Graduate Study in Materials Science and Engineering

Materials graduates are essential to the economic growth of the country. They contribute to the development, selection, and use of materials in all engineering and scientific applications. Master's and doctoral degrees in materials science and engineering are offered. An excellent selection of undergraduate courses is also offered in preparation and support of graduate studies. Course offerings and research activities cover a diversity of subjects in the broad field of materials. Subjects include biomaterials, nanotechnology, computational materials science, physical metallurgy, mechanical properties, fracture mechanics, corrosion phenomena, processing, thermodynamics and phase equilibria, non-destructive testing, X-ray analysis, phase transformations, glass science, electronic/technical ceramics, thin-film semiconductors, electronic and optical microscopy, dispersions and rheology, refractories, surface analysis, fiber science, polymerization reaction engineering, polymer process simulation, mechanical properties of polymers, and process-structure-property characterization of polymers. State-of-the-art research facilities in the School of Materials Science and Engineering contribute to the strength of both the academic and research programs.

MSE graduates find employment with manufacturing firms in light and heavy industry, in research laboratories of private firms and federal agencies, and in academic institutions. Several recent graduates have filled positions of high responsibility in these areas and have been instrumental in advancing the level of materials engineering practice in the United States. The MSE faculty participate in numerous multidisciplinary programs including manufacturing engineering, surface science technology, microelectronics, electronic packaging, and composites.

The Master's Degree

MSE offers graduate work leading to the degrees of Master of Science in Materials Science and Engineering, Master of Science in Paper Science and Engineering, and Master of Science with a major in Materials Science and Engineering. The student admitted for graduate work will normally have completed an undergraduate program in materials, ceramics, metallurgy, or polymers. However, students with undergraduate degrees or backgrounds in other fields (e.g., physics, chemistry, geology, and chemical, mechanical, nuclear, or geological engineering) may qualify by taking certain minimum prerequisites during the early part of their graduate studies. To assure a smooth transition into the graduate program, the student should select appropriate electives during his or her undergraduate studies.

Students in the MS program must complete a core of graduate materials courses and prepare an individualized program of study for this degree in consultation with their graduate advisors. The proposed program must receive the approval of the graduate coordinator and the School chair. Thesis, non-thesis, and industrial internship options are available. The minimum credit hour requirements for the MS degree with include eighteen credit hours of courses and a minimum of twelve credit hours of thesis research, with a total minimum of 30 credit hours, or 30 credit hours of courses, or twenty-five hours of courses and six hours of project work conducted as part of an industrial internship. A total of twelve course hours must be in the major, and twelve course hours must be at the 6000 level or higher. A minimum GPA of 2.7 is required for graduation.

The Doctoral Degree

The Doctor of Philosophy degree is directed to attain proficiency in the pursuit of independent scholarly work. The degree comprises coursework in the general principles of materials, with emphasis on metallurgy, polymers, ceramics, paper science and engineering, or electronic materials. Additional requirements include specialized core courses and elective courses both in the area of the doctoral thesis and in one or two other areas, passing comprehensive examinations, and an independent research investigation.

Candidates for the doctoral degree are required to complete at least sixteen credit hours of graduate-level coursework beyond the MS degree, with a minimum GPA of 3.0, and pass the PhD qualification examination. Each student must also earn 9 credit hours in a coherent minor field, chosen in consultation with the advisor, to satisfy the School of Material Science and Engineering's core course requirements. Students should commence participation in the School's research programs early in their graduate careers.

Financial Aid

A number of fellowships and research assistantships from outside sources and industry are available to provide financial assistance for qualified graduate students. In addition, a limited number of presidential fellowships, as well as research assistantships, are available from the Institute. Further information can be obtained by contacting the director of graduate programs in the School of Materials Science and Engineering.