Nanobioscience Program Leading to the Doctor of Philosophy Degree

The purpose of NSE’s Ph.D. programs is to prepare the student for a career as a skilled, productive research scholar in nanobioscience. The programs are intended for students with career interests in industrial research and development, academic scholarship and research, or government research agencies.

The Ph.D. program  merges core biological science and applied science principles with the foundational tenets and skillsets of nanoscale science and nanoscale engineering, graduates of these programs will have the intellectual fluency and technical ability to analyze and investigate the fundamental properties of a given nanoscale biological process or phenomenon and apply that learning to hypothesis formulation for the conception or construction of a functional nanobiological system or architecture. This program is designed to develop the student’s ability to discover fundamental knowledge pertaining to:

  • The integration of nanoscale science and engineering with fundamental biological disciplines including microbiology, biochemistry, cell biology, and medicine.

  • Drawing knowledge from biological systems to enable unique approaches to nanotechnological design, engineering, processing and manufacturing.

Students accepted into the NSE Ph.D. programs are strongly recommended to construct a preliminary program of graduate study with the assistance of their academic and research advisor at the completion of the first year of study. This preliminary program will consist of the student’s choice of concentration (specialization) and a preliminary concentration course curriculum.

Admissions Requirements

The following are required for the admission application:

  • Official transcripts from colleges previously attended
  • Three academic or professional  letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement
  • Resume
  • Submission of a GRE General Test score is strongly recommended but not required. NSE evaluates all aspects of the application therefore a minimum score is not identified.


Departmental Assistantship Consideration

  • Fall: Feb 1
  • Spring: October 1

Applications received after these dates will be reviewed on an individual basis. Financial Support for M.S. students is dependent on availability of funding.

International applicants are required to submit the following additional materials:

  • A minimum TOEFL score of 95 on the internet based exam (or its equivalent) is required of all international applicants with the exception of those who have completed four full-time semesters of study within a four-year time frame from time of application and maintained at least a B average at a college or university in the United States or a country where English is the official language.
  • Complete financial affidavit form with appropriate certification.

Degree Requirements of the Ph.D. in Nanobioscience (60 credits)

1. Students admitted with an appropriate Bachelor’s degree shall complete 60 credit hours of academic coursework in partial fulfillment of the Ph.D. degree requirements:

a. Thirty-six (36) credit hours NSE coursework at the 500 level or higher with the following provisions:

  • Completion of the 12 credit-hour “Foundations of Nanotechnology” sequence.
  • Completion of at least 9 credit hours of 600 or higher level coursework as advised relevant to a Nanobioscience degree.

b. Nine (9) credit hours of seminar/external courses.

c. Fifteen (15) credit hours of Ph.D. dissertation research (NSE 8XX, 6XX)

2. Students admitted with an appropriate Masters degree shall complete 36 credit hours of academic coursework in partial fulfillment of the Ph.D. degree requirements.

a. Fifteen (15) credit hours NSE coursework at the 500 level or higher with the following provisions:

  • Completion of “Foundations of Nanotechnology” course sequence for which the student did not receive course equivalency upon matriculation into the Nanobioscience Ph.D. program.
  • Completion of at least 6 credit hours of 600 or higher level coursework as advised relevant to a Nanobioscience degree.

b. Six (6) credit hours of seminar/external courses.

c.Fifteen (15) credit hours of Ph.D. dissertation research.

3. Preliminary Written Examination for formal admission to the Nanobioscience Ph.D. program:

Admission to the Nanobioscience Ph.D. program requires successful completion of a preliminary examination testing the ability of the candidate to conceive and present a research project in Nanobioscience. The exam will be offered yearly and must be passed within two attempts to maintain academic standing in the Nanobioscience Ph.D. program.

4 . Preliminary Oral Examination for completion of the Nanobioscience Ph.D. degree:

Normally, within 2 semesters of passing the preliminary written examination, students in the Nanobioscience Ph.D. program must submit a written research proposal describing the student’s intended dissertation research and followed by a formal preliminary oral examination relevant to the proposed work and the Nanobioscience degree. An oral examination committee determines successful completion of the preliminary oral examination. This committee consists of at least four members of the NSE faculty (including the student’s advisor who serves as chair) and at least one outside member (faculty outside NSE, or NSE research partner). Upon passing this examination the student advances to candidacy for the Nanobioscience Ph.D.

Within one semester of passing the preliminary oral examination, the candidate must submit to his or her Ph.D. dissertation committee a proposal outlining an original Nanobioscience research project constituting a Ph.D. dissertation. The candidate must describe the motivation and background for the dissertation; the critical milestones for completing relevant research tasks; and a statement of work outlining a specific research plan. The four-person Ph.D. dissertation committee consists of at least three members of the NSE faculty (including the candidate’s advisor) and at least one outside member (faculty outside NSE, or a NSE research partner).

5. Submission and successful defense of a formal Ph.D. Dissertation:

Upon timely completion of the Ph.D. dissertation research project, the candidate prepares a dissertation and submits the final draft to the dissertation committee. The committee ascertains the suitability of the draft and recommends amendments which the candidate must complete before the final defense is scheduled. Once approved by the committee, permission is granted for the candidate to present and defend the dissertation in a public seminar.

6. Ph.D. Publication Requirement:

For successful completion of the Ph.D. degree requirements, students are also required to be the first author on a minimum of two scientific publications that have already been accepted for publication in recognized peer-reviewed technical journals that are related to their concentration area. Exceptions to the publication requirement may be made with appropriate justification and upon recommendation by the Thesis committee,  Department Chair, and Dean.

Admission to Candidacy

A student is admitted to candidacy for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy upon the following:

  • Satisfactory record in course and seminar study (36 credits minimum for students pursuing the 60 credit program; 24 credits minimum for students pursuing the 36 credit program)
  • Completion of University residence requirements;
  • Satisfactory completion of the research requirement;
  • Satisfactory completion of the doctoral qualifying examination and preliminary doctoral qualifying examination
  • Completion of the Publication requirement.

Please note: This program may offer an internship, field experience, study abroad component, or clinical experience in the course listing as an option to fulfill course requirements. Students who have previously been convicted of a felony are advised that their prior criminal history may impede their ability to complete the requirements of certain academic programs and/or to meet licensure requirements for certain professions. If you have concerns about this matter please contact the Dean’s Office of your intended academic program.