Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Students Entering the MS Program with a Degree Other Than MSE

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:

MSE 3100 - Materials Processing I

Classical chemical thermodynamics as applied to single and multicomponent materials systems. Topics include heat and mass balance, enthalpy, entropy, free energy, chemical reactions and equilibria, mass action, solution thermodynamics, phase diagram, stability/Pourbaix diagrams and electrochemistry.

  • Credits: 4.0
  • Lec-Rec-Lab: (4-0-0)
  • Semesters Offered: Fall
  • Pre-Requisite(s): (MY 2100 or MSE 2100) and MA 2160

MSE 3110 - Materials Processing II

A continuation of Materials Processing I, which introduces the fundamental theories and equations governing transport phenomena. Topics include fluid flow, heat flow, diffusion, and chemical kinetics. Discusses the relationships between these subjects and the thermodynamic concepts covered in Materials Processing I.

  • Credits: 4.0
  • Lec-Rec-Lab: (4-0-0)
  • Semesters Offered: Spring
  • Pre-Requisite(s): (MY 2110 or MSE 2110) and (MY 3100 or MSE 3100) and (MA 3520 or MA 3521 or MA 3530 or MA 3560)

MSE 3140 - Design of Microstructure

Relates thermodynamic and kinetic principles to phase transformations and microstructural evolution. Topics include nucleation, solidification, precipitation, recrystallization, grain growth, and sintering. Applications of these concepts (e.g., heat treatment of steel, casting, powder processing, etc.) are presented to provide a bridge between phase transformation theory and industrial/laboratory practice.

  • Credits: 3.0
  • Lec-Rec-Lab: (3-0-0)
  • Semesters Offered: Spring
  • Pre-Requisite(s): (MY 2110 or MSE 2110) and (MY 3100 or MSE 3100) and (MY 3200(C) or MSE 3120(C))

MSE 3100 and MSE 3110 are undergraduate-level equivalents to MSE 5110 and MSE 5120 (Thermodynamics and Kinetics I and II), which you will need to take to graduate. If you are very interested in physical metallurgy, you may also consider MSE 3140, Design of Microstructure.

MSE 3120 - Materials Characterization I

Fundamentals of microstructural and chemical characterization of materials. Examines the physical principles controlling the various basic characterization techniques. Topics include crystallography, optics, optical and electron microscopy, and diffraction. Laboratory focuses on proper operational principles of characterization equipment, which includes optical and other microscopy methods and various diffraction techniques.

  • Credits: 4.0
  • Lec-Rec-Lab: (2-1-3)
  • Semesters Offered: Spring
  • Pre-Requisite(s): (MY 2100 or MSE 2100) and (MY 2110 or MSE 2110)

MSE 3130 - Materials Characterization II

Fundamentals and application of instrumental analysis in characterization of bulk materials and powders, and their internal phases and external surfaces. Demonstrates spectroscopic and surface analysis techniques in identification of ceramics and polymers and their phases. Discusses the limitations and capabilities of elemental, chemical and structural characterization methods combined with statistical analysis of data.

  • Credits: 4.0
  • Lec-Rec-Lab: (2-1-3)
  • Semesters Offered: Fall
  • Pre-Requisite(s): MY 2100 or MSE 2100

MSE 3120 and MSE 31300 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 MSE 5130 (Crystallography and Diffraction) 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
MSE 3100 (4), MSE 3120 (4), graduate class (optional), thesis research

Spring, Year 1
MSE 3110 (4), MSE 3130 (4), thesis research

Summer, Year 1
MSE 53300, Theory of Scanning Electron Microscopy (2) (optional), thesis research

Fall, Year 2
MSE 5110 (3), MSE 5130 (2), thesis research

Spring, Year 2
MSE 5120 (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 MSE 5110 and 5120 (skipping MSE 3100 and 3110), take an extra graduate hour, and finish with exactly 20 hours.