NYU Tandon Launches Pioneering Master's Degree Program in Surface Engineering

The NYU Tandon School of Engineering has begun accepting applications for one of the world’s first master’s of science degree programs in translational surface engineering—an emerging and vital field of chemical engineering at the molecular and nanoparticle levels. It is expected to prepare students for high-demand career paths across many industries.

At NYU Tandon, the two-year program will reach beyond health (the usual domain of translational engineering) to educate students on how to translate basic surface science in all fields—electronics, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, paint, bioengineering, food, coatings, and many more—into engineering solutions that can be quickly adopted by industry.

Traditional surface engineering courses focus mainly on solid surfaces, and the new degree program will include these. But it will be among the first to offer a deep academic grounding in the surfaces of soft matter including surfactants and colloids that are found in nearly all liquid manufactured goods and more. As one example, surface engineering techniques solve energy-robbing friction, corrosion and wear problems—responsible for 7 percent of GNP in industrialized countries. Surface engineers also optimize the interface between medical implants and tissue to promote healing.

Led by Professor Abraham (Avi) Ulman, a pioneering researcher of self-assembled monolayers, the program was developed by faculty of the NYU Tandon Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. They turned to researchers and hiring managers at seven major corporations to understand their needs; as a result, the NYU Tandon translational surface engineering program will require coursework in a characterization laboratory where students get experience using tools they will encounter later in their careers.

“Our goal is to provide students—whether they are recent recipients of bachelor’s degrees or mid-career professionals seeking to better position themselves within industry—with the tools to engineer properties of surfaces and interfaces and to put that knowledge to practical use,” Ulman explained. “They will develop creative material-interaction problem-solving abilities and will undoubtedly be highly sought after by major coating, food, agriculture, pharmaceutical, household, personal care, and cosmetics companies, as well as research labs.”
Students may choose either a traditional research track, culminating in a thesis, or a major project option, in which they will propose an industrial application using the knowledge acquired in the program.
“This is among the first master’s degree programs to address molecular-level chemical engineering with a hands-on lab component strongly focused on translational research,” Dean Katepalli R. Sreenivasan said. “This new degree program modernizes our curricula offerings, is highly relevant to students’ interests, and addresses workforce demands for graduates who will receive a solid foundation in surface engineering and its related disciplines.”

In addition to Ulman, core faculty members of the translational surface engineering program will include David Pine, founding director of NYU’s Center for Soft Matter Research; Rastislav Levicky, recipient of a prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Award; Jin Ryoun Kim, known for his research on neurodegenerative disease; and Ryan Hartman, also an NSF CAREER Award winner.
The first students will be accepted for the autumn 2016 semester. For more information or to register, visit http://engineering.nyu.edu/academics/programs/translational-surface-engineering-ms.

The NYU Tandon School of Engineering dates to 1854, when the NYU School of Civil Engineering and Architecture as well as the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute (widely known as Brooklyn Poly) were founded. Their successor institutions merged in January 2014 to create a comprehensive school of education and research in engineering and applied sciences, rooted in a tradition of invention, innovation and entrepreneurship. In addition to programs at its main campus in downtown Brooklyn, it is closely connected to engineering programs in NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai, and it operates business incubators in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn. For more information, visit engineering.nyu.edu.