Undergraduate Minor and Graduate Certificate in Nanosystems Engineering Established

Achievement date: 

A new graduate certificate entitled Nanosystems Engineering has been established at North Carolina State University (NC State) under the guidance of the National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored Nanosystems Engineering Research Center (NERC) for Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (ASSIST). An undergraduate minor in Nanoscience and Technology was also established to help motivate undergraduate students to enter the field as soon as possible. Two new courses specific to the emerging Nanosystems field were developed in support of these program offerings.

The new nanosystems program offerings are highly interdisciplinary and thus afford students opportunities for entry from multiple engineering pathways and diverse backgrounds. The new courses combine several different engineering perspectives with practical entrepreneurship and innovation so that nanotechnology can be applied quickly and directly to engineered systems and current commercial projects. In addition to successfully completing technical courses, students are also required to complete two general education courses in topics such as diversity, global issues in science and technology, and engineering ethics – requirements that will enable well-rounded nanoscience graduates who can address our most urgent contemporary challenges.

Both curriculum development and program design efforts were led by NC State’s college education team with significant support from undergraduate administrators and ASSIST faculty representing various engineering departments. The final approval for the graduate certificate was received in Fall 2013 from the UNC General Administration and the program is now officially accepting graduate students from all engineering disciplines. Non-degree students in local industry can also pursue the certificate so that working engineers can learn more about nanotechnology and apply it directly to their current efforts.

The graduate curriculum is introduced by a new, required course entitled “Conventional and Emerging Nanomanufacturing Techniques and Their Applications in Nanosystems.” The flagship course of the undergraduate minor is a new junior-level course entitled “Introduction to Nanoscience and Technology,” which covers a broad spectrum of topics and exemplary nanotechnology applications. The technical electives for the minor encompass virtually all of the engineering departments at NC State, making this a truly multi-disciplinary minor.