Applied Science and Technology

Overview of AST PhD Program

The Applied Science & Technology (AST) Ph.D. Program offers concentrations in bioscience, applied chemistry, applied physics, data science and analytics, information technology, technology management, STEM Education, and  atmospheric, environmental and energy science. Over the past five years it has maintained an enrollment of 50-65 students and is at 77 students for Fall 2020, making it the largest STEM PhD Program on campus. Overall, 33% of the faculty research advisers are female and 20% are African-American.. Also of note: (1) the amount of in-state and out-of-state students is nearly the same,  (2) 45% of the students are reported to be female,  (3) 40% of the students are reported to be URM, and (4) 42% of the students report to be international. The average number of publications per graduate one year after graduation is 3.5 along with 5.7 presentations/graduate. AST students have received the A&T University Best Dissertation Award three out of the last six years.

Curriculum Guide can be found here.


Contact Information

Graduate coordinator: Keith Schimmel, Ph.D.
Phone: 336-285-2329

Program Website

Advanced studies within atmospheric, environmental & energy science provide interdisciplinary opportunities to address major societal issues. Areas of research include atmospheric systems ranging: (a) from microscale (biomass burning aerosols, wildfire/aviation/sea-spray turbulence, tornadoes), mesoscale (snow/ice-atmosphere interaction, tropical/moist convection, orographic effects, severe local storms), to large scale (tropical cyclones and waves, Arctic cyclones, and polar climate) systems; (b) from tropical (cyclones and waves), midlatitude (storms, polar/subtropical jets), to polar (snow/ice, Arctic cyclones) regions; and (c) from short (aerosol emission, turbulence, tornadoes) to long (regional climate in polar and tropical regions; biomass impacts on climate) terms, using measured, observed, or remotely-sensed data by laboratory, field, or numerically-modeled experiments. For more information on the AST PhD Atmospheric, Environmental & Energy Science concentration, please contact Dr. Yuh-Lang Lin (

Advanced studies within applied physics span the scale from sub-atomic particles (Nuclear Physics) to astrophysical jets (Astronomy), from weather and climate sciences (Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology) to brain and behavior (Biological Physics). The nuclear physics group performs experimental research at the Jefferson Laboratory (JLab), a world-class high energy nuclear physics facility under the Department of Energy (DOE): (a) precision determination of the proton radius; (b) high precision measurements of the light elementary particles (pseudoscalar mesons) to address the fundamental symmetries and their breaking phenomena in physics. The biological physics group uses experimental, theoretical, and computational approaches to understand how the physical environment influences behavior and how organisms process physical signals to make sense of their surroundings. Alumni have gone on to work with government agencies (NASA, NOAA, EPA, Institute for Defense Analyses, and U.S. Space Force), industries (Lockheed Martin, Intel, Boeing, General Electric, IBM), and universities. For more information on the AST PhD Applied Physics concentration, please contact Ashot Gasparian (

Advanced studies within the biological sciences are leading to transformative insights into biological systems while also laying the foundation for applied, interdisciplinary research. This program furthermore promotes the development of knowledge and experience in applied areas relating to the health of individuals and their communities, the environment, education, and industry. Major areas of research within the Bioscience concentration include cell and molecular biology, microbiology, immunology, physiology, neuroscience, evolutionary genomics, and systems biology. Students also have opportunities to develop expertise in how disciplinary knowledge and research can be leveraged to address societal challenges in other specific areas such as environmental health, health disparities, and STEM education. For more information on the AST PhD Bioscience concentration, please contact


Advanced studies within applied chemistry include research on Computational Structural Biochemistry, Biosensors, Nanocatalysts for Fuels & Fuel Cells, Food-borne Pathogenesis, Coordination Polymers, Luminescent Sensor Materials, Chemoprevention Chemistry, Biopolymers, Cell Biology on Modified Surfaces for Drug Toxicity Screening, and Curriculum and Instruction Development. Graduates of the program find employment in industry, academia and the government, enjoying careers in research, teaching, engineering, business, pharmacology, forensic sciences, and biotechnology. For more information on the AST PhD Applied Chemistry concentration, please contact Dr. Divi Venkateswarlu (

Advanced studies within data science and analytics includes areas such as statistics, mathematical modeling, theoretical mathematics, and applied mathematics. Graduates might choose to pursue career opportunities in research and development facilities, government agencies, educational services, academia, manufacturing with titles such as Biostatistian, Cost Estimator, Market Research Analyst, or Mathematician.Major areas of research For more information on the AST PhD Data Science & Analytics concentration, please contact Dr. Alexandra Kurepa (

Advanced studies within information technology provide opportunities to work in research areas such as Cloud Computing, Computer and Network Security, Enterprise Computing, High Performance Computing, Information Retrieval, Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining, and Wireless Networking. Graduates work in a variety of positions, which include Database and Network Administrator, System Analyst, IT consultant, and Project Manager. Employers include EMC, Accenture, AT&T, General Electric, IBM, Northrop Grumman, and state and federal agencies. For more information on the AST PhD Information Technology concentration, please contact Dr. Qing-An Zeng (

The Technology Management concentration prepares exceptional leaders and scholars in examining the dynamic relationship of technological innovation and organizational change and their impact on organizations and society. The concentration builds on the Department of Applied Engineering Technology faculty’s strength in applied research and elevates student to encompass knowledge in human behavior, organizations, and social systems. Graduates find employment in manufacturing, electronics, construction, product design, and many other industries as well as government agencies. All Technology Management related courses are offered online. For more information on the AST PhD Technology Management concentration, please

The discipline of STEM education is about conducting fundamental research on STEM learning and bridging research and practice—defining effective practices, identifying the reasons why they work, developing curricula, assessing how students learn, and moving those findings into the classrooms of tomorrow's STEM students. The College of Science and Technology (CoST) provides a rich environment for STEM education research as the Biology, Chemistry, Math, and Physics general education courses are delivered for students across the campus through CoST. The Applied Engineering Technology, Computer Systems Technology, and Built Environment technology departments complete access to the full range of STEM education expertise in CoST. For more information on the AST PhD STEM Education concentration, please contact Dr. Keith Schimmel (