Nanotechnology education around the world

What is nanotechnology?

Not sure yet what it is you want to study? Here on Nanowerk we provide you with plenty of briefs, primers and introductory materials on nanotechnology, new materials like graphene, MXenes or metamaterials, as well as resources like a nanotechnology FAQ or basic stuff like a metric prefixes tables to get you started.

How to get educated in nanotechnology? Where to study? What courses to take?

First the good news: There is plenty of choice – 162 academic institutions around the world offer a total of 272 degree programs in nanotechnology fields. Now the bad news: Nanotechnology is not an industry; nor is it a single technology or a single field of research. What we call nanotechnology consists of sets of enabling technologies applicable to many traditional industries (therefore it is more appropriate to speak of nanotechnologies in the plural).
Chemists, physicists, biologists, materials scientists – they all view nanotechnology as a branch of their own subject. And this view is reflected in the smörgåsbord of offerings: Bachelor and Masters programs in Micro- and Nanotechnology; Nanomedicine; Nanotechnology and Microfabrication; Nanoscience; Micro- and Nanosystems; Nanobiosciences and Nanomedicine; Nanobiology; Nanoengineering; Photonics Engineering, Nanophotonics and Biophotonics; etc – you get the idea...
So either form a clear understanding of what it is you want to study; or just delve into our Nanotechnology Degree Database and find inspiration from the many programs on offer.
One of the most important factors for growing the fields of nanoscience and nanotechnology is education across the full spectrum of educational levels from K-12 to postgraduate studies.
In addition, organizations are experimenting with various formal and informal educational practices that are being designed and tested to promote general awareness of nanoscience and nanotechnology as well as provide advanced learning and skills development.
For those students seeking a higher education at a college or university that doesn't offer a degree in nanoscience, a student could choose to go into chemistry, physics, engineering, biology, IT, or another technology fields.

Worldwide nanotechnology degree programs - which college or university to pick?

Currently there are 272 college and university degree programs in nanotechnology and nanoscience offered around the world. As of May 2024, there are 143 Masters degree programs, 66 Bachelor degree programs, 38 PhD degree programss, and 24 other programs like certifications spread across 32 countries.
We compiled all these programs into a convenient table for you: Click on one of the four degree categories to see all programs for this degree across all countries. Click on a country to see all degree programs in this country. Click on a number in one of the boxes to see the degree programs in a given country.

How to educate students in nanotechnology

For colleges and universities, as well as other academic institutions, that want to offer nanotechnology education, they should consider the growing trend of holistic learning, which integrates coursework across disciplines, promotes foreign experiences, and encourages industrial internships.
As we reported in our Nanowerk Spotlight "Nanotechnology education for the leaders of tomorrow", there are several recommendations to keep in mind when structuring course offerings:

Inspire Students To Envision What Is or Could Be Possible

Possibilities include a greater focus on nanotechnology applications in courses or hands-on laboratory experiences that tie in with class concepts. Even before reaching the classroom, students should have positive views of nanoscience and the potential it holds. Successful learning practices start with capturing the imagination of students. Communicating the remarkable features of nanoscience in a simple and clear way to the mainstream public would go a long way toward achieving this goal.

Promote Role Models Who Impact Society

From an educational perspective, the tech world is a particularly good example because successful entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Sheryl Sandberg, and Mark Zuckerberg have captured the public audience and inspired countless students to think beyond the classroom. In nanotechnology, similar role models can inspire students with the many opportunities available in the field.

Encourage Global Collaboration

Nanotechnology research and development is truly global. Early exposure to these trends will better inform students about career opportunities and give them ideas about how to work together in teams across disciplines and cultures. A growing number of partnerships already provide international experiences for nanoscience and nanotechnology students.

Support Early Exposure Inside and Outside of the Laboratory

For many students, nanoscience and nanotechnology are about working in a lab doing scientific research. While this activity is common, its generalization could not be farther from the truth. There are many possible ways to get involved in nanotechnology, from instructional education and hands-on training to entrepreneurship and manufacturing.
Holistic approaches that integrate these different possibilities, while providing targeted career development, would greatly benefit students and the overall goals of nanotechnology education. Developing a strong workforce infrastructure for nanotechnology.

Communication Across Fields

Stressing the importance of communication, the authors conclude: "Finally, one of the great strengths of the nanoscience and nanotechnology communities is that we have taught each other how to communicate across fields, to look at and to leverage each other's approaches, and to address the key issues of a multitude of fields. As a field, we are increasingly viewed as problem solvers in science and technology, developing new tools, materials, methods, and opportunities. Bringing this aspect of our field to students (and scientists and engineers at all levels) will have significant impact on the world around us and our ability to make it better."