The PhD program at CU Boulder’s ATLAS Institute emphasizes out-of-the-box invention and radical inquiry. Suited to students whose interests transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries, ATLAS is a thriving academic community of researchers and students who blend engineering, design, art and humanitarianism. 

Structurally, the ATLAS PhD program is like any other research-based doctoral program: a student forms an advisory committee, takes courses, takes a qualifying examination, proposes a dissertation, performs research, writes a dissertation and defends it.  PhD students are required to take the ATLAS Research Methods class, the ATLAS Research Professional Development class and the ATLAS Colloquium at least once each during the first two years of study. Beyond those requirements the curriculum is crafted from one student to the next, based on background and experience. The student, in consultation with her or his advisory committee, identifies expertise that will be needed to perform the research and selects courses to develop the requisite expertise. (Learn more about the program in the PhD Handbook).

Combined PhD in Cognitive Science ATLAS PhD students may also earn a combined PhD with the Institute of Cognitive Science.

International Applicants: All ATLAS degree programs have been assigned the US State Department's CIP code 15.0000, Engineering Technology, General. The ATLAS PhD program is classified as a STEM-OPT eligible degree. 

Opportunity for Underrepresented Students: The Colorado Advantage Graduate Preview Weekend gives underrepresented students a chance to visit campus, meet faculty, and preview doctoral programs in science, math, and engineering departments at CU-Boulder. Application Deadline: September 19, 2023.

Opportunity for US citizens, US nationals and permanent residents: The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program provides three years of support over a five-year fellowship period for the graduate education of individuals who have demonstrated their potential for significant research achievements in STEM or STEM education.  Deadlines in October.