Graduate Program

Degrees Offered

  • Master of Science in Nanoscience and Microsystems (M.S.)
    Concentrations: Complex Functional Materials; Information Nanotechnology; Nano-Bio Interfaces; Professional Science Masters.

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Nanoscience and Microsystems (Ph.D.)
    Concentrations: Complex Functional Materials; Information Nanotechnology; Nano-Bio Interfaces.

The M.S. and Ph.D. degree programs in Nanoscience and Microsystems Engineering prepare individuals for careers in the emerging fields in Nanotechnology and Microsystems. The program includes an M.S. concentration in Professional Science Masters, and three Ph.D. concentrations in Complex Functional Materials, Information Nanotechnology, and Nano-Bio Interfaces. The program is a collaborative effort among several departments in the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering, as well as the Anderson School of Management, with numerous cross-listed and team-taught courses. The participating departments are: Biology, Biochemistry, Civil Engineering, Chemical and Nuclear Engineering, Chemistry, Computer Science, Earth and Planetary Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mathematics and Statistics, Mechanical Engineering, and Physics and Astronomy. Students who choose this degree program can continue to be advised by, supported by and conduct research with faculty in these departments. There are numerous courses in these departments that may be of interest as electives–some of which are listed below–for students in the program. Faculty in the Health Science Center and the UNM Cancer Research center also participate in the program.


Master of Science in Nanoscience and Microsystems Engineering

  • Concentrations: Complex Functional Materials; Information Nanotechnology; Nano-Bio Interfaces; Professional Science Masters. 

Requirements

M.S. Admission Prerequisites. The general admission requirements described in the Graduate Program in this Catalog apply to the Nanoscience and Microsystems Engineering program. Applicants who plan to apply to the program must have a bachelor’s degree in a natural science or engineering field. All incoming students should meet a minimum level of competency indicated by passing grade in a math class of MATH 316 or higher. If needed, incoming students who are otherwise qualified may take MATH 316 during their first semester and pass with a B or better or by taking and passing an equivalency exam that certifies their mathematical ability.

M.S. Application Process. The general application process for domestic and international students is described in the Graduate Program section of this Catalog. In addition to meeting those requirements, applicants must submit the following directly to the Nanoscience and Microsystems Engineering Program Office for the Admissions Subcommittee review and selection process:

  1. Letter of Intent from the applicant about why this program is of interest. (Approximately 250 words stating the rationale and motivation for entering the program.)
  2. Three sealed letters of recommendation (sent directly to the NSMS Office).
  3. GRE entrance examination scores.
  4. Any other materials that are relevant to this application, such as experiential credit.
  5. Departmental application available online or at program office.

M.S. Admission and Advising Roles. The Admissions Subcommittee reviews applications and makes admission decisions. Selected applicants are sent a notice of acceptance. Students are encouraged to meet with the program director or program administrator to discuss fellowship opportunities, class enrollment and UNM standard procedures such as the details of becoming a student, obtaining an ID card and procedures for enrolling in classes.

M.S. Faculty Advisor/Mentor. Students are responsible for selecting a faculty mentor who helps them establish a Committee on Studies. The program office aids students in their selection process. Ideally, students and faculty members agree about the advising/mentoring relationship, but for those who need assistance, the Director will request that the Admissions Subcommittee assist in this process.

M.S. Committee on Studies. The student and faculty mentor invite three faculty members to serve on the student’s Committee on Studies. The committee members help the student to plan a Program of Studies–a list of courses that meets the student’s interests and needs which are counted toward the degree. This plan must be approved by the student’s advisor and the Program Director prior to being submitted to the OGS. The Committee also supervises the student’s progress and conducts the required thesis or other exams. If the student subsequently qualifies for entering the doctoral program, this committee can continue in the role of Doctoral Studies and Dissertation Committee to assist the student in completing the Ph.D.

M.S. General Degree Completion Requirements. The maximum time-to-degree for Master’s students is seven years, during which time the student must be enrolled full time for at least three consecutive semesters. A student must take 9 credit hours to be a considered a full-time student by financial aid. If the student has an assistantship, full time is considered to be 6 credit hours per semester. In order to complete the M.S., students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in graduate-level courses taken in graduate status and a GPA of at least 3.0 for courses listed in the Program of Studies. Students cannot graduate with pending incompletes nor while on probation.

Professional Science Masters concentration. The M.S. in Nanoscience and Microsystems Engineering concentration in Professional Science Masters emphasizes the innovation and entrepreneurial skills necessary to bring discoveries in nanoscience to the marketplace. Candidates for this degree learn the fundamentals of nanoscience, receive hands-on training in microsystems and are introduced to entrepreneurship, innovation and project management. The degree may be completed within one year. This curriculum has been developed in concert with industry and is designed to address present and future professional career needs. Professional Science Masters concentration students complete 32 credit hours, including stipulated required courses.

Degree Completion Requirements

There are three options to receive the M.S.

Plan I (Thesis Option)

  1. The student must complete all core course requirements.
  2. Student must complete a total of 24 credit hours.
  3. Student must complete 6 credit hours of thesis.

Plan II (Standard Plan II)

  1.  Students must complete all core course requirements.
  2.  Student must complete 32 credit hours.

Plan II (Professional Science Masters Concentration)

  1. Students must complete all core course requirements and other stipulated courses.
  2. Students must complete 32 credit hours.

Doctor of Philosophy in Nanoscience and Microsystems Engineering

  • Concentrations: Complex Functional Materials; Information Nanotechnology; Nano-Bio Interfaces.

Ph.D. Application and Admission Process. For prospective doctoral students, the process of applying and being selected is the same as for applicants to the Master’s program, with the Admissions Subcommittee assuming responsibility for reviewing applications and selecting candidates. Applicants who plan to apply to the program must have a bachelor’s degree in a natural science or engineering field. All incoming students should meet a minimum level of competency indicated by passing grade in a math class of MATH 316 or higher. If needed, incoming students who are otherwise qualified may take MATH 316 during their first semester and pass with a B or better or by taking and passing an equivalency exam that certifies their mathematical ability. 

Ph.D. Faculty Advisor/Mentor. Newly admitted doctoral students must also go through the process of selecting an advisor/mentor. They then request the Graduate Subcommittee that the Qualifying Exam be scheduled sometime during or immediately after they have completed all of the core courses. The program office aids students as needed in their selection process.

Qualifying Examination Procedure. General requirements for the Ph.D. degree are set by the Office of Graduate Studies and are stated in other pages of this Catalog. Required core courses are described below. Students who wish to Advance to Candidacy must pass a program qualifying examination. This examination covers the four core subject areas listed in this section, and should be taken as soon as possible after entering the program. The qualifying exam is in two parts:

  1. Written Examination: Mastery of the core Nanoscience and Microsystems Engineering subjects are demonstrated by the cumulative grades in the Core classes. The written exam is not required if the student has obtained a grade of A- or better in three of the four core courses (excluding ethics). 
  2. Oral Examination: The Ph.D. qualifying exam consists of an independent, critical analysis of a research article by the student and the preparation of a research proposal. The student delivers a 30 minute presentation to critique the research paper and present the research proposal. The student is allowed two attempts for each exam.

Ph.D. Committee on Doctoral Studies. The student and faculty mentor invite three faculty members to serve on the student’s Dissertation Committee on Studies. The committee members help the student to plan a program of studies that is reflected on the student’s Petition for Candidacy form. These courses meet the student’s interests and needs which will be counted toward the degree. The Petition for Candidacy must be approved by the student’s advisor and the Program Director prior to being submitted to the OGS. The Dissertation Committee also supervises the student’s progress and conducts the required exams.

Ph.D. Degree Requirements

To advancement to candidacy students must:

  1. Satisfactorily complete all course requirements.
  2. Pass a qualifying exam.
  3. Pass a comprehensive exam
  4. File all required paperwork by required time deadlines.

Degree Completion Requirements

The Ph.D. requires that students complete 48 credit hours of courses plus 18 credit hours of dissertation research credit (699). Overall, the basic requirements for Ph.D. candidates include four core courses and an ethics course, plus four courses in a concentration or in an area of focus, as recommended by the student's dissertation committee. Additional details are available in the Graduate Program section of this Catalog under the heading Doctoral Degree General Requirements. These are minimum requirements. The actual number of thesis or dissertation credit hours in most cases is larger. Ph.D. candidates have a maximum of five years from the semester in which they pass the doctoral comprehensive examination to complete all of the degree requirements.

Minor in Nanoscience and Microsystems EngineeringStudents who satisfactorily complete three of the four core courses required by the Ph.D. program (NSMS 510, 512, 518, 519) are awarded a transcripted minor at the Ph.D. level.


Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy Curriculum

  Credit
Hours
Core Courses
NSMS 510  Chemistry and Physics at the Nanoscale 3
NSMS 512 Characterization Methods for Nanostructures 3
NSMS 518 Synthesis of Nanostructures 3
NSMS 519 MEMS Transducer Devices and Technology 3
Total 12
Ethics Course
NSMS 550 Social and Ethical Implications of Nanotechnology
Total 1-3
Professional Science Masters - M.S. concentration
MGMT 556 Entrepreneurial Engineering 3
MGMT 513 Assessment and Forecasting 3
MGMT 514 Technology Entrepreneurship 3
MGMT 516 Entrepreneurial Finance 3
NSMS 650 Research Experience 3
NSMS 595 ST: SMP MI and T Workshop/Seminar 2
NSMS 595 ST: Independent Project (Internship) 2
Total 19
  Complex Functional Materials - M.S. and Ph.D. concentration  
  • This set of courses exposes students to specific interface science, materials synthesis and processing. These are a sampling of acceptable courses, additional courses may be substituted or included as approved by the Graduate Advisor or Graduate Committee on a case-by-case basis. Suggested prerequisites for this set of courses are undergraduate-level transport phenomena, organic chemistry, electromagnetism, and quantum chemistry.  
NSMS 530 Surface and Interfacial Phenomena 3
NSMS 533 Vapor and Aerosol Phase Materials Processing 3
NSMS 569 Advanced Materials Science 3
NSMS 575 Polymer Science and Engineering 3
Total 12
  Information Nanotechnology - M.S. and Ph.D. concentration  
  • This set of courses exposes students to materials growth processes, quantum devices and nanofabrication techniques. These are a sampling of acceptable courses, additional courses may be substituted or included as approved by the Graduate Advisor or Graduate Committee on a case-by-case basis. Suggested prerequisites are undergraduate-level semiconductor devices, quantum mechanics, electricity and magnetism.  
NSMS 532 Nanoscale Electronic and Photonic Devices 3
NSMS 571 Quantum Computation 3
NSMS 572 Semiconductor Physics 3
NSMS 573 Physics and Computation 3
NSMS 574L Microelectronics Processing 3
Total 12
  Nano-Bio Interfaces - M.S. and Ph.D. concentration  
  • This set of courses exposes students to concepts of biological and chemical reactions, biosensor platform fundamentals and applications through nanofluidics and biomimetics. These are a sampling of acceptable courses, additional courses may be substituted or included as approved by the Graduate Advisor or Graduate Committee on a case-by-case basis. Suggested prerequisites are undergraduate-level transport phenomena, organic chemistry, electromagnetism, and quantum chemistry.
NSMS 522L Fundamentals of Nanofluidics 3
NSMS 530 Surface and Interfacial Phenomena 3
NSMS 538 Biosensors: Fundamentals and Applications 3
BIOC 545 Intensive Introductory Biochemistry I 4
Total 13

General Electives

Many courses offered at UNM are accepted for elective credit with the intent to supplement the nano-based coursework. Numerous elective courses are listed here, some of which were developed specifically for this degree program, with very specific relevance to the nanoscience program. This is not an exclusive list. Other courses may be added as they are developed and identified. Currently, the list of electives includes:

BIOC 545 Intensive Introductory Biochemistry II
CHNE 515 T: Nanoscale Quantum Structure Growth
EPS 538 Analytical Electron Microscopy
EPS 558 / BIOL 558 Geomicrobiology
MATH *466 Mathematical Methods in Science and Engineering
MATH 579 Sel T: Mathematical Methods for Science and Technology
MATH *471 Introduction to Scientific Computing
MATH 504 Introductory Numerical Analysis: Numerical Linear Algebra
MATH 505 Introductory Numerical Analysis: Approximation and Differential Equations
MATH 512 Introduction to Ordinary Differential Equations
MATH 513 Introduction to Partial Differential Equations
MATH 514 Applied Matrix Theory
MATH 557 Sel T: Numerical Analysis
MATH 576 Numerical Linear Algebra
MATH 577 Numerical Ordinary Differential Equations
MATH 578 Numerical Partial Differential Equations
MATH 579 Sel T: Applied Mathematics
ME 561 ST: Nanomechanics of Materials
MGMT 594 T: Innovation with Technology
PHYC *430 Introduction to Solid State Physics
PHYC 529 Condensed Matter I
PHYC 531 Atomic and Molecular Structure
PHYC 552 Problems: A Quantum Information Theory
PHYC 566 Quantum Optics
PHYC 581 Adv T: Density Functional Theory
STAT 527 Advanced Data Analysis I
STAT 528 Advanced Data Analysis II
STAT 540 Regression Analysis
STAT 545 Analysis of Variance and Experimental Design
STAT 553 Statistical Inference with Applications
STAT 561 Probability
STAT 565 Stochastic Processes with Applications
STAT 570 Industrial Statistics
STAT 576 Multivariate Analysis
STAT 581 Introduction to Time Series Analysis
STAT 586 Nonparametric Curve Estimation and Image Reconstruction

Courses

NSMS 410 / 510. Chemistry and Physics at the Nanoscale. (3)



NSMS 510 / 410. Chemistry and Physics at the Nanoscale. (3)



NSMS 512. Characterization Methods for Nanostructures. (3)



NSMS 518. Synthesis of Nanostructures. (3)



NSMS 519. Theory, Fabrication, and Characterization of Nano and Microelectromechanical Systems (NEMS/MEMS). (4)



NSMS 550. Social and Ethical Issues in Nanotechnology. (1-3)



NSMS 572. Semiconductor Physics. (3)



NSMS 574L. Microelectronics Processing. (3)



NSMS 581. Colloidal Nanocrystals for Biomedical Applications. (3)



NSMS 595. Special Topics. (1-3 to a maximum of 9 Δ)



NSMS 599. Master's Thesis. (1-6, no limit Δ)



NSMS 650. Research. (1-12 to a maximum of 24 Δ)



NSMS 699. Dissertation. (3-12, no limit Δ)



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