The Charger Blog

TCoE Launches Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program

Designed for individuals with either a B.S. or M.S., the University’s new Ph.D. in Engineering and Applied Science prepares students for in-demand research careers of the 21st century in sectors such as industry, academia, nonprofits, consulting, or government agencies.

January 20, 2022

By Susan M. Dowd

Engineering Students

The complex research problems of the 21st century are looking for a 21st century set of skills — heightened powers of analytical and critical thinking as well as an ability to think and work beyond the boundaries of traditional disciplines.

The University of New Haven’s novel Ph.D. in Engineering and Applied Science prepares students to fill this need and for successful careers in active research areas that include biomaterials for medical devices, tissue engineering, rapid detection of microbes, cybersecurity and forensics, AI, data science, and many other areas that are giving this century its profile as the most dynamic, boundary-erasing century in human history.

Given the times, the University’s new Ph.D. program was almost a foregone conclusion, according to Ron Harichandran, dean of the Tagliatela College of Engineering and vice provost for research. “With growing research and grant activities in the College over the last several years, the next logical step was the creation of a Ph.D. program that could enhance students’ involvement in research and provide support to faculty over a long period of time,” he explains.

“With the selective and research-focused nature of this program, we have designed a single interdisciplinary Ph.D. program that can facilitate the doctoral education of students in any of the engineering and applied science disciplines in which faculty have expertise,” he added.

Students can enter the program with either a bachelor’s or master’s degree in hand. The curriculum is highly interdisciplinary, uniting coursework with high-impact practical research experiences. Students play a major role in the planning of their curriculum, innovating a personal course path with their advisor. They are then closely mentored throughout the program.

Upon earning this degree, students will be qualified to work as professional researchers in industry, academia, nonprofits, consulting, or government agencies. Those sectors await them eagerly, as evidenced by the growing number of employment openings in specialized fields within them.

"Many of our previous students pursued Ph.D.’s elsewhere, and now many are applying to our Ph.D. program."Ronald S. Harichandran, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE

Along with just a few other schools, the University is riding the leading edge for a Ph.D. program of this kind. The University is only the seventh interdisciplinary engineering doctoral degree program offered in southern New England states accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island) from more than 43 doctorate-granting institutions in the area.

Thinking back over the last few years, Dean Harichandran expects the program to stanch the flow of potential Ph.D. students to other schools. “Many of our previous students pursued Ph.D.’s elsewhere, and now many are applying to our Ph.D. program,” he said.

“Thus, we envision the Ph.D. program to offer students a natural progression from M.S. programs. The program is also open to exceptional students who have completed their bachelor’s degree and are ready to commit to a Ph.D. program.”

Learn more about the program and its entry requirements