Doctoral Degrees and Desginated Emphasis

Doctoral Degree Program and Paths

There are two paths open to students seeking education beyond a master's degree: Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) in Biological Systems Engineering and Doctor of Engineering (D. Engr) in Biological Systems Engineering. Students may also opt for a Designated Ph.D Emphasis in Biotechnology or Native American Studies.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) in Biological Systems Engineering

The Ph.D program in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering emphasizes the science or research features of engineering. Completion of this program is intended to provide students with the ability to assist in the furtherance of the fundamental knowledge of engineering biological systems. Those students entering the program with a bachelor's of science should expect it to take 5 years. For students with a master's degree, the typical program length is 4 years. In addition to the course work, the program culminates in a written and oral examination as well as a dissertation.

Doctor of Engineering (D.Engr) in Biological Systems Engineering

The Doctor of Engineering program emphasizes design, analysis, economics, management, and labor. The program is intended to assist students in their pursuit of becoming professional engineers. The course requirements academically equivalent to the Ph.D program but emphasize the professional aspects of engineering rather than research. The student prepares for a Qualifying Examination in a major field and one or two minor fields. Typically, the program features a wider range of subject rather than the subject specificity of the Ph.D program. Minor fields should include courses outside engineering such as bioscience, business management, economics, sociology, and others. Students should expect to complete the program within 5 years.

Download the Graduate Program Degree Requirements PDF for More Information

Application Deadlines

Priority: Jan 15, 2019
General: Apr 1, 2019
Space Available: Jun 1, 2019
Prospective Student Fellowship: Jan 15, 2019


Designated Emphases

During the doctoral program, students have the opportunity to also apply for a designated emphasis. A designated emphasis (DE) is an interdisciplinary specialization, such as a new method of inquiry or an important field of application, which is relevant to two or more existing doctoral degree programs. The Graduate Program in Biological Systems Engineering offers two designated emphases.

Biotechnology

The designated emphasis in Biotechnology provides a very effective multidisciplinary biotechnology concentration, which includes exposure to bioethics, business and legal aspects of biotechnology as well as a 3-6 month internship in a biotechnology company or research laboratory in another college or national laboratory. Dr. Kjelstrom, the Program Coordinator assists the students in locating internships, preparation of a strong cover letter and curriculum vitae, and the development of professional skills related to the business environment.

Program Chair: Email Abhaya Dandekar

Visit the Graduate Studies website for more information about a Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology.

Native American Studies

The designated emphasis in Native American Studies focuses hemispherically upon the indigenous peoples of the Americans, that is, upon the peoples, nations, tribes, and communities whose ancestors have lived in North, Central and South America from earliest times. This unique hemispheric approach includes attention to the increasing dislocation and diaspora of indigenous people throughout the Americas, and calls upon the authority of Native intelligence (Native voices, Native texts) in all its forms and manifestations to address the issues that concern Native peoples, including the creative strategies for continuance they have developed over the centuries.

Program Chair: Email Justin Spence

Visit the Graduate Studies website for more information about a Designated Emphasis in Native American Studies.


Doctoral Degree Program Course Requirements

Ph.D Core and Electives (49 units)

a) Core Courses (4 units)
  • EBS 200: Research methods in biological systems engineering 2 units
  • EBS 290 Seminar 2 units
b) Elective Courses (45 units)

(Note 8 of these 45 units have to meet Advanced Math and Advanced Experimental Design and Analysis requirements.)

  • Major: ECH 259 or equivalent (Advanced engineering mathematics), EBS 265 (Design and analysis of engineering experiments), and other graduate and upper division courses in the major field 30 units
  • Minor: A minimum of 15 units of graduate and undergraduate courses in a particular filed to enhance student’s breadth of knowledge. To achieve this breadth student typically takes 3 graduate and 2 upper division courses in a coherent subject (i.e., 5 courses randomly selected from different areas will not constitute a minor) 15 units
c) Summary

Note that course Guidance Committee, in concurrence with the student, may suggest ECH 140 (Mathematical methods in biochemical and chemical engineering), EAD 205A (mathematical methods), MAT 118A (Partial differential equations: Elementary methods), or (MAT 118 B (Partial differential equations: Eigenfunction expansions) as a substitution for ECH 259. Similarly, PLP 222 (Experimental approaches in plant pathology) may be suggested as a substitution to EBS 265. However, EBS 265 and ECH 259 are the preferred courses and any recommended changes will have to be approved by the Executive Committee. Note also that any such changes may lead to a change in the total number of core units. However, such changes need to be compensated in major courses, which must total a minimum of 30 units including Advancement engineering mathematics and Design and analysis of engineering experiments or with their respective substitutions.

In selecting the courses, students should be very careful to make sure that in the major and minor fields, which amount to a total of 45 units, there are at least 30 graduate units of which at least 15 are engineering graduate units. Moreover, at least 23 units must be in engineering. Note that students holding a MS degree may be able to transfer up to 21 units from elsewhere. To be able to transfer these units students must provide an extended outline of the course (s) taken at other institutions. In any case, at least 24 units and core courses (EBS 200 and EBS 290) must be taken here at UC Davis to satisfy major and minor requirements. Figure 5 summarizes our Ph. D. degree course requirements succinctly.

D. Engr: Core and Electives (49 units)

Course requirements for D. Engr. are academically equivalent to Ph.D. program but emphasize professional aspects of engineering rather than research. The student prepares for a qualifying examination in a major field of study and one or two minor fields. The major Biological Systems Engineering Integrated BS/MS Degree Program Revised 6 November 2014 24 field area may include a wider range of subject matter than is customary in the Ph.D. program. As a consequence, the Doctor of Engineering candidate is not expected to probe into a single field of learning as deeply as the Ph.D. candidate. Minor fields should include courses outside engineering. Examples of minor fields are bioscience, business management, economics, international agricultural development, law, sociology, statistics, mathematics, political science, psychology and operations research. The area covered by the qualifying examination is thus broadened, and the minimum course work required to prepare a student for the examination may exceed the 30 graduate units and an additional 15 upper division or graduate units suggested for the Ph.D. candidate.

a) Core courses (4 units)
  • EBS 200: Research methods in biological systems engineering 2 units
  • EBS 290: Seminar 2 units
b) Elective courses (45 units)
  • Major: A minimum of 30 units of graduate and upper division courses. These courses should prepare the student to define and solve problems in recognized engineering area. These courses may come from physical sciences, mathematics, statistics, and engineering to provide knowledge necessary for high-level professional engineering performance 30 units
  • Minor: A minimum of 15 units of graduate and undergraduate courses in particular field to enhance students breadth of knowledge. To achieve this breadth student typically takes 3 graduate and 2 upper division courses in a coherent subject (i.e., about 5 courses randomly selected from different areas) 15 units
c) Summary

In selecting the courses, students should be very careful to make sure that in the major and minor fields, which amount to a total of 45 units, there are at least 30 graduate units of which at least 15 are engineering graduate units. Moreover, at least 23 units must be in engineering. Note that students holding a MS degree may be able to use up to 21 units from elsewhere. To be able to use these units students must provide an extended outline of the course (s) taken at other institutions. In any case, at least 24 units and core courses (EBS 200 and EBS 290) must be taken here at UC Davis to satisfy major and minor requirements.


Committees

Click here to download a PDF and learn more about the different committees through the program.

Qualifying Examination, and Dissertation

Click here to download a PDF and learn more about the examination and dissertation process.