Materials Science

Degree: Master of Science in Engineering – Materials Science

Area Director:  Prof. Jenn-Ming Yang 

An understanding of the microstructure of solids is at the heart of materials science. “Microstructure” is used broadly in reference to solids viewed at the subatomic (electronic) and atomic levels, and the nature of the defects at these levels. The microstructures of solids at various levels, especially the defects, profoundly influence the mechanical, electronic, chemical, and biological properties of solids. The phenomenological and mechanistic relationships between the microstructure and the macroscopic properties of solids are, in essence, what materials science is all about. This is best represented by the “materials science triangle”: synthesis-microstructure-properties.

Materials engineering is concerned with the design, fabrication, and testing of engineering materials. Such materials must simultaneously fulfill dimensional properties, quality control, and economic requirements. Several manufacturing steps may be involved: (1) primary fabrication, such as solidification or vapor deposition of homogeneous or composite materials; (2) secondary fabrication, including shaping and microstructural control by operations such as mechanical working, machining, sintering, joining and heat treatment and (3) testing, which measures the degree of reliability of a processed part, destructively or non-destructively.

Course Requirements: At least nine courses are required (36 Units), of which at least Five must be graduate courses at the 200 level (excluding ENGR 299 Capstone Project course), and meet Comprehensive Exam Requirement.

At least 6 of the Courses must be from the MSE Department  (Please note new courses are added all the time as long as they are from the MSE Dept they are Eligible, they may not appear in List below:

MSE 122, MSE 143A, MSE 151, MSE 243A, MSE 200, MSE 223, MSE 224, MSE 252, MSE 271, MSE 298A, MSE 298, MSE 243C, MSE 250B

Comprehensive Exam Requirement

Students can meet the Comprehensive Exam Requirement in two ways: Choose (1 option below)

Option 1:

Take and Pass ENGR 299 Capstone Project course.

Option 2:

Take and pass three written exams for three different graduate level courses within the student’s area of specialization. The written exams are held concurrently with the final exam of the graduate level courses. Students may select which exams they would like to count towards the Comprehensive Exam requirement.


As long as you have met the requirements above the remaining courses may be selected from  other Engineering departments. No approval is necessary

Thesis Plan



Students are expected to complete the degree within two academic years and one quarter, including two summer sessions. The maximum time allowed in this program is three academic years (nine quarters), excluding summer sessions.