Quantum Science and Engineering PhD

Degree Requirements

The PhD program in Quantum Science and Engineering aims to provide students with a firm grounding in the basic principles of this fast-moving area, while still allowing students enough flexibility to tailor their education to address their specific interests.

Course Requirements

QSE PhD students entering the program are expected to fulfill a set of course requirements including three core courses, four in-depth courses, and two broad elective courses for a total of nine courses.

  • QSE Core Courses (3) aim to provide a foundation for advanced coursework in both fundamental and applied areas of quantum science.   
    • MENG 31400: Advanced Quantum Engineering
    • PHYS 34100: Graduate Quantum Mechanics-1
    • PHYS 34200: Graduate Quantum Mechanics-2
  • In-depth Courses (4) give students specialized knowledge in the research field of their choice and include any graduate-level quantum science course offered by the PME, or other graduate courses offered in any STEM field.  Advanced graduate courses in QSE currently include:
    • MENG 35510:  Quantum Materials Modelling
    • MENG 36500:  Quantum Optics
    • MENG 36600:  Quantum Electronic Materials
    • MENG 36620:  Physics of Solid State Semiconductor Devices
    • MENG 36630:  Introduction to Nanofabrication
    • MENG 37100:  Implementations of Quantum Information Processors
    • MENG 37200:  Quantum Dissipation and Measurement
    • MENG 37300:  Experimental Techniques and Advanced Instrumentation
    • MENG 37400:  Advanced Quantum Information
    • MENG 37500:  Quantum Measurements and Metrology
  • 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 (and hence can include courses from the list given above).
  • Courses used to meet degree requirements must be completed with grades of B or higher.

Advisor Match Process

All QSE PhD students participate in the research group matching process in which they are expected to secure a primary research advisor who will guide them through the course of their doctoral research. As a highly interdisciplinary environment, there are many opportunities to work with multiple faculty members within the PME and/or with faculty in other partner divisions at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory. 


During their second year of study, PME PhD students pursue candidacy for the PhD To establish candidacy, PME PhD students must successfully complete all core courses and all in-depth courses. In addition, students are required to develop a research proposal and give an oral presentation of their written proposal to a faculty review committee for approval.

Teaching Requirements

The PME requires that all PhD students engage in meaningful teaching experiences.

Students must either complete two quarters as a Teaching Assistant for a course, or one quarter as a Teaching Assistant for a course and the equivalent of a second TAship credit in an approved alternative activity (or activities). The availability of approved alternatives is limited, and the list of approved alternatives may change. Most students fulfill this requirement with two TAships.

Teaching assignments are determined based on department need, although some consideration may be given to student preferences.

Dissertation Thesis

All students in the PME PhD program 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. Detailed instructions and guidelines on how to meet the requirements for University of Chicago dissertations are available in the University's student manual, in the University-Wide Requirements for the PhD Dissertation, and on the Dissertation Office website

Academic Policies

The PME provides full financial support to all PhD students throughout their graduate study at the PME as long as they remain in good standing. Individuals not continuing in their PhD program of study may be awarded a terminal Master's degree. Such students must have registered full time in the division for a minimum of three quarters and have completed nine courses at the 30000-level or above in STEM departments with grades of C or better (at least two must be research courses with an approved faculty member).  In addition, these students may, at the discretion of the Vice Dean for Education and Outreach, be required to submit a paper on their research.

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


All first-year PME graduate students are required to register for and attend MENG 40100, MENG 40200, and MENG 40300.

PME Core Sequence covers 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. 

MENG 40100

Grand Challenges in Molecular Engineering I

MENG 40200

Grand Challenges in Molecular Engineering II

MENG 40300 provides 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.

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.