Nano SE

Prospective PhD Students

To apply to the Nano SE PhD Program, you will need to submit the following materials:

  1. Completed application (available online at
  2. Official Undergraduate and Graduate Transcripts.
  3. Three letters of recommendation (you may use the forms available at and/or a letter sent by the referee).
  4. TOEFL scores (required of students from countries where English is not the native language).
  1. GRE scores (General Test).
  2. Statement of Purpose (an essay stating why you wish to pursue graduate studies in the Nano SE PhD program at SDSM&T).
  3. $35 application fee (Applications are not processed until this is paid).
  4. Curriculum Vita or Resume (recommended) (Not required, but may aid in evaluating a student's probability for success in the program).

A note

To potential students

Dear Student:

Thank you for interest in the Nano SE PhD program. As you may know, we are a smaller program, with between 15-20 PhD students. These students are selected primarily through the advisor, thus it is critical to identify a potential research match when considering applying. I would encourage you to contact faculty participating in the program whose research interests match your own, and enquire about the possibility of joining their respective research programs.

To learn more about the program, please visit and our school's web site There you will find information about the program, contact information for participating faculty, and instructions on how to apply. There are also links on the school's website where you may learn more about the engineering programs offered here. All application materials can be obtained on line.

We review applications twice a year as a group, unless a faculty member is sponsoring an applicant, in which case we review on a rolling basis (please contact the faculty member whom you're interested in working with in this case).

The formal deadlines are:

  • FA 2019: Applications due February 15. First response by Mar 30, second response May 15
  • SP 2020: Applications due August 15. First response by Sep 30, second response Nov 15

I would look at the school's websites and contact faculty in your area of interest. If you find a connection, that is the best way to get an assistantship. I hope you will take the time to learn about the program and apply. If you have more questions, please contact me.

With Best Regards,

Steve Smith, Professor and Director of Nano Science and Engineering

Nano SE

Current PhD Students

Qualifying Exams

Written portion

Last Qualifying Examination (written portion) was offered Spring 18 (next exam date to be announced in SP19).

This is a 3 part exam based on material covered in Nano 701, 702 and 703. This is normally taken at the end of the second year, total time allowed is 2 hours.

Date and Time: 4PM, 05/04/18
Location: CLSM BUILDING 205-E

Previous exam guidance (download)

Summary of SP08 test scores (download)

Oral portion

To qualify for candidacy , you will need to submit a research proposal and prepare a presentation (see Nano PhD handbook for further guidance). This is scheduled independently by the student and advisor, depending on the student's progress in research.

Example of successful Research Proposal submitted by Lori Groven, first Nano PhD Candidate (download)