PhD Certificates, Fellowships & Training Programs


Aerospace Research Graduate Certificate (SOAR)

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

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Certificate in 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.

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Certificate in Photonics

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.

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Certificate in Nanoscience

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.

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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.

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Burroughs Wellcome Fund Fellowship

Through the generous support of the Burroughs Wellcome Foundation (BWF), PhD students in Duke's Thomas Lord Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science working in the areas of biological sciences, climate change, and human health can apply for $1,000 in discretionary funds for conference travel, laptops, books, and professional development activities. Five BWF Interdisciplinary Researcher fellowships are available. Applications require a resume and two letters of recommendation. They will be evaluated the by PhD Steering Committee.

For more information, contact Michell Tampe.

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Research Traineeship Programs

NSF aiM Program (AI for Understanding and Designing Materials)

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.

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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.

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NSF Traineeship: 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.

TAST Trainees will complete three components as part of the program:

  • A core Primers Course combining mini-design challenges with two-week primers on topics such as rapid prototyping, intellectual property, and robotics
  • A course in Machine Learning
  • A one-semester research project in collaboration with other TAST trainees and medical students

TAST Core Primer Course

In this semester-long course, TAST trainees gain broad knowledge across many disciplines related to advanced surgical technologies while engaging in practical design challenges with clinicians at Duke Health.

Primers Weeks 1-4
MP 1
Surgery Robotics Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence MP 1
Mini Project (MP) 1
Primers Weeks 5-8
MP 2
Medical Imaging Medical Technology Development Medical, Law, Policy & Ethics MP 2
Mini Project (MP) 2 
Primers Weeks 9-12
MP 3
Problems in Surgery Shadow a Surgeon Shadow a Surgeon MP 3
Mini Project (MP) 3 

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

Application: A rolling application process will be used in Spring 2022 for TAST trainees who will start in Fall 2022. Please check back in January 2022 for further details regarding the application process.

Learn more: Read an article about the TAST program

Faculty Leadership Team

Brian Mann, PI
Professor, Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science

Leila Bridgeman, Co-PI
Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science

Patrick Codd, MD, Co-PI
Associate Professor, Neurosurgery

Sabino Zani, MD, Co-PI
Assistant Professor, Surgery