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U Central Florida Scaling Up with Nanotechnology Master's

The University of Central Florida will be launching a new master's degree dedicated to nanoscience and nanotechnology. The interdisciplinary degree was approved by the university's board of trustees almost 10 years after the institution opened the NanoScience Technology Center, which will run the new program.

The fields of nanoscience and nanotechnology cover the study of microscopically sized particles that contain properties with far-reaching impact in multiple areas: surgery and drugs, clothing, mobile devices, coatings, and building materials.

The expansion comes at a good time. According to the Technology Center, the market for nanotechnologies is projected by some analysts to reach $1 trillion by 2020.

Said one board member Robert Garvy the growth rate of nanoscience industry from $250 billion to an anticipated $1.2 trillion was "astonishing." And, he added, "No other university in Florida is offering a master's degree in that field."

In a prepared statement, the university said the students undertaking the new program of study would develop the scientific knowledge involved in making discoveries as well as business and entrepreneurial skills to they need to take those discoveries to the market.

"Our goal is certainly to be preeminent. You add the entrepreneurship component and the other training, and the students coming out of this will be well poised," said Ross Hinkle, vice provost and dean of administration for the university's College of Graduate Studies.

The new master's track is expected to begin this fall with 10 students. The school already offers an interdisciplinary studies nano major at the bachelor level, a program developed with a $100,000 grant from the National Science Foundation that puts students through six nano-focused courses, including:

  • Nanomaterials process engineering;
  • Nanomaterials characterization and application;
  • Nanophysics;
  • Nanobiotechnology;
  • Nanophotonics; and
  • Ethical and societal implications in nanotechnology.

The National Science Foundation also continues to seek proposals for introducing nanoscale science, engineering, and technology into undergraduate engineering education into other institutions as part of a national nanotechnology initiative.

The new program at U Central Florida is expected to bring in its many industry partners to work with students. Those include Lockheed Martin, Nemours Children's Hospital and the Orlando VA Medical Center.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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