Feb 27, 2024  
Graduate Record 2023-2024 
Graduate Record 2023-2024

Materials Science, Ph.D.

Materials Science and Engineering

Return to: School of Graduate Engineering and Applied Science: Degree Programs    

PHD Degree

The Ph.D. degree program in MSE aims to develop a strong foundation in materials science through classroom and laboratory experience, and to produce tangible intellectual achievement(s) from independent research at the frontier in the field of engineering or applied science of materials. Degree requirements include satisfactory completion of at least 32 course credits beyond the bachelors level beginning with a required four-course, 12-credit core curriculum.

The course requirements are as follows:

  • 4 MSE Core Courses - 12 credits
  • 4 MSE Elective Courses - 12 credits
  • 2 Elective Courses from MSE, SEAS or UVA Sci/Math - 6 credits
  • Graduate Seminar - 2 credits
  • TOTAL: 32 credits

Additional Information:

  • The Ph.D. student will work closely with their advisor to develop a program of study that both meets the departmental requirements and supports the academic needs of the student and their research goals. This may be done in consultation with the MSE Graduate Director.
  • Up to six elective credits may be earned in faculty-supervised independent study.  The electives must be at the 6xxx or 7xxx level, be approved by the graduate student’s advisor, and selected from SEAS-course offerings or other UVA Science/Mathematics courses. No more than six elective credits may be earned in faculty-supervised independent study courses.
  • A maximum of 24 credits may be applied to the Ph.D. course requirements from an M.S. program in another department, school or university, subject to approval by the MSE Curriculum Committee, and to satisfy any course of the core requirement. The Ph.D. candidate’s advisory committee will tailor the program of courses to reflect the importance of both depth and breadth in MSE. Breadth may be cross-disciplinary.
  • The Ph.D. candidate must pass a qualifying exam consisting of both written and oral components and which includes both course-based and research-practice elements. These examinations are taken by the beginning of the third year of the Ph.D. program.
  • The Ph.D. candidate must write and defend publicly a proposed research plan that is the foundation for their dissertation. The Ph.D. dissertation proposal and the public defense of the Ph.D. dissertation must occur in different semesters. It is expected that all students will have defended their PhD dissertation proposal by the end of their third year of graduate school, preferably in the semester following completion of the qualifying examination.
  • The Ph.D. degree requires at least 24 credits of research, under the supervision of a faculty advisor, culminating in a written dissertation that is presented and defended in a public forum. Students are encouraged to enter the Ph.D. program directly, and may elect to receive the MMSE degree on the path to the Ph.D.
  • The appropriate forms needed to be completed and submitted to the registrar can be found here: Graduate Forms
  • For more information on MSE Degrees, please visit: MSE Graduate Programs