MS in Materials Science & Engineering

The Master of Science (MS) in Materials Science & Engineering program is designed to provide advanced training in materials. The program requires students to establish the necessary foundation in solid-state physics, thermodynamics, and the kinetic processes of materials, in addition to advanced materials science and engineering coursework. All students are required to complete a practicum. Students may satisfy the practicum requirement by completing one of two courses or an approved project (non-thesis option). Alternatively, students may satisfy the practicum requirement by developing a research focus and carrying out original research that culminates in a written thesis (thesis option).

The program is designed to be completed by full-time students in one calendar year for students choosing the non-thesis option; part-time study is also permitted. Students choosing to complete a thesis should expect to complete the program in two years. Students who excel in the MSE MS program may be encouraged to apply to the MSE post-MS PhD program.

Master of Science (MS) and post-bachelor PhD students must take 32 credits. Courses must be at the 500 level or higher. Only one 400-level course may be taken, with advisor approval, if needed as a prerequisite for another course in the program.

The coursework requirements for the MS are as follows:

Non-Thesis MS

  • Four core courses (16 credits)
  • Two concentration courses from one concentration area (8 credits)
  • Other course(s), one of which must be a project-based practicum course (8 credits)

MS with Thesis

  • ENG MS 954 Thesis (4 to 8 credits)
  • Four core courses (16 credits)
  • Two concentration courses from one concentration area (8 credits)
  • Optional: Other course (4 credits)


MS students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.00 to remain in good academic standing and to graduate. All graduate courses are counted in the GPA. Grades of C− or lower are not acceptable for the MS degree.

Learning Outcomes

Students who complete the MS in Materials Science & Engineering program will be able to:

  1. Apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering to identify, formulate, and solve materials science and engineering problems.
  2. Understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context.
  3. Use modern engineering tools and techniques to successfully practice the engineering profession in a variety of settings.
  4. Use oral and written communication to convey technical concepts to engineers and non-engineers.
  5. Collaborate as member or leader of a technical project team.

Master of Science Structured Course Requirements

Core (four courses)

  • ENG MS/ME 503 Kinetic Processes in Materials
  • ENG MS/ME 505 Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics
  • ENG MS/EC 574 Physics of Semiconductor Materials OR ENG MS 504 Polymers and Soft Materials OR ENG MS/ME 582 Mechanical Behavior of Materials OR ENG MS/ME 508 Computational Methods in Materials Science
  • ENG MS/EC 577 Electrical, Optical, and Magnetic Properties of Materials* OR CAS PY 543 Introduction to Solid-State Physics (by instructor approval only) (Only one of these courses can be used to satisfy credit requirements.)

Concentration (two courses from any one concentration area)

  • ENG BE 506 Physical Chemistry of Cell Structure and Machinery
  • ENG BE 521 Continuum Mechanics for Biomedical Engineers
  • ENG BE 526 Fundamentals of Biomaterials
  • ENG BE 533 Biorheology
  • ENG MS/ME/BE 523 Mechanics of Biomaterials
  • ENG MS/ME/BE 524 Skeletal Tissue Mechanics
  • ENG MS/ME/BE 527 Principles & Applications of Tissue Engineering
  • ENG MS/ME/BE 549 Structure & Function of the Extracellular Matrix
  • ENG MS/BE 736 Biomedical Transport Phenomena
  • GRS CH 550 Materials Chemistry
  • GRS CH 621 Biochemistry
  • GRS CH 629 DNA Nanotechnology
  • GRS PY 744 Polymer Physics
  • GRS PY 771 Systems Biology for Physical Scientists & Engineers
  • ENG EK 546 Assessment of Sustainable Energy Technologies
  • ENG MS/EC 573 Solar Energy Systems
  • ENG MS/ME 527 Transport Phenomena in Materials Processing
  • ENG MS/ME 532 Atomic Structure & Dislocations in Materials
  • ENG MS/ME 535 Green Manufacturing
  • ENG MS/ME 545 Electrochemistry of Fuel Cells & Batteries
  • ENG MS/ME 781 Electroceramics
  • GRS CH 550 Materials Chemistry
  • GRS CH 631 Structure and Bonding
  • GRS PY 741 Solid State Physics I
  • GRS PY 742 Solid State Physics II
  • GRS PY 745 Experimental Surface Physics and Chemistry
  • ENG EC 560 Introduction to Photonics
  • ENG EC 575 Physics of Semiconductor Devices
  • ENG EC 578 Fabrication Technology for Integrated Circuits
  • ENG EC 770 Guided-Wave Optoelectronics
  • ENG EC 777 Nano-Optics
  • ENG MS/EC 764 Optical Measurement
  • ENG MS/EC 774 Semiconductor Quantum Structures & Photonics Devices
  • GRS CH 752 Advanced Topics in Chemical Physics
  • GRS PY 741 Solid State Physics I
  • GRS PY 742 Solid State Physics II
  • GRS PY 745 Experimental Surface Physics and Chemistry


  • ENG EC 777 Nanostructure Optics
  • ENG MS/ME 555 MEMS Fabrication and Materials
  • ENG MS/ME 735 Computational Nanomechanics
  • ENG MS/ME 778 Micromachined Transducers
  • GRS CH 550 Materials Chemistry
  • GRS CH 631 Structure and Bonding
  • GRS PY 745 Experimental Surface Physics and Chemistry
  • ENG ME 516 Statistical Mechanical Concepts in Engineering
  • ENG ME/EC 579 Nano/Microelectronic Device Manufacturing Technology
  • ENG MS 500 Special Topics
  • ENG MS/ME 507 Process Modeling and Control
  • ENG MS/ME 526 Simulation of Physical Processes
  • ENG MS/ME 534 Materials Technology for Microelectronics
  • ENG MS 539 Introduction to Materials Science and Engineering
  • ENG MS/ME 580 Theory of Elasticity
  • ENG MS 700 Advanced Special Topics
  • ENG MS 782 Advanced Materials Characterization
  • ENG MS 951 Independent Study
  • ENG MS 952 Mentored Project
  • ENG MS 954 Thesis
  • GRS CH 751 Advanced Topics in Physical Chemistry

Practicum Requirement

MS students pursuing the non-thesis MS option are required to fulfill a practicum requirement through satisfactory completion of ENG MS 539 Introduction to Materials Science and Engineering, MS 782 Advanced Materials Characterization, MS 951 Independent Study, or MS 952 Mentored Project. For students who wish to satisfy the practicum requirement with ENG MS 951 Independent Study or MS 952 Mentored Project, a suitable plan must be identified and approved by the MSE Graduate Committee. These courses must be supervised by an MSE-approved faculty member.

MS students pursuing the MS with thesis option fulfill the practicum requirement with ENG MS 954 Thesis.

MS Thesis

An MS thesis must be written and defended successfully to satisfy the requirements of the MS with thesis degree. Thesis students enroll in ENG MS 954 for at least 4, but no more than 8, credits toward their MS. Thesis work requires more than one semester of research, and as a result, completion of the master’s degree usually requires more than one year. Students are therefore encouraged to discuss their research interests with faculty at the beginning of their master’s program.

An MSE-approved faculty member must agree to serve as a thesis advisor for a student to choose the MS with thesis option. Students must register for ENG MS 954 no later than in their third academic semester in the MS program to ensure completion in two years. Before a student enrolls in ENG MS 954, a thesis committee must be formed and the student should submit to the MSE graduate programs manager a thesis plan signed by the members of the student’s committee. The thesis committee should have at least two members, one of whom is the thesis advisor, an MSE-approved faculty member. The student must submit a written thesis proposal (approved by the readers) at least one semester before the thesis presentation, and no later than the first semester of enrollment in ENG MS 954.

The thesis is publicly presented with the members of the student’s thesis committee present, and the final version must be approved by all readers. The deadline for submission of the thesis is one month prior to graduation.