Departments & Programs

PhD Program


Advances in knowledge, together with an awareness of the complexity of today’s world, have led scholars to pursue multifaceted scientific and/or technical problems that cannot be resolved from the vantage point of a single academic discipline.

The PhD in Interdisciplinary Engineering is designed to allow students the flexibility to respond to those complex problems by crossing the boundaries of more than one scientific and/or technical academic program. The intent of the PhD in Interdisciplinary Engineering is to maintain breadth, while emphasizing the necessary depth to produce well rounded experts in one or more fields of specialization.

The Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Engineering will be awarded by Masdar Institute to all PhD candidates who have completed the degree requirements. The specific title of the PhD thesis will be determined by the PhD Research Supervisory Committee (RSC) of the PhD candidate and will also be included on the PhD degree.

Program Goals

  • The PhD in Interdisciplinary Engineering aims to produce doctoral graduates with the disciplinary preparation that meets the following goals:
  • An awareness of the complexity of today’s advances in science and technology, and an ability to work across multiple disciplines to solve complex problems.
  • A global approach to complex scientific and/or technical research problem-solving as inquiry and discovery are crossing conventional disciplines.
  • An ability to span traditional boundaries among scientific and/or technical disciplines and to develop knowledge and skills for independent research.
  • An ability to work across multiple disciplines and develop a unique academic, professional and career focus that is as individual as they are.

Program Learning Outcomes

The Masdar Institute PhD in Interdisciplinary Engineering graduates are expected to:

  • Demonstrate appropriate depth and breadth of knowledge that is at the frontier of their disciplines;
  • Use skills of interdisciplinary scholarship and research to integrate multiple perspectives;
  • Understand and value diverse approaches to solving critical problems in research and to creating new knowledge judged by international standards;
  • Work effectively in a multidisciplinary collaborative environment using highly developed cognitive and creative expert skills and intellectual independence;
  • Communicate effectively, in written and oral forms, their research results and/or critique highly complex and diverse matters to diverse audiences;
  • Use self-development for personal and professional improvement in their field and contribute to its future advancement.

Academics
The future will require scientific and technical scholars with a global approach to problem solving. It will no longer be enough to know one area, one discipline, or one field of study. Inquiry and discovery in sciences and technology are crossing conventional discipline boundaries. With this in mind, the mission of the PhD in Interdisciplinary Engineering is to span traditional boundaries among scientific and technical disciplines while helping students develop knowledge and skills for independent research on the fundamental and applied questions of the present and the future.

Research
Research involves an original investigation of an open interdisciplinary problem, the results of which are rigorously documented in a written dissertation that meets international standards and formally reported in a thesis defense.
Masdar Institute has a weekly seminar series where international scholars, Masdar Institute faculty, and Masdar Institute PhD candidates present their research problems, strategies, approaches, and major findings. These seminars are intended to expose PhD students to a wide range of research problems and strategies in an interdisciplinary engineering environment, and to broaden and deepen the student’s knowledge of contemporary science and engineering research issues. The PhD student is required to attend at least 50% of the Masdar Institute weekly seminars during their PhD in Interdisciplinary Engineering study.

Curriculum
The PhD student RSC proposes a study plan (curriculum) that includes at least the following:

  • Proposed PhD thesis title and at least one page description of the research subject.
  • PhD in Interdisciplinary Engineering course work component consisting of a minimum of eight graduate post-Master 600-level courses of three semester credit hours each that are supposed to provide depth and breadth in areas related to the student’s respective research field. The course work plan must include a minimum of two courses selected from the 600-PhD-level Masdar Institute courses with substantial mathematics component, and the university core course UCC 601: Teaching at the University Level.
  • Justification and evidence of the depth and breadth of the course work component in the PhD student’s field of specialization.
  • Justification for any proposed transfer credits including for those courses to be taken at MIT.
  • Three topical areas for the written component of the qualifying exam (e.g. fluid mechanics, heat and mass transfer, and thermodynamics for a PhD student working in the field of thermal sciences and engineering).
  • A table featuring a semester by semester course and research work plan.

Program Core Course (must be taken by all PhD students)

UCC601 – Teaching at a University Level

600 Level Courses with Substantial Mathematics Component
Each doctoral student must take two of the following courses among the list of eight 600 level courses required towards the completion of the PhD degree:

CHE609  Bioprocess Modeling and Engineering for Waste (water) Treatment and Energy Production (also offered as WEN609)
CHE610  Kinetics and Mechanisms
WEN619  Climate Dynamics

 

CIS603 Multi-agent systems
CIS606  Machine Learning
CIS614  Topics in Computational Social Science
CIS617  Advanced Topics in Algorithms

 

ESM613 Advanced Systems Optimization
ESM617 Linear Programming
ESM618 Integer Programming
ESM621 Time series analysis, modeling    & Prediction

 

MEG603 Computation fluid Mechanics
MEG614 Advanced Process Dynamics and Control
MEG623 Estimation and Inference from Models and Data
MSE640 Advances in investigation of Intermolecular & surface forces

 

MIC630 Fundamentals of Photonics
MIC631 Computational Electrodynamics
MIC632 Photonic Materials and Devices
MIC633 Photonic Sensors for Chemical, Biomedical and Environmental Applications
MIC637 Advanced Photonic Integrated Circuits Design
MIC651 Numerical Simulation of Circuits and Systems
MIC660 Applied Quantum and Statistical Physics

 

WEN609 Bioprocess Modeling & Engineering for Waste (water) Treatment & Energy Production (also offered as CHE609)
WEN610 Environmental sampling and data analysis

 

600 Level Courses
Each doctoral student must take five of the following courses among the list of eight 600 level courses required towards the completion of the PhD degree:

CHE601 Separation Processes for CO2 Capture Applications (Previously CHE508)
CHE602 Bio-refinery processes and products
CHE607 Advanced Techniques in Molecular Engineering
CHE609

 
Bioprocess Modeling and Engineering for Waste (water) Treatment and Energy Production (also offered as WEN609)
CHE611  Heterogeneous Catalysis
CHE620 Advanced Techniques in Molecular Sensing

 

CIS603 Multi-agent systems
CIS604 Techniques in Artificial Intelligence (Previously CIS504)
CIS605 Strategic Requirements Engineering (Previously CIS505)
CIS606 Machine Learning
CIS609 Enterprise Architecture and IT Governance
CIS611  Multimodal Data Mining (Previously CIS511)
CIS614 Topics in Computational Social Science
CIS617 Advanced Topics in Algorithms
CIS620 Bioinformatics

 

EPE601    Power System modeling and control
EPE602 Photovoltaic Power Systems-modeling, control and analysis
EPE603 Application of Heuristic Optimization Techniques to Power Systems
EPE604 Power Quality and FACTS Devices (Previously EPE507)
EPE606 Power System Stability Analysis

 

ESM608 Sustainable Development: Theory, Research and Policy (Previously ESM508)
ESM609 Energy and Poverty Solutions (Previously ESM509)
ESM611 Technology Strategy (Previously ESM511)
ESM613 Advanced Systems Optimization
ESM615 Sustainable Health (Previously ESM515)
ESM616 Techno-Economic Analyses in Power Systems Operations (Previously ESM516 Power Systems Operations & Planning)
ESM617 Linear Programming
ESM618 Integer Programming
ESM619 Advanced Production & Operations Management
ESM620 Analysis of Complex System Networks
ESM621 Time Series Analysis, Modeling and Prediction

 

 

MEG602 Multiphase Flow in Sub-surface Porous Media (Previously MEG512)
MEG603  Computation fluid Mechanics
MEG611    Multiphase Thermal Fluids in Power and Energy Technologies
MEG614    Advanced Process Dynamics and Control
MEG623 Estimation and Inference from Models and Data

 

MIC610  Analysis and Design of Digital Integrated Circuits
MIC611 Analysis and Design of Analog Integrated Circuits
MIC612  High Speed Communication Circuits (Previously MIC512)
MIC613 Analog and Mixed-Signal Design Techniques (Previously MIC513)
MIC614 Low Energy Biomedical Circuits and Systems
MIC615 Computer Architecture
MIC620  Advanced VLSI Devices
MIC621 Advanced Integrated Circuits Technology (Previously MIC521)
MIC622 Integrated Circuit Fabrication Laboratory (Previously MIC522)
MIC623    Nano-electronics (Previously MIC523)
MIC624    The Physics of Solar Cells
MIC630 Fundamentals of Photonics
MIC631 Computational Electrodynamics
MIC632 Photonic Materials and Devices
MIC633 Photonic Sensors for Chemical, Biomedical and Environmental Applications
MIC634 Propagation and Generation of Light
MIC635    Semiconductor Optoelectronic Devices
MIC637 Advanced Photonic Integrated Circuits Design
MIC636 Advanced Micro and Nanofabrication of Microsystems Devices
MIC640    Design and Fabrication of MEMS (Previously MIC540)
MIC641    Materials and Processes for Micro-electromechanical Devices and Systems
MIC650 Computer-Aided Design of Microelectronic Systems
MIC651 Numerical Simulation of Circuits and Systems
MIC660    Applied Quantum and Statistical Physics
MIC661

Physics and Manufacturability of Advanced Micro-fabrication

 

 MSE610  Advanced Solid State Physics
 MSE630    Science and Engineering of Thin films, Surfaces and interfaces
 MSE640    Advances in investigation of Intermolecular & surface forces (Previously MSE515 Atomic Force Microscopy for the Investigation of Intermolecular &Surface forces)

 

 WEN603 Groundwater Hydrology (Previously WEN503)
 WEN607 Environmental Remote Sensing and Satellite Image Processing (Previously WEN507)
 WEN608 Applied Environmental Chemistry and Biotechnology (Previously WEN508)
WEN609 Bioprocess Modeling & Engineering for Waste (water) Treatment & Energy Production (also offered as CHE609)
WEN610 Environmental sampling and data analysis
 WEN612 Remediation Engineering (Previously WEN512)
 WEN613 Advanced Thermal Desalination (Previously WEN513)
 WEN614 Sustainable Desalination Processes
 WEN617 Membrane Technology

(Additional courses may be added to this list)

The table below summarizes the major milestones and activities involved in the PhD program:

By the end of the first semester of student's admission into the program:

  • The PhD coordinator will be assigned as the Academic Advisor who will assist the student in choosing the courses for the first semester and selecting the RSC members.
  • Each PhD student RSC should submit a tentative plan of study for approval by the Graduate Education Council (GEC).
  • The Academic Advisor will develop course assessment rubrics that relate the PhD student courses to the PhD program outcomes, and the PhD Coordinator and the GEC will examine those rubrics for adoption.

 No later than the third semester from student’s admission into the program (excluding the summer semester):

  • Students sit for the Qualifying Exam – Part I (Written )

Before the end of the fourth semester (excluding the summer semester) and upon successful completion of Part I of the qualifying exam:

  • Students submit a written report on their research proposal and set a date and time for the oral presentation.
  • Students take the Qualifying Exam – Part II (Oral): students give an oral presentation on their research proposal before the RSC and defend the proposal in order to proceed with the actual research work of their doctoral degree.

Last semester (Graduation Term)

  •  PhD Thesis Defense

 

Guidelines for Qualifying Exams
The qualifying exams are a series of exams that every student in the PhD in Interdisciplinary Engineering program must take and pass to continue as a PhD candidate.

Part I (Written)
This exam, comprising three topical areas proposed by the PhD student RSC and approved and administered by the GEC, tests the student proficiency in a set of graduate courses related to his field of specialization. Students who are admitted to the PhD program are expected to pass this exam within their first three semesters in the program (excluding the summer semester). Poor performance by a student in any one topical area of the written qualifying exam may result in the student failing the entire qualifying exam based on the judgment of the GEC. Students are expected to pass at the first attempt. However, a student may request in writing to repeat the exam. Based upon the student’s academic standing and on the results of the first exam, the GEC may grant a second written exam. Students who fail the qualifying exam the second time will be dropped from the PhD program.

Overview of PhD Qualifying Exam Part I
Descriptions and Topics for Qualifying Exam Part I are enclosed in the attachments:

 

Part II (Oral)
This exam consists of an oral presentation and defense by the student of his/her thesis research proposal in front of the RSC. Prior to the exam, the student has to submit a written report  on his/her research proposal and schedule a date and time for the oral presentation and defense. The defense consists of an extended session of questions/answers around the thesis research area related to the student PhD course work.