New Interdisciplinary Ph. D. Program Begins in the Fall
Posted on April 26, 2021
The University of South Alabama will begin a new interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in chemical and biomolecular engineering beginning this fall. The Alabama Commission on Higher Education approved the program in March.
This program is the result of a group of interdisciplinary faculty building the necessary research and funding capacity to support it. There are faculty members conducting research in areas related to chemical engineering, but there wasn’t a graduate program that allowed students to study these areas in detail.
“After discussion with several faculty in engineering, arts and sciences, and allied health, it was determined that an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program that could capture these areas would be great addition to the University,” said Dr. T. Grant Glover, associate professor of chemical engineering.
Although the Graduate School is providing some initial financial support, the expectation is this program will be mostly self-supporting through research grants and contracts.
“This program will substantially accelerate the virtuous cycle of research and funding,” said Dr. J. Harold Pardue, dean of the Graduate School.
But the benefit of a new Ph.D. program also extends to what Glover calls “institutional memory” that is difficult to maintain with undergraduate and masters students.
“Because Ph.D. programs requires a commitment of four or more years beyond an undergraduate degree, the depth of research that can be conducted grows significantly,” Glover said. “Not only are students at the University longer, but Ph.D. students are able to teach incoming students about the research.”
Ph.D. programs also benefit universities as well. When researchers can compete for and execute larger and more sophisticated projects it helps institutions compete for highly qualified research faculty, increasing the overall graduate education experience.
“You should expect to see some very high profile, impactful research emerging from this program,” Pardue said. “This really is a game changer for South.”
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