The University of Texas at Austin officials announced March 20 that a new Master of Science in Engineering with a major in semiconductor science and engineering program will be offered next fall.

About the program

According to a news release from the university, the program is in collaboration between the Cockrell School of Engineering and College of Natural Sciences.

The program, which will be the first of its kind in Texas and one of the few offered in the United States, will include four tracks:
  • Semiconductor manufacturing
  • Circuit and systems
  • Heterogeneous integration
  • Semiconductor devices
Per the release, students will also work with a variety of semiconductor companies and facilities and organizations, such as the Texas Institute for Electronics; the Nanosystems Engineering Research Center; the Microelectronics Research Center; and the Center for Dynamics and Control of Materials.

"Our overall goal is to make the semiconductor field more accessible for students from all walks of life, whether they are just starting their educational journey and looking to get into the field, already working in semiconductors and want to enhance their education, or coming from other fields and want to get in on the semiconductor action," said Michael Cullinan, program director and an associate professor in the Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering, in the release.

By the numbers

According to university representatives in the release:
  • Texas accounts for 17.5% of semiconductor employment in the U.S., or about 43,800 people—but more than a quarter of these jobs require a graduate degree, and about a third of the workforce is expected to retire within the next 10 years.
  • Semiconductor companies are slated to add about 31,000 new master's-level semiconductor jobs by 2030, but nearly 40% of those jobs are at risk of going unfilled due to lack of qualified candidates.
  • About 1,000 master’s students will need to be trained every year to keep up with demand.
Why it matters

“Semiconductors power our modern electronics and are a critical part of our everyday lives, with sectors from health care to clean energy to many more relying on them,” said David Vanden Bout, dean of the College of Natural Sciences, in the release. “The semiconductor industry needs innovative scientists and engineers of the type UT will help prepare to be the backbone of this workforce for years to come.”

Looking ahead

While the semiconductor program is still pending final approval by The University of Texas System and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the university is set to also offer a new semiconductor processes and devices certificate through the Cockrell School and Texas Engineering Executive Education.