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 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. Mechanical Behavior of Materials, MSE 4100, is taught in Fall Semester and is preparation for the graduate level MSE 5140 Mechanical Behavior of Materials course and the graduate level MSE 5120 Thermodynamics and Kinetics II course.

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.

An introductory graduate level course for non-MSE engineers, MSE 5104 is taught in Summer Track B and may be taken online or on campus. This course can be taken prior to the first Fall semester of graduate studies and provides a good overview of the field.

MS Thesis. 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 5530, 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.

MS Non-Thesis. A “sample schedule” for a non MSE BS degree holder (Mechanical Engineering, Chemistry, etc.) that would allow for completion of the required 30 credits in less than two years and give you a solid foundation in MSE is shown below:

Summer Track B
MSE 5104: Intro to Materials Science with Advanced Topics (4)

Fall Semester I
MSE 4100: Mechanical Behavior (3)
MSE 5110: Thermodynamics and Kinetic I (3)
MSE 3100: Materials Processing I (3)

Spring Semester I
MSE 3140: Design of Microstructure (3)
MSE 5120: Thermodynamics and Kinetics II (3)
MSE 5130: Crystallography and Diffraction (3)
MSE 5900: Professional Preparation (1)

Fall Semester II
MSE 5140: Mechanical Behavior (3)
Elective (3)
MSE 5900: Professional Preparation (1)