Materials Science Graduate Program

Requirements

How to ApplyThe interdepartmental Graduate Program in Materials Science offers the M.S. and Ph.D. in Materials Science. There is not a specific set of required courses, but courses should be selected from the current course list in the Graduate Bulletin under Materials Science. These courses are generally also cross-listed with one of twelve participating science and engineering departments.

Contact the Director of the Materials Science Program or the Chairperson of the most relevant department for current information concerning graduate study in Materials Science.

M.S. Degree in Materials Science

The M.S. degree in materials science requires a minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate courses. There are two paths to obtaining an M.S.: Plan A, with thesis, and Plan B, without thesis.   Plan B is the normal, default, option for entering students.  If a student wishes to pursue a Plan A path instead, it is the student’s responsibility to make arrangements with a faculty thesis advisor to supervise his/her work and to inform the MSC program office of this.

M.S. degree with thesis (Plan A):

For students electing to obtain the M.S. degree with thesis (Plan A), the following requirements apply: The 30 credit hours must include a minimum of 20 credit hours of MSC graduate courses plus 10 credit hours for research, and the student must successfully complete an oral defense of his/her thesis, after all other degree requirements have been completed.

M.S. degree without a thesis (Plan B):

For students electing to obtain the M.S. degree without a thesis (Plan B), the following requirements apply: The 30 credit hours must include a minimum of 24 credit hours of MSC graduate courses plus 6 credit hours of other related courses. A student in Plan B must pass a comprehensive oral examination.

Ph.D. Degree in Materials Science

Entering with a B.S. Degree:
A typical program for a Materials Science (MSC) Ph.D. student entering with a B.S. degree consist of a minimum of 24 credit hours of MSC graduate courses, exclusive of reading courses, 8 credit hours of other related courses, and 58 credit hours of research.

Entering with an M.S. Degree:
A typical program for an MSC Ph.D. student entering with an M.S. degree consist of a minimum of 24 credit hours of MSC graduate courses plus 36 credit hours of research. Students must successfully complete an oral defense of their thesis.

All Ph.D. Students:
A Preliminary Examination in Materials Science is normally taken by all Ph.D. students at the end of the Spring semester, following two semesters of coursework. At the beginning of the Spring semester, the student will be given three research papers in materials science to study, and will be asked to prepare a written report on the topic of this research. The examination will consist of an oral presentation on the same topic before a faculty committee. Passage of this examination (along with course grades and research aptitude) is required for the student to continue in the Ph.D. program. Research during the summer will be expected by the student.

Students who pass the preliminary exam and faculty evaluation are expected to take an oral Ph.D. qualifying exam in their third year of graduate study, on a research topic that should lead to the dissertation. This also requires a written report and a presentation to a faculty research advisory committee. Passage of this exam officially admits the student to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. The remaining time (typically one year or more, but at least 6 months) is spent completing the dissertation research and the written Ph.D. thesis. The thesis is defended in the Final Oral Examination.