A hallmark of the IME's Ph.D. program is a highly customized curriculum tailored to each individual student's needs and aspirations, but grounded in a common understanding of design in functional systems at molecular length scales. All students in the IME Ph.D. program are expected to fulfill a set of course requirements including 3 IME core courses, 4 in-depth courses in the research field of choice, and 2 broad elective courses. Courses used to meet program requirements must be taken for a quality grade.
The core and in-depth courses are selected from a portfolio of graduate level courses in consultation with the faculty advisor. Core courses, designed specifically for our students, offer common training on fundamental principles, methodologies, and/or systems that serve multiple engineering fields within the Institute for Molecular Engineering. They are courses that facilitate interdisciplinary understanding and collaboration.
In-depth courses include those offered by the IME and many offered by sister departments (e.g., Physics, Chemistry, Biophysics, Computer Science, and Biological Sciences). They are courses that aid the acquisition of specialized knowledge in a research field of choice.
The broad electives should be thought of as an opportunity for students to acquire skills in leadership, communication, technology development, and product design--all of which serve to elevate the relevance of student research and discovery. Broad electives are also an opportunity to acquire or renew basic understanding in STEM subject areas related to core and in-depth course offerings. Though only nine courses are required for the program, students are encouraged to take as many courses across the university as they are interested in.
In addition to providing a rigorous curriculum and meaningful research experiences, the Institute for Molecular Engineering aims to develop in our students core competencies in communication, knowledge synthesis, engaged scholarship, leadership, and entrepreneurship. The broad electives, together with a wide variety of teaching activities and other IME-developed co-curricular programs, are intended to provide students with the opportunities to acquire these skills. Furthermore, to expose 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.
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, all IME graduate students receive full financial support throughout their graduate study at the 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.