Experiences and Outlook from Recent Years of Developing Education in Micro- and Nanotechnologies at HiVe - Vestfold University College

Prof. Nils Hoivik and Prof. Per Ohlckers, Department of Micro and Nano Systems Technology (IMST), HiVe - Vestfold University College, Ph: +47 3303 7746, PostBox 2243, N-3103 Tønsberg, Norway. Corresponding Author: [email protected]


Motivated by a desire and need of regional Norwegian companies and research institutes, as well as the world market for future scientific expertise in micro- and nanotechnologies (MNT), HiVe - Vestfold University College is offering bachelor, master and PhD education in MNT. The curricula have been developed evolutionary from the startup of the bachelor education in 2002 and master education in 2005, and the Ph.D. program was accredited in 2010. In addition, we perform industrial oriented training services as participant of two EU projects within MNT. Since the start of the academic program, more than 100 students have completed their MNT education at HiVe.



The MNT field is one of the fastest growing industrial fields in the world, as documented by the double digits growth of the world wide MEMS industry the last years [1]. In Norway, the MNT industry is also growing, with companies like SensoNor Technologies having several successful MEMS products. Therefore, both regionally and worldwide, there is a growing need for scientific and engineering experts in MNT. This has motivated HiVe to establish their study programs in MNT on bachelor, master and Ph.D. level. HiVe is a partner of the governmental sponsored cluster organization Norwegian Centre of Expertise in Micro- and Nanotechnology (NCE MNT), where industrial partners like SensoNor Technologies give inputs to keep the study programs up to date of the future needs. In addition HiVe have, and continue to offer, life-long training in the EU-funded projects microBuilder and Stimesi which includes short training courses on MPW services and software design tools [2].

MNT bachelor study program at VUC

Table 1: MNT Bachelor of Science study program at HiVe

1st study year

2nd study year

3rd study year

Mathematics, basic natural sciences; 30 credits

Mathematics and statistics; 15 credits

Elective courses, 15 credits

Innovation, 10 credits

Social science, 5 credits

Engineering and technology courses, 30 credit

Engineering and technology courses, 20 credit

Engineering and technology courses, 20 credit

Thesis project, 15 credits

The basic structure of the program is shown in Table 1, where it can be seen that it is a typical Bachelor of Science program with a major workload in basic sciences like mathematics, physics and chemistry the first 1.5 study years with a gradual specialization towards MNT the last parts of the study, ending with a 15 credits (1/4 of a study year) MNT-oriented thesis project.

MNT master study program at VUC

The basic structure of the program is shown in Table 2. It should be noted that the admission requirement in general is a Bachelor of Science degree with preference for a bachelor in MNT or electrical engineering. Therefore, students without an MNT bachelor are offered basic MNT courses in the first semester. The students learn to design micro- and nanosystems, to produce such systems using micro- and nanotechnological processes, and to characterize them. The study program has an international profile and English as the language of instruction. The challenge of the master program is to offer a good compromise between the need for multidisciplinary knowledge and in-depth specialization in selected field. The thesis project is 40 credits (2/3 study year) and the topic can be defined by one of our industrial partners. In order to ensure that Master students succeed with their thesis projects, we present thesis topics at the end of 1st semester. They are then free to choose and can join research groups and explore the topics in more detail during the 2nd semester. The 2nd year is then devoted to the thesis project and elective courses.

Table 2: MNT Master Study Program at HiVe

Year 1:
Material science, MEMS-design, Electronic system design, Micro-fabrication, Measurements and characterisation, Applied mathematics and mechanics, semiconductor devices.

Year 2:
Final master's project and two elective courses (Micro sensors and actuators, Packaging technology, Bio-MEMS etc).

MNT Ph.D. study program at VUC

The Ph.D study program was accredited by the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education in 2010. The Ph.D. Program has a normal duration of three years, in which the candidate will attend courses, receive supervision and conduct research. The study program reflects the challenge of accepting recruits from many different Master of Science programs and also the needs for in-depth competence of very different MNT specialties like BioMEMS or nanomaterials. Ph.D. students at HiVe can follow courses offered by the Norwegian PhD Network on Nanotechnology for Microsystems. The network has been established to coordinate, integrate, and strengthen Ph.D. programmes in the field of nanotechnology and microsystems in Norway among the participating institutions - NTNU, UiO, SINTEF and HiVe. The courses in the portfolio are offered on compact form, which implies that lectures are typically concentrated in two series of one week duration each. Students traveling from other institutions to attend courses may apply for financial support to cover travel and lodging.

MNT short course training in Norway

The short course syllabus offered by HiVe through Europractice is divided into three modules: ‘Awareness’, ‘Technology’ and ‘Hands-On’. Each module is based on the previous module and has an increasing level of detail and complexity. Norfab is a newly established clean room network between the same partners as the Ph.D. network to provide access to state-of-the-art laboratories for researchers, independent of the affiliation. Training on equipment, either to become a skilled user or as part of a course is available to all Ph.D. students in the network.


MNT education and training activities at HiVe are progressing well since the start up in 2002, with MNT study programs on bachelor, master and Ph.D. level. The Ph.D. network allows students to broaden their academic coursework to both include courses at partner institutions as well as laboratory training courses within Norfab. This offers the students the possibility to combine academic and theoretical coursework with practical hands-on higher level education and experience.


[1] Mathieu Potin: “MEMS Markets and World Industry Trends” Proceedings of the 14th MicroMachine Summit 2008, Daejeon, Korea, April 30 – May3, 2008.

[2] Christopher Grinde, Danilo Demarchi, Per Ohlckers, Pierluigi Civera and Stein Ivar Hansen: “An approach to seminar based MEMS training” Proceedings of 7th European Workshop on Microelectronics Education, Budapest, Hungary, May 29 – 30, 2008.

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