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Engineering and Applied Science PhD

The PhD degree program in Engineering and Applied Science (EAS) features contemporary, advanced interdisciplinary research and educational opportunities for students and faculty. 

Today's scientist/engineer/professional must be able to deal with the rapid pace of technological change, a highly interconnected world, and complex problems that require interdisciplinary approaches to advance fundamental understanding or to address pressing societal needs.

The program's unique cross-cutting options provide students with the means to integrate and synthesize disciplinary depth with breadth of interests, vision, and skills for successful interdisciplinary research careers in industry or academia. 

Interdisciplinary options:

Rahul Kashyap
Rahul Kashyap PhD '17

Will continue his study of supernovae in postdoctoral research at the Albert Einstein Institute in Hanover, Germany, and at the International Centre for Theoretical Sciences in Bengaluru, India

The educational goal of the program is to prepare qualified scientists/engineers who can contribute significantly to society through their professional, scientific, and research activities. 

To achieve these goals, PhD students will acquire breadth in scholarship and the ability to make original research contributions. Program options emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of modern research at the interfaces of engineering, the applied sciences, and technology.  

At the completion of the program, you will have knowledge and skills in:

  • computational and experimental research
  • the nature and criteria for scientific inquiry
  • theory building, synthesis, and application
  • research design and theoretical perspectives in engineering
  • multi- or interdisciplinary approaches to understanding complex systems
  • technical communication within and outside their field
  • experimental/computational techniques and approaches appropriate to their field
  • ethical, social, and environmental consequences of engineering developments

The PhD in Engineering and Applied Science is a research-intensive program.

A minimum number of core courses is required of all students in the program, with additional course work directed by the student’s faculty advisor and supervisory committee based on the student’s area of interest. Committee members must be selected from at least 2 different disciplines, and the planned curriculum must result in cross-training in 2 or more disciplines.

Students complete a significant, original research investigation and write a dissertation based on it that is defended publicly.

EAS options require a minimum of 66 semester credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree. Of the 66 credits, a minimum of 36 semester credit hours must be course work and a maximum of 30 credit hours may be allotted to doctoral research.

Program overview: outline of curriculum requirements for program options

The PhD degree program in Engineering and Applied Science features a wide array of interdisciplinary research on complex problems at the intersection of engineering, applied science, mathematics, and technology.

Students and faculty work together to advance innovation in three broad areas that address critical human needs:

  • engineering in medicine and biology
  • energy and environmental science and engineering
  • computing and intelligent systems

A limited number of assistantships are available on a competitive basis. This award is subject to the work needs of the position and department, your satisfactory performance of duties, your academic record, and availability of funds, and may be subject to change.

Optional Practical Training Extension for STEM Students (STEM OPT) is available to international students who have completed a program in one of the STEM fields. The Department of Homeland Security grants STEM OPT extensions to eligible F-1 students. This extends the initial OPT period to a 24-month STEM OPT.

Learn more about STEM OPT

The College of Engineering has multiple instructional and research facilities located in five campus buildings: Dion, Science & Engineering, Violette, Research, and Textiles. The Textiles building is currently undergoing major renovations to modernize and expand research space for graduate students in the EAS PhD program.

Experimental facilities include integrated laboratories for research in:

  • environmental engineering
  • energy and fluids
  • mechanics and structures
  • materials characterization and testing
  • robotics
  • acoustics

All laboratories are equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation and data acquisition capability.

Computational facilities include:

  • High-Performance Computing Cluster (HPCC) for high-fidelity dynamics simulations (HFS)
  • large-scale data mining/management/analysis
  • image processing and feature recognition
  • additional computer laboratories for computer-aided engineering and numerical analysis

The above facilities are vital for the development of cross-cutting toolkits to enhance research and development in interacting biological, chemical, medical, physical, business and finance and engineering phenomena associated with interdisciplinary research.

Additional equipment is available to students through participating faculty from other colleges and schools across campus and at the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in nearby Fall River, MA.

Changes to Graduate Studies admission requirements

In response to the COVID‐19 pandemic, admission requirements for graduate degree and certificate programs may have changed.
Learn more about changes to requirements

Most candidates applying to the EAS PhD program will have a master of science degree in a supporting field. Exceptionally qualified candidates may be accepted with a bachelor of science degree.

Admissions criteria for the PhD program include GRE scores, undergraduate and graduate GPA, and a TOEFL score (if required). Significant weight is also placed on reference letters, the applicant’s statement of purpose, and professional experience. Generally, a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.00 (on a scale of 4.00) is required or a minimum graduate GPA of 3.25. 

Application deadlines: February 1st for the fall semester; November 15 for the spring semester.  

Applications indicating option preferences will be made directly to the PhD program and reviewed by admissions committees in the selected options. Admission is made by the Associate Provost for Graduate Studies and the Dean of the College of Engineering upon the recommendation of the EAS Graduate Program Director and the admissions director of the major option.

Apply and submit all required application materials to the Office of Graduate Studies.

Required materials

  • Statement of purpose: 300 - 600 words. Indicate your graduate study objectives, research interests and experience, and business or industry experience if applicable. If you are applying for a teaching or research assistantship, include any special skills or experience that would assist in assistantship decisions.
  • Official transcripts: from all post-secondary institutions attended (regardless if a credential is earned or not).
  • Official GRE score: sent directly from ETS; copies/scans not accepted.Not required but recommended, especially for assistantship consideration.
  • 3 letters of recommendation: from persons in the field of your academic major at the institution most recently attended or from supervisors familiar with your recent job performance.
  • Resume.

International students: official TOEFL or IELTS scores sent directly from ETS or testing agency; copies/scans not accepted. Required of any applicant who did not earn a bachelor’s degree or higher degree from an accredited academic institution in the U.S. or accepted English-speaking country. Applicants whose native language is not English should have a minimum TOEFL of 79 IBT or IELTS band score of 6.5.

Deadlines and Test Requirements

Engineering and Applied Science Faculty

Explore more about Engineering and Applied Science

Course Catalog

See course schedules and requirements.


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