Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Dartmouth engineering PhD students acquire technical depth in their chosen area of concentration while simultaneously gaining a breadth of knowledge in related fields. In addition to courses in applied mathematics and engineering, students undertake a multi-year research project, usually part of a larger multidisciplinary project.
Students interested in entrepreneurship can augment their program with the PhD Innovation Program, which adds courses that address technology business practices and the art of moving research discoveries to market. Students in this program meet all requirements, including passing an oral qualifying examination and defending a PhD thesis proposal, along with additional specific requirements.
Matching Interests to Faculty
PhD students typically are funded through a professor’s sponsored research or a fellowship throughout their studies at Thayer School. Therefore, applicants interested in pursuing particular areas of research should contact Thayer School faculty for an initial conversation about research opportunities.
The foundation for doctoral work is undergraduate preparation in science, mathematics, and engineering principles. Applicants must hold a bachelor's or master's degree to be considered for the program. Students who are not prepared to complete the first-year requirements are advised to enter the Thayer School MS program and petition later to be admitted to the PhD program. Students who have prior graduate training may be considered for advancement to candidacy after completing 1 or 2 terms of the first-year doctoral program.
All students, upon matriculation, are required to attend a series of workshops in ethics and sign a statement that they agree to abide by the honor principles established by Dartmouth College. See Graduate Academic and Conduct Regulations for a full statement of academic honor.
Students in the PhD program are expected to spend at least 9 terms in residence, 3 of which will take place after successfully completing the oral qualifying examination.
The program of study is developed based on each student's background and professional interests in consultation with the advisor and first year advisory committee. Students are required to take 8-10 courses, reflecting the distribution shown below. Students with prior graduate credits may transfer up to 5 courses to count toward this requirement.
- Applied mathematics (2-3 courses)
- Courses directed toward acquiring breadth of knowledge in engineering sciences (2-3 courses)
- Courses leading to a depth of knowledge in an engineering specialty (4 courses)
In addition to engineering and applied mathematics courses, PhD students participate in the following seminars and workshops:
- ENGG 195: Seminar on Science, Technology and Society (1 term)
- ENGG 196: Seminar on Applied Science and Technology (3 terms)
- ENGG 197: Ph.D. Professional Workshops (1 term)
- ENGG 198: Research-in-Progress Workshop* (annually)
*Each spring, our PhD candidates present their research-in-progress to the community. In this video, Daniel Harburg describes his work to improve the efficiency of LED lighting:
Here, engineering PhD students present their research on breast cancer screening and antibody therapeutics during Graduate Appreciation Week:
Thayer School offers PhD candidates optional training in engineering management, development and design, and teaching through ENGG 197 and through Thayer School Career Services, as well as the nation's first doctoral-level engineering Innovation Program.
Candidates interested in administration, management, and/or organization may obtain an Engineering Management Certificate by completing any 3 of the following Engineering Management courses:
- ENGM 179: Accounting
- ENGM 180: Corporate Finance
- ENGM 181: Marketing
- ENGM 183: Operations Management
- ENGM 185: Topics in Manufacturing Design and Processes
- ENGM 186: Technology Project Management
- ENGM 188: Law, Technology and Entrepreneurship
Candidates may enroll in other Thayer School engineering management courses or, for additional tuition, courses offered by Tuck School.
Engineering Development and Design
Candidates interested in industrial engineering design and development may elect a 2-term course sequence in design methodology and/or an individual project course.
Candidates interested in teaching may serve as teaching assistants for one of the undergraduate and graduate courses that has a problem session, tutorial, or laboratory component. In special cases, a candidate may participate in the design and development of laboratory exercises for lecture courses or in the design and development of a special topics course.
Candidates may apply for one of these positions only after they have completed the oral qualifying examination.
More formalized teacher training programs, offered through the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning, are open to Thayer School PhD candidates.