All applications for admission to doctoral and master’s programs are submitted to the Princeton University Graduate School.
Welcome from the Dean
With strong mentorship and rich opportunities, graduate students at Princeton Engineering learn to push the boundaries of their fields and go on to become leaders in industry, academia and government.
Graduate alumni start companies, become professors, deans, and presidents, win MacArthur "genius" grants, and receive many honors that recognize transformative impact and leadership.
Our culture is welcoming and collaborative. We bring together students and faculty from diverse backgrounds and from around the world who value innovation and engineering in the service of society. Diverse talent strengthens the work we do and the impact we have. With excellence across the natural and social sciences, public policy, and the humanities, the whole of Princeton University presents engineering graduate students much flexibility in working across disciplines to enable creative approaches to the problems that spark your interest.
Faculty are student-focused and care deeply about teaching and training the next generation. A low doctoral student-to-faculty ratio of 4:1 allows a personalized learning experience and opportunities to lead major research projects.
H. Vincent Poor
Michael Henry Strater University Professor of Electrical Engineering
Bryan Nerger is a long-distance runner and has always done some of his best thinking when he's training. "I still remember those runs when I was applying to graduate school" he says. "I was trying to figure out what to prioritize: research and teaching opportunities, dedicated advisers, financial support, a great location…It all felt important."
A Canadian native who graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2015 with a degree in chemical engineering, Bryan knew he wanted to focus on applications of biomaterials in graduate school. "By the time I visited campus, saw the facilities, and met the people, I knew this was the place where my priorities would all come together. Saying 'yes' to Princeton was the best decision I've made."
Working closely with Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering Celeste Nelson, Bryan is using 3D-bioprinted and microfabricated tissues in order to unravel the mechanisms behind branching morphogenesis, the process wherein tissues form tree-like tubular structures during the development of the lungs, kidneys, and other organs. "Every day, I'm excited by the possibility that our work is moving the world closer to understanding how branched tissue architectures develop so that we can engineer artificial tissues and organs."
Bryan feels fortunate to have "more opportunities than I can pursue" at Princeton, including co-authoring several articles; "Dynamics of tissue-induced alignment of fibrous extracellular matrix" was recently featured on the cover of Biophysical Journal. "I was proud to be involved with that study," he says. "The research focuses on the dynamic interplay between multicellular tissues and the surrounding fibrous extracellular matrix."
He has also gained valuable teaching experience as an Assistant in Instruction for CBE 440: The Physical Basis of Human Disease, as well as training, supervising, and mentoring high school and undergraduate students as they work on the collection and analysis of original research data.
"Princeton Engineering is giving me a breadth, depth of knowledge, and experience that I didn't know I could find in one program," says Nerger. The unexpected bonus, he adds with a grin: "The running trails are excellent here."
When Akil Word-Daniels is not working in the lab, he may be participating in a student organization, playing a game of intramural softball or running near the Lakeside Graduate Student Housing complex with his dog, Zoe. Word-Daniels, a Princeton University graduate student in electrical engineering, believes that involvement in activities outside of academics is essential to becoming a well-rounded individual.
“You have to get away from the lab,” he said. “You have to go out and get involved in different student groups. You have to get out and exercise your body. It’s important that you exercise things other than just your scientific mindset.”
Word-Daniels, originally from Mississippi, received his bachelor’s degree in physics at Morehouse College in Atlanta, where he discovered his love for science, specifically optics and lasers.
“A laser is just the purest form of light,” he said. “There’s just something majestic about a laser that just drives me to it. It makes me want to create them and use them and just play around with them.”
Word-Daniels works with quantum cascade lasers in Claire Gmachl’s lab. Gmachl, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Electrical Engineering, is also his adviser. Word-Daniels is responsible for optimizing how the lasers work as well as testing their function in new material systems.
“If you could put a quantum cascade laser into a silicon system, something that we use in all microelectronics, then you could get cheap, affordable systems that you can, you know, use on your cellphone,” Word-Daniels said.
After he earns his Ph.D., Word-Daniels plans to become an advocate for science and science policies. He wants to bring science to communities where science education may not be strong.
“Every day I wake up and I try to think about, how can I improve my communities? It’s something that’s ... a deep-seated passion for me, and my research training here is just setting me up for success in that sense,” he said. “In my opinion, scientific research — the fundamentals of it — I think is a gateway on solving … all of the problems in the world.”