Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies

Future Students—Welcome!

The Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture is training graduate students to become innovators in solving the relevant, real-world problems of our time in many interdisciplinary research areas. Whether in academia, industry, or in a national laboratory, our graduates are helping meet the grand challenges of the 21st Century.

Washington State University ranks among the top 50 public research universities in the nation according to US News and World Report. The College prepares master’s and doctoral candidates with high standards of scholarship and scientific inquiry, emphasizing interdisciplinary study and team approaches.

Interdisciplinary Programs

The College offers the following master’s and doctoral degrees to meet your academic goals:

  • Master of Science in Engineering (thesis and non-thesis options are available)
  • PhD in Engineering Science

Program History

Prior to 1983, a single engineering doctoral program named Engineering Science was the only program available to all engineering disciplines in the College. In 1983, approval was sought and received to have individual department-named doctoral programs, such as chemical engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering. The Engineering Science program was retained for doctoral students with engineering backgrounds that desire education with a heavy interdisciplinary component such as involving the physical or life sciences, and for doctoral students whose previous training was not in a traditional engineering program. The MS Engineering was added later.

Program Requirements

Normally, students entering the program will have an undergraduate degree from a recognized program in engineering. Students with a non-engineering undergraduate degree, such as mathematics or the physical and life sciences, may need to complete a central core of undergraduate engineering study focused on their area of interest. The interdisciplinary nature of these degrees provides considerable flexibility in designing programs of study tailored to the specialized needs of each student. Examples of areas of specialization include, but are not limited to, atmospheric research, bioengineering, materials science and engineering.

Admission Requirements

The Graduate School minimum admission requirements are listed on their website. Specific departments may have requirements beyond these. In order to determine what the department requirements are, it is the applicant’s responsibility to contact the department that the potential advisor is housed in. Students must satisfy the minimum requirements of the GraduateSchool and the department that the potential advisor is housed in.

Before Applying

Applicants are discouraged from applying directly to the MS Engineering and PhD Engineering Science programs without first having obtained a graduate advisor who has agreed to provide them with an assistantship. The graduate advisor must have discussed the applicant’s interests with them and agreed that applying for one of these interdisciplinary degrees is the best option.

In order to obtain a graduate advisor, please review the list of faculty located on the participating departments’ websites. When you find one or more faculty whose research interests are similar to your own, contact them by email: state your name, the interdisciplinary program you are applying to, the semester you are applying for, your educational background and research interests, any industry experience, and anything else you feel would be beneficial for them to know. You may be asked to provide some or all of the application material required by the potential advisor’s department. If they decide to take you on as a student, they will work closely with the College in the processing of your application.


The University has one online application. All application material should be submitted online or mailed to the Graduate Schooladdress. Once it is received, it is entered into the University system where the various departments can download what they need. Complete instructions for applying can be found here.

The priority application deadline for all programs and departments in the University is January 10 for fall admission and July 1 for spring admission. Some departments or programs may have earlier application deadlines so please contact them early in the application process. Applicants meeting these deadlines will have first priority for full consideration into the programs, as well as for available assistantships and funding.


Admission to the WSU Graduate School is a joint decision between the Dean of the Graduate School and a prospective department or college. In the case of the MS Engineering and PhD Engineering Science programs, admission is a joint decision between the Dean of the Graduate School, the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, and the department that the potential advisor is housed in.

Assistantships (financial aid)

All departments and programs in the University have a March 1 deadline for fall admission offers to applicants, which may include offers of a Teaching Assistantship or Research Assistantship, tuition waivers, and health insurance. Offers are often made before this date and occasionally after this date.

Participating Departments

Although these interdisciplinary programs are administered through the College’s Office of the Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Programs, the student will be advised and possibly funded through one of the departments in the College. Recent departments that have participated in the programs include:


Research is integral to the College, with many of its faculty members having national and international reputations in their fields. The College’s research initiatives have led to patents, real products, and economic development for the region. The College has developed dynamic, multi-disciplinary research centers, which bring in almost half of all research dollars in the college.

Contact Information

Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture
Associate Dean of Research & Graduate Programs
Washington State University
PO Box 642250, Carpenter 510
Pullman, WA 99164-2250

Graduate School
Washington State University
PO Box 641030
French Ad 324, Stadium Way
Pullman, WA 99164-1030

To request information about graduate study in general at the University: