Duke CNCS Graduate Program

Duke University

Duke Phonebook



Cell Biology



Earth & Ocean Sciences

Biomedical Engineering

Civil & Environmental Engineering.

Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Mechanical Engineering & Materials.Science


Nicholas School of.the.Environment

Psychiatry and Behavioral Science

Altavista (simple)

Graduate Certificate in Nonlinear and Complex Systems
Obtaining the Graduate Certificate
Current Certificate Program Participants
Previous Certificate Recipients


The purpose of the certificate is to broaden the scope of the typical disciplinary graduate student traning program. Students are encouraged to develop interdisciplinary and transferable sets of skills in their course work and research activities.  The certificate program helps to guide students toward this broad view by requiring the completion of: 
  • a survey course (CNCS 201, Topics in Nonlinear and Complex Systems );
  • four courses from an approved list; and
  • a Ph.D. dissertation on a topic in the domain of the Center.
In addition, the student must have two members of the Center on her or his Ph.D. dissertation committee.

Obtaining the Certificate

Students are encouraged to meet together with their dissertation thesis advisor and the Associate Director of the Center (currently Prof. Virgin) early in their graduate program to help with course planning and dissertation committee selection.

The only formal paperwork that must be completed to obtain the certificate occurs when the student's Ph.D. dissertation is submitted to the Graduate School.  The student should check the box on the Graduate School "Intent to Receive Degree Form" indicating that they would like to receive the CNCS Graduate Certificate.  The student must then send the Associate Director of the Center the following information:

  • the semester(s) when CNS 201 was taken
  • the name of the four courses taken (from the approved list)
  • the Ph.D. dissertation title
  • the list of final Ph.D. dissertation committee members
  • the date of the final defense
  • the final Ph.D. dissertation abstract
  • the student's graduate transcript

Current Certificate Program Participants

Andrew Ashton, Earth and Ocean Sciences
Hui Chen, Mechanical Egineering and Materials Science
Hana Dobrovolny, Physics
Ilan Harrington, Physics  
Jennifer Nelson, Ecology
Christina Nichols, Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
Ann Pitruzzello, Biomedical Eneingeering
Soma Sau, Biomedical Eneingeering
Curtis Smith, Ecology
John Wambaugh, Physics
Matthew Wolinsky, Earth and Ocean Sciences
Yu Zhang, Ecology

Previous Certificate Recipients

Follow the links to see the thesis abstract and other pertinent information.

Aaron C.W. Ashih - Spatial and Stochastic Models for Population Growth with Sexual and Asexual Reproduction
Jonathan N. Blakely - Experimental Control of a Fast Chaotic Time-Delay Opto-Electronic Device
Elizabeth Cherry - A space-time Adaptive Mesh Refinement Method for Simulating Complex Cardiac Electrical Dynamics
Meenakshi Dutt - Numerical Studies of Substrate Friction in Granular Materials
Junfei Geng -
Robert R. Hartley - Evolving Force Networks in Deforming Granular Material
Denis B. Kholodar - Aeroelastic Response of an Airfoil with Structural and Aerodynamic Nonlinearities
Michael R. Gustafson II - Analytical and Experimental Control of Horton-Rogers-Lapwood Convection
G. Martin Hall - Control of complex behavior in cardiac muscle
Daniel Howell - Stress Distributions and Fluctuations in Static and Quasi-static Granular Systems
Mark M. Murray - Hydroelasticity Modeling of Flexible Propulsors
Jonathan M. Nichols - Applications of Nonlinear Time-Series Analysis
Robert Oliver -
Mark F. Steen - The Convection of Binary Fluids in Porous Media
Stephen T. Trickey - Global and Local Dynamics of an Aeroelastic System with a Control Surface Freeplay Nonlinearity


On occasion, we receive notices of job opportunities for people with training in nonlinear science and post them here as a service to our students.  It is not meant to be an exhaustive list.  To post a noctice, contact Prof. Virgin.

      None at this time.

CNS 201 Homepage

Last modified: 31-Jul-03