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New engineering doctorate program to launch fall 2024

Two graduate students in the Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering program examine a robot in the Robot Control Lab.
College of Engineering, Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, Aykut Satici’s Robot Control Lab, photo by Priscilla Grover

Boise State University is launching its 15th doctorate program – a Ph.D. in engineering – after approval from the Idaho State Board of Education this spring.

With more than 3,000 students in its programs, the College of Engineering identified the need for a new graduate program to broaden engineering education and research, continue to aid social and economic impact in the region and add substantially to the university’s research capabilities.

“Research is a major component at all of Idaho’s Universities. Boise State’s new Ph.D. in engineering program will enable students to conduct groundbreaking research in numerous engineering fields with potential benefits for our state, region and nation,” State Board of Education President Linda Clark said. “This expanded research capability will provide limitless opportunities for today and in the future.”

The proposed program will have concentrations in civil and mechanical engineering. It will fuel future interdisciplinary research synergies with other departments, colleges and centers within Boise State in fields such as ecology, environmental studies, public policy and sustainability. The program features degree tracks in infrastructure systems, water and environment systems, energy systems, and mechatronics and control systems.

The program offers flexibility in designing an education that fits student needs and is conducive to cutting-edge, interdisciplinary scientific discovery with societal impact across Idaho. The program contributes to Boise State’s role in the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps Hub program within the region.

“Boise State’s newest doctoral program meets the goal of increasing the Ph.D. offerings across the college to encompass all our engineering and computer science faculty,” College of Engineering Dean JoAnn Lighty said. “This increased capacity for trailblazing research will continue propelling our college by attracting even more world-class faculty while providing further opportunities to retain the talented minds preparing the next generation of leaders.”

The primary goal of any engineering project is human welfare and thriving communities. The mission of the new program is to ensure student, graduate and faculty success by preparing graduates who can cross the disciplinary boundaries with the skills and knowledge to advance our communities through research and scholarship.

The program is designed to develop a workforce within Idaho that is capable of understanding the need to be more resilient and sustainable in creating lasting infrastructure that caters to local needs.

“It will open up new pathways for faculty across all disciplines and research areas to participate in doctoral programs,” said Todd Otanicar, chair of the mechanical and biomedical engineering department. “This will allow our faculty to continue our upward research expenditure trajectory and create innovations for impact.” 

The program will be offered jointly by the College of Engineering’s civil engineering and mechanical and biomedical engineering departments and the Graduate College.