You have chosen a new field of study and, most likely, have had limited undergraduate coursework in this new field. It is not possible to take every required undergraduate course, as well as every required graduate course, complete your thesis work, and graduate in a reasonable amount of time.
However, you will certainly need to learn more about your new field than just that covered in the three required courses, and as part of your thesis work. Additionally, the three required courses are primarily theoretical and presume some familiarity with basic concepts of materials science. It has been found beneficial to take some background undergraduate courses during the first year, and save the graduate courses for the second year. This is not required, but is an option.
Of course, you are able to learn a great deal by self-study. You may choose to supplement your self study by taking (or auditing) some of our undergraduate courses.
Of the 20 coursework credit hours required for the MS degree, 8 may be taken at the 3000 and 4000 undergraduate level and applied to your MS. Since you are coming to a new field, it is not unusual to end up taking more than the required 20 credit hours for the MS, and perhaps taking an extra semester or two in the process.
You may consider taking the following courses:
MY3100 and MY3110. Undergraduate-level equivalents to MY5100 and MY5110, which you will need to take to graduate. If you are very interested in physical metallurgy, you may also consider MY3300, Design of Microstructure.
MY3200 and MY3210. These are laboratory-based courses on materials characterization. They introduce most of the common characterization techniques (materialography, SEM, diffraction, mechanical testing, etc). They prepare you for MY5260, and more importantly, bring you “up to speed” on a practical level on most of the important characterization techniques that you will be using in your thesis research and in your career. These two courses emphasize technical writing, a skill which you will need to master both to prepare an acceptable research thesis and to succeed professionally in the workplace.
You may also consider taking undergraduate courses more closely related to your thesis work. Consultation with your thesis advisor can identify those courses which would be most beneficial.
A “sample schedule” that would allow ample time for thesis research, prepare you properly for the graduate courses, and give you a solid foundation in MSE is shown below:
Fall, Year 1
MY3100 (4), MY3200 (4), graduate class (optional), thesis research
Spring, Year 1
MY3110 (4), MY3210 (4), thesis research
Summer, Year 1
MY5200, Scanning Electron Microscopy (2) (optional), thesis research
Fall, Year 2
MY5100 (3), MY5260 (2), thesis research
Spring, Year 2
MY5110 (3), Graduate course (2-4), thesis research
This schedule would end up with 27 hours of coursework, 7 more than required. Alternatively, you could go directly to MY5100 and 5110 (skipping MY3100 and 3110), take an extra graduate hour, and finish with exactly 20 hours.