District of Columbia Schools for PhD Programs in Math Science Engineering

A variety of schools that offer Doctorate Degrees in Math Science and Engineering have on-campus programs and may offer both full-time and part-time formats. A doctorate degree could enable students to deeply understand their field of research. Moreover, graduates might gain the ability to think analytically, and work to solve complex problems in the modern life sciences and beyond.

Doctorate Degrees in Math Science and Engineering Schools: Overview

Each university with Doctorate Degrees in Math Science and Engineering might offer a unique approach to courses, research and collaboration. The research doctorate, or PhD, aims to prepare students to provide thought leadership in a field of study. PhD programs in math, science and engineering thus require the completion of a dissertation or equivalent project of original work. They are not primarily intended as a degree for the practice of a profession.i

About a PhD Program

While each PhD program is set up differently, some programs may consist of two phases: (1) basic coursework and (2) dissertation research. In between, students often take a comprehensive qualifying exam. Core courses are either set by the university or decided with the help of an advisor. The purpose of the courses is usually to help enhance both scope and depth of knowledge. Research methods, courses, and dissertation writing courses could form part of this core.

Opportunity to Research

As research is at the heart of doctoral study, students might look for schools with PhD programs where the active faculty projects align with their own interests. In fact, some students might even be able to pursue rigorous doctorate research while at-work.

Research for a PhD student could involve access to libraries, laboratories with current investigative technology, and sometimes, inter-departmental projects. Also, each university could have

project grant and numerous other well-funded research programs that are led by its faculty. Students might also be able to jointly research with local organizations, local biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and academic institutions.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements to universities with Doctorate Degrees in Math Science and Engineering vary. Sometimes a university has two possible entry points: (1) Bachelor of Science, (2) Master of Science, but it is best to verify with an individual program. Candidates might also need to furnish the following items in their application.

  • Transcripts
  • Minimum GPA 3.0
  • Letters of Reference
  • GRE or MCAT Scores
  • TOEFL Scores for international students
  • Curriculum Vitae or Resume
  • Statement of Purpose

With respect to one’s statement of purpose, students might consider it as their chance to describe their academic and professional interests. Moreover, they could use it to explain what about the graduate school drew them to apply. Is it the small class size and opportunity to be mentored? Does the university have a “cutting-edge” laboratory?

From 2014 to 2015, 6% of all doctoral degrees were conferred in engineering, 5% were conferred in biological and biomedical sciences.ii

Explore Doctorate Degrees in Math Science and Engineering

STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields include many related disciplines.

Below are some highlights from sponsored schools with Doctorate Degrees in Math Science and Engineering. Each university has its own admission, curriculum, and degree requirements. The degree of ‘Doctor of Philosophy’ is typically awarded after the satisfactory completion of the requirements specified by the Graduate School.

PhD Programs in Biological/Biomedical Engineering

Schools with PhD programs in Biomedical Engineering might enable graduates to problem-solve and design products and devices used to improve human health and quality of life. Curricula often meld engineering principles, physical sciences, and biology. Students may learn to apply various concepts from these disciplines to foster a deeper grasp of biophysical phenomena, disease prevention, diagnostics, disease treatment, health care systems and regulatory considerations.

PhD Programs in Biology

Universities that offer PhD Programs in Biology might highlight both research and teaching. Many programs focus on advanced instruction in branches of the modern life sciences. Interested students could therefore look for programs with areas of emphasis such as genetics, cell and developmental biology, biochemistry, microbiology, physiology, pharmacology, molecular ecology, and immunology.

PhD Programs in Biomedical Science

Schools for PhD programs in Biomedical Science may have programs in infectious diseases, genetic and blood disorders, drug discovery and international medicine. Key to some programs is the clinical care experience. In these programs, students might study pediatric cancer or childhood disease. As part of their curriculum, they might interact extensively with medical faculty and follow patients.

PhD Programs in Biophysics

University PhD programs in Biophysics may offer primary areas of research such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Molecular Biophysics. 

Magnetic Resonance Imaging track: Students could reasonably expect to study the MRI and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) in depth. In some schools, one area of active research could be on Functional MRI (fMRI) of the human brain. Studies could therefore delve into neuroscience, contrast mechanisms and technical development). Faculty might also teach students the basic physics and mechanisms of MRI.

Molecular Biophysics track: Courses could cover the investigation, detection, and use of free radicals and paramagnetic metal ions in biological systems. Students might learn various techniques such as electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR).

PhD Programs in Chemistry

PhD programs in Chemistry could help students develop breadth of knowledge in subareas of chemistry. Some universities might emphasize the fields of organic and organometallic chemistry, chemical biology and biochemistry, inorganic, physical and analytical chemistry. Most universities require students to complete a period as a teaching assistant, and to work with an advisor to choose a program of study consistent with their goals.

PhD Programs in Engineering

Engineering schools often have multiple PhD programs in engineering to consider. A PhD in Engineering may enable students to tackle complex problems through interdisciplinary research, technology, and innovation.

Graduates are generally expected to build on a prior foundation in a traditional engineering discipline (biomedical, chemical, computer, electrical, industrial, mechanical or micro-systems). That said, most PhD in Engineering students also explore specific applied research problems, and therefore might anchor their studies in one of four areas: (1) transportation, (2) energy, (3) communications and (4) healthcare.

PhD. in Civil Engineering: A PhD in Civil Engineering may be enable students to create, design, build, oversee, operate, construct, and maintain infrastructure projects and systems. Students might pursue research in areas such as geophysical imaging, structural engineering, construction management or transportation.

PhD in Textile Engineering Science: A PhD in Textile Engineering Science may meld theory, practice and scholarly research in textile and mechanical engineering disciplines. Students might need to propose a textile engineering and science problem and then develop a solution.

PhD in Environmental Engineering: A PhD in Environmental Engineering might enable students to study both principles of engineering as well as soil science, biology and chemistry. Students might pursue research into areas such as advanced treatments for drinking water and waste water or environmental biotechnology. Their goals may be to improve waste disposal, recycling, public health and pollution control.

PhD in Mechanical Engineering: A PhD in Mechanical Engineering may enable students to refine their ability to design, develop, build, and test mechanical and thermal sensors and devices. Students might reasonably expect to spend time in research laboratories and may find universities with research support grants in place. Areas of research emphasis could span biofluids, biomechanics, robotics, acoustic meta-materials and more.

PhD in Bioengineering: A PhD in Bioengineering may meld engineering principles with medical sciences. Students might work to design and create equipment, devices, computer systems, and software used in healthcare. Areas of research might include targeted drug delivery, soft tissue mechanics, brain-computer interface, and bio-imaging.

PhD Programs in Math and Statistics

Universities with PhD programs in Mathematics and Statistics may offer doctorate degrees in areas such as biostatistics and mathematical modeling. Students may develop their curriculum roadmap with an advisor.

A PhD in Mathematics could cover three broad research areas: Geometry/Topology, Number Theory/Representation Theory, and Algebraic Geometry. Within these areas there may be active faculty research projects in areas such as logarithmic geometry, analytic number theory, knot theory and more. Some universities might suggest that applicants have at least one year of undergraduate Abstract Algebra and one year of Analysis (real and complex).

A PhD in Biostatistics might stress statistical principles and collaborative research with biomedical scientists and clinicians. Students may take courses in statistical genetics and computing.

A PhD in Mathematical Modeling could explore the development process of mathematical descriptions, or models of real-world systems. Coursework could include scientific computing, and high performance computing as well as numerical analysis.

PhD Programs in Microbiology and Immunology

PhD programs in Microbiology and Immunology might focus on a holistic study of bacteriology, virology, and immunology. Some universities might emphasize the mechanisms of human disease caused by pathogens at the cellular and molecular level. Doctoral candidates may therefore be prepared to engage in advanced research for the prevention and cure of infectious diseases, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. University research areas might include HIV, infectious disease, antibody production and more.

PhD Programs in Neuroscience

Some universities with PhD programs in Neuroscience might offer an interdisciplinary PhD and/or joint MD/PhD program. A PhD in Neuroscience may be divided into coursework, in basic and advanced areas of neuroscience, and laboratory dissertation research. During the first year, students might take courses and participate in rotations in various laboratories. This is often to help a student ultimately choose which lab to use for their dissertation.

Areas of research could vary greatly at each university. At one, students might find active research projects in PTSD, spinal cord lesions, addiction studies and various diseases such as multiple sclerosis or Alzheimer's. At another school with a PhD in Neuroscience, active research could be in areas such as color vision, muscle atrophy, and pain.

PhD Programs in Pathology

PhD programs in pathology may enable candidates to study in-depth basics of cellular and molecular biology, biochemistry, and systemic pathology. Coursework could also discuss the biological effects of environmental pollutants and their role in the pathogenesis of environmentally caused disease. 

Pathology is a key aspect in the causal study of disease and a major field in modern medical practice and diagnosis. As a field of general inquiry and research, pathology PhD students could address four distinct components of disease: cause/etiology, mechanisms of development, structural alterations of cells, and the consequences of changes.

PhD Programs in Pharmacology

PhD programs in pharmacology might explore the physiological, biochemical, and anatomical basis for how drugs and chemicals will interact with biological systems. Coursework could blend research methods, lab experiments, and classes in drug metabolism. Areas of university research might cover cancer, obesity, hypertension and diabetes among others.

PhD Programs in Physiology

Schools with PhD programs in Physiology may focus on integrative physiology and mentorship. Students may study to learn how to conduct physiological research in molecular, cellular, genomic and systems biology. Courses could cover biomedical basic sciences and may help students build both technical research and written communication skills.

Some programs might entail interdisciplinary research in whole animal, cellular and molecular areas. Students may therefore find diverse faculty research areas at each university. These might span cardiovascular physiology, renal physiology, respiratory physiology, genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics and computational biology.

Three Things to Keep in Mind as You Choose a PhD

There are often several PhD programs in one category to compare. Prospective PhD programs might want to consider the following questions.

  1. Is university location important? You could filter to find graduate schools in a preferred city, state or country. Some universities have multiple Doctorate Degrees in Math Science and Engineering to select from.
  2. What type of research do you hope to conduct? Two universities may offer a PhD program in the same field but they have distinct faculty. Faculty may have unique published research, or active research projects that may be of interest to you.
  3. How are the university research facilities? Some universities may have features (E.g. specific technology) that a student may want to learn about or use.

Take the Next Step

Easily compare schools that offer Doctorate Degrees in Math Science and Engineering next. Open a subject from the menu to find PhD programs in that category. Or, filter to find Math, Science or Engineering Schools in a preferred location. Then use the on-page form to contact schools directly.

[i] nces.ed.gov/statprog/handbook/pdf/sed.pdf | [ii] nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_ctb.asp

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