The PhD program at CU Boulder’s ATLAS Institute emphasizes out-of-the-box invention and radical inquiry, attracting students whose interests and knowledge span multiple disciplines and domains. Conducting compelling and relevant research, ATLAS PhD students are central to the institute’s thriving academic community of engineers, artists and designers.
Structurally, the ATLAS PhD program is like any other research-based doctoral program: a student forms an advisory committee, takes courses, takes a qualifying examination, proposes a dissertation, performs research, writes a dissertation and defends it.
However, unlike most U.S. doctoral programs, the ATLAS PhD program has few required courses; instead, the curriculum is crafted individually, with students working with their advisory committees to identify the expertise needed to research their area of focus.
For more information, visit the ATLAS Institute's PhD Program webpage.
- A minimum of 30 credit hours of courses numbered 5000 or above where students earn a minimum of 3.00 GPA.
- A minimum of 30 credit hours of dissertation credit are required for the degree.
- Students must complete the following two courses: Research Methods and PhD Research Professional Seminar, and attend the ATLAS Colloquium three semesters over the span of their time in the PhD program.
To maintain good standing in the program, all students must complete their academic program plan/program proposal by the end of the second semester. In general, ATLAS academic plan/program proposals include general research area and the courses to be taken and other research/disciplinarily appropriate activities planned.
To maintain good standing in the program, all students must complete their preliminary examination by the end of the second year. The preliminary examination will demonstrate the student's preparation for scholarly work in his/her chosen area. Generally, this is a 3–5 page document that is approved by the advisor and the ATLAS graduate committee.
To maintain good standing in the program, all students must complete their comprehensive exam by the end of the second semester of their fourth year in the program. The comprehensive examination will outline the student's completed research and proposed research agenda. This includes both an oral and written exam delivered to their dissertation committee and open to the larger community.
Students must write a dissertation based on original research conducted under the supervision of a graduate faculty member. The dissertation must fulfill all CU Boulder Graduate School requirements. After the dissertation is completed, an oral final examination on the dissertation and related topics is conducted by the student's doctoral committee.