The main campus of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is located in Gaithersburg, Maryland, a half-hour drive from College Park. Formerly the National Bureau of Standards, NIST has the primary national responsibility for developing and maintaining standards of physical measurement. The agency is charged with assisting industry in the development of technology and procedures needed to improve the quality of manufacturing production.
Together, the University of Maryland and NIST constitute one of the largest research centers in North America in atomic, molecular, and optical science, and in related areas such as chemical kinetics and surface science. For graduate students, the joint program combines Ph.D. study in a leading research university with exposure to the environment and opportunities of a major national laboratory.
As part of the Chemical Physics Program of the University of Maryland, the Joint Graduate Program with NIST is governed by the academic regulations of the University. The NIST/Chemical Physics Fellowship provides an annual stipend of $14,000 for five years, subject to satisfactory academic progress. In addition, it includes tuition remission for up to 12 credits per semester and three credits during summer sessions.
Students take courses in the physical sciences at the University of Maryland, while Ph.D. thesis research in the AMO sciences may be carried out at the National Institute of Standards and Technology under the joint supervision of a NIST scientist and University of Maryland faculty member.
Students interested in admission to the Joint Graduate Program should apply to the Chemical Physics Program, stating their interest. These applications will be reviewed by a committee of University faculty and NIST participating scientists, who will make recommendations to the Admissions Committee, which makes the final decisions.