Materials Science and Engineering Doctoral Degree Program

Material Science and Engineering Department

Objective and Description

The graduate program in Materials Science and Engineering is designed to provide students with a fundamental understanding of phenomena occurring in materials and their associated chemical, electrical, mechanical, and physical properties. The master's program prepares students for professional careers in materials science and engineering or for additional studies at the doctoral level.

Candidates for a master's or doctoral degree may elect programs emphasizing metals, polymers, ceramics, composite materials, or electronic materials, as well as a number of other areas. Although the program is administered through the College of Engineering, it is broadly interdisciplinary, actively involving faculty in both the College of Science and the College of Engineering. In addition to materials science and engineering courses, applicable courses are in the disciplines of aerospace engineering, biomedical engineering, chemistry, civil engineering, computer science engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and physics.

Requirements and Courses

The Ph.D. degree program involves an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approach which requires students to complete a set of Materials Science and Engineering core courses augmented by elective offerings in aerospace engineering, biomedical engineering, chemistry, civil engineering, electrical engineering, materials science, mechanical engineering and physics. The degree is a research degree which requires the candidate successfully to carry out independent research in an area acceptable to the Committee on Graduate Studies for Materials Science and Engineering. A student's research is directed by a faculty member from any of the departments or programs participating in the Materials Science and Engineering Program.

The Ph.D. degree program requires successful completion of the following curriculum components:

  • A minimum of 24 semester hours of graduate coursework is expected for students entering with an appropriate master's degree or, for highly qualified students, a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate coursework is expected for student's entering with a bachelor's degree, as approved by the Committee on Graduate Studies for Materials Science and Engineering. Additional coursework may be required by the student's doctoral dissertation committee.
  • Four core courses or their equivalent are required for all doctoral students:
    • MSE 5304. Analysis of Materials
    • MSE 5305. Solid State Physics and Thermodynamics of Materials
    • MSE 5312. Mechanical Behavior of Materials
    • MSE 5321. Phase Transformations of Materials
  • Three of the following supplemental elective courses must be taken by all doctoral students, as approved by the Committee on Graduate Studies for Materials Science and Engineering.Elective courses will be taken by all doctoral students which will allow specialization within a particular academic discipline. Graduate courses in chemistry, physics and engineering will be selected for this purpose in consultation with the student's research advisor, subject to approval by the Committee on Graduate Studies for Materials Science and Engineering.
    • MSE 5310. Dislocation Theory
    • MSE 5314. Fracture Mechanics
    • MSE 5315. Fatigue of Engineering Materials
    • MSE 5316. Tribology and Coatings
    • MSE 5320. Nanoscale Materials
    • MSE 5331. Ferroelectric Devices
    • MSE 5333. Magnetic Properties of Materials
    • MSE 5334. Optical Processes in Solid Materials
    • MSE 5335. Integrated Circuit Materials and Processing
    • MSE 5336. Electrical Properties of Materials
    • MSE 5345. Ceramic Materials
    • MSE 5346. Contemporary Polymer Chemistry
    • MSE 5347. Polymer Materials Science
    • MSE 5348. Fundamentals of Composites
    • MSE 5349. Advanced Composites
    • MSE 5351. Current Topics in Nanotechnology
    • MSE 5352. Solar Energy Materials and Devices
    • MSE 5353. Fundamental Sustainable Energy
    • MSE 5354. Solid State Electronic Devices
    • BME 5332D. Orthopedic Biomaterials
    • BE 5335. Biological Materials, Mechanics and Processes
    • BE 5361D. Biomaterials and Blood Compatibility
    • BE 5364. Tissue Engineering Lecture
    • CHEM 5309. Organic Chemistry I
    • CHEM 5350. Advanced Polymer Chemistry
    • CHEM 5461. Analytical Instrumentation
    • CHEM 6305. Special Topics in Applied Chemistry
    • EE 5340. Semiconductor Device Theory I
    • EE 5343. Integrated Circuit Techniques
    • EE 5349. Topics in Integrated Circuit Technology
    • ME 5312. Continuum Mechanics
    • ME 5314. Fracture Mechanics in Structural Design
    • ME 5339. Structural Aspects of Design
    • PHYS 5316. Solid State II
    • PHYS 6302. Methods of Applied Physics II - Computers in Physics
    • PHYS 6303. Methods of Applied Physics III - Spectroscopy
    • MSE 5300 Introduction to Materials Science and Engineering: This course must be taken by any students whose academic backgrounds are different from Materials Science and Engineering. An exemption may be granted by the graduate advisor if it is determined that the student has a solid foundation for Materials Science and Engineering. The credit for MSE 5300 will not be counted towards the total credits required for graduation. However, the grade of MSE 5300 will be counted in calculating the GPA.

After completion of the first year's coursework (i.e., core courses), students must satisfactorily complete diagnostic examinations which may be written or oral or written and oral with a supplemental interview with faculty members, as determined by the Committee on Graduate Studies in Materials Science and Engineering.

Upon completion of all or nearly all of the coursework requirements and after having demonstrated research ability through partial completion of dissertation research, a student must satisfactorily complete a comprehensive examination.

The dissertation research will be formulated in conjunction with the student's faculty research advisor who may be associated with any of the following academic disciplines participating in the Materials Science and Engineering Program: aerospace engineering, biomedical engineering, chemistry, civil engineering, electrical engineering, materials science, mechanical engineering, and physics. The dissertation research represents the culmination of the student's academic efforts and is expected to demonstrate original and independent research activity and be a significant contribution to knowledge in the field.

The Doctoral Program

Admissions Requirements


All applications for admission will also be considered for assistantships, fellowships, and scholarships. Some of the offers for financial aid are made well before the final deadline for application. Applicants are strongly urged to complete their applications early to take advantage of all the opportunities for financial aid available in the College of Engineering and the University.