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. However, unlike most U.S. doctoral programs, our program has no set of required courses. Rather, 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. The curriculum is crafted from one student to the next, based on background and experience.

In limited circumstances, for students interested in pursuing research but not prepared for a PhD, ATLAS is able to offer a research master’s degree. Students admitted to this program work with ATLAS faculty advisors on customized courses of study.