A student conducting research in a UAlbany nanotechnology lab.

Doctor of Philosophy

Nanoscale Science

Program of Study


You’ll complete either 36 or 60 credits of coursework to earn your PhD in Nanoscale Science at UAlbany, depending on whether you already hold an appropriate master’s degree or a bachelor’s 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 the seven tracks you choose.  

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

Additional Requirements

Preliminary Written Exam

This exam covers fundamental topics of nansocale science, 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 science.


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.

Molecular Materials and Architecture

Fundamental material properties of molecular dots, wires and crystals; quantum confinement and ballistic transport-based device structures; and the integration of molecular/electronic materials in nanodevice geometries. Advanced theoretical and computer simulation treatments of nanoscale optical, electronic, elastic and thermodynamic properties.

Optoelectronic Materials and Architectures

Compound semiconductor material properties and fundamentals of compound semiconductor ultra-thin-film growth for optical and optoelectronic applications. Quantum confinement-based optical and optoelectronic properties. Optical and optoelectronic device architectures using single and compound semiconductors.

Spintronic Materials and Architectures

Compound semiconductor material properties and fundamentals of compound semiconductor thin-film growth for spintronic applications. Magnetic and nanomagnetic device architectures using single and compound semiconductors.

Ultra-Thin Film Single and Multilayered Nanomaterial Structures

Self-assembly, deposition, modification and integration of single and multilayered thin film materials. Fundamental functionality relationships between nanoscale structures and dimensions and resulting film properties. 

Nanoscale Materials Characterization, Analysis and Metrology

 Advanced nanoscale photon, ion and electron based microscopic and spectroscopic analytical techniques and process metrologies for atomic and molecular-level material properties of ultra-thin films, nanomaterials and nanoscale devices and systems.

Nanomaterials for Nanotechnology

The science of design, deposition and integration of atomic and molecular-level nanoengineered materials for nanotechnology-based applications.

Economic Impacts of Nanoscale Science and Nanotechnology

In-depth technical analysis of educational, workforce and economic impacts of emerging nanoscale systems and architectures. Theoretical modeling and simulation studies of the technical impact of emerging nanoscale science concepts and disruptive nanotechnologies.

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 science 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 transformative 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 Science, you will be well equipped to pursue careers in academia, government or industry.

Potential job titles for an Nanoscale Science PhD include:

  • University Professor
  • Post-doctoral Researcher
  • Research & Development Engineer
  • Scientific Director
  • Photovoltaic Materials Scientist
  • Research Metallurgist



A researcher working in a UAlbany nanotechnology lab.

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.