The Department of Materials Science and Engineering awards the M.S. (thesis required), the M.E. (non-thesis), and the Ph.D. in materials science and engineering. Candidates for these degrees must hold, or be pursuing, a degree in any branch of engineering, physics, chemistry, geological science, or mathematics.

Specialization is available in:

  • 1) structure and properties of crystalline and non-crystalline materials
  • 2) materials synthesis, processing, and fabrication
  • 3) theoretical understanding and computer modeling of materials structures, properties and processes
  • 4) phase transformations
  • 5) thermodynamics and phase equilibria
  • 6) diffusion and kinetics of solid state reactions
  • 7) mechanical, thermal, electrical, optical, magnetic property characterization of all material types

Special Facilities

Specialized laboratories permit research in the following areas: thermodynamics and phase equilibria; materials corrosion and stability; x-ray diffraction and crystal structure determination; phase transformations, precipitation hardening and diffusion in materials systems; electron (STEM, SEM, ESEM) and optical microscopy; mathematical modeling and computer simulation of structure, defects and processes; surface characterization of materials by ESCA; materials synthesis, processing and fabrication; characterization of residual stresses in materials, fabrication of thin film electronic and optical materials, mechanical alloying of metals; composite material fabrication and characterization; and electrical, optical, thermal, and mechanical property characterization of ceramics, metals, polymers and glasses including composites, thin films, dielectrics and semiconductors.

Major research facilities include optical and transmission electron microscopy; an environmental scanning electron microscope; x-ray diffraction equipment including facilities for the measurement of residual stresses in materials; surface analysis instruments; mechanical testing frames; instruments for measuring the thermal response of materials including thermal expansion, thermal diffusivity, and differential thermal analysis; sputtering, thin film and vacuum deposition equipment; heat treatment and sintering furnaces; a metal melt spinner; mechanical alloying ball mills; dry and hot isostatic presses; electrical and dielectric characterization instruments; polymer processing and characterization equipment; and computer modeling and simulation facilities including access to multimedia and computer visualization facilities.

Financial aid in the form of graduate assistantships and tuition scholarships/waivers are available to all qualified graduate students. Recipients of assistantships may be assigned either teaching and/or research activities depending upon available funding, student interest, and departmental requirements.

Graduate Courses

MSE 5014 | CHE 5014 | CHEM 5014

Presentation Skills


Methods and style to make effective technical and nontechnical presentations including blackboard presentations, overhead presentations, slide presentations and research posters. Video presentations with critiques. (1H,1C).

MSE 5015, 5016

MSE Seminar


Materials Science and Engineering students are required to register for and participate in Materials Science and Engineering Seminar during every semester of residency. Masters of Science or Engineering students must present one seminar during the course of their studies; Ph.D. students must present two seminars during their tenure. Provides training in the organization, preparation, and presentation of technical information. Pre: Graduate standing in MSE. Pass/Fail only. (1H,1C).

MSE 5024

Mathematical Methods in Materials Research

Analytical and numerical techniques applied to problems in materials science. Translating physical information into a mathematical model, obtaining a solution by selecting and applying suitable mathematical methods, applying modern computing tools, and interpreting the meaning and implication of the mathematical solution in terms of the appropriate theories of materials science. An undergraduate science or engineering degree and mathematics through differential equations required. (3H,3C).

MSE 5044

Powder Processing

Processing methods associated with making consolidated components from powders. Preparation, blending, and compaction of metallic, ceramic, and polymeric powders. Solid-state and liquid-phase sintering. Laser and microwave sintering. Pre: 5165. (3H,3C).

MSE 5054

Advanced Materials Thermodynamics


Material systems with particular emphasis on alloys. Thermodynamic relationships. Experimental and computational methods for the determination of the thermodynamic properties of alloys. Applications in alloying, heterogeneous reactions, and the thermodynamics of surfaces. Pre: 4034. (3H,3C).

MSE 5064

Diffusion & Kinetics


Theories of diffusion mechanisms in solids. Solutions of governing differential diffusion equations. Classic nucleation theory, spinodal decomposition, diffusion-controlled growth kinetics, overall transformation kinetics. Pre: 5054, 5024. (3H,3C).

MSE 5114

Introduction to Materials Characterization


Introduction to techniques used to characterize material structure and chemistry. Physical principles behind surface and microanalysis techniques and the information various techniques provide. X-ray, electron, ion, vibrational, and absorption spectroscopy and optical, electron, and acoustic microscopy. Undergraduate degree in physical sciences or engineering required. (3H,3C).

MSE 5124

Materials Optimization through Designed Experiments

Methods of analysis of variation in materials systems, in manufacturing or R&D, through the use of statistical methods including experimental design techniques (DOE) with instructional examples related to Materials Science and Engineering. Undergraduate physical sciences or engineering degree required. (3H,3C).

MSE 5134

Introduction to TEM

Interpretation of Transmission Electron Microscope data. Elementary theories of electron diffraction, imaging and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. Overview of sample preparation techniques and instrumentation. Demonstrations of TEM applications and computer-based data analysis tools used to analyze images and spectra. This course is for students who intend to use transmission electron microscopy in their research.  (3H,3C).

MSE 5144 | ESM 5144

Deformation & Fracture of Materials

Deformation and fracture of engineering materials is considered in the context of solid mechanics and engineering methods for predicting strength and life. Topics include plasticity, failure criteria, fracture mechanics, crack growth, strain-based fatigue, and creep. Microstructure-property relationships are discussed. Laboratory demonstrations of behavior in mechanical tests are included. Partially duplicates material in ESM 4024 and both should not be taken. (3H,3C).

MSE 5164

Principles of Corrosion & Electrochemical Processes


Introduction to the principles of materials corrosion and corrosion protection. Topics include: thermodynamics of materials corrosion, including potential-pH (Pourbaix) diagrams; kinetics of corrosion reactions and mixed potential theory, types of corrosion (uniform, galvanic, crevice, pitting, fatigue, stress corrosion cracking, intergranular, and hydrogen embrittlement), material/environmental factors that promote or prevent the various types of corrosion, and methods and techniques of corrosion testing. Undergraduate physical sciences or engineering degree required. (3H,3C).

MSE 5174

Advanced Physical Ceramics


Characteristics of vitreous and crystalline inorganic nonmetallic materials. Application and discussion of effects of composition and microstructure on thermal, mechanical, optical, electrical, and magnetic properties of ceramic products. (3H,3C).

MSE 5200 | ECE 5200

Semiconductor Heterostructures


Advanced treatment of semiconductor materials with an emphasis on binary compounds, ternary and quaternary alloys, and strained-layer structures. Topics include crystal structure; lattice vibrations and phonons; energy band structure; equilibrium and non-equilibrium carrier distributions; electron and hole transport via diffusion and drift; and carrier generation and recombination mechanisms. Pre: 3204 or PHYS 3455 (3H, 3C).

MSE 5224

Photonic Materials


An introduction to materials used in the generation, propagation and harnessing of light for useful applications. An emphasis on understanding the structure of materials including glasses, single crystals, and polycrystalline materials and their effects on the propagation of elecromagnetic energy. Luminescence (including phosphorescence and fluorescence), refractive index, transmission, absorption, reflection, origin of color in materials, fiber optics, dispersion, nonlinear effects, lasers, LEDs, detectors, numerical aperture, attenuation coefficients, Rayleigh scattering, infrared absorption spectra, holey fibers, and photonic crystals. Undergraduate degree in engineering or science is required. (3H,3C).

MSE 5234

Introduction to the Materials Science of Surfaces & Interfaces


Fundamental and applied aspects of surfaces. Solid/solid, solid/liquid, and solid/vapor interfaces. Their structure and defects, thermodynamics, reactivity, electronic and mechanical properties. Applications depend upon class interests, but can include microelectronics, soils, catalysis, colloids, composites, environment-sensitive mechanical behavior, UHV single cystal studies, materials durability, and surface bioactivity. (3H,3C).

MSE 5254

Science & Technology of Thin Films


Fundamental properties and microstructure of materials in thin film (thin coating) form, their interaction with a substrate, thin film processing/characterization techniques, and instrumentation. Areas of application have been selected to exemplify the interdisciplinary nature of the field and include the electronics, biomedical, military, aerospace and construction industries. Undergraduate degree in engineering or physical sciences required. (3H,3C).

MSE 5314

Materials Characterization Techniques

Fundamentals, instrumentation and practical application of characterization techniques. Scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive x-ray spectrometry, x-ray photoelectron spectrometry, Auger electron spectrometry, Rutherford backscatter spectrometry, focused ion beam tools, scanned probe microscopy, secondary ion mass spectrometry. Training in practical aspects of theory and operation of materials characterization equipment. Pre: Graduate standing. (3H, 4C).

MSE 5384G

Advanced Nuclear Materials


Materials for nuclear applications with emphasis on fission reactors. Fundamental radiation effects on materials; material properties relevant to structural, moderator, reflector, blanket, coolant, control related structural systems. Pre-requisite: Graduate Standing required. (3H,3C)

MSE 5574G

Advanced Biomaterials


Biomaterials for medical applications. Basic material types and properties, functional uses of materials in medical applications, and tissue response mechanisms. Integrated design issues of multicomponent material design in prosthetic devices for hard and soft tissues. Materials for orthopedic, cardiovascular, and drug delivery applications. Pre-requisite: Graduate Standing required. (3H,3C).

MSE 5584

Biomimetic Material Design


The application of the structure property relationships in biological materials such as wood, bone, shells, spider silk, connective tissue, blood vessels, and jellyfish as a means to design new materials. Proteins and polysaccharides, biosynthesis and assembly, biomineralization, hierarchical organization. Introduction to tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Life cycle, environmental aspects of biofabrication. Structural characterization of biological materials. Graduate standing required. (3H, 3C).

MSE 5614

Advanced Nanomaterials


Synthesis of 0-dimensional nanoparticles, 1-dimensional nanotubes, nanowires, and nanorods; 2-dimensional nanoribbons and nanofilms, and specialized nano-features on substrates. Characterization of nanomaterials. Processing into higher order dimensions. Chemical, physical, mechanical, and electrical properties of nanomaterials. Application of nanomaterials. Pre: 5054 (3H, 3C).

MSE 5904

Project & Report


Variable credit course.

MSE 5974

Independent Study

Pass/Fail only. Variable credit course.

MSE 5984

Special Study


Variable credit course. X-grade allowed.

MSE 5994

Research & Thesis


Variable credit course.

MSE 6214

Semiconductor Nanostructures


In-depth self-consistent coverage of semiconductor nanostructures with an emphasis on low-dimensional heterostructures, such as quantum wells, quantum wires, quantum dots, and superlattices. Electronic and optical properties of nanostructures; tunneling in nanostructures; quantum phenomena in nanostructures in electric and magnetic fields; and two-dimensional electron gas. Pre: 5200 (3H, 3C).

MSE 7994

Research & Dissertation


Variable credit course.

The following (4000 Level) Undergraduate Courses have been cleared for Graduate Study:


  • MSE 4034 | Thermodynamics of Materials Systems
    • Topics in thermodynamics on the solution of materials selection and design related problems such as materials stability at high temperatures and in corrosive chemical environments. Thermodynamic principles important in controlling equilibrium in single component systems and multicomponent solid solutions and in establishing the thermodynamic driving force in kinetic processes which are important in materials processing unit operations. Estimation of thermodynamic properties and equilibrium calculations in multicomponent and multiphase systems. Pre: 2054, 2054. (3H,3C).
  • MSE 4164 (MINE 4164) | Principles of Materials Corrosion
    • Introduction to the scientific principles of materials corrosion and corrosion protection. Topics include: thermodynamics of materials corrosion, including potential-PH (Pourbaix) diagrams, kinetics of corrosion reactions and mixed potential theory, types of corrosion (uniform, galvanic, crevice, pitting, fatigue, stress corrosion cracking, intergranular, and hydrogen embrittlement), material/environmental factors that promote or prevent the various types of corrosion, and methods and techniques of corrosion testing. Co: 4034 or ME 3114 or ME 3124 or ME 3134. Pre: CHEM 1074. (3H,3C).
  • MSE 4304 | Metals & Alloys
    • This course covers the production, properties and uses of commercially important metals and alloys. The influence of structure, chemistry, and processing upon the properties of metals is emphasized. Alloy selection is discussed. Mechanical, electrical, thermal and chemical characteristics of ferrous and nonferrous alloys are studied. Pre: 2034 or 2044 or AOE 3094. (3H,3C).
  • MSE 4305, 4306 | Physical Metallurgy & Modeling of Crystal Casting
    • Casting processes; solidification and its influence on the structure and chemistry of castings; role of fluid flow and heat transfer in mold design; origin and control of casting defects. Pre: 3304 for 4305; 2034 or 2044 for 4306. (3H,3C).
  • MSE 4324 | Advanced Metal Casting Laboratory
    • Advanced metal casting processes; no-bake sand molds; investment casting; rapid prototyping; melting and casting of aluminum, bronze, iron and steel. Casting finishing including shot and sand blasting. Hands-on experience. Emphasis on safe foundry practices. Oral and written reports are required. Pre: 3324. Co: 3354. (1H,1L,2C).
  • MSE 4414 | Physical Ceramics
    • Study of the relationships between the physical properties (thermal, optical, mechanical, electrical and magnetic) and the structure and composition of ceramics at the atomic and microscopic level as affected by processing and service environment. Emphasis will be placed on application and design using structural ceramics. Pre: 3314. Co: 4424. (3H,3C).
  • MSE 4544 (CHEM 4074) | Laboratory in Polymer Science
    • Experimental techniques used in the synthesis of various linear polymers, copolymers, and crosslinked networks. Determination of polymer molecular weights and molecular weight distribution. Methods used in the thermal, mechanical, and morphological characterization of polymeric systems. Pre: CHEM 3616, CHEM 4534. (1H,3L,2C).
  • MSE 4554 | Polymer Engineering
    • This course is designed to introduce the student to polymers from the MSE perspective. The basics of polymer snythesis and polymerization will be outlined. The relationship between processing, structure, and properties will be presented with respect to the performance and design requirements of typical polymer applications. Pre: CHEM 1074, PHYS 2306, MATH 2224, MSE 2054. (3H,3C).
  • MSE 4564 | Polymer Engineering Laboratory
    • Laboratory experiments exploring the processing-structure-property relationships in polymers and polymer based composites will be performed. Experiments will be conducted in synthesis, melt rheology, crystal structure and mechanical properties of polymers. Effects of reinforcement on the properties of engineering polymers will also be investigated. Co: 4554. (3L,1C).
  • MSE 4574 (ESM 4574) | Biomaterials
    • Lectures and problems dealing with materials used to mimic/replace body functions. Topics include basic material types and possible functions, tissue response mechanisms, and considerations for long term usage. Integrated design issues of multicomponent materials design in prosthetic devices for hard and soft tissues are discussed. Must meet prerequisite or have graduate standing in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Pre: 3054. (3H,3C).
  • MSE 4604 | Composite Materials
    • The application of the fundamental concepts of mechanics, elasticity, and plasticity to multiphase and composite materials. Constitutive equations for the mechanical and physical properties of metal, ceramic, and polymeric matrix composites. The role of processing and microstructure on properties. Pre: (2034 or 2044 or 3094), (ESM 2204). (3H,3C).