Departments & Programs

Ph.D. 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, and to present the seminar at least once 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

 

CIS603Multi-agent systems
CIS606 Machine Learning
CIS614 Topics in Computational Social Science
CIS617 Advanced Topics in Algorithms

 

ESM613Advanced Systems Optimization
ESM617Linear Programming
ESM618Integer Programming

 

MEG603Computation fluid Mechanics
MEG614Advanced Process Dynamics and Control
MEG623Estimation and Inference from Models and Data

 

MIC630Fundamentals of Photonics
MIC631Computational Electrodynamics
MIC632Photonic Materials and Devices
MIC633Photonic Sensors for Chemical, Biomedical and Environmental Applications
MIC637Advanced Photonic Integrated Circuits Design
MIC651Numerical Simulation of Circuits and Systems
MIC660Applied Quantum and Statistical Physics

 

WEN609Bioprocess Modeling & Engineering for Waste (water) Treatment & Energy Production (also offered as CHE609)
WEN610Environmental 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:

CHE601Separation Processes for CO2 Capture Applications (Previously CHE508)
CHE602Bio-refinery processes and products
CHE607Advanced Techniques in Molecular Engineering
CHE609

 
Bioprocess Modeling and Engineering for Waste (water) Treatment and Energy Production (also offered as WEN609)
CHE610Kinetics and Mechanisms
CHE611 Experimental Techniques/Instrumentation for Catalysis Research
CHE620Advanced Techniques in Molecular Sensing

 

CIS603Multi-agent systems
CIS604Techniques in Artificial Intelligence (Previously CIS504)
CIS605Strategic Requirements Engineering (Previously CIS505)
CIS606Machine Learning
CIS609Enterprise Architecture and IT Governance
CIS611 Multimodal Data Mining (Previously CIS511)
CIS614Topics in Computational Social Science
CIS617Advanced Topics in Algorithms
CIS620Bioinformatics

 

EPE601   Power System modeling and control
EPE602Photovoltaic Power Systems-modeling, control and analysis
EPE603Application of Heuristic Optimization Techniques to Power Systems
EPE604Power Quality and FACTS Devices (Previously EPE507)
EPE606Power System Stability Analysis

 

ESM608Sustainable Development: Theory, Research and Policy (Previously ESM508)
ESM609Energy and Poverty Solutions (Previously ESM509)
ESM611Technology Strategy (Previously ESM511)
ESM613Advanced Systems Optimization
ESM615Sustainable Health (Previously ESM515)
ESM616Techno-Economic Analyses in Power Systems Operations (Previously ESM516 Power Systems Operations & Planning)
ESM617Linear Programming
ESM618Integer Programming
ESM619Advanced Production & Operations Management
ESM620Analysis of Complex System Networks
ESM621Time Series Analysis, Modeling and Prediction

 

 

MEG602Multiphase 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
MEG623Estimation and Inference from Models and Data

 

MIC610 Analysis and Design of Digital Integrated Circuits
MIC611Analysis and Design of Analog Integrated Circuits
MIC612 High Speed Communication Circuits (Previously MIC512)
MIC613Analog and Mixed-Signal Design Techniques (Previously MIC513)
MIC614Low Energy Biomedical Circuits and Systems
MIC615Computer Architecture
MIC620 Advanced VLSI Devices
MIC621Advanced Integrated Circuits Technology (Previously MIC521)
MIC622Integrated Circuit Fabrication Laboratory (Previously MIC522)
MIC623   Nano-electronics (Previously MIC523)
MIC624   The Physics of Solar Cells
MIC630Fundamentals of Photonics
MIC631Computational Electrodynamics
MIC632Photonic Materials and Devices
MIC633Photonic Sensors for Chemical, Biomedical and Environmental Applications
MIC634Propagation and Generation of Light
MIC635   Semiconductor Optoelectronic Devices
MIC637Advanced Photonic Integrated Circuits Design
MIC636Advanced Micro and Nanofabrication of Microsystems Devices
MIC640   Design and Fabrication of MEMS (Previously MIC540)
MIC641   Materials and Processes for Micro-electromechanical Devices and Systems
MIC650Computer-Aided Design of Microelectronic Systems
MIC651Numerical 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)

 

 WEN603Groundwater Hydrology (Previously WEN503)
 WEN607Environmental Remote Sensing and Satellite Image Processing (Previously WEN507)
 WEN608Applied Environmental Chemistry and Biotechnology (Previously WEN508)
WEN609Bioprocess Modeling & Engineering for Waste (water) Treatment & Energy Production (also offered as CHE609)
WEN610Environmental sampling and data analysis
 WEN612Remediation Engineering (Previously WEN512)
 WEN613Advanced Thermal Desalination (Previously WEN513)
 WEN614Sustainable Desalination Processes
 WEN617Membrane 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.
  • 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.