The University of Central Florida (UCF) became the first university in Florida to offer a master of science in nanotechnology. The two-year nanoscience master’s program will begin with its inaugurating class in the fall 2015 semester, attracting students who have earned a bachelor’s degree in STEM fields such as physics, chemistry, biology or engineering.

The NanoScience Technology Center, a multidisciplinary facility complete with faculty, hopes to enroll 10-15 students in this highly competitive program at its inception. Students will focus on research and will write and defend a thesis while earning their degree.

“We will prepare students for research and careers in industry or academia,” said Sudipta Seal, director of the university’s NanoScience Technology Center, Advanced Materials Processing and Analysis Center (AMPAC) and interim chair of Materials Science and Engineering. “UCF is still leading the state and the nation with this dual degree program.”

According to U.S. National Science Foundation estimates, the annual global market for nanotechnology-related goods and services will top $1 trillion by 2015, making it one of the fastest-growing industries in history.

The second-largest university in the nation has also lead the way in other advanced degrees for technology. In 2001 UCF became the first university in the country to offer graduate degrees in modeling and simulation with more than 300 graduates as of last year.