Graduate Program in Molecular Engineering

Matthew Tirrell

David Awschalom
Andrew Cleland
Giulia Galli
Jeffrey Hubbell
Juan J. de Pablo
Paul Nealey
​Melody Swartz
Jun Huang

The Institute for Molecular Engineering is at the forefront of an emerging field. This exciting new field involves the incorporation of synthetic molecular building blocks including electronic, optical, mechanical, chemical, and biological components into functional systems that will impact technologies from advanced medical therapies to quantum computing. The institute is the largest new academic endeavor that the University has taken on since the founding of the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy in 1988.

The Institute for Molecular Engineering (IME) was created by the University of Chicago, in partnership with Argonne National Laboratory, which brings leading scientists and engineers and world-class facilities to the endeavor, including the Advanced Photon Source, the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, and the Center for Nanoscale Materials.

In May 2013, the University of Chicago’s Council of the University Senate approved the Institute for Molecular Engineering’s PhD program, thus launching the first engineering graduate program in the history of the University of Chicago.

How to Apply

The Institute for Molecular Engineering welcomes students with diverse academic backgrounds, including all fields of physical, biological and computational sciences, to join in the quest for breakthrough scientific discoveries and technological advancements addressing the world’s most pressing problems. The applicant for the PhD program should have a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field, and should provide scores for the GRE general test and the TOEFL (if not a native English speaker). The relevant GRE subject test scores will be considered if submitted, and could strengthen an application, but are not strictly required. Please submit a personal statement of research interests, three recommendation letters and transcript(s) from all undergraduate institutions.

Applications are due January 5, 2016.

Degree Requirements

Graduate students entering the IME PhD program are expected to fulfill a set of course requirements including three core courses, four in-depth courses in the research field of choice, and two broad elective courses. The core and in-depth courses are selected from a portfolio of graduate level courses, in conjunction with the faculty advisor. These courses are offered by the IME, sister departments (physics, chemistry, biophysics, computer science, and biological sciences) or developed specifically for IME students. The broad electives are to provide students with the opportunity to acquire skills in leadership, communication, technology development and product design. The hallmark of the IME’s PhD program is a highly customized curriculum tailored to each individual student’s needs and inspirations. To expose the students to a number of scientific topics, all first year graduate students are required to attend the IME First Thursday Distinguished Colloquium Series each month. In addition, there are a wide variety of opportunities for students to engage in teaching.

To establish candidacy, students are required to develop a research proposal describing the objectives, approaches and expected outcomes of their PhD thesis work. Students will give an oral presentation of their written proposal to a faculty review committee for approval. This process should be completed no later than the end of winter quarter of the second academic year.

All students will receive scholarship support from the Institute for the first quarter. Subsequently, IME provides full financial support to all graduate students throughout their graduate study at IME as long as they remain in good standing.

The IME adopts the residency requirement of the University of Chicago as a part of the degree requirements.

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