PhD Certificates, Fellowships & Training Programs


Enhance your degree with a focused course sequence

Aerospace Research

Students can expand their learning experience through the Aerospace Research Graduate Certificate. Faculty expertise includes structures and dynamics, aerodynamics, acoustics, and mathematical and computational methods.

More about the Aerospace Research Graduate Certificate »

Biomolecular and Tissue Engineering

A multidisciplinary certificate program integrates engineering, the life sciences, and medicine. The research focus of the program is the interaction of proteins, cells and tissues with materials and drugs in natural biological processes, and in medical diagnosis and therapy.

More about the Biomolecular and Tissue Engineering Certificate »

Medical Robotics

Shape the future by designing machines that improve lives.

In addition to completing four high-impact courses, you'll join a special community — the uncommonly collaborative engineering and medical research neighborhood clustered just a few hundred meters apart along Duke's Research Drive.

Eligibility: Students should be candidates at Duke for the Master of Science, Master of Engineering or PhD in one of these Duke departments or programs: Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science, Electrical & Computer Science, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Computer Science, Statistics, Mathematics, Data Science, or Science & Society.

More about the MedRob Certificate »


The Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics at Duke University offers a graduate certificate, open to any graduate student at Duke. The goal of the program is to provide a venue for students to learn more about photonics as a path to interdisciplinary research and technology development.

More about the Certificate in Photonics»


Duke MEMS participates in Duke's university-wide Graduate Certificate Program in Nanoscience—which provides an interdisciplinary education in the broad areas of nanoscience and nanomaterials.

More about the Certificate in Nanoscience »

Robotics and Autonomy 

Understand the autonomous systems driving independent, intelligent machines. The topic spans robotics, cyber-physical systems, internet of things, and medicine.

More about the Robotics & Autonomy Certificate »

AI for Materials

Utilize advanced data-driven artificial intelligence (AI) methodologies to explore and engineer novel materials that possess the essential properties necessary for effectively tackling the most significant challenges we face.

More about the AI for Materials Certificate »


Apply your training in high-impact contexts

Engineering in Service to Society Fellowship

Through the generous support of the Lord Foundation, PhD students in Duke's Thomas Lord Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science can apply for funding to support a semester gaining experience in the policy or nonprofit sector. Students are encouraged to identify internships that align with their research expertise—at the international, national or local levels.

More about the Engineering in Service to Society Fellowship »

Burroughs Wellcome Fund Researcher Fellowship

The Thomas Lord Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science is pleased to offer Burroughs Wellcome Foundation Fellowships for incoming (Fall 2024) MEMS PhD students with research related to biological sciences, climate change, and human health. 

All MEMS PhD students are fully funded. 

In addition, these students will receive $3000 in discretionary funds for conference travel, laptops, books, and professional development activities. Fellows will be selected based on their PhD application. No additional application is required. BIPOC and first-generation (college) students are encouraged to apply.

Made possible by the generous support of the Burroughs Wellcome Foundation (BWF),

To learn more or apply, contact Michell Tampe

Research Traineeship Programs

Take on the challenge of highly-focused training in an emerging topic area

NSF-supported International Research Experiences for Students (IRES) Track 1 Program

A cohort of approximately eight PhD students from NC State, Duke, and UNC Chapel Hill will be accepted for the Summer 2024 NSF-supported IRES Track 1 Program, Soft Matter Research Experience for North Carolina Graduate Students in Dresden, Germany (with future opportunities in Summer 2025 and 2026).

The Summer 2024 cohort will travel to and live together in Dresden to do soft matter research with different hosts but with a common academic and social program.

More about the NSF-IRES program »

NSF aiM (AI for Understanding and Designing Materials Program)

This National Science Foundation-supported research traineeship program is for PhD students from degree programs in computer science, data science, statistical science, and all materials disciplines (including materials science, physics, chemistry, and all engineering fields) with the goal is broadening the participation of women and other underrepresented groups. aiM provides specialized coursework, professional skills development, and experiential internships. Upon completion, each student is awarded an aiM PhD Certificate of Specialization, in addition to their doctorate.

More about the aiM-AI traineeship program »

NIH Biomolecular and Tissue Engineering Pre-Doctoral Training

Through a National Institutes of Health biotechnology pre-doctoral training grant, the Duke Center for Biomolecular and Tissue Engineering (CBTE) supports stipend, tuition and fees for 10 pre-doctoral fellows, with the Duke Graduate School contributing two more fellowships for non-US citizens. Generally, students are awarded an NIH CBTE fellowship during their first or second year of graduate study and are supported for two years.

More about the CBTE Traineeship Program »

NSF Traineeship for the Advancement of Surgical Technologies (TAST)

From autonomous robots that use AI and machine learning to make clinical decisions, to tools that augment surgeons’ own capabilities, rapid changes in surgical technologies have created new demands for the future workforce.

The National Science Foundation-funded Traineeship for the Advancement of Surgical Technologies (TAST) prepares engineering and computer science graduate students to design advanced surgical technologies that benefit society through technical coursework, real-world surgical design challenges, professional development and study of legal, ethical, societal and economic considerations.

Eligibility: TAST is a two-year program open to PhD and master’s students in the Pratt School of Engineering as well as Duke Computer Science.

More about the TAST Traineeship Program »