The PhD Experience

Take on the Big Challenges

Earning a PhD takes courage. There will be obstacles, uncertainty and ambiguity. But it’s the vision of a better world that sustains you, drives you – and that’s what drives us, too.

Dedicate Yourself to Taking on Grand Challenges

At Duke, we take on the biggest challenges facing humanity and our planet. We can design the solutions because we can holistically describe the problems. Vast computing power, comic-book-like materials, and cities resilient to climate change. Our doctoral students are partners in those quests.

Bring your courage. We’ll provide the nurturing environment and supportive community you need to achieve our shared vision of a better tomorrow.

The Duke Difference

You want to change the world for the better. We’re right there with you, sharing your audacious ambitions and supporting your growth and development. Imagine what we can achieve together.

High-Impact Research

Help us pursue field-defining research with a relentless focus on the translation and application of discoveries.

Mentoring From Day One

Our PhD students benefit from a personalized team of advisors invested in their success.

Uniquely Interdisciplinary

It’s what we’re known for. Few walls separate Duke’s engineering, medicine, natural science and humanities communities.

An Experience Second to None

At Duke, our doctoral students have access to a beautiful campus, an exciting city and a suite of personalizable services that promote personal, social and professional wellbeing.

Why did I choose Duke for my PhD? Its great reputation for backing its students when it comes to funding, and for being eager to take risks and incubate new ideas.

Mahmoud Elfar, PhD Studied cyber-physical systems with Miroslav Pajic

Outstanding Research Facilities

The Wilkinson Building

This 150,000-square-foot transformational facility embodies our vision of collaborative research. Lab spaces are grouped into research neighborhoods focused on advances in health, computing and the environment. Dedicated PhD student working spaces feature large exterior windows and campus views.

Quantum Computing Cluster

With $80-million-plus in external funding, Duke ECE’s internationally recognized quantum computing team—part of the Duke Quantum Center—is developing trapped ion qubit technologies.

Materials Fabrication Cleanrooms

Our NSF-affiliate Shared Materials Instrumentation Facility (SMiF) is home to 4,000 square feet of class 100 and class 1000 cleanroom, and well-stocked suites of the latest instruments for materials and device characterization, imaging and analysis.

Robotics Workspace

Duke’s multidisciplinary robotics working group has access to simulation and robotics platforms, two experiment rooms for private human-in-the-loop experiments, an observation room and adjacent office space for graduate students.

Build Your Mentoring Muscles

We train tomorrow’s engineering leaders, and leaders need to, well, lead. And thoughtful, deliberate mentorship is a key ingredient. Start honing those skills now.

It’s a hallmark of the Duke Engineering experience that our undergrads partake in authentic research experiences and that our PhD students mentor undergraduates in research skills.

It doesn’t happen by accident. PhD research projects and engaged undergrads are matched through Muser, a savvy online system.

Graduate Student Programs and Services

The Graduate Student Programs and Services (GSPS) team collaborates with Duke Engineering students to provide diverse support services. These offerings are integral to Duke Engineering’s holistic framework, ensuring students have a top-tier experience.