Materials Science and Engineering

MSE Program Specific Information

Graduate Program Overview and Objectives

Materials Science and Engineering

The MSE department offers the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) graduate degree, and Master of Science (MS) degrees in both a thesis (MS-T) and non-thesis (MS-NT) modes. In addition, an accelerated M.S. program is available to students who begin their graduate plan of study prior to the completion of their undergraduate baccalaureate degree. All of the degrees require coursework with the objective of teaching the relationship between materials processing, structure, and properties, considered the tenets of the MSE discipline, and the characterization thereof. Students in the PhD and MS-with-thesis programs also pursue the objective of discovery through a research project. The non-thesis student also has the opportunity for internships, co-ops and short term research activities with the objective of applying class room concepts to open ended problems.

A. PhD Graduate Learning Objectives (GLOs)

The PhD Graduate Learning Objectives of our program are:

  1. Demonstrated proficiency in the breadth of subject matter comprising the discipline of materials science and engineering, particularly as described by the processing : structure : property paradigm that exemplifies the field.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to master in-depth disciplinary knowledge through research; including designing and executing a hypothesis-based research project, utilizing appropriate methodologies and technologies, and critically evaluating one’s own findings and those of others.
  3. Make an original and substantial contribution to the discipline of materials science and engineering.
  4. Demonstrated effective professional written and oral communications skills and appropriate ethical principles as applied to research, data analysis, and dissemination

B. Master of Science with Thesis (MS-T) Graduate Learning Objectives

The MS-T Graduate Learning Objectives of our program are:

  1. Demonstrated proficiency in the general processing structure: property materials science and engineering paradigm, and the characterization thereof.
  2. Demonstrated mastery of existing methodologies and techniques of collecting, analyzing and communicating data, including the capability to critically analyze one’s own results and the results of others.
  3. Make an original and substantial contribution to the discipline of materials science and engineering.
  4. Demonstrated effective professional skills, including written and oral communication and appropriate ethical principles as applied to research, data analysis, and dissemination.

C. Master of Science Non-thesis (MS-NT) Graduate Learning Objectives

The MS-NT Graduate Learning Objectives of our program are:

  1. Demonstrate proficiency in the core competencies of the discipline and in selected, complementing elective areas.
  2. Develop an appreciation for the role of research and discovery in the discipline of materials science and engineering.
  3. Demonstrate effective oral and written communication in a classroom setting.

Department Structure

Facilities and General Information

  • Department Chair: Dr. Steve Kampe
  • MSE Graduate Program Coordinator: Dr. Steve Hackney
  • Oral Qualifying Exam: Dr. Steve Hackney
  • Written Qualifying Exam: Dr Yu Wang
  • Department Coordinator: Valentina O’Kane
  • Safety Coordinator: Paul Fraley
  • ACMAL Coordinator: Owen Mills
  • Graduate Student Government Representatives

Keys, Desk, Computers, and Research Space Assignments

Each graduate student receiving departmental support (GTA or GRA) is provided a desk for personal use in an office and afterhours access to that office. A student's Tech Express identification card is used for after-hours access to the M&M building via the southeast entrance at Cliff Drive and the Northwest entrance at the rear parking lot. Office and laboratory keys are ordered by the department coordinator. Many laboratories in MSE are transitioning to swipe card access. Students working on research projects may be issued keys or card access to project laboratories upon approval of the faculty member or coordinator responsible for that laboratory. Requests for new keys, replacements for lost keys, or swipe-card access to restricted areas should be made to the department coordinator. Lending or giving a key or key card to an unauthorized person may be grounds for dismissal. Lost keys may be asses a charge by the University. Graduate students are provided common area computer access through the computer lab on the 6th floor MM. Computer facilities are also available in the van Pelt and Opie campus library.

Questions and problems with computers should be directed to the Information Technology (IT) help desk, found on the first floor in the library or via email at The IT staff will supply you with your username and password; change your password the first time you log into your account. Students should pay particular attention to Michigan Tech computer use policies regarding copyrights, privacy, passwords, and hacking. These can be found at IT’s web site.

Forums, Colloquiums, and Other Conferences

Certain MSE courses will require student attendance in departmental seminars. Otherwise, students are strongly encouraged to attend all seminars presented within the department as an extension to the learning process from the classroom and research experience.

Responsible Professional Conduct

The University and the MSE department expect all students to maintain the highest level of
academic and scientific integrity in all aspects of class room activities and research. Questions concerning classroom integrity and research integrity should be discussed with the relevant faculty member associated with the activity in question. The details of Michigan Tech's academic integrity policy and procedures can be found on the web. All MSE graduate students are expected to be familiar with these policies. Students are required to view the orientation module on academic integrity. Responsible conduct of research (RCR) training is required for graduation.
Plagiarism and academic misconduct is a of particular concern for both research and class room activities.

Definition of Academic Misconduct

Plagiarism: Knowingly copying another's work or ideas and calling them one's own or not giving proper credit or citation. This includes but is not limited to reading or hearing another's work or ideas and using them as one's own; quoting, paraphrasing, or condensing another's work without giving proper credit; purchasing or receiving another's work and using, handling, or submitting it as one's own work.

Cheating: Intentional, unauthorized use of any study aids, equipment, or another's work during an academic exercise. This includes but is not limited to unauthorized use of notes, study aids, electronic or other equipment during an examination; copying or looking at another individual's examination; taking or passing information to another individual during an examination; taking an examination for another individual; allowing another individual to take one's examination; stealing examinations. Cheating also includes unauthorized collaboration. All graded academic exercises are expected to be performed on an individual basis unless otherwise stated by the instructor. An academic exercise may not be submitted by a student for course credit in more than one course without the permission of all instructors.

Fabrication: Intentional and/or unauthorized falsification or invention of any information or citation during an academic exercise. This includes but is not limited to changing or adding an answer on an examination and resubmitting it to change the grade; inventing data for a laboratory exercise or report.

Facilitating Academic Misconduct: Knowingly or recklessly allowing or helping another individual to plagiarize, cheat, or fabricate information.


Graduate students receiving grades below a B in any course must meet with the MSE Graduate Program Coordinator within the first two weeks of the following semester. The Graduate School and the MSE allows up to six credits of BC/C to count toward a degree. However, the core courses in each degree program must have an earned grade of B or better to achieve graduation status. Students receiving a ‘Q’ (inadequate progress) for a research course at the 5000 or 6000 level will receive, and should request to receive, written feedback from the research advisor. This written feedback should detail the reasons for unsatisfactory research progress and detail constructive actions to improve research performance.

Grievance Procedure

Grievances include complaints about the behavior of other students and/or staff and/or faculty. Students who have grievances with other students should immediately discuss this problem with their advisor and graduate program director. Grievances with specific faculty members should be discussed with the graduate program director and/or the departmental chair. If there is failure to resolve the issue at the departmental level, then the student should consider bringing the issue before the dean of graduate school or the Ombudsperson in the campus.


Students are expected to follow all departmental safety procedures and attend and partake in all safety training activities. Safety violations and any injury are to be immediately reported to the safety coordinator. There are a number of safety policies and procedures in effect at Michigan Tech that particularly apply to graduate students such as those concerning general safety and hazardous waste. Annual online safety training is mandatory for ALL employees and will be communicated to you via email when assigned. Additional safety policies and training required to use the machine shop, any research or teaching laboratories, or chemicals will be communicated and assigned by respective physics personnel. Please consult your research advisor regarding all applicable safety policies and procedures before beginning work. Questions can also be directed to the safety coordinator. For safety purposes, visitors are not permitted in research and instructional labs unless written permission has been granted by the department chair; this includes spouses and children. There have been incidents in other departments where unauthorized visitors, including children, have had accidents causing themselves harm. This rule is designed to prevent this type of tragedy. For your reference, the Michigan Tech safety manual is available on line.

Absence Policy

Students receiving financial aid through the University (teaching assistantship, research
assistantship, fellowship) are entitled to staff holidays. Please note that the breaks between
academic terms and the break at Christmas are not automatically considered as holidays or time off. In general, graduate students may take up to two weeks of personal time each year. This must be discussed with the advisor and course instructors, and email documentation of this discussion must be saved by the graduate student for one year.

Accommodation Policies for Americans with Disabilities

Michigan Tech complies with all federal and state laws and regulations regarding discrimination, including the Americans with Disability Act of 1990 (ADA). If any student has a disability and needs a reasonable accommodation for equal access to education or services at Michigan Tech, please call the Dean of Students Office, Coordinator for Student Disability Services (906-487-1494). For other concerns about discrimination, contact one’s advisor, department head, or the Affirmative Action Office (906-487-3310).