Quantum Science and Engineering: Degree Requirements

Quantum Science and Engineering

The QSE graduate program will offer both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. Students will follow one of three tracks: 1) Quantum Nanotechnology, 2) Quantum Theory, or 3) Quantum Algorithms and Computation. Students will indicate the track to which they are applying at the time of application and are welcome to consult with the graduate advisor when making this decision. In general, students planning to do experimental work will follow the Quantum Nanotechnology track. Students planning to do theoretical work that requires knowledge of physical systems (e.g. atoms or solid state materials) will follow the Quantum Theory track. Students planning to work on quantum algorithms, quantum computing applications, or classical computing that facilitates quantum computing will follow the Quantum Algorithms and Computation track.

The QSE M.S. degree requires a minimum of 32 credit hours. The course sequence for each of the tracks is shown in Table 1:

  1. Quantum Nanotechnology (required courses in black and green)
  2. Quantum Theory (required courses in black and orange)
  3. Quantum Algorithms and Computation (required courses in blue and black)

The information presented in this table is also contained below in text-only format.

M.S. Course Credit Requirements Table

 

Semester 1 (Fall)

Semester 2 (Spring)

Summer

Semester 3 (Fall)

Intro. to Quantum Computation and Quantum Information (PHYS 650, 3 credits)

Intro. to Quantum Hardware (3 credits)

OR

Intro. to Quantum Hardware (3 credits)

OR

Quantum Algorithms (3 credits)  

Thesis Research (QSEG869, 4 credits, potentially conducted at internship site)

Elective (3 credits)

Applied Quantum Mechanics (MSEG640, 3 credits)

 

OR

Applied Quantum Mechanics (MSEG640, 3 credits)

OR

Limited Elective 1 (3 credits, see below list)  

Experimental Techniques for Quantum Systems (3 credits)

OR

Advanced Topics in Quantum Information

(3 credits)

OR

Advanced Topics in Quantum Information (3 credits)

OR

Internship (QSEG864, 4 credits)

Elective (3 credits)

Engineering the Quantum Revolution (3 credits)

Semiconductor Device Design and Fabrication (ELEG650, 3 credits)

OR

Elective (3 credits)

OR

Elective (3 credits)

 

Thesis Research (QSE869, 2 credits)

OR

Non-Thesis Research (QSE868, 2 credits)

Professional Communication in Quantum Sci / Eng (1 credit)

Professional Communication in Quantum Sci / Eng (1 credit)

   

Required Courses

All students will take three common required courses in their first semester:

  1. Introduction to Quantum Computation and Quantum Information (3 credits)

  2. Engineering the Quantum Revolution (3 credits)

  3. Professional Communication in Quantum Science and Engineering

Students in the Quantum Nanotechnology or Quantum Theory tracks will typically take Applied Quantum Mechanics (3 credits) in the fall semester. Students in either of these tracks who have already taken course work on Quantum Mechanics may take an elective in lieu of Applied Quantum Mechanics in the fall and take Quantum Mechanics 1 (PHYS811) in the spring instead. Students wishing to exercise this option should contact the graduate program director. Students following the Quantum Algorithms and Computation track will take, in the fall semester, one 3 credit course from the following options: Algorithm Design and Analysis (CISC621), Introduction to Machine Learning (CISC684), Elements of the Theory of Computation (CISC601), Advanced Topics in Algorithms and Complexity Theory (CISC830), Computational Methods for Equation Solving and Function Minimization (MATH612).

In the second semester of their first year, students following the Quantum Nanotechnology track will take:

  1. Introduction to Quantum Hardware (3 credits)

  2. Experimental Techniques for Quantum Systems (3 credits)

  3. Semiconductor Device Design and Fabrication (3 credits)

  4. Professional Communication in Quantum Science and Engineering (1 credit)

In the second semester of their first year, students following the Quantum Theory track will take

  1. Introduction to Quantum Hardware (3 credits)

  2. Advanced Topics in Quantum Information (3 credits)

  3. An elective of their choice (3 credits)

  4. Professional Communication in Quantum Science and Engineering (1 credit)

In the second semester of their first year, students following the Quantum Algorithms and Computation track will take:

  1. Advanced Topics in Quantum Information (3 credits)  

  2. Quantum Algorithms (3 credits)

  3. An elective of their choice (3 credits)

  4. Professional Communication in Quantum Science and Engineering (1 credit)

In their third semester, all students will take two elective courses (3 credits each).

In summary, M.S. Quantum Nanotechnology track students will take 20 credits of core requirements, 6 credits of elective courses, and 6 thesis research credits. M.S. Quantum Theory track students will take 17 credits of core requirements, 9 credits of elective courses, and 6 thesis research credits. M.S. Quantum Algorithms and Computation track students will take 17 credits of core requirements, 9 credits of elective courses, and 6 thesis research credits. Students who wish to do a summer internship may opt for internship course credit (QSE864) and/or a non-thesis degree in lieu of thesis research credit. 

The QSE Ph.D. degree requires a minimum of 41 credits. The course sequence for each of the tracks is shown in Table 2:

  1. Quantum Nanotechnology (required courses in black and green)
  2. Quantum Theory (required courses in black and orange)
  3. Quantum Algorithms and Computation (required courses in blue and black)

The information presented in this table is also contained below in text-only format.

Ph.D. Course Credit Requirements Table

Semester 1 (Fall)

Semester 2 (Spring)

Summer

Semester 3 (Fall)

Intro. to Quantum Computation and Quantum Information (PHYS 650, 3 credits)

Intro. to Quantum Hardware (3 credits)

OR

Intro. to Quantum Hardware (3 credits)

OR

Quantum Algorithms (3 credits)  

Internship (QSEG864, 1-6 credits)

Elective (3 credits)

Applied Quantum Mechanics (MSEG640, 3 credits)

OR

Applied Quantum Mechanics (MSEG640, 3 credits)

OR

Limited Elective 1 (3 credits, see below list)  

Experimental Techniques for Quantum Systems (3 credits)

OR

Advanced Topics in Quantum Information (3 credits)

OR

Advanced Topics in Quantum Information (3 credits)

OR

Begin research with faculty advisor

Elective (3 credits)

Engineering the Quantum Revolution (3 credits)

Semiconductor Device Design and Fabrication (ELEG650, 3 credits)

OR

Elective (3 credits)

OR

Elective (3 credits)

 

Research

(QSEG868, 6 credits)

Professional Communication in Quantum Sci / Eng (1 credit)

Professional Communication in Quantum Sci / Eng (1 credit)

   

Course Requirements

All students will take three common required courses in their first semester:

  1. Introduction to Quantum Computation and Quantum Information (3 credits)

  2. Engineering the Quantum Revolution (3 credits)

  3. Professional Communication in Quantum Science and Engineering (1 credit)

Students in the Quantum Nanotechnology or Quantum Theory tracks will typically take Applied Quantum Mechanics (3 credits) in the fall semester. Students in either of these tracks who have already taken course work on Quantum Mechanics may take an elective in lieu of Applied Quantum Mechanics in the fall and take Quantum Mechanics 1 (PHYS811) in the spring instead. Students wishing to exercise this option should contact the graduate program director. Students following the Quantum Algorithms and Computation track will take, in the fall semester, one 3 credit course from the following options: Algorithm Design and Analysis (CISC621), Introduction to Machine Learning (CISC684), Elements of the Theory of Computation (CISC601), Advanced Topics in Algorithms and Complexity Theory (CISC830), Computational Methods for Equation Solving and Function Minimization (MATH612).

In the second semester of their first year, students following the Quantum Nanotechnology track will take:

  1. Introduction to Quantum Hardware (3 credits)

  2. Experimental Techniques for Quantum Systems (3 credits)

  3. Semiconductor Device Design and Fabrication (3 credits)

  4. Professional Communication in Quantum Science and Engineering (1 credit)

In the second semester of their first year, students following the Quantum Theory track will take

  1. Introduction to Quantum Hardware (3 credits)

  2. Advanced Topics in Quantum Information (3 credits)

  3. An elective of their choice (3 credits)

  4. Professional Communication in Quantum Science and Engineering (1 credit)

In the second semester of their first year, students following the Quantum Algorithms and Computation track will take

  1. Advanced Topics in Quantum Information (3 credits)

  2. Quantum Algorithms (3 credits)

  3. An elective of their choice (3 credits)

  4. Professional Communication in Quantum Science and Engineering (1 credit)

In their third semester, all students will take two elective courses (3 credits each).

In summary, Ph.D. Quantum Nanotechnology track students will take 20 credits of core requirements, 6 credits of elective courses, 6 research credits, and 9 dissertation credits. Ph.D. Quantum Theory track students will take 17 credits of core requirements, 9 credits of elective courses, 6 research credits, and 9 dissertation credits. Ph.D. Quantum Algorithms and Computation track students will take 17 credits of core requirements, 9 credits of elective courses, 6 research credits, and 9 dissertation credits. Students are welcome and encouraged to do an internship during the summer after their first year. Students participating in internships may register for and receive internship course credit (QSE864), but such credits do not count toward the total number of credits required for the degree. 

Students who have already taken courses, in other departments or at other institutions, that they believe satisfy the requirements of a required course for this degree may request that a course requirement be waived. Such applications must be submitted to the graduate program advisor and Associate Program Director in writing. Applications must be accompanied by a) documentation of the content covered in the prior course (e.g. syllabus, copies of homework or exams) and b) evidence of satisfactory completion of the prior course. Applications will be evaluated and approved / denied by the graduate committee, typically in consultation with the UD instructor of the course for which a waiver has been requested. Students whose requests are approved will select, in consultation with the graduate program advisor, Associate Program Director, and their advisor, a different course to take to meet the total number of credits required for the degree. The graduate program advisor will complete a course substitution form to document the approved substitution.

All Ph.D. trainees will be encouraged to participate in internships with our corporate and national lab partners. There are three goals for this internship program. First, we want trainees to understand the industry context in which the skills they are learning will be used. For this reason, trainees will typically participate in internships during the summer after their first year. Second, the internships will create a network of contacts upon which trainees can draw after graduation. Third, we want the needs of industry to be continuously brought back into our research programs. 

Qualifying exams

Ph.D. students are required to pass qualifying exams to enter candidacy. Qualifying exams should generally be scheduled in Year 2 but must be completed by the end of Year 3. If a student does not pass the qualifying exam by the end of Year 3, the student will be asked to leave the program. In the case of extenuating circumstances, the student may petition the Graduate Committee for an extension.

The qualifying exams comprise two parts: a written and an oral exam. The written paper, which serves as a dissertation proposal, is prepared by the student. The student’s advisor should review the paper to ensure that it conforms with these requirements and may offer constructive feedback to the student. After this review, the paper should be sent to the student’s committee at least two weeks before the date of the qualifying exam. The paper should be no longer than 12 pages in length (single space, 12 pt font, Times New Roman or equivalent) including figures. Substantial references, demonstrating that students are familiar with the background literature in the field, should be included in the paper and are not included in the 12 page maximum. References should be in a standard format that complies with NSF guidelines.

The paper must include the following sections:

  • Introduction and Motivation explaining the importance of the research problem
  • Background summarizing the scientific foundations and important prior work in the field.
  • Statement of the Research Problem that will be the focus of the student’s dissertation research, including a statement of hypotheses to be tested.
  • Proposed Approach describing the methods to be employed in conducting the research. This section should include citations to references that established the techniques to be employed and a description of why these techniques are appropriate for the proposed research.
  • Timeline of the proposed research
  • Progress to Date describing the student’s efforts on the project thus far. Demonstration of substantial progress and/or results is not required.

Additional sections as appropriate to the proposed topic and field are welcome.

When students preparing to take their qualifying exam are the lead author of a published or submitted journal or full-length conference paper, they may request that this paper be accepted in lieu of the written qualifying exam paper. The graduate committee will approve or deny this request. If the request is granted, the student will be expected to submit to her/his committee both the approved paper and a short (approximately 3 page) description of specific future research plans and timeline.

The student should prepare an oral presentation with slides. The slides should cover all of the required sections of the written paper and should include a final slide with a tentative project timeline. The presentation should be designed to be 30 minutes in length if delivered without interruption. Students should expect frequent interruptions to discuss the slide content and to probe the student’s knowledge of the material presented and how it relates to underlying scientific principles. To ensure the examination adequately tests the student’s ability to synthesize knowledge from courses and apply it to a research project, examiners are free to ask questions about any scientific topic related to the proposed project, including topics covered in either the written paper or oral presentation. All background knowledge probed should be germane to the proposed project. Exams typically take between 90 and 120 minutes. This should include a hard stop at least 10 minutes prior to the end of the examination to permit time for the faculty to deliberate without the student in the room.

Evaluation Criteria

Students will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Has the student demonstrated the ability to integrate foundational material and concepts in order to understand the scientific foundations of the research problem?

  • Does the student understand the scientific underpinnings of the approaches to be employed?

  • Has the student demonstrated knowledge of the important prior results in the field?

  • Has a clear research problem or objective been identified and clearly explained?

  • Does the proposed approach describe a feasible path to addressing this research problem?

Based on these evaluation criteria, the committee shall form a consensus on whether the student Passes, Passes Provisionally, or Fails the examination. Feedback should be provided to the student. A “Passes Provisionally” shall entail whatever provisions and timeline the committee deems necessary to address the shortcomings that resulted in that outcome. The advisor is responsible for ensuring these provisions are met and shall notify both the student’s committee and the graduate program director in writing how the provisions were met. In the event a student fails the examination, the committee should explain the reasons for the failure. The student shall, at the discretion of the advisor, be permitted to retake the exam one additional time within six months.