Materials Science and Engineering

Science is nothing but developed perception, interpreted intent, common sense rounded out and minutely articulated. —George Santayana

Materials Science and Engineering—MS, PhD

Fast Facts

  • Ranked among the best in the nation by US News & World Report
  • Faculty are nationally and internationally recognized for their teaching, research, and professional service. Many have received prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Awards and are recognized by professional societies.
  • The ratio of graduate students to faculty is 2.5:1.
  • Excellent research facilities
  • Close interaction between faculty and graduate students
  • Successful alumni in industry, academia, and entrepreneurship

Learn more about the Materials Science and Engineering program.

Graduate Programs in Materials Science and Engineering

Materials science and engineering focuses on the synthesis, processing, properties, and applications of engineering materials—from the production of primary metals to the development of microelectronic nanomaterials with novel properties. Michigan Tech granted its first PhD in Metallurgy in 1934 and remains a leader in research and graduate education, now offering PhD and MS degrees in Materials Science and Engineering.

The graduate program offered by the Department of Materials Science and Engineering provides an outstanding foundation for careers in research, academia, materials production, and manufacturing. Current Michigan Tech undergraduate students can earn a MS degree with just a single year of study beyond the BS through the Accelerated Master's Program.

Graduate students have the opportunity to study composite materials, ceramics, metals and alloys, electronic and optical materials, and polymers. Research topics include synthesis and processing of primary materials, thermodynamics and kinetics of microstructural evolution, and material properties and performance, to name a few. Current research spans the entire spectrum of materials engineering and involves more than twenty-five government and industry partners. Students interact closely with automotive and primary metals industry.

Learn more about the Materials Science and Engineering program.

Master's Degree: Thesis Option

This option requires a research thesis prepared under the supervision of the advisor.  The thesis describes a research investigation and its results. The scope of the research topic for the thesis should be defined in such a way that a full-time student could complete the requirements for a master’s degree in twelve months or three semesters following the completion of course work by regularly scheduling graduate research credits. 

The minimum requirements are as follows:

Course work (minimum) 20 credits
Thesis research 6–10 credits
Total (minimum) 30 credits
Distribution of course work credit  
5000–6000 series (minimum) 12 credits
3000–4000 level (maximum) 12 credits


Programs may have stricter requirements and may require more than the minimum numbers of credits listed here.

Master's Degree: Course Work Option

This option requires a minimum of 30 credits be earned through course work. A limited number of research credits may be used with the approval of the advisor, department, and Graduate School.  See degree requirements for more information.

A graduate program may require an oral or written examination before conferring the degree and may require more than the minimum credits listed here:

Distribution of course work credit  
5000–6000 series (minimum) 18 credits
3000–4000 level (maximum) 12 credits

PhD Requirements

To complete a doctoral degree, students must complete the following milestones:

  • Complete all course work and research credits (see credit requirements below)
  • Pass Qualifying Examination
  • Pass Research Proposal Examination
  • Prepare and Submit Approved Dissertation
  • Pass Final Oral Defense

The minimum credit requirements are as follows:

Total Credit Requirements  
MS–PhD (minimum) 30 credits
BS–PhD (minimum) 60 credits


Individual programs may have higher standards and students are expected to know their program's requirements. See the Doctor of Philosophy Requirements website for more information about PhD milestones and related timelines.