Georgetown's McDonough School of Business Offers Joint Physics Ph.D./M.B.A. Degree

October 05, 2000

Washington, D.C. -- Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business and the department of physics will offer innovative degree programs next year to meet the growing need for industrial physicists in both new and old economy companies.

The McDonough School will offer a master's of business administration degree with a master's degree in physics (M.S./M.B.A.), to be completed in 33 months, and a Ph.D./M.B.A. degree to be completed in six and a-half years. A five-year Ph.D. in physics with a yearlong industrial apprenticeship and graduate business courses will also be available.

"Industry needs more independent problem solvers and the industrial physicist is the obvious answer," says William Graver, vice president of Science Applications International Corporation in Tyson's Corner, who will serve on an industrial advisory board for the new programs.

Designed for physics students interested in industrial careers, the combined degrees will prepare students not only for traditional industrial physics careers in systems engineering, industrial science, and technical management, but also for administrative positions in finance, marketing, and research, and for entrepreneurial roles at high-tech start-up companies.

"We believe this new industrial physics program represents the most significant overhaul of graduate physics training in the nation, and that our graduates will be better prepared for careers in industry," says James Freericks, Ph.D., co-director of physics graduate programs at Georgetown. "There is a strong demand for scientists who understand business, especially in the technology arena, and Georgetown's proximity to the Northern Virginia technology corridor positions it perfectly to meet this need."

The Ph.D. programs feature a required twelve-month apprenticeship in industry. During the apprenticeship, physics students with an educational level equivalent to a master's degree will develop applied physics problem-solving skills. Industrial partners will pay a host fee for student apprentices and receive full rights to any intellectual property created they create.

"The joint physics/M.B.A. program at Georgetown aims to provide candidates with the foundations in managerial preparation necessary for successful scientific enterprise," says Lawrence S. Abeln, associate dean and director of graduate programs at Georgetown's McDonough School.

Georgetown's physics department has developed research expertise in the industry-related areas of biomedical microelectromechanical systems for drug delivery and chemical sensing, magnetic storage, nonlinear optics, superconducting electronics, granular dynamics, nanotechnology, and large-scale computation and simulation. Business Week recently ranked the McDonough School M.B.A. as one of the nation's leading M.B.A. programs.

"With stock options more common as a form of compensation and with an increasing probability that industrial physicists may become principals in startup companies, programs such as Georgetown's that go beyond the necessary lab work better prepare the Ph.D. physicist for the current realities of the workplace," says Carl Widell, president of Ventel Telecommunications, and a member of Georgetown's industrial advisory board.

The new physics and business program will be guided by an industrial advisory board of business and education leaders including: Charles Duke, vice president of corporate research and technology and senior research fellow at Xerox Corporation; William Graver, vice president of Science Applications International Corp.; Barbara Jones, manager of magnetic material and phenomena at the IBM Almaden Research Center; William F. Lewis, president, chief executive officer, and founder of Prospect Technologies; Lynn Melton, professor of chemistry at the University of Texas at Dallas; Robert M. White, heard of the electrical and computer engineering department at Carnegie Mellon University and former Under Secretary of Commerce for Technology; and Carl Widell, president of Ventel Telecommunications.