COVID-19 Information

Engineering PhD Innovation Program

Dartmouth's PhD Innovation (PhD-I) Program addresses the nation's vital need for engineers with both technical and entrepreneurial expertise and was the nation’s first doctoral-level innovation program.

As a student in this highly selective program, you will complete all the regular PhD requirements along with additional studies that prepare you for the opportunity to build an enterprise based on technical innovation.

"We had full access to the battle and success stories of Professor Eric Fossum’s startups and gained insight into what it really takes to be an entrepreneur." —Austin Boesch Th’16, PhD Innovation Program

Overview

Acceptance into the PhD-I program comes with up to 5 years of full financial support. The first 2 years you will be supported as a graduate research assistant by your dissertation research advisor. Following satisfactory performance, you will receive up to 3 years of unrestricted program funding to allow you to follow your ideas independent of your advisor’s funded research program and to build the skill necessary to build an enterprise — such as a start-up company, a new division of an established company, or a government or non-profit enterprise.

From the Director

Hear from program director Eric Fossum, Professor of Engineering, Associate Provost of Dartmouth's Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer, Queen Elizabeth Prize Laureate, and inventor of the CMOS active pixel image sensor used in almost all cell-phone cameras.

Surgical Training Track

The Program also offers the option of a Training Program in Surgical Innovation (TPSI)—or "surgical training track"—for students wanting to focus on innovations that improve the safety and outcomes of surgical procedures. Hear more from Keith Paulsen, the Robert A. Pritzker Professor of Biomedical Engineering.

Information Webinar

We occasionally host a webinar for students interested in learning more about the Program. Please email us if you would like to be notified about upcoming sessions.

You can also view a recently recorded webinar.

Student Testimonials

View the selection below or browse the full PhD-I Program video playlist.

Program Requirements

Admitted students work with a special advisory committee to see that all of the following PhD-I Program requirements are met:

Applied Mathematics

(choose 2 courses)

  • ENGS 91: Numerical Methods in Computation
  • ENGS 92: Fourier Transforms and Complex Variables
  • ENGS 93: Statistical Methods in Engineering
  • ENGS 100: Methods in Applied Mathematics I
  • ENGS 104: Optimization Methods for Engineering Applications
  • ENGS 105: Computational Methods for Partial Differential Equations I
  • ENGS 106: Numerical Linear Algebra

Innovation

(4 courses)

  • ENGM 180: Accounting and Finance
  • ENGM 187: Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship
    • typically taken in 2nd year of PhD program
  • ENGM 188: Law for Technology and Entrepreneurship
    • or equivalent course
  • ENGG 321: Advanced Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Engineering Specialization

(4 courses)

  • Courses in the student's area of research, chosen to increase depth of knowledge and expertise. These courses should be selected in concert with the thesis advisor.

Innovation Elective

(1 course - minimum)

  • One or more graduate-level technical courses outside the student’s area of expertise.

Professional Skills Development

(required each term enrolled)

  • ENGG 195: Seminar on Science, Technology, and Society (4 terms)
  • ENGG 197: PhD Professional Workshops (recommended but not required; can be used to write a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) proposal)
  • ENGG 198: Research-in-Progress Workshop (annual participation)

Internship

(1 course - minimum)

  • To gain first-hand familiarity with how technology innovation is implemented in companies, students will arrange a full-time internship (ENGG 300) for a period of three to six months. The company must be engaged in some facet of technology innovation. Under special circumstances, students may be allowed to work on their own startup. Students with significant prior experience in a company may request waiver of the internship requirement.
  • While students are on their internship, paid (normal) or unpaid, they will not receive a stipend. They will be eligible for health insurance through Dartmouth if they request it. Prior to starting the internship, students must see Lori Laventure (Cummings Hall, Rm. 135A). Also see the course requirements for ENGG 300.

Program Comparison

Course Comparison

Regular PhD Program

  • 11–13 courses total
  • 6 courses first year

PhD Innovation Program

  • 15–17 courses total
  • 6 courses first year

Engineering Specialization

  • 4 courses (year 1)

Engineering Specialization

  • 4 courses (year 1)

Applied Mathematics

  • 2 courses (year 1)

Applied Mathematics

  • 2 courses (year 1)

Professional Skills Development

  • 3 courses

Professional Skills Development

  • 3 courses

Breadth of Knowledge Electives

  • 2–3 graduate-level technical courses outside the student's area of expertise

Innovation Elective

  • One or more graduate-level technical courses outside the student’s area of expertise.

Innovation Core

  • ENGM 187: Tech. Innovation and Entrepreneurship (year 2)
  • ENGM 180 Accounting and Finance (year 3)
  • ENGM 188: Law for Tech. and Entrepreneurship (year 3)
  • ENGG 300: Internship (year 4, 3–6 months, summer)
  • ENGG 321: Adv. Innovation and Entrepreneurship (year 2)

Surgical Training Track (only)

  • Surgical Innovation Rotation and Training

Funding Comparison

Year

Regular PhD Program

PhD Innovation Program

1

100% Thayer Fellowship

100% Thayer Fellowship

2

100% Thayer Fellowship

50% Thayer Fellowship

50% Innovation Program Fellowship

3

100% Thayer Fellowship

50% Thayer Fellowship

50% Innovation Program Fellowship

+ Up to $10K/yr Research Grant

4

100% Thayer Fellowship

100% Innovation Program Fellowship

+ Up to $10K/yr Research Grant

5

100% Thayer Fellowship

100% Innovation Program Fellowship

+ Up to $10K/yr Research Grant

100% Thayer Fellowship

Admissions

Eligibility

  • New applicants this program as well as current students in the PhD and PhD+MD programs are eligible to apply

Application Deadline

  • January 1

How to Apply

Prospective students

Check the box indicating Innovation Program interest in the online application.

In addition to the online application, you must submit the following PhD Innovation Program materials:

  • Statement (2-page max) describing:
    • reasons for interest in the PhD Innovation Program
    • why the program is relevant to your long-term career goals
    • an example demonstrating creativity in arriving at a solution
  • Statement (2-page max) describing an example of a broad technology development problem that interests you
    • This should be written in the general form of a proposal for funding
    • Specify one or two potential Thayer School faculty advisors for your proposed work (prior contact with those faculty members by email is recommended)
  • Curriculum Vitae (3-page max)
  • For Current Students Only
    • Include a letter of recommendation from your thesis advisor.

How to submit application PhD Innovation Program materials:

Admission to this program will be determined by a committee consisting of the Dean of Thayer School or the Director of the Program (Professor Eric Fossum), and members of the faculty, drawn from those serving on the program Advisory Board.

Timeline

  • January 1: Application materials due
  • Late January to early February: Interviews (by telephone, video conference, or on campus)
  • Mid February: Decisions/notifications
  • April 15: Candidate acceptance deadline

Email questions about the admission process to engineering.admissions@dartmouth.edu

Questions?

For questions about the PhD-I Program, please contact:

Holly Wilkinson
Assistant Dean for Academic and Student Affairs

holly.wilkinson@dartmouth.edu
+1 (603) 646-3483