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Today’s professional must constantly change, adapt, and navigate among disciplines to keep pace with rapid market shifts and technological advances.

Because of these market trends, industries are particularly interested in interdisciplinary graduate education that emphasizes both breadth of knowledge and depth in a particular field. The Interdisciplinary Engineering Ph.D. program is designed specifically to meet these needs.

For more than a decade, research-focused centers at UAB have brought together expertise from many disciplines to solve problems. This problem-solving approach is finding its way into academic programs through the implementation of interdisciplinary graduate education. The foundation of interdisciplinary programs is that students are educated in multiple related subject areas to prepare them for high-level, research-oriented work, either in industry or academia.

The Ph.D. program in Interdisciplinary Engineering takes advantage of unique resources and strengths at UAB by creating a program that can be tailored to the individual student. The program is suitable for working engineers and newly minted engineers who want to advance into engineering leadership or project management roles; the typical student enters the program with at least five years of career experience. The program is highly adaptable in that it allows working professionals to enter the program part-time with an option for distance learning.

Program Objectives

""Whether a student is full-time or part time, the Interdisciplinary Engineering Ph.D. is a research-intensive engineering program with a rigorous academic curriculum including coursework in engineering and at least one other discipline and unique opportunities for interdisciplinary research. It. fosters interdisciplinary interactions between the Schools of Engineering, Medicine, Public Health, Health Professions, and the College of Arts and Sciences. Students enrolled in the program will gain the skills necessary to succeed as independent and productive investigators in multidisciplinary analysis and design, with applications over a wide spectrum of science, engineering, health, and medical fields. The interdisciplinary program provides:

  • a rigorous academic curriculum that includes training in engineering and at least one other discipline related to the dissertation;
  • collaborative interdisciplinary interactions with students and faculty from across UAB;
  • unique opportunities for interdisciplinary research; and
  • a highly adaptable framework, which includes some online or distance learning, to meet the needs of full-time, working professionals.


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Important Program Information

  • Students who do not have an engineering degree (B.S. or thesis-based M.S.) will be required to complete a series of foundation courses to ensure the necessary background to succeed in doctoral-level engineering courses.
  • Students in the program can be part-time for the first 30 credit hours and some or all of these coursework hours can be online.
  • After 30 hours, the student is expected to be full-time and spend at least one year in residency at UAB working on their dissertation, preferably for three consecutive terms.
  • Part time and distance students are required to meet on campus with the committee at least once each year that they are in the program as well as for their candidacy exam, Ph.D. proposal, and final dissertation defense.
  • Students will take a minimum of 6 hours of cross-disciplinary training, which is defined as courses taken outside of the School of Engineering. These courses must be approved by the student’s dissertation committee and the IE Ph.D. program committee prior to registration.
  • All IE Ph.D. students are required to present research at a local, regional, national, or international technical conference and publish research findings in at least three peer-reviewed journal articles during the program.

""Application/Admissions Requirements

  • Undergraduate or graduate degree in Engineering or a closely related field.
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale on most recent degree.
  • An application that includes a personal statement describing motivation for the IE Ph.D. program, recent accomplishments and activities, and research interest.
  • CV/resume.
  • Three letters of recommendations from academic or professional contacts.
  • Official transcripts from each institution where college credit was received to be mailed to:
    UAB Graduate School,
    LHL G03, 1720 2nd Avenue South,
    Birmingham AL 35294-0013.

    Transcripts may also be submitted electronically by choosing University of Alabama at Birmingham – Graduate Admissions or by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Additional International Admissions Requirements

  • For applicants whose first language is not English, TOEFL score of 80 (minimum of 20 on each sub-score) or higher OR IETLS score of 6.5 or higher
  • Financial Affidavit of support
  • Immigration document if currently residing in the U.S.

Application Review Process

Once an application is complete, the IE Ph.D. Admissions Committee will review the materials and make an admission decision. This decision will be communicated to the applicant through TargetX within two weeks of when the application is complete. An application is not considered complete until all of the materials listed above have been submitted through TargetX.

Application Deadlines

  • Fall: August 1
  • Spring: December 1
  • Summer: May 1

Application Fees

  • Domestic applicants and green card holders: $50
  • International applicants: $60

Contact Information

""Gregg Janowski, Ph.D.
Program Director
Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering
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Kristy Barlow
Director of Academic Programs
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