UNC Charlotte is a young and growing research university. Most of the Ph.D. programs on our campus have been designed to be interdisciplinary. This strategic choice was made for both economic and pedagogical reasons. At the heart of the drive for interdisciplinary degree programs is the recognition that a lack of educational diversity at the Ph.D. level is limiting for new graduates in today's research and discovery landscape. This need for educational diversity is even more acute in the sciences. We need more chemists that know more physics, and we need more physicists that know more biology, and we need more engineers that understand matter at a molecular scale.
To this end, faculty in the departments of chemistry, optical sciences, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering have designed and are implementing a new interdisciplinary Ph.D. degree in “Nanoscale Science”. Research involving nanoscale materials and phenomena requires an educational perspective far broader than traditional academic disciplines currently offer. The question is how to deliver a broad graduate education that enables each student to reach an expertise required for the Ph.D. This is the question that has driven our pedagogical development of this Nanoscale science program.
The overall structure of this program will be described and compared to other current efforts in Nanoscale graduate education throughout the United States. Various novel features will be discussed, with the hope for critical feedback and discussion. Details of the educational opportunities we have designed and the method of assessment we will employ will be presented.