASA, Navy, Air Force, and various aerospace and non-aerospace industries. 

Our masters students do significant hands-on research and often work in teams with other masters and Ph.D. students on wide-range of topics, some focused in a newly developing area, and some multidisciplinary in nature. These activities include state-of-the art research in aerodynamics, structures, flight dynamics and control, and multidisciplinary analysis and design. Students are encouraged to present their research results at conferences and in archival journals tied to industry and/or government or sponsored projects and include interaction with personnel and facilities from those organizations.

The requirements for the degrees focused on applied physics or applied mathematics are slightly different from those of the other categories in that some required courses from the Aerospace and Ocean Engineering Department are replaced with others from either Physics or Mathematics respectively. These programs are specially tailored for students whose backgrounds are from outside the engineering environment and are interested in applying their skills to solving aerospace problems. Such programs encourage interaction with disciplines outside the usual engineering environment and result in new approaches to analyzing and solving problems.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree

The Aerospace and Ocean Engineering Department offers a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Aerospace Engineering. This degree is a research oriented degree which can be focused toward one (or more) of several disciplines. These disciplines include aerodynamics, structures and structural dynamics, flight dynamics and control, ocean engineering, multidisciplinary design, applied mathematics, and applied physics. 

All of these degrees require an in depth research project which will serve as the subject of the final dissertation. Research projects have been carried out in the areas of computational fluid dynamics (CFD), experimental fluid mechanics (both high and low speed), instrumentation development, composite materials, structural optimization, flutter analysis, nonlinear flight control, pilot- aircraft interactions, aerodynamic modeling, computer aided design, interdisciplinary design and optimization, trajectory analysis and optimization, space mechanics and space vehicle design, to name a few. Many of these programs are tied to industry and/or government sponsored projects and include interaction with personnel and facilities from those organizations.

The requirements for the degrees focused on applied physics or applied mathematics are slightly different from those of the other categories in that some required courses from the Aerospace and Ocean Engineering Department are replaced with others from either Physics or Mathematics respectively. These programs are specially tailored for students whose backgrounds are from outside the engineering environment and are interested in applying their skills to solving aerospace problems. Such programs encourage interaction with disciplines outside the usual engineering environment and result in new approaches to analyzing and solving problems.

Students in the PhD program work with faculty members known nationally and internationally for their contributions in their research area. Opportunities exist to work on the very latest research projects in the areas of aerodynamics, structures, flight dynamics and control, and multidisciplinary analysis and design. Many of these projects are in support of aerospace and non-aerospace industry, NASA, Navy and Air Force initiatives and include both analytical and experimental components. Modern computational and experimental facilities are available to each student including four subsonic wind tunnels and one supersonic wind tunnel. Advanced instrumentation is available for taking measurements of all type in these facilities.

Offered In (Virtual, Blacksburg)

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.0
Institution code: 5859
Testing Requirements:
  • TOEFL
    • Paper
      • 550.0
    • Computer
      • 213.0
    • iBT
      • 90.0
  • GRE
    • General
      • Verbal :
      • Quantitative :
      • Analytical :

Master of Science Requirements: Thesis and (Non-Thesis)

1.  A minimum of 30 credit hours is required. 

  • For thesis students, up to 10 credit hours may be allotted for Research and Thesis (AOE 5994). 
  • For non-thesis students, up to 6 credit hours may be allotted for Project and Report (AOE 5904)[1].

2.  A minimum of 12 credit hours (15 for non-thesis) of graded course work numbered 5000 and higher must be included in the Plan of Study. These credit hours do not include the AOE Seminar (AOE 5944), Research and Thesis (AOE 5994) hours, or Project and Report (AOE 5904) hours.

3.  A maximum of 6 credit hours (9 for non-thesis) of 5974 and 5984 is allowed.

4.  A maximum of 6 credit hours of approved 4000 level course work is allowed.

5.  Up to 50% of the courses on the Plan of Study may be transferred from a graduate program at another institution, subject to the approval of the Advisory Committee. Substitution of a transferred course for a specific required course is subject to the approval of the Graduate Program Director or a designee, usually the responsible instructor. Each transferred course must have a grade of B (3.0/4.0) or better.

6.  All Ocean Engineering M.S. candidates are required to take:

  • AOE 4404, Applied Numerical Methods;
  • AOE 5074, Advanced Ship Structural Analysis[3];
  • AOE 5104, Advanced Aero and Hydrodynamics; and
  • AOE 5334, Advanced Ship Dynamics.

In addition, thesis (non-thesis) students must take 9 (18) hours of approved electives, and non-thesis students must take 6 units of "Project and Report" or complete a 6 unit Capstone Naval Ship Design Project (AOE 5315 and AOE 5316).

  • Electives for thesis students are determined in consultation with the Advisory Committee Chair.
  • Non-thesis ocean engineering students must take two of the following courses:

  1. AOE 4024, An Introduction to the Finite Element Method;
  2. AOE 4264, Principles of Naval Engineering;
  3. AOE 5034, Mechanical and Structural Vibrations;
  4. AOE 5084, Submarine Design;
  5. AOE 5144, Boundary Layer Theory and Heat Transfer;
  6. AOE 5304, Advanced Naval Architecture;
  7. AOE 5305, Marine Engineering;
  8. AOE 5314, Naval Ship System Design and Effectiveness[4]; 
  9. AOE 5374, Rationally-Based Design of Ocean Structures;
  10. AOE 5434G, Advanced Introduction to Computational Fluid Dynamics;
  11. AOE 5444G, Advanced Dynamics of High-Speed Craft;
  12. AOE 5454, Advanced Aerospace and Ocean Engineering Instrumentation; and
  13. AOE 6145, Computational Fluid Dynamics.

7.  If a student has previously taken any of the required courses listed above or equivalent, while a Virginia Tech undergraduate or a student elsewhere, that course must be replaced with another course approved by the Advisory Committee. A student will not be allowed to repeat a Virginia Tech course (or an equivalent course from another institution) for a grade. A required AOE course can only be replaced with another AOE course.



[1] Non-thesis Ocean Engineering M.S. candidates may take both AOE 5315-5316: Naval Ship Design to meet the 6 unit Capstone Naval Ship Design Project in place of 6 units of AOE 5904: Project and Report.

[2] It is strongly recommended that students who wish to take AOE 6744, first take AOE 5744, Linear Systems Theory or an equivalent course on linear, time-varying systems.

[3] If AOE 4274: Computer-Based Design of Ocean Structures has already been taken, then one of the following two courses must be substituted: AOE 5024: Vehicle Structures or AOE 5374: Rationally-Based Design of Ocean Structures.

[4] It is strongly recommended that students who wish to take AOE 5314: Naval Ship System Design and Effectiveness, first take AOE 4264: Principles of Naval Engineering.

Ocean Engineering Facilities Introduction

Research in Aerospace and Ocean Engineering poses exciting new challenges to the students who have the opportunity to work closely with their faculty advisor on current problems. These problems reflect the latest interests in new advancements in science and technology by NASA, Navy, Air Force, and various aerospace and non-aerospace industries.

Our graduate students do significant hands-on research and often work in teams with other graduate students on wide-range of topics, some focused in a newly developing area, and some multidisciplinary in nature.

These activities include state-of-the art research in aerodynamics, structures, flight dynamics and control, and multidisciplinary analysis and design Students are encouraged to present their research results at conferences and in archival journals tied to industry and/or government sponsored projects and include interaction with personnel and facilities from those organizations.

Research in Aerospace and Ocean Engineering poses exciting new challenges to the students who have the opportunity to work closely with their faculty advisor on current problems. These problems reflect the latest interests in new advancements in science and technology by NASA, Navy, Air Force, and various aerospace and non-aerospace industries. Our graduate students do significant hands-on research and often work in teams with other graduate students on wide-range of topics, some focused in a newly developing area, and some multidisciplinary in nature. These activities include state-of-the art research in aerodynamics, structures, flight dynamics and control, and multidisciplinary analysis and design Students are encouraged to present their research results at conferences and in archival journals tied to industry and/or government sponsored projects and include interaction with personnel and facilities from those organizations.

Ship Dynamics Lab

The VT AOE Ship Dynamics Laboratory provides space for cutting edge analytical, computational, and experimental research into vessel stability, capsize, and quiescence.  Amongst other resources, the laboratory is home to two dual-processor high performance Linux workstations to enable computationally efficient simulation of seakeeping and strongly nonlinear capsize behavior over large parameter ranges.

Towing Basin

Modeling ship resistance is done by towing a model in a towing basin. The basin, located in the basement of Norris Hall is made of reinforced concrete painted with a chemical and moisture resistant enamel. The width of the basin is 6 feet and the maximum water depth is 4 feet. The overall length of the basin is 98 feet but the first 4 feet and the last 24 feet are used for braking the carriage. The usable test length is then approximately 70 feet. There are two glass walled observation pits along the side of the tank, one located approximately in the middle of the test region and the other pit located at the starting end. The observation pit at the starting end is intended for use in the study of wave reflection and absorption.

The carriage and rails were designed and constructed by the firm of Kempf and Remmers of Hamburg, Germany and were shipped in sub-assemblies to Virginia Tech. The allowable tolerance on rail height was 0.1mm. Wedges were used to give final straight alignment of each rail. The allowable tolerance on alignment was 0.2mm. Final alignment was done optically. After final adjustments in height were made, the space between the bearing plates and the bottom of the rail was filled with concrete.

A 400 V DC motor drives the carriage through a gear reduction box. The DC power is supplied from a 220 V AC motor-generator set. A maximum speed of the carriage of 3.0 meters per second can be obtained.

The carriage braking is done automatically using trips installed at both ends. An emergency brake button is also on the console. The brake is of the magnetic clutch type and brakes the DC motor directly. The brake is applied if power to the carriage is interrupted. Braking deceleration is 0.7 meter per second per second.

Ocean Engineering undergraduate students perform two experiments in the basin. They test the resistance of both a surface ship and a submarine.

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