Ph.D. in Nanoscience

Ph.D. in Nanoscience

About the Ph.D. in Nanoscience

The Ph.D. in Nanoscience is a 49-credit degree program that has two concentrations—one in Materials Science and Nanomaterials, and the other in Synthetic Biology. Students earning a Ph.D. in Nanoscience will be expected to design, organize and manage multifaceted research programs or projects in the areas of nanotechnology and nanoscience; effectively communicate, both orally and through the written word, when proposing new research projects, reporting their research discoveries, or when critiquing or evaluating the proposals or discoveries of others; practice safe laboratory protocols and policies; and analyze and synthesize complex ideas associated with nanoscience and nanotechnology, and employ these processes for the advancement of nanoscience research.

Apply Request Info

Program Contacts

Title Name Email Address Phone Number
Director of Graduate Studies Dennis LaJeunesse (336) 285-2866
Interim Chair Timothy D. Johnston (336) 285-2813
Executive Assistant Nancy Brown (336) 285-2746

Admission Requirements

In addition to the application materials required by The Graduate School, applicants must submit a personal statement indicating their interest in the program and a current Curriculum Vitae. Prospective doctoral students are generally admitted only for the Fall terms. The deadline to apply for full funding consideration is January 15th, the deadline for all Ph.D. applications is March 15th, and the deadline for all MS applications is July 1st.

The Department of Nanoscience encourages early applicants! Ph.D. applications are processed on a continuing basis and decisions on admission are made when the application file is complete.

Requirements and Concentrations

* Students must complete NAN618 and NAN619 twice each, for a total of 6 credits each.
** Students must take NAN790 twice, for a total of 6 credits.
*** Students must complete a minimum of 12 credits in NAN799.

At the heart of materials science is an understanding of the microstructure of solids and low dimensional nanomaterials, including biological tissues. Microstructure refers to solids viewed at the subatomic (electronic) and atomic levels, and the nature of the defects at these levels. Microstructure is a fundamental feature of description of biological tissues at the cellular level. The phenomenological and mechanistic relationships between the microstructure and the macroscopic properties of solids, low dimensional nanomaterials and biological tissues are the essence of the described concentration. This is best represented by the “materials science triangle”: synthesismicrostructureproperties.

Materials Science and Nanomaterials Concentration

* Or elective course approved by the student’s committee and advisor.

Synthetic biology is an interdisciplinary science that uses fundamental biological principles to develop novel biotechnologies and test fundamental aspects of complex molecular and cellular systems. Synthetic biology and nanoscience share a common focus in the scope of the problems and questions they address, as well as the techniques used. A good example of synthetic biology is the area of research of SemiSyn biology, which involves the merging of electronic semiconductor systems and living cells. Students in synthetic biology will have a qualitative and quantitative knowledge of biochemistry and molecular biology, laboratory skills in biotechnology, and use concepts that span the range from chemical engineering to computer science. Graduates with a concentration in synthetic biology will be prepared to work broadly in the field of biotechnology, and specifically in research, pharma, and energy applications.

Synthetic Biology Concentration

* Or an elective that is approved by the student’s committee and advisor.

In their first year, students will take a comprehensive exam in order to continue in the program. This is an exam of breadth, and is designed to test a student’s general knowledge in the area of Nanoscience that is most central to their dissertation research. This exam has two parts. The first part is a 5000–7500-word review article written in consultation with their research advisor; this article will cover the research area of nanoscience most pertinent to the student’s dissertation project. The second part is an oral exam of this document by the student’s dissertation committee.

In their second year, the student will prepare a dissertation research proposal. The dissertation proposal is an exam of depth and consists of two parts: a written component and an oral component. This exam will be used by the student’s dissertation committee to determine whether the student is qualified to perform doctoral level research. The written proposal is a written exam that describes an original research project that will serve as the basis for the student’s dissertation project. In addition to this written proposal, the student will defend their proposal in an oral examination before their dissertation committee. Successful defense of the proposal, along with successful completion of all required coursework, will elevate the student to the status of doctoral candidacy.