Material Science Program

Requirements For The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) Degree

A. Plan of Work 

Before completion of one year of full-time residence, the student must have selected a research advisor who agrees to serve in that capacity. The student will then prepare a plan of further coursework. This must receive the approval of the student’s advisor and of the Graduate Program Committee.

B. Coursework

  • An average grade of B or higher is required for all courses. 
  • A minimum of 24 graduate course credits is required to graduate (excluding ESM 599, 697, 698, and 699). 
  • The 24 course credits must include the following three core courses: ESM 511 Thermodynamics of Solids; ESM 513 Strength of Materials; and ESM 521 Diffusion in Solids. If the student does not receive a minimum of a B in a core course, he or she may repeat that course one other time. 
  • All students must complete ESM 501 Teaching and Mentoring Techniques. 
  • The student must pass at least three credits of ESM 698 Practicum in Teaching and six credits of ESM 699 Dissertation Research on Campus. 
  • Only six credits of ESM 696 Special Problems in Materials Science are allowed. 
  • All courses taken outside the Department require permission from the Graduate Program Director.
  • All PhD students must register for ESM 800 during the summer for 0 credits.
  • All PhD students must act as teaching assistants for five semesters (regardless of support), and they must register for ESM 698 Practicum in Teaching -0 credits and 3 credits


C. Preliminary Examination
The preliminary examination must be taken before the beginning of the student’s fifth semester. Your course work should be completed totaling of 24 credits. This is an oral examination designed to test the student’s ability to utilize his or her materials science background to carry out research in a chosen field of study, and to make clear written and oral presentations of research. At least ten days prior to the examination, the candidate should submit a research proposal (10-15 pages) to the examiners that places the research in context and outlines a scenario for its completion. 

The examination committee will consist of three Department of Materials Science and Engineering faculty members. If a second examination is required, it must be completed by the tenth week of the fifth semester.  


D. Advancement to Candidacy
After the student has successfully completed all requirements for the degree, other than the dissertation, he or she is eligible to be recommended for advancement to candidacy. This status is conferred by the Dean of the Graduate School upon recommendation of the Chairperson and the Graduate Program Director.

Completion of Advancement to Doctoral Candidacy form is required:

Advancement to Doctoral Candidacy 


E. Dissertation
The most important requirement of the Ph.D. degree is the completion of a dissertation, which must be an original scholarly investigation. The dissertation shall represent a significant contribution to the scientific literature, and its quality shall be compatible with the publication standards of appropriate and reputable scholarly journals. At least two semesters should elapse between the preliminary exam and submission of the dissertation.

Guidelines for Dissertation


F. Defense
The candidate shall defend the dissertation before an examining committee consisting of four members, including the research advisor, two members of the Materials Science and Engineering Department, and one member from outside the Department. The following forms must be submitted to your

Request for Defense Committee Appointment

Doctoral Defense Announcement Form

Original Signature Page-PhD

*Thesis must be uploaded to ProQuest, information regarding guidelines are located on Graduate School Website or by clicking on the link above Guidelines for Dissertation.



G. Time Limit
All requirements for the Ph.D. degree must be completed within seven years after completing 24 credit hours of graduate courses in the program.

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