The SCI Applied Physics graduate program at Rice University offers one of the few doctoral degrees in applied physics in the world. A joint effort of both the Natural Sciences and the Engineering divisions at Rice, the Applied Physics program is overseen by a joint committee where the research advisors compose members from among the Departments of Bioengineering, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Chemistry, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Materials Science and Nanoengineering, Physics and Astronomy, and Statistics. The objective is to provide an interdisciplinary graduate education in applying the fundamental science to develop new technologies. The faculty believes that the experience obtained by performing research at such an intellectually stimulating interface between physical science and engineering is particularly beneficial in preparing graduates in rapidly emerging areas of technology.
Each person accepted into Applied Physics affiliates with a particular department upon arrival at Rice and is paid a stipend according to the guidelines of that department. For the year 2016, these were in the range of $28,800 (competitive with other major U.S. academic institutions). The first 9 months of stipend are paid by SCI student fellowships. The student chooses an advisor during the first school year according to the deadline set by the department, and the advisor pays the stipend in the 10th month and thereafter. Teaching responsibilities are also determined by department. Should an Applied Physics student decide after arrival to work with an advisor from a different department, they may request a change of affiliation.
Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the program, the student can access virtually any of the research facilities in either the natural sciences or engineering schools of Rice University. The Applied Physics Committee urges prospective students to contact individual departments or SCI for detailed descriptions of research facilities and ongoing research projects. Within SCI alone, there are over 100 separate projects, and there are numerous other research opportunities.