What is the benefit of pursuing the Interfaces program compared to a traditional Ph.D.?
Compared to a traditional Ph.D., the Interfaces program offers a unique opportunity to train on both sides of the interface between engineering and medicine, in order to bridge the gap and communicate between the two different communities. Medicine is the language of the clinician, and attending preclinical courses opens the door to learning the medical culture and understanding the motivations, priorities, and thinking styles that pervade clinical practice. Ultimately, this knowledge enables easier communication and knowledge transfer during collaborations. In addition, Interfaces scholars are heavily supported by the peers in their program as well as the co-directors. They also have more flexibility in selecting a thesis lab.
How does the Ph.D. process for an Interfaces scholar different from that of other peers?
Generally, research rotations start in the summer between the first and second year rather than in the fall of the first year for bioengineering Ph.D. students. Similarly, Interfaces scholars join labs at the end of their second year. The qualifying exam and thesis proposal are delayed by a year, but all milestones (qualifying exam, thesis proposal, thesis defense) are administered and dictated by the Department of Bioengineering.
Does joining the Interfaces program delay my graduation date?
No, historically, Interfaces scholars still graduate in 5-6 years even though scholars start research later than standard bioengineering Ph.D. students.
Which aspects of the curriculum are flexible and which are required?
All preclinical medical school courses, core Interfaces courses, and seminars are required. Taking all preclinical courses allows for an immersive experience that introduces scholars to topics they previously may not have considered. Core Interfaces courses may differ depending on the selected track. Otherwise, electives to satisfy other requirements for Ph.D. graduation are flexible. The information for the BE Ph.D. course requirements can be found here.
Any other questions?