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Interdisciplinary Materials Science Program

Interdisciplinary Materials Science Program

Our program offers a unique multidisciplinary experience where students design their own curriculum, and collaborate or interact with faculty and students from engineering, chemistry, physics, and medicine.  In fact we require all our students to name co-advisers from two participating departments and name a committee of faculty from at least three different departments.  So, we indeed demand a truly multi-disciplinary experience.

The Interdisciplinary Materials Science Ph.D. program is the educational arm for VINSE (Vanderbilt Institute of Nanoscale Science and Engineering), which boasts a brand new state of the art cleanroom facility with modern meeting spaces and labs.   VINSE along with VICB (Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology), VIIBRE (Vanderbilt Institute for Integrative Biosystems Research and Education);  VIEE (Vanderbilt Institute for Energy & Environment) and the VUIIS  (Vanderbilt Institute of Imaging Science) document a strong and established commitment to student learning in multi-disciplinary environments.  

 Other features of our program include:

  • research rotations: Students rotate through three different labs in the first year to learn the culture of each research group and the advising style of the mentors prior to project/adviser selection.
  • competitive stipends: Students receive a generous salary commensurate with the cost of living in Nashville to provide for a comfortable financial setting during the IMS graduate degree program.
  • individually customized curriculum: With the approval of their adviser, students select courses from any technical department to support their research project.
  • research facilities equipped with the latest instrumentation: VINSE boasts a new and improved state-o-the-art cleanroom facility with latest fabrication and characterization tool.
  • outstanding research programs and faculty:  IMS researchers are using nanotechnology to address the worlds most important challenges such as energy, health, and security. 

Research focus areas at Vanderbilt include:

  • Bio/medical: biomaterials, drug delivery, tissue engineering, biomedical imaging materials, stimuli-response systems
  • Theory, Modeling and Simulation: Computational Economics, Computational Nanoscience, Artificial Intelligence: scientific computing, modeling and simulation of physical processes and biological systems
  • Optics: Biomedical Photonics, biomedical optics, ultrafast spectroscopy
  • Energy: Supercapacitors, batteries, energy storage materials synthesis, silicon science, solar energy conversion, nanocrystal-sensitized solar cells
  • Semiconductors: Silicon functionalization, device design, biosensing, micronscale energy transport in semiconductor devices designed for energy conversion
  • Materials research: Structure-property-processing relationship (metals, ceramics, polymers, composites and electronic materials
  • Environmental Engineering: groundwater resources in Bangladesh, electric cars, environmental spillovers, water conservation, water-energy-food tradeoffs

Nanoscale materials will be instrumental in shaping the future. Energy, healthcare, environment and national defense are all industries and fields that will benefit from continued research in materials.  More importantly, the people that will make the biggest impact are students who have the multi-disciplinary skills to understand, study and address these global issues.  In recognition of these needs, Vanderbilt has designed the IMS program to provide students with a truly–extra–disciplinary experience ---an education and research experience that transcends departments and schools.   Our graduate students attack the difficult but important problems of society, and we hope you will consider our program when searching for your graduate education institution.