Materials Science and Engineering, PhD

Materials science is a highly versatile discipline that enables innovations across a wide variety of technologies from cell phones to solar energy to bioimplants to airplanes. Applying insights from the basic sciences, this discipline designs new materials and fabrication methods to continually expand the scope and combination of mechanical, electrical, optical and transport properties available in materials. The newer fields of nanotechnology, biomaterials and quantum materials are providing materials scientists with an entirely new palette of molecular, organic, biological and inorganic building blocks to engineer materials with unique functionalities. The research and academic programs in the MSE Department and the broader MSE Graduate Group at Penn reflect these exciting new developments and our goal is to provide students enrolling in our program with a broad and multidisciplinary training so that they can be part of this materials revolution and contribute to solving the 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

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2020 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.


Sample Plan of Study

First Year
Fall
Thermodynamics and Phase Equilibria
Three approved courses 1
Spring
Structure of Materials
Phase Transformations
One approved course 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