2024 Investiture Information

Engineering PhD Innovation Program

Dartmouth's PhD Innovation (PhD-I) Program is the nation's first doctoral-level program aimed at providing PhD students the skills and support necessary to engage in enterprising research and translate their work into the commercial sphere. 

Offered through both Thayer and Guarini School for Graduate and Advanced Studies, students in this selective fellowship complete all the regular PhD requirements as well as additional coursework that prepares them to build an enterprise based on technical innovation. PhD-I students receive funding along with other support to launch their own start-ups and take their research discoveries to market.

PhD Innovation Program Admissions Info

Admissions Events

Overview

The PhD-I Program builds on regular engineering PhD Program and provides coursework, mentoring, resources, and support necessary for students to know how to bring their research to market. PhD-I Fellows take additional coursework in business, innovation, and entrepreneurship, and spend up to six months at an industry internship.

Acceptance into the PhD-I Program comes with up to five years of full financial support. For the first two years, you are supported as a graduate research assistant by your dissertation research advisor. Following satisfactory performance, you will receive up to three years of unrestricted funding to follow your ideas, independent of your advisor's research program, and to gain the skills 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, John H. Krehbiel Sr. Professor for Emerging Technologies of Engineering, Vice 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.

Sensor Science & Technology Track

Sensors impact the lives of nearly every human being, and new and emerging sensor technologies are key for scientific discovery. This track supported by—NSF's National Research Traineeship (NRT) program—is for entrepreneurially-minded graduate student researchers focused on sensor technology applications and commercialization.

Surgical Track

The Program also offers the option of a Training Program in Surgical Innovation (TPSI)—or "surgical track"—for students wanting to focus on innovations that improve the safety and outcomes of surgical procedures. The program prepares graduates for careers in surgical research and development of technology that can help solve problems, save lives, and improve outcomes in operating rooms. 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.

Danielle Castley Th'19

Danielle Castley Th'19

"As a PhD Innovation Fellow, I was both a traditional PhD student doing research and an entrepreneur in training. I have always been passionate about clean energy. I loved that my thesis wouldn't just sit on a shelf, but could be commercialized to advance impact in this area. The PhD Innovation Program set me up perfectly for that." MORE>>

Program Requirements

Applicants must meet all prerequisites and requirements for the standard PhD degree program. New PhD applicants, as well as current engineering PhD and MD+PhD students are eligible to apply to the PhD-I Program. These students are advised to consult with their faculty advisor and Professor Eric Fossum, Director of the PhD-I Program, prior to applying.

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

Course Requirements

PhD-I Fellows must fulfill all the requirements listed for first-year PhD students and PhD candidates. Once admitted to candidacy, the student works with a special advisory committee to make sure that all the requirements for the PhD-I Program are met.

Innovation Core (four courses)

  • ENGM 180.1: Accounting and Finance
  • ENGM 187: Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship (typically taken in the second year of the PhD program)
  • ENGM 188: Law for Technology and Entrepreneurship or equivalent course
  • ENGG 321: Advanced Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Innovation Elective (choose at least one course, from the following)

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

The innovation elective requirement is in place of the engineering breadth course requirement in the standard PhD program.

Industry Internship

ENGG 300: Enterprise Experience Project: To gain first-hand familiarity with how technology innovation is implemented in companies, students will arrange a full-time internship 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).

PhD Program Course Comparison

COURSE TYPE

PHD PROGRAM PHD-I PROGRAMPHD-I PROGRAM: TPSI

Total Coursework

11-13 courses total (six courses during the first year)

15-17 courses total (six courses during the first year)

15-17 courses total (six courses during the first year)

Engineering Specialization

four courses (year one)

four courses (year one)

four courses (year one)

Applied Mathematics

at least two courses (year one)

at least two courses (year one)

at least two courses (year one)

Professional Skills Development

three courses

three courses

three courses

Engineering Breadth Electives

at least two

N/A

N/A

Innovation Elective

N/A

at least one course

at least one course

Innovation Core

N/A

four courses

four courses

Surgical Rotation and Training

N/A

N/A

three terms (year two)

Innovation Internship

N/A

Full-time industry internship for a period of up to 3-6 months

Full-time industry internship for a period of up to 3-6 months

Original Research and Dissertation

Required

Required

Required

PhD Program Funding Comparison

Year Regular PhD ProgramPhD-I Program

1

100% Thayer Fellowship or
Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA)

100% Thayer Fellowship or GRA

2

100% Thayer Fellowship or GRA

50% Thayer Fellowship or GRA

50% PhD-I Program Fellowship

3

100% Thayer Fellowship or GRA

50% Thayer Fellowship or GRA

50% PhD-I Program Fellowship

+ Up to $10K/yr Research Grant

4

100% Thayer Fellowship or GRA

100% PhD-I Program Fellowship

+ Up to $10K/yr Research Grant

5

100% Thayer Fellowship or GRA

100% PhD-I Program Fellowship

+ Up to $10K/yr Research Grant

100% Thayer Fellowship or GRA

N/A

PhD-I Program Certificate

Any Dartmouth graduate student or postdoctoral fellow may earn a PhD-I Program Certificate by completing the Program's core courses.

Participants in the certificate program do not qualify for PhD-I funding.

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Questions?

General Program & Certificate Questions

Jessica Moody
PhD-I Program Coordinator
jessica.moody@dartmouth.edu