Materials Science and Engineering

Master of Science Program Requirements

Thesis Option

The Master of Science degree requires both coursework and research accomplishments. A total of 30 credits are required for graduation:

  • 10 credits (minimum) of thesis research (MSE 5990, MSE 6990)
  • 20 credits (minimum) of coursework
  • At least 12 credits of coursework (included in the 20) must be at the 5000 level or above.

Credits can be in any department, subject to approval of your thesis advisor, with the exception of the following 4 “core” courses which are now required for the MS Degree in Materials Science and Engineering:

MSE 5110 - Thermodynamics and Kinetics I

Solution thermodynamics and application to phase equilibria. Driving force for phase transformations. Chemical thermodynamics applied to materials processing. Corrosion and oxidation of metals. Applications to engineering situations.

  • Credits: 3.0
  • Lec-Rec-Lab: (3-0-0)
  • Semesters Offered: Fall
  • Restrictions: Must be enrolled in one of the following Level(s): Graduate

MSE 5120 - Thermodynamics and Kinetics II

The kinetics of liquid-to-solid and solid-to-solid phase transformations. Diffusion-controlled phase transformations, including nucleation, growth, coarsening, spinodal decomposition, eutectic and eutectoid transformations, cellular transformations, and massive transformations. Martensitic transformations.

  • Credits: 3.0
  • Lec-Rec-Lab: (3-0-0)
  • Semesters Offered: Spring
  • Restrictions: Must be enrolled in one of the following Level(s): Graduate
  • Pre-Requisite(s): MY 5100 or MSE 5110

MSE 5130 - Crystallography & Diffraction

Crystallographic concepts and diffraction analyses in materials science.

  • Credits: 3.0
  • Lec-Rec-Lab: (2-0-3)
  • Semesters Offered: On Demand
  • Restrictions: Must be enrolled in one of the following Level(s): Graduate

MSE 5900 - Graduate Professional Preparation

Graduate student presentations at departmental seminars.

  • Credits: 1.0; May be repeated
  • Lec-Rec-Lab: (0-1-0)
  • Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
  • Restrictions: Must be enrolled in one of the following Level(s): Graduate

Students must earn a “B” or above in each required course, in order to satisfy the course requirements.

University policy requires that at least two thirds of the course work be completed with courses offered at Michigan Tech. Students should select an advisor before the end of their second semester and file an Advisor and Committee Recommendation form with the Graduate School; file a Degree Schedule for approval the semester prior to the final defense; and submit the Degree Completion form in the semester of planned degree completion. No later than two weeks prior to the proposed oral examination date the student, in consultation with the research advisor, must complete the Pre-Defense form to schedule the exam time and place. A title and abstract should be submitted to the office assistant one week before the oral examination so that announcements can be sent to the department and University community. The Advisory Committee completes an Evaluation of Graduate Learning Objectives and Assessment of Final Defense for departmental record.

Timeline for Completion of MS-thesis Degree

It is the responsibility of graduate student to be familiar with MSE department policies as outlined in this handbook, and with Graduate School policies as outlined in the Graduate School Catalog. It is the responsibility of each graduate student to be sure that forms are completed and authorized in a timely fashion, and are filed with the MSE office assistant or Graduate School as prescribed.

Typically, MS Thesis degrees are expected to take 2 years (six semesters including summer semesters). Durations greater than eight calendar years require approval from the Graduate School.

The table below shows some typical milestones for your program, and indicates a typical range of times by which you should reach that milestone.

Typical milestones in a MS program and typical timeframes in which they are completed.
What: When (semesters, including summer semester):
Choose a research advisor Within 1
Complete required coursework 4 to 5
Choose a committee 2 to 3
Enter Candidacy / Start writing products to be included in dissertation 4
Dissertation Defense / Final Oral Examination 6 to 7
Master's Form Submission Schedule
Form: Term Due:
Advisor and Committee Recommendation Form Second Semester
Degree Schedule Semester PRIOR to Defense
Degree Completion Form Semester of Planned Degree Completion
Verification of Final Degree Requirements TWO WEEKS after oral exam or at end of final exam week of final semester

Current versions of all tracking forms are available online at Degree Completion Timelines.

Note to International Students: Visa requirements for international students often change. International students should stay well informed of current visa requirements through International Programs and Services or the Graduate School related to timelines and possible changes of status after graduation.

Coursework Option

The non-thesis MS program requires 30 credits of coursework. The descriptive term ‘Coursework’ means that credit towards the non-thesis MS degree cannot be earned through research credits. A maximum of 12 credits may be at 3000-4000 level. The following courses are required for the non-thesis MS degree.

MSE 5110 - Thermodynamics and Kinetics I

Solution thermodynamics and application to phase equilibria. Driving force for phase transformations. Chemical thermodynamics applied to materials processing. Corrosion and oxidation of metals. Applications to engineering situations.

  • Credits: 3.0
  • Lec-Rec-Lab: (3-0-0)
  • Semesters Offered: Fall
  • Restrictions: Must be enrolled in one of the following Level(s): Graduate

MSE 5120 - Thermodynamics and Kinetics II

The kinetics of liquid-to-solid and solid-to-solid phase transformations. Diffusion-controlled phase transformations, including nucleation, growth, coarsening, spinodal decomposition, eutectic and eutectoid transformations, cellular transformations, and massive transformations. Martensitic transformations.

  • Credits: 3.0
  • Lec-Rec-Lab: (3-0-0)
  • Semesters Offered: Spring
  • Restrictions: Must be enrolled in one of the following Level(s): Graduate
  • Pre-Requisite(s): MY 5100 or MSE 5110

MSE 5130 - Crystallography & Diffraction

Crystallographic concepts and diffraction analyses in materials science.

  • Credits: 3.0
  • Lec-Rec-Lab: (2-0-3)
  • Semesters Offered: On Demand
  • Restrictions: Must be enrolled in one of the following Level(s): Graduate

MSE 5900 - Graduate Professional Preparation

Graduate student presentations at departmental seminars.

  • Credits: 1.0; May be repeated
  • Lec-Rec-Lab: (0-1-0)
  • Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
  • Restrictions: Must be enrolled in one of the following Level(s): Graduate

MSE 5140 - Mechanical Behavior of Materials

Deformation-related physical behaviors of materials in the mathematical framework of tensor analysis. Material symmetry and tensor property. Stress, strain, and elastic constitutive relation. Non-elastic strain, thermomechanical, electromechanical, and magnetomechanical behaviors.

  • Credits: 3.0
  • Lec-Rec-Lab: (3-0-0)
  • Semesters Offered: On Demand
  • Restrictions: Must be enrolled in one of the following Level(s): Graduate

Students must earn a “B” or above in each required course, in order to satisfy the course requirements.

Timeline for Completion of Non-thesis MS Degree

It is the responsibility of graduate student to be familiar with MSE department policies as outlined in this handbook, and with Graduate School policies as outlined in the Graduate School Catalog. It is the responsibility of each graduate student to be sure that Masters (M) or Doctoral (D) forms are completed and authorized in a timely fashion, and are filed with the MSE office assistant or Graduate School as prescribed.

Typically, MS Non-Thesis degrees are expected to take 4 Fall, Spring semesters of coursework. This does not usually include a summer semester as a full course load may be difficult to design within the summer, though possible. An alternative for the summer semester may be the MTU co-op or internship program. Durations greater than eight calendar years require approval from the Graduate School.

The table below shows some typical milestones for your program, and indicates a typical range of times by which you should reach that milestone.

Typical milestones in a MS program and typical timeframes in which they are completed.
What: When (semesters, including summer semester):
Discuss course of study with Graduate Program Director, who is also your academic advisor Within 1
Complete required coursework 5 to 7
Master's Form Submission Schedule
Form: Term Due:
Advisor and Committee Recommendation Form Second Semester
Degree Completion Form Semester of Planned Degree Completion
Verification of Final Degree Requirements TWO WEEKS after oral exam or at end of final exam week of final semester

Current versions of all tracking forms are available online at Degree Completion Timelines.

Note to International Students: Visa requirements for international students often change. International students should stay well informed of current visa requirements through International Programs and Services or the Graduate School related to timelines and possible changes of status after graduation.

Accelerated MS

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering’s accelerated Masters Degree program allows you to earn both a BS and MS in Materials Science and Engineering in as little as 5 years.

MSE undergraduate students can earn up to 12 credits of coursework that will apply towards the MS degree while still working on the BS degree. The Senior Rule allows 6 credits of 5000 and 6000 level graduate courses to be taken in the senior year to count towards the graduate program course requirements, but only the graduate degree, not the undergraduate degree. This is different than the additional 6 credit ‘double counting’ allowance, whereby undergraduate courses may count for both the undergraduate degree and the graduate degree. The Senior Rule must be declared by submitting the senior rule form in the first two weeks of the semester in which the course is taken. The senior Students can start their master’s thesis work immediately upon finishing the BS degree, and complete all remaining requirements for the MS in Materials Science and Engineering in one additional academic year. Applications are accepted from junior level through bachelor’s degree completion. The preferred time to apply, in general, is prior to the first semester of your senior year, especially if you wish to take advantage of the senior rule.

General Rules for Participation in this Program

  1. This program will be offered in the thesis option only. With the thesis option students are required to complete at least 30 credits, of which at least 20 credits must be coursework and a minimum of 9 credits of research.
  2. Students must meet all Graduate School requirements for the thesis option master of science degree.
  3. The maximum time to MS degree for students in an accelerated master’s program is 5 years from the time the student is accepted into the program.
  4. The accelerated master’s program applies only for students who earn both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Michigan Tech in the major of Materials Science and
    Engineering.
  5. Students already enrolled in a graduate program may not retroactively enroll in this program.
  6. Students can apply for admission to the accelerated master’s program at any time after they attain junior-level class standing, up until they are awarded their bachelor’s degree. Once the BS degree has been awarded, students are ineligible to apply for the accelerated Masters program. Students should apply to the Graduate School at Michigan Tech, indicating the semester they plan to begin their graduate studies. Students must notify the Graduate School if their enrollment term changes due to a change in the actual completion date of the BS degree.
  7. In order to be formally accepted into an accelerated master’s program students must apply to and be accepted into the Graduate School at Michigan Tech. Applications will be reviewed by the Department of Materials Science and Engineering according to their normal procedure.
  8. Only students with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above are eligible to enter an accelerated master’s program. Students who are accepted to the program will not be allowed to continue in the accelerated program if their cumulative undergraduate GPA falls below 3.0.
  9. Undergraduate students who have been dropped from the program because of a cumulative GPA under 3.0 may reapply for admission to the accelerated MS program if their cumulative GPA returns to 3.0 or above, provided that they have not completed requirements for the BS degree. If a student has been accepted into the Graduate School at Michigan Tech but is dropped from MSE’s accelerated program because the GPA falls below 3.0 and the student fails to bring the GPA to 3.0 or higher before finishing the BS 08/30/12 degree, that student will not be allowed to apply “double counted” credits to the MS degree.
  10. Students will be considered undergraduates for the purposes of financial aid, tuition, and class standing until their undergraduate degree has been awarded. Once students are awarded their undergraduate degree, they will be considered graduate students for the purposes of financial aid and tuition.
  11. Prior to completion of the master’s degree, students must indicate on their master’s degree schedule which undergraduate-level courses (if any are allowed by the program) and credits (up to a maximum of six, if allowed by the program for an accelerated master's degree) should be applied to both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Indicated courses are subject to approval by the Department and the Michigan Tech Graduate School.

Additional Requirements to the MSE Accelerated MS Program

  1. This plan requires completion of a minimum of 152 credits of graded coursework (in addition to three credits of physical education to be taken as an undergraduate). In order to complete the program in the time frame shown in the suggested flowchart, at least 3 credits of graded coursework must be taken under "Senior Rule" (in which graduate approved courses are taken while students are undergraduates, but the course is reserved for the graduate transcript and cannot be used to satisfy undergraduate degree requirements). If students do not reserve at least three credits under Senior Rule, the length of time to finish the accelerated program may be extended. Please note: A Senior Rule form must be completed and submitted to the Registrar’s Office by Wednesday of week 2 for the course semester. Upon submission, the student's academic record will be changed to show graduate status for the course designated. Once the academic record has been changed to show graduate status for a particular course, it cannot be changed back to count toward an undergraduate degree.
  2. If students have at least 3 credits of AP or transferred courses, students may take an additional Senior Rule course in place of free elective.
  3. Graduate status under this plan begins in the summer after the fourth year, provided that all degree requirements for the BS degree in Materials Science and Engineering have been met and the student has been accepted by the Graduate Program.
  4. Students who plan to participate in this program should see the undergraduate academic advisor for planning a time frame for the required coursework. They should also meet with their graduate advisor as soon as they apply to the program to discuss research requirements.
  5. Courses to be "double counted" for the BS and MS degrees must be approved by the Graduate advisor. Students must earn a "B" or higher in courses that will be "double counted."
  6. Use of up to 3 credits of undergraduate research, MY4990, in place of graduate research, MY5990, may be applied to the MS degree at the discretion of the graduate advisor.

Accelerated MS Timeline for Completion

It is the responsibility of graduate student to be familiar with MSE department policies as outlined in this handbook, and with Graduate School policies as outlined in the Graduate School Catalog. It is the responsibility of each graduate student to be sure that forms are completed and authorized in a timely fashion, and are filed with the MSE office assistant or Graduate School as prescribed.

It is possible to complete your accelerated MS program in one year after the BS degree, though this is not guaranteed. Durations greater than eight calendar years require approval from the Graduate School.

The table below shows some typical milestones for your program, and indicates a typical range of times by which you should reach that milestone.

Typical milestones in an accelerated MS program and typical timeframes in which they are completed.
What: When (semesters, including summer semester):
Submit Senior Rule form Beginning of first semester of senior year
Choose a research advisor Within 2 and it must be prior to the semester you graduate with your BS degree.
Complete required coursework 5 to 6, including the senior year
Choose a committee 3 to 4, including senior year
Enter Candidacy / Start writing products to be included in dissertation 5 to 6, including senior year
Dissertation Defense / Final Oral Examination 5 to 6, including senior year

Accelerated BS + MS Sample Curriculum Plan

Master's Form Submission Schedule
Form: Term Due:
Advisor and Committee Recommendation Form Second Semester
Degree Schedule Semester PRIOR to Defense
Degree Completion Form Semester of Planned Degree Completion
Verification of Final Degree Requirements TWO WEEKS after oral exam or at end of final exam week of final semester

Current versions of all tracking forms are available online at Degree Completion Timelines.

Note to International Students: Visa requirements for international students often change. International students should stay well informed of current visa requirements through International Programs and Services or the Graduate School related to timelines and possible changes of status after graduation.