A series of poly(aryl ether ketone) oligomers containing phthalonitrile were synthesized by a direct solution polycondensation, and characterized by fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and hydrogen nuclear magnetic resonance. Differential scanning calorimetry results showed the oligomers had low melting points and large processing windows (103–124°C) in the presence of bis[4-(4-aminophenoxy)phenyl]sulfone. The uncured synthesized oligomers had good solubility while the cured samples became insoluble in common organic solvents. Isothermal rheometric analysis showed the rate of phthalonitrile polymerization could be controlled easily by varying concentration of curing additive and curing temperature, which indicated that the oligomers possessed good processability. Gel content measurements demonstrated that the cured oligomers had high crosslinking density with the significantly high gel content over 90.1%. Dynamic mechanical analysis indicated the oligomeric phthalonitrile resins according to our curing procedure possessed good thermal mechanical properties. Thermogravimetric analysis of cured resins showed the highest temperature for 5% weight loss reached 515 and 516°C under nitrogen and air, respectively, and the char yield was over 67% at 800°C, revealing that the phthalonitrile resins possessed excellent thermal and thermo-oxidative stability. This kind of the oligomeric phthalonitrile resins may be used as a good candidate for high-performance polymeric materials. POLYM. ENG. SCI., 54:1695–1703, 2014. © 2013 Society of Plastics Engineers