University General Course Catalog 2016-2017 
    May 27, 2024  

Materials Science and Engineering, Ph.D.

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I. Contact Information

Devicharan (Dev) Chidambaram, Associate Professor

Departmental website:

II. Brief Introduction

Most fields in science and engineering are concerned with materials, such as plastics or metals, in one way or another, but only materials engineers are experts in the connections between a material’s atomic structure and its physical properties as well as the ways changing that structure can affect a material’s performance.

Materials science engineers are at the forefront of developing and testing new materials that can stand up to extreme environments, such as high heat or high pressure, or that are lighter or stronger than their predecessors. These new materials may be used in diverse industries such as health care, manufacturing or energy.

Our students use state-of-the-art characterization tools such as electron microscopes, diffractormeters, and spectrometers to study these materials, and they gain both classroom knowledge and research experience as they work closely with our accomplished faculty.

Materials science engineers graduate with a broad base of knowledge, covering areas from extracting minerals and metals from ore to the development and fabrication of pure metals, alloys and other materials, development of materials for nuclear and fossil fuel reactors, development of advanced electronic and space-related materials, synthesis of novel catalysts to convert waste to energy, development of new high efficiency solar cells, development of new materials for energy storage (such as batteries), synthesis of novel materials to clean the environment, biomaterials and biomedical implants,  This skill set is particularly useful for students who want to pursue a career in industry from aerospace to electronics, and the health sciences field.

III. Program Objectives/Student Learning Outcomes

Mission Statement:

To provide nationally recognized leadership in education, research, and service in materials science and engineering. To educate high quality students with the academic experience and knowledge to become leaders in education, research, and service in materials science and engineering. To generate new knowledge that has a significant impact in the development and application of existing and new materials.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • an ability to apply engineering research and theory to advance the art, science, and practice of the discipline,
  • an ability to design and conduct experiments as well as to analyze, interpret, apply, and disseminate the data,
  • an understanding of research methodology.

IV. Admission Requirements

The department offers programs leading to the master of science and doctor of philosophy degrees in materials science and engineering. The general university requirements for these advanced degrees are listed in the Graduate School  section of this catalog.

Students must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university to gain admission to graduate school.  Students must meet the following minimum requirements.

  1. Hold a cumulative grade-point average of 2.75 for four years of undergraduate work, or
  2. Hold a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 for the last two years of undergraduate work;
  3. Earn acceptable scores on the verbal and quantitative portions of the Graduate Record Examination, and
  4. Submit letters of recommendation from former professors indicating the student’s capability for advanced course work and research.

Prospective graduate students should contact the graduate program director for further information. Formal application is completed through the Graduate School.

V. Program Requirements

The Ph.D. in materials science and engineering is a research-intensive program that prepares students for careers in research and teaching in the field. Students in the program work closely with our distinguished faculty, who have research strengths in the following areas:

  • Metallurgy
  • Nuclear Materials
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Renewable energy
  • Nano-materials synthesis and processing
  • Metallic foams and porous materials
  • Diffusion, crystallization and mass transport
  • Materials modeling
  • X-ray diffraction
  • Biomaterials

A. Committee Requirements

  1. The majority of the Ph.D. committee should consist of MSE faculty.
  2. At least two members (which may include the primary advisor) of the Ph.D. committee should be from the MSE core faculty.

B. Course Requirements

  1. A minimum of 24 coursework credits must be taken from regular MSE graduate courses (i.e. other than MSE 695 , 790 , 791 , and 795 ).
  2. Students must complete a candidacy examination  to evaluate their overall knowledge of materials science and engineering as well as expertise in their areas of focus. The exam has both an oral and a written component.
  3. Students must write and defend an original, research-based dissertation  that contributes to scientific knowledge in the field.
  4. Exceptions for not meeting the above coursework requirements will be granted only with the permission of the major advisor and the Graduate Director for the MSE program.

Students develop an individualized program of study with their advisory committee, describing the specific courses, research and related activities students will take to meet their degree requirements. The graduate dean must approve all programs of study. Students are encouraged to develop a program of study as soon as possible after arriving at the university.

VI. Total Units

72 units

VII. Note(s):

The division offers several graduate fellowships, research assistantships and teaching assistantships. Requests for assistance should be submitted prior to March 15, but all applications will be considered regardless of the date they are submitted.

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