PhD Program

Degree Requirements

At the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME), you will customize your PhD program experience, tailoring it to your own interests and aspirations. At the same time, you will receive training and an education grounded in a common understanding of functional systems on a molecular scale. 

We provide every student with a rigorous curriculum and meaningful research experiences. On top of that, you will develop core competencies in communication, knowledge synthesis, engaged scholarship, leadership, and entrepreneurship. Your Pritzker Molecular Engineering coursework, teaching activities, and other co-curricular programs will empower you to master these skills. 

Course Requirements

PME Ph.D. students who entered the program in 2020 or later are expected to fulfill a set of course requirements including three thematic core courses, four in-depth courses in the research field of choice, and two broad elective courses for a total of nine courses. 

  1. Thematic Core Courses (3) aim to provide a foundation for advanced coursework and research in the student's area of expertise.
    • Immuno-Engineering:
      1. MENG 33100 Biological Materials
      2. MENG 33200 Principles of Immunology
      3. Choose one of the following: 
        • MENG 33110 Stem Cell Biology, Regeneration, and Disease Modeling
        • MENG 33130 Proteomics and Genomics in Biomolecular Engineering
    • Materials Systems for Sustainability and Health:
      1. MENG 31100 Math Methods in Molecular Engineering
      2. Choose two of the following: 
        • MENG 31200 Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics
        • MENG 31300 Transport Phenomena
        • MENG 35100 Introduction to Polymer Science  or  MENG 35200 Solids, Materials, Surfaces
    • Quantum Engineering:
      1. MENG 31400 Advanced Quantum Engineering
      2. PHYS 34100 Graduate Quantum Mechanics-1
      3. PHYS 34200 Graduate Quantum Mechanics-2
  2. In-depth Courses (4) give students specialized knowledge in the research field of their choice and include any graduate-level PME or fellow STEM courses. In consultation with their primary research and/or academic advisor(s), students select courses that will best satisfy their personal needs and program requirements.
  3. Broad Electives (2) serve to help students develop skills in leadership, communication, technology development, and product design. Such courses are often offered in other divisions such as public policy, business, or the humanities. Broad electives can also be used to acquire or renew basic understanding in STEM subject areas.

Courses used to meet degree requirements must be completed with grades of B or higher.

Interested in learning more about the PhD program at PME? Fill out this form to request more information.

 

PME Ph.D. students who entered the program in 2019 or earlier are expected to fulfill the following course requirements: 

  1. Core courses (3)
    Core courses, designed specifically for PME students, teach you fundamental principles, methodologies, and/or systems that serve multiple engineering fields within the school. These courses foster interdisciplinary understanding and collaboration.
    • MENG 31100 - Math Methods in Molecular Engineering
    • MENG 31200 - Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics
    • MENG 31300 - Transport Phenomena
    • MENG 31400 - Advanced Quantum Engineering
    • MENG 33100 - Biological Materials
    • MENG 35100 - Introduction to Polymer Science
    • MENG 36600 - Electronic and Quantum Materials for Technology
  2. In-Depth Courses (4)
    In-depth courses, which must be at the graduate level, give you specialized knowledge in the research field of your choice. In-depth courses include any PME course, or, with your research advisor's approval, graduate courses offered in the Biological Sciences and Physical Sciences Divisions.
  3. Broad elective courses (2)
    The broad electives can help you develop skills in leadership, communication, technology development, and product design. Such courses are often offered in other divisions such as public policy, business, or the humanities. Broad electives can also be used to acquire or renew basic understanding in STEM subject areas. 

Courses used to meet degree requirements must be completed with grades of B or higher.

As a graduate student at the school, you must meet the residency requirements of the University of Chicago. See the section on Registration for Students in PhD Programs and Degrees in the latest version of student manual.

First-year requirements

First-year graduate students are required to register for and attend MENG 40100 Research Themes in Molecular Engineering I and MENG 40200 Research Themes in Molecular Engineering II, which introduce grand challenges and fundamental science and engineering concepts in the three PME themes -- Immuno-Engineering, Materials Systems for Sustainability and Health, and Quantum Engineering -- from a general interest perspective.

In addition, first-year graduate students are required to register for and attend the first-year seminar, MENG 40000, for an overview of the types of competencies and non-academic knowledge associated with successful research. Grades for this course are pass/fail and are based on participation and attendance. Students who miss more than two classes and/or who do not complete the Responsible Conduct of Research training receive a failing grade.

Second-year requirements

Second-year graduate students are required to develop a research proposal and give an oral presentation of their written proposal to a faculty review committee for approval by the end of the Winter quarter. In addition, students must successfully complete all core and in-depth courses prior to candidacy. The candidacy review must be approved before students can move forward as a Ph.D. candidate.

Pedagogical training is a component of our doctoral education. PME requires that all graduate students engage in meaningful teaching experiences. Most students will satisfy this requirement by serving as a teaching assistant (TA). For more information, please see the PME Student Manual.

All PME Ph.D. students are required to prepare, submit, and defend an original dissertation thesis project; organize the logistics of the thesis defense; and submit a final copy of the dissertation to the Dissertation Office site.