A student working in a UAlbany nanotechnology lab.

Doctor of Philosophy

Nanoscale Engineering

Program of Study


You’ll complete either 36 or 60 credits of coursework to earn your PhD in Nanoscale Engineering at UAlbany, depending whether you already hold an appropriate master’s or bachelor’s degree upon acceptance to the program.

All students enroll in a sequence of four foundational courses that provide the core competencies necessary for success in nanoscale engineering and science fields. You’ll earn the rest of your credits through research, seminars and other nanoscale science and engineering courses, which are determined in part by which of seven tracks you choose.

After your first year, you’ll embark on a preliminary program of study with your advisor that includes choosing a track and coursework to satisfy it.

Note: The PhD in Nanoscale Engineering does not lead to New York State licensure for practicing engineers in civil construction, surveying or the trades.

Additional Requirements 

Preliminary Written Exam

This exam covers fundamental topics of nanoscale engineering, and you have two attempts to pass to maintain academic standing in the program.

Preliminary Oral Examination

Typically taken within two semesters of passing the written exam, the oral exam is related to your area of concentration.


Submission and defense of a proposal that represents original research that contributes to knowledge in nanoscale engineering.


You must be the first author on at least two scientific publications that have been accepted to peer-reviewed journals related to your area of concentration.

Nanoelectronics Engineering and Technology

Design, processing, fabrication, testing and integration of nanoelectronic structures and devices for incorporation in emerging gigascale and terascale integrated circuit systems and architectures. Development of integrated process modules for novel nanoelectronics materials.

Optoelectronics and Photonics Nanoengineering

Nanoengineering design, fabrication, testing and integration of integrated optoelectronic and photonic device structures using compound semiconductors. Testing and hybridization of optoelectronic/photonic devices in system-on-a-chip (SOC) and nano-electro-mechanical system (NEMS) architectures.

Spintronics Nanoengineering

Design, fabrication, testing and integration of spintronic device structures. Testing and hybridization of spintronic devices, including incorporation in system-on-a-chip (SOC) and nano-electro-mechanical system (NEMS) architectures.

NanoSystem Engineering and Technology

Design, fabrication, packaging and testing of nano/micro-electrical and nano/micro-opto-electrical mechanical components and nano/micro-fluidic components for incorporation in SOC architectures and systems.


Nanoengineering in Energy & Environmental Technologies

Development of nanotechnology engineering concepts for new and emerging applications in energy and environmental areas including fuel cells, solar cells, superconductors, sensors, power electronics, and supercapacitors.

Nanolithography Engineering and Technology

Design, development and engineering of nanolithography systems, components and processes. Development and engineering of materials and metrologies for nanolithography.

Nanobiology Engineering and Technology

Design, development and engineering of nanobiological systems, components and processes. Development and engineering of biomaterials and nano-bio-systems for SOC, nanomedicine and health applications.

Combined MD-PhD Program

Get education and training in both medicine and nanoscale science and engineering research through this pioneering dual-degree program. Offered by the College of Nanotechnology, Science, and Engineering (CNSE) and SUNY Downstate College of Medicine, students in this program benefit from the combined resources of a CNSE’s world renowned nanotech education and research facilities, and SUNY Downstate’s outstanding medical training.

Through an integrated, seven-year course of study alternating between the two programs, you’ll prepare to become a world-class research physician in the emerging science and practice of nanomedicine, graduating at the vanguard of healthcare with an MD from SUNY Downstate College of Medicine and a PhD in either nanoscale science or engineering from the University at Albany.

You must apply and be accepted to both programs. Visit the SUNY Downstate College of Medicine admissions page for more information.



A student conducting research in a UAlbany nanotechnology lab.
Research and Facilities

As a student in the nanoscale engineering PhD program at UAlbany, you’ll have access to the Albany NanoTech Complex, the most advanced nanotech center in North America. Gain hands-on experience inside an unmatched 1.65M square foot facility that houses a powerful ecosystem for education, development, tech acceleration, business incubation and prototyping. 

Available internship and research opportunities, many of which happen in cooperation with Albany NanoTech’s numerous onsite corporate partners, including IBM, GlobalFoundries, Samsung, Applied Materials, Tokyo Electron, ASML and Lam Research, can lead to exciting career opportunities.


In addition to the Albany NanoTech Complex, UAlbany’s College of Nanotechnology, Science, and Engineering (CNSE) is also home to other research labs and programs:  

  • The Advanced Cybersecurity Research Lab, a hub for investigating cybersecurity, machine learning, and autonomic computing approaches.  
  • The New York State Data Center, a partnership between the New York State office of Information Technology and New York State Office of General Services that’s dedicated to making government IT operations and services more efficient and reliable. 
  • The Center for Advanced Semiconductor Power Electronics Research (CASPER), an organization working to advance power electronics based on wide bandgap materials.


Career Outcomes

With a PhD in Nanoscale Engineering, you will be prepared for a career as a research scholar, capable of thriving in academia, government or industrial organizations. 

Possible job titles for a Nanoscale Engineering PhD include: 

  • University Professor
  • Pharmaceutical Researcher
  • Mass Spectrometrist
  • Advanced Optics Engineer
  • Nanofabrication Engineer
  • Lithographic Performance Engineer
  • Pharmaceutical Research and Development



A student conducting research in a UAlbany nanotechnology lab.

“I chose (this program) because of the wonderful professors and facilities. Every professor is interested in their students and interested in their science. The facilities that we have are world class. It allows us to study anything you could possibly want.”

- Emma Rocco, PhD Nanoscale Engineering ‘23, Currently National Research Council Post-Doctoral Fellow, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

International Students

This degree is designated as a STEM program. International students maintaining F-1 status are allowed to apply for up to 12 months of post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) following completion/graduation from their degree program. Currently, this degree program is also designated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as an eligible degree for the F-1 STEM OPT work authorization extension; students who secure qualifying employment may be eligible to apply for the STEM OPT extension for a cumulative total of up to 36 months of F-1 OPT work authorization.

Admissions Requirements

Departmental Assistantship Consideration

Fall: February 1
Spring: October 1

Financial support for Masters students is dependent on availability of funding. 

No Departmental Assistantship Consideration

Fall: February 1
Spring: October 1

Applications received after these dates will be reviewed on an individual basis.

Required Application Materials
  • Transcripts from all schools attended
  • Three academic or professional letters of recommendation
  • Personal Statement
  • Resume
  • GRE General Test score is strongly recommended but not required. The department evaluates all aspects of the application, therefore a minimum score is not identified.

Available information for International Applicants.