Officers have until July 31 to apply to the Air Force Test Pilot School to attend an in-residence engineering Ph.D. program.

The engineering program, run by the Air Force Institute of Technology, is open to all eligible active duty officers, the Air Force Personnel Center said in a Tuesday release.

To qualify, candidates must have already graduated from either the Air Force or Navy test pilot school, the British Empire Test Pilot School, or the French École du Personnel Navigant d'Essais et de Réception, or EPNER, test pilot school. They also must have at least two years of flight test experience since graduating, and at least two years on station before they start at the Air Force Institute of Technology.

Candidates also must have a Master of Science degree in engineering with at least a 3.5 grade point average.

The program is meant to make sure the Test Pilot School curriculum and research programs "reflect the state of the art in aeronautical science," the release said.

It also aims "to create a cadre of officers who combine current flight test experience with a high level of theoretical knowledge," the release said.

To apply, candidates must send a cover letter with their rank, name and category — manned aircraft pilot, remotely piloted aircraft pilot, combat systems officer or flight test engineer — contact information, test pilot school class and GPA. They also must say which Ph.D. program they wish to enter, the research area they will focus on, and desired location, as well as their commander's name and phone number.

Applicants also must provide copies of transcripts from every college or university they attended showing their degrees awarded and their GPA.

After applying, primary and alternate candidates will be notified in September. Candidates will receive their official letter of acceptance no later than February 2017, and they will begin their program in Fall 2017.

After graduating, officers will be assigned to the Air Force Test Pilot School staff for three years in a position requiring an advanced academic degree. They will also incur a five-year active duty service commitment.

Stephen Losey covers personnel, promotions, and the Air Force Academy for Air Force Times. He can be reached at

Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.

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