Jan 28, 2022  
University Catalog 2022-2023 
University Catalog 2022-2023

Molecular Sciences and Nanotechnology (PhD)

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of Applied and Natural Sciences

CIP Code = 300101

Program Administration

The PhD in Molecular Sciences and Nanotechnology is a collaborative interdisciplinary degree offered by the College of Applied and Natural Sciences (ANS) and the College of Engineering and Science (ES). The coordinators and the steering committee, with the approval of the Dean of Graduate School, will establish the policies and procedures applicable to this program, evaluate applications, administer examinations, and oversee all aspects of the student’s work.

William J. Campbell, School of Biological Sciences Director
Gergana G. Nestorova, Program Chair, Molecular Sciences and Nanotechnology

Steering Committee Members
Engineering and Science:
Yuri Lvov, Professor of Physics and Chemistry
Teresa Murray, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Applied and Natural Sciences:
David K. Mills, Professor of Biological Sciences
Rebecca Giorno, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences
Patrick Hindmarsh, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences


More information about the Molecular Sciences and Nanotechnology program can be obtained by writing to one of the coordinators:

c/o Dean of Graduate School
Louisiana Tech University
P.O. Box 7923
Ruston LA 71272
(318) 257-2924

and visiting the web site:  https://ans.latech.edu/biological-sciences/graduate-programs/​ and https://coes.latech.edu/graduate-programs/


The objectives of this interdisciplinary program are

  1. To train graduate students in experimental, theoretical, and computational aspects of research in molecular biology, chemistry, and physics, particularly where these disciplines intersect.
  2. To enhance interdisciplinary applied research at Louisiana Tech University in micro and nanotechnology, including molecular biology and protein engineering.
  3. To prepare graduate students for the next generation of careers in science and technology by offering a unique, flexible, and highly interdisciplinary graduate degree.

Admission Requirements

Students with undergraduate backgrounds in biological sciences should choose degree codes that start with “ANS” on the application. Students with physical sciences or engineering backgrounds should choose degree codes that start with “ES.”

  1. A Master’s degree in biological sciences, biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, chemistry, electrical engineering, physics, or a closely related area is the expected qualification.
  2. Students with Bachelor’s degrees may be admitted directly to the PhD program on the basis of outstanding academic achievements (as evidenced by GPA, GRE, and scholarly achievement).
  3. Official GRE scores are required. It is expected that most applicants will have a minimum total score of 304 in the Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections with a minimum of 146 in the Verbal Reasoning section.
  4. At the discretion of the PhD Steering Committee, the GRE requirement may be waived in the case of exceptional students, especially for those with national fellowships, scholarships, or professional achievement.

Core Requirements, Courses, and Dissertation

The curriculum consists of 66 credit hours. All students are required to complete a common set of core courses (10 credit hours) that exposes students to nanotechnology and molecular biology. The curriculum also requires a minimum of 23 credit hours of electives, to be selected by the student in consultation with the doctoral advisory committee and 12 credit hours of special topics and directed study designed to provide considerable depth in the dissertation area. A minimum of 18 credit hours of research and dissertation hours are required along with 3 credit hours of Doctoral Seminar credit.

Doctoral Committee

A Doctoral Committee consisting of at least 5 members must be appointed for each student by the end of the first quarter in the program. It is expected that the student will first choose a dissertation advisor and select the remaining committee members in consultation with the advisor. The majority of the committee will be drawn from the college of the dissertation advisor. At least one committee member shall be from the other college.

Examination Structure, Candidacy, and Time Limitation

Qualifying Examination

The qualifying examination will consist of a written examination that covers general topics in molecular biology and nanotechnology. It is strongly recommended that students register for the qualifying examination
examination soon after successfully completing the core courses, which should normally occur within the first three quarters of matriculation, not including summers.

Comprehensive Examination

Within 1 year of passing the qualifying exam, a student is normally expected to pass a comprehensive examination in his/her area of specialization. The comprehensive exam will include a short presentation to the Doctoral Advisory Committee and the public on the student’s proposed dissertation topic followed by a question and answer period for the public, and a closed door session with the Committee.


After the student has successfully passed the comprehensive examination, the student will be admitted to candidacy.

Dissertation Defense Examination

The student’s Doctoral Committee administers the dissertation defense exam. It will, in most cases, consist of an open public defense of the results of the dissertation. This final exam must be successfully completed in accordance with the deadlines published by the Graduate School. Those serving on the doctoral committee must recommend, with at most one dissent, that the student has satisfactorily passed the dissertation defense exam.


  • Matriculation – Doctoral Advisory Committee must be appointed and an initial plan of study submitted by the end of a student’s first quarter of study.
  • Dissertation Research Proposal - A proposal outlining the research to be undertaken for the dissertation must be submitted by the end of the fourth quarter of enrollment, not including summers.
  • Qualifying Exam – To be taken in the first Fall Quarter following 3 quarters in the program.
  • Comprehensive Exam – To be completed within 1 year of passing the qualifying exam.
  • Admitted to Candidacy - Upon passing the comprehensive exam, the student is admitted to candidacy for the doctoral degree.
  • Time Limitation – Doctoral students who have earned master’s degrees in the area of their doctoral studies will be expected to complete the requirements for the degree in 7 years from initial enrollment; all others will have 8 years.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of Applied and Natural Sciences