Interdisciplinary Engineering, PhD

Thomas C. Sheahan, ScD
Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
130 Snell Engineering Center

The Graduate School of Engineering offers an interdisciplinary Doctor of Philosophy degree involving substantial work in two or more academic departments or disciplines. Those interested in this program of study must submit a detailed proposal of the areas of inquiry and research with their application for admission. Interdisciplinary study requires favorable recommendation by a sponsoring doctoral-degree-granting department and approval by authorized representatives of the graduate committees of the departments appropriate to the disciplines covered under the applicant’s proposal. The sponsoring department serves as the student’s registration department.

Formation of Interdisciplinary Committee

Students admitted for interdisciplinary study must obtain the consent of a faculty advisor who will direct his or her doctoral dissertation. This advisor, who may or may not be a member of the registration department, will chair the student’s interdisciplinary committee. The chair of the registration department, or his or her designee, will then appoint a second member to the committee. These two members will invite one or more additional members or request that the director of the Graduate School of Engineering do so. The committee must represent at least two academic departments or programs, and a majority of the committee members must represent doctoral-degree-granting departments. The chair of the registration department, or his or her designee, will notify the director of the Graduate School of Engineering of the membership of the committee as soon as arrangements are finalized.

Duties of Interdisciplinary Committee

A member of the interdisciplinary committee who is also a member of the registration department will serve as the registration officer to approve course registration for the student. The registration officer will file a copy of the approved course registration with the other committee members and with the graduate committee of the registration department. The interdisciplinary committee is responsible for overseeing the completion of all requirements. The committee must also certify to the registration department and to the Graduate School of Engineering the completion of all requirements for the award of the doctoral degree.

The interdisciplinary committee must assure that the student’s program represents standards comparable to those of the registration department and that the program is not so broad that it has inadequate depth in any area. The director of the Graduate School of Engineering may review a student’s interdisciplinary program at any time to verify that the student meets program objectives.