Program in Polymers and Soft Matter

Program Director: Prof. Darrell J. Irvine | Email | Website

77 Massachusetts Ave. • 76-253 • Cambridge, MA 02139 • (617) 253-0949

The Program in Polymers and Soft Matter (PPSM) is an interdisciplinary doctoral program offered jointly by the School of Engineering and the School of Science at MIT. PPSM is open to qualified students admitted to the graduate program of one of the following MIT departments: Biological Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering. PPSM consists of two phases:

Academic Phase

In the program’s first two semesters, students gain fundamental and advanced knowledge in the field of polymers, from molecular structures to industrial applications. At the end of the two-semester core curriculum, PPSM students are examined for doctoral candidacy by a committee of PPSM faculty from the five participating academic departments, all of which accept the result of the PPSM candidacy exam in place of their departmental qualifying examinations. In subsequent semesters, PPSM students take a selection of subjects from their home department’s core graduate academic program to satisfy the PPSM minor requirement.

Research Phase

In subsequent semesters, students concentrate on a selected area of polymer research specialization, which culminates in the preparation and defense of a thesis before PPSM and departmental faculty.  Procedures for the selection of thesis advisor(s) and composition of the student’s thesis committee are set by the PPSM student’s home department.

Successful completion of all PPSM program requirements leads to the awarding of a doctoral degree upon the recommendation of the student’s home department.  PPSM students have the option to earn a master’s degree through their home departments and various interdepartmental programs at the Institute.