The Graduate Program in Applied Science and Technology (AS&T) features the application of physical and mathematical techniques to fundamental investigations of emerging areas within the physical and life sciences. Major fields of emphasis include applied physics, engineering sciences, and mathematical sciences. Students are admitted to a Ph.D. program, but they may also elect to pursue a Master of Science degree while completing the research and coursework toward the doctoral degree.

Cross traditional boundaries

AS&T offers students the option of crossing disciplinary lines in developing graduate degree programs. Students may select courses from a wide variety of departments and graduate programs as they prepare for Preliminary Exams and Qualifying Exams that reflect the breadth of their chosen research programs. For example, a student studying quantum phenomena in nanostructures might take courses offered in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering and the Department of Physics. A student interested in the development and application of x-ray microscopy in the life sciences might take courses offered in the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences and the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology. A student interested in theoretical mechanics might take courses offered in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Mathematics. In every case, those students cultivate a fundamental understanding of a broad range of interdisciplinary topics as they conduct their doctoral dissertation studies in AS&T.

A doctoral dissertation in AS&T typically allows students and faculty to focus on subjects that straddle two or more disciplines. For example, plasma theory and experiment, as applied to plasma-assisted materials-processing techniques, to fusion energy research or to space physics, could be attractive to, and much more tractable for, students situated within an interdisciplinary group rather than within a single department. The Graduate Group in AS&T offers such a home. AS&T seeks to foster closer collaboration among faculty and students from different departments, particularly through joint classes, joint seminars, and joint supervision of graduate students. There are approximately 80 faculty members from various research disciplines associated with AS&T (see list of faculty), so the possibilities are many.

State of the art

Finally, students in AS&T have access to state-of-the-art laboratory techniques and instrumentation developed in associated engineering departments on campus and encourages collaboration between the campus and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). An example is the development of high-brightness radiation sources at short wavelengths, such as the major synchrotron facility known as the Advanced Light Source at LBNL. Collaboration on nonlinear optical techniques at short wavelengths also can be enhanced by a cross-disciplinary setting. A second area of collaboration is the fabrication of nanostructures, and pursuit of scientific and technological opportunities based on the properties and performance of these confined structures. This is an area of strong interest to the federal funding agencies and many investigators on campus and at LBNL. Facilities available at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and on the Berkeley campus that enhance these educational programs include atomic resolution electron microscopy, laboratories for micro/nanofabrication, computational modeling at multiple length scales, and laboratories for the synthesis and processing of new materials with atomic level control.

Be nano if you want to

Students who have been admitted to AS&T are eligible to apply for the Designated Emphasis in Nanoscale Science & Engineering (NSE), a program that has been designed to provide specialized multi- disciplinary training and research opportunities in different areas of nanoscale science and engineering; or students may choose to apply for the Designated Emphasis in Energy Sciences and Technology. The main goal of the DEEST is to enrich the student’s technical education in the fields of energy science and technology, and to enhance and facilitate interactions between faculty and students in different programs by creating a flexible and integrated interdisciplinary research and teaching environment. Students in AS&T are also eligible to apply for the new Designated Emphasis in Computational Science and Engineering.  The main goal of the DE CSE is to train future leaders who will use computational and data analysis tools to accomplish research goals, or whose research involves the construction or analysis of the tools themselves.

Students usually apply for a Designated Emphasis during the first or second year, but Graduate Division rules require that students must apply before taking the qualifying examination. Upon successful completion of the dissertation, the student’s transcript and diploma will record the designation: “PhD in Applied Science & Technology with a Designated Emphasis in [Name].”