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The Consilience doctoral program is a unique offering of ITU and is among the first, if not the very first, of such programs offered by any university domestic or international. It is a forward-looking program that addresses a developing unfulfilled gap in university offerings that will become only wider in the future if not addressed at this time. Other universities (e.g., Princeton) are beginning to offer courses addressing some issues of consilience, but none, to my knowledge, have yet developed or offered a comprehensive, focused program of study leading to the PhD degree.

Admission Requirements

    • Bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 2.75, or a Master’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0.
    • Proof of English proficiency:* All applicants whose native language is not English and who did not receive either a bachelor’s or graduate degree from an English-speaking institution must take an English proficiency test.
    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination: score of 72 or better for the internet-based test (iBT).
    • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination: band score of 6.0 or better for the academic module. Demonstrated commitment to contribute to and complete the program

* U.S. citizens or U.S. Permanent Residents who have earned an undergraduate or graduate degree from a regionally accredited institution in the U.S. are waived from this requirement.

Program Requirements
  • 60 credit units beyond master degree including
    • 30 units of course work and independent study
    • 30 units of dissertation
  • Maximum 15 credit units with grade B or above may be transferred from PhD level courses of an accredited school with approval of department chair
  • Passing a qualification exam consists of written and oral parts is required for admission of candidacy
  • Passing a comprehensive examination in oral is required with presenting dissertation topic proposal and sufficient preparation for advanced research for the proposed dissertation topic
  • Passing a comprehensive final defense examination in oral is required to defend the PhD dissertation
  • Publication in international academic journals is required to complete PhD dissertation

General Requirements

Students must complete 60 credit hours to earn their degree.

  • 30 credit hours of Course Requirements
  • 30 credit hours of Dissertation

Course Work and Study Program

The students are expected to complete a minimum of 60 trimester credit hours beyond the master’s degree. Of these, 30 trimester credit hours may be earned through course work and independent study and 30 through the dissertation. All dissertation credit hours are graded on a Pass/No Pass basis. A maximum of 15 trimester credit hours may be transferred from other accredited institutions at the discretion of the student’s advisor.

Course Requirements

Students must complete 30 credit hours from the courses below in addition to the “Dissertation” in order to complete the degree.

IDS 711 – General Consilience (3)

Consilience is the bridging of the natural and social sciences. In this course students will learn the history and scope of Consilience. This overview course will briefly explore the bridges and connections between academic disciplines. This course is mandatory for every student in their first trimester.

IDS 712 – Physics (3)

This course will cover the history and fundamental concepts in physics. The historical perspective will focus on the progression of human understanding of these physical laws. We will look at the laws of thermodynamics in respect to identifying the primary algorithm that all physical matter, to include life, follows.

IDS 713 – Cosmology (3)

This course will have a strong connection to the primary algorithm focusing on how the universe has unfolded from the big bang to current day. We will cover all major aspects of the history of the universe including the unknown origins and future.

IDS 714 – Chemistry (3)

This course on chemistry will look at how the chemical elements in the universe were created, and how chemical complexity works within the entropic second law of thermodynamics. We will look at the leading theories of the origins of life and how it chemically works within all physical laws.

IDS 715 – Genetics (3)

Although the general argument of which came first – metabolism or replication – is still unanswered, we have learned a vast amount about the nature of both metabolism and replication. This course will analyze life’s ability to store and pass-on information through DNA chemical structures.

IDS 716 – Evolution (3)

This course will cover the concepts of how life has evolved through genetic mutation and adaptive radiation here on earth. We will look at the primary algorithm as a function of extension – incorporation – extension as life has evolved.

IDS 717 – Biology/Ecology (3)

We will focus on studying the major kingdoms of life and how they have evolved into the many ecosystems on Earth. This course will explore in depth the bridge between the primary algorithm as applied in physics and in biology.

IDS 718 – Evolutionary Neuroscience (3)

In this course we will learn the underpinning theories and evidence for the second algorithm, dual-motive theory. We will look at how brains have evolved and the relative behaviors to this evolution. We will then cover what this evolution means for human behavior and experience.

IDS 719 – Psychology (3)

In this course we will take a historical and current view of the various areas in psychology. We will focus on identifying the connections between dual-motive theory and the current views on human behavior and motivation.

IDS 720 – Philosophy (3)

Historically philosophy and political governance have been deeply connected. This course will review the historical figures in the field and provide a scientific basis to explain the subjective experience that drives both eastern and western philosophy.

IDS 901 – Doctoral Dissertation (1 to 9 credit hours per semester)

Doctoral dissertation. Students may take up to 9 credit hours for their doctoral dissertation in a semester, in order to reach a minimum of 30 credit hours.

**Note: These courses are only for US citizens or Green Card holders

For more information on program requirments and course descriptions click here.

Thesis Advisor

It is the student’s responsibility to obtain consent from a full-time faculty member in the student’s major department to serve as his/her prospective dissertation advisor. Students are required to find a dissertation advisor as soon as possible after being accepted as a Ph.D. student. The student and the dissertation advisor jointly develop a complete program of studies for research in a particular area. The complete program of studies (and any subsequent changes) must be submitted to the AQC and approved by the student’s advisor.

Comprehensive Examinations

After completion of the formal course work approved by the Doctoral Committee, the student shall request for the comprehensive examination. The examination shall be a written exam representing sufficient preparation in depth and breadth for advanced research in the major. The comprehensive examinations normally must be completed within four years from the time of admission. Comprehensive examinations may be repeated only once, in whole or in part, at the discretion of the dissertation advisor.

Admission to Candidacy

A student who passes the comprehensive examinations is considered as a Ph.D. candidate. A Ph.D. candidate should promptly ask the dissertation advisor to form a doctoral committee.

Doctoral Committee

On the student’s request, the dissertation advisor will form a Doctoral Committee. The committee will consist of at least five members, including the dissertation advisor and at least two members from the consilience science department. The committee must also include at least one member from outside the department. The Doctoral Committee will review the proposed dissertation topic, and determine any further changes to approving the research objective.

Thesis Research

The period following the comprehensive examinations is devoted to research for the dissertation, although such research may begin before the examinations are complete. After research topic proved by the Doctoral Committee, the students should conduct the dissertation research toward the objective defined.


One or more refereed articles based on the dissertation research must be accepted for publication in a professional or scientific journal approved by the Doctoral Committee.

Thesis Defense

The dissertation must be made available to all examiners one month prior to the examination. The oral examination shall consist of a presentation of the results of the dissertation and the defense. Dissertation defense is open to all faculty members of the university, but only members of the Doctoral Committee have a vote.

Program Completion

At least one month before the degree is to be conferred, the candidate must submit to the Academic Quality Committee two copies of the final version of the dissertation describing the research in its entirety. The dissertation will not be considered as accepted until approved by the Doctoral Committee and publication acceptance. All doctoral theses must also be reproduced on microfilm, for responding to requests for copies by individuals and libraries. The University reserves the right to evaluate the undertakings and the accomplishments of the degree candidate in total, and award or withhold the degree as a result of its deliberations.

Time Limit for Completing Degrees

All requirements for the doctoral degree must be completed within ten years following acceptance for the Ph.D. program. Extensions will be allowed only in unusual circumstances and must be approved in writing by the Committee on Graduate Programs and the dean of the School of Engineering.