Material Science and Engineering, PhD

While the field of materials science has evolved from materials formed from metals, ceramics, polymers and their various composites, in recent years there has been increasing focus on creating novel nanostructured materials, for instance by taking inspiration from nature. The new fields of nanotechnology and biomaterials are providing materials scientists with an entirely new palette of molecular, organic, biological and inorganic building blocks to design and assemble nano-engineered materials with unique functionalities. The research and academic programs in MSE at Penn Engineering reflect these exciting new developments and our goal is to provide students enrolling in our programs with a broad and multidisciplinary training so that they can be part of this materials revolution and contribute to solve some 21st century challenges.

View the University’s Academic Requirements for PhD Degrees.

Required Courses

Students are required to take at least 10 graduate level courses, including courses outside of their research area to gain a broader understanding of materials science and engineering. Doctoral students with a Master's degree may transfer up to eight credits as course units to the Ph.D. program upon the approval of the Graduate Group Chair. However, a maximum of five transferred courses count toward the 10 courses required for the Ph.D. program.

Core Courses
Structure of Materials
Thermodynamics and Phase Equilibria
Phase Transformations
Electives
Select three approved non-core courses 1
Select one Research Credit course
Select three additional Graduate Level courses 2
1

Non-core courses may be selected from offerings within MSE and other departments in SEAS, as well as the physical, biological, and mathematical sciences.

2

Courses must be at the 500 level or greater.


The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2018 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.

Sample Plan of Study

First Year
Fall
Structure of Materials
Thermodynamics and Phase Equilibria
Two approved courses 1
Spring
Phase Transformations
Two approved courses 1
Second Year
Fall
Two Graduate Level courses 2
Spring
Graduate Level course 2
Qualifying Exam 3
Third Year and Beyond
Thesis/Dissertation Research
Dissertation
1

Non-core courses may be selected from offerings within MSE and other departments in SEAS, as well as the physical, biological, and mathematical sciences.

2

Courses must be at the 500 level or greater.

3

The Qualifying Examination will be held at the end of May after the second semester.