Materials Science and Engineering

Major: Materials Science and Engineering
Degree Awarded: Master of Science (MS) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Total Credit Hours: 45.0 (MS); 90.0 (PhD)
Co-op Option: None
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 14.1801
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code: 17-2131

About the Program

The graduate program in Materials Science and Engineering aims to provide an education which encompasses both the breadth and depth of the most recent knowledge base in the materials science and engineering fields in a format suitable for individuals seeking careers in academia and/or industry.

In addition, the program provides students with research training through their courses and thesis research at the MS and PhD levels.

The graduate student body reflects a broad spectrum of undergraduate backgrounds. Because of the expansion into interdisciplinary areas, qualified physical and biological science graduates may also join the program. Non-engineering graduates are required to take MATE 503 Introduction to Materials Engineering.

Graduate work in materials science and engineering is offered both on a regular full-time and on a part-time basis. The General (Aptitude) Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required for applicants pursuing full-time study.

Career Opportunities

Graduates go on to careers in engineering firms, consulting firms, law firms, private industry, business, research laboratories, academia, and national laboratories. Materials scientists and materials engineers find employment in such organizations as Hewlett-Packard, Intel, IBM, 3M, DuPont, Lockheed-Martin, Johnson and Johnson, Merck, AstraZeneca, Arkema, Army Research Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Air Products, Micron, Xerox, Motorola, Monsanto, Corning, and Eastman Kodak.

For more information about Materials Science and Engineering, visit the Department of Materials Science and Engineering web page.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must meet the graduate requirements for admission to Drexel University. The graduate student body reflects a broad spectrum of undergraduate backgrounds. Because of the expansion into interdisciplinary areas, qualified non-MSE engineering, physical and biological science graduates may also join the program.

For specific information on how to apply to this program, visit Drexel University's Materials Science and Engineering Graduate Admissions page.

Degree Requirements (MS)

The 45.0 quarter credits required for the MS degree include two required core courses on MATE 510 Thermodynamics of Solids and MATE 512 Introduction to Solid State Materials. Students choose four additional core courses.

Thesis Options

All full-time students are required to undertake a 9.0 credit thesis on a topic of materials research supervised by a faculty member. MS students can select the Non-thesis Option if carrying out research is not possible, in which case, the thesis may be replaced by either (a) a 6.0 credit Thesis Proposal and 3.0 credit coursework, or (b) 9.0 credits of coursework.

All students in the Thesis Option are required to propose an advisor supported research thesis topic during their first year. Students are urged to make a choice of topic as early as possible and to choose appropriate graduate courses in consultation with their advisor.

The program is organized so that part-time students may complete the degree requirements in two to four years. Full-time students may complete the program in two years.

MS to PhD Program

There is no general exam required for MS students. If an MS student wishes to continue for a PhD then: (a) the student must be admitted to the PhD program (there is no guarantee that an MS student will be admitted to the PhD program), and (b) the student must take the Candidacy Exam during the first term after being admitted to the PhD program.

Materials Science and Engineering (MSMSE) Core Courses *
Required core courses:
MATE 510Thermodynamics of Solids3.0
MATE 512Introduction to Solid State Materials3.0
Select four additional core courses from the following: 12.0
Structure and Properties of Polymers
Experimental Technique in Materials
Numerical Engineering Methods
Mechanical Behavior of Solids
Biomedical Materials I
Any additional related courses if approved by the graduate advisor/thesis advisor (such as MATE 514 and MATE 573)
Optional Core Courses **18.0
Thesis and Alternatives9.0
9.0 credits MS thesis OR 6.0 credits of thesis proposal (literature review) + 3.0 credit course OR 9.0 credits of electives
Total Credits45.0


Degree Requirements (PhD)


A student must have at least the required 90.0 quarter credits for the PhD degree. An MS degree is not a prerequisite for the PhD degree, but can count for 45.0 quarter credits if the courses are approved by the Graduate Advisor. For students without an MS degree, but with previous graduate course work, they may transfer no more than 15.0 credits (equivalent to 12 semester-credits) from approved institutions, provided they follow the rules and regulations described in the Materials Requirements of Graduate Degrees

 The required 90.0 credits for a PhD degree are tabulated below:

  • Required Core Courses: 6.0 credits
  • Additional Required Courses: 7.0 credits (MATE 504MATE 536 [1.0 credit for first 6 terms])
  • Selected Core Courses: 12.0 credits
  • Optional Courses: 9.0 credits
  • Research or additional option courses: 47.0 credits
  • Dissertation: 9.0 credits (MATE 998)
    Total: 90.0 credits
Required Core Courses: *
MATE 510Thermodynamics of Solids3.0
MATE 512Introduction to Solid State Materials3.0
Additional Required Courses:
MATE 504The Art of Being a Scientist2.0
MATE 536Materials Seminar Series6.0
MATE 998Ph.D. Dissertation9.0
Selected Core Courses: Choose 4 *12.0
Structure and Properties of Polymers
Structure, Symmetry, and Properties of Materials
Experimental Technique in Materials
Numerical Engineering Methods
Mechanical Behavior of Solids
Biomedical Materials I
Related courses as approved by the Graduate Advisor/Thesis Advisor
Optional Courses:55.0
Introduction to Transmission Electron Microscopy and Related Techniques
Nuclear Fuel Cycle & Materials
Thermal Spray Technology
Nanostructured Polymeric Materials
Materials for High Temperature and Energy
Electronic, Magnetic and Optical Characterization of Energy Materials
Recycling of Materials
Special Topics in MATE
Materials for Energy Storage
Environmental Effects on Materials
Nanostructured Carbon Materials
Soft Materials
Natural Polymers
Other MSE courses that may be available
Out-of-department courses, as approved by the Graduate Advisor/Thesis Advisor
Total Credits90.0

An introductory course, MATE 503, is required for students without an undergraduate materials science and engineering degree.

Additional courses are encouraged for students entering the department with an MS degree. Students entering the department at the BS level must satisfy the course requirements for the MS degree. Students choose a doctoral thesis topic after consultation with the faculty.  Students are required to consider topics early in the program. An oral thesis presentation and defense are scheduled at the completion of the thesis work.

In addition to the graduate seminar, which is required of all graduate students, doctoral program students must pass an oral candidacy examination and a thesis proposal defense. The exam is designed to improve and assess the communication skills and the analytical abilities of the student. The following procedures should be followed to complete the PhD.

Candidacy Exam Requirement

All MSE PhD students are required to take the PhD Candidacy Examinations administered by the MSE Department.

For more information, visit the Department of Materials Science and Engineering web page.


Biomaterials and Biosurfaces Laboratory
This laboratory contains 10 kN biaxial and 5 kN uniaxial servo-hydraulic mechanical testing machines, a Fluoroscan X-ray system, a microscopic imaging system, a spectra fluorometer, a table autoclave, centrifuge, vacuum oven, CO2 incubators, biological safety cabinet, thermostatic water baths, precision balance and ultrasonic sterilizer.

Nanobiomaterials and Cell Engineering Laboratory
This laboratory contains fume hood with vacuum/gas dual manifold, vacuum pump and rotary evaporator for general organic/polymer synthesis; gel electrophoresis and electroblotting for protein characterization; bath sonicator, glass homogenizer and mini-extruder for nanoparticle preparation; centrifuge; ultrapure water conditioning system; precision balance; pH meter and shaker.

Ceramics Processing Laboratory
This laboratory contains a photo-resist spinner, impedance analyzer, Zeta potential meter, spectrofluorometer, piezoelectric d33 meter, wire-bonder, and laser displacement meter.

Dynamic Characterization Laboratory

This laboratory contains metallographic sample preparation (sectioning, mounting and polishing) facilities; inverted metallograph; microhardness tester; automated electropolishing for bulk and TEM sample preparation; SEM tensile stage for EBSD; magneto-optical Kerr effect (MOKE) magnetometer.

MAX Phase Ceramics Processing Laboratory
This laboratory contains a vacuum hot-press; cold isostatic press (CIP) and hot isostatic press (HIP) for materials consolidation and synthesis; precision dilatometer; laser scattering particle size analyzer; impedance analyzer, creep testers, and assorted high temperature furnaces.

Mechanical Testing Laboratory
This laboratory contains mechanical and closed-loop servo-hydraulic testing machines, hardness testers, impact testers, equipment for fatigue testing, metallographic preparation facilities and a rolling mill with twin 6" diameter rolls.

Mesoscale Materials Laboratory
This laboratory contains instrumentation for growth, characterization, device fabrication, and design and simulation of electronic, dielectric, ferroelectric and photonic materials.  Resources include physical and chemical vapor deposition and thermal and plasma processing of thin films, including oxides and metals, and semiconductor nanowire growth.  Facilities include pulsed laser deposition, atomic layer deposition, chemical vapor deposition, sublimation growth, and resistive thermal evaporation.  Variable-temperature high-vacuum probe station and optical cryostats including high magnetic field, fixed and tunable-wavelength laser sources, several monochromators for luminescence and Raman scattering spectroscopies, scanning electron microscopy with electron beam lithography, and a scanning probe microscope.

Nanomaterials Laboratory
This laboratory contains instrumentation for testing and manipulation of materials under microscope, high-temperature autoclaves, Sievert’s apparatus; glove-box; high-temperature vacuum and other furnaces for the synthesis of nano-carbon coatings and nanotubes; electro-spinning system for producing nano-fibers.

Oxide Films and Interfaces Laboratory
This laboratory contains an oxide molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) thin film deposition system; physical properties measurement system for electronic transport and magnetometry measurements from 2 – 400K, up to 9 T fields; 2 tube furnaces.

 Powder Processing Laboratory
This laboratory contains vee blenders, ball-mills, sieve shaker + sieves for powder classification, several furnaces (including one with controlled atmosphere capability); and a 60-ton Baldwin press for powder compaction.

Soft Matter Research and Polymer Processing Laboratories
These laboratories contain computerized thermal analysis facilities including differential scanning calorimeters (DSC), dynamic mechanical analyzer (DMA) and thermo-gravimetric analyzer (TGA); single-fiber tensile tester; strip biaxial tensile tester; vacuum evaporator; spincoater; centrifuge; optical microscope with hot stage; liquid crystal tester; microbalance; ultrasonic cleaner; laser holographic fabrication system; polymer injection molder and single screw extruder.

Natural Polymers and Photonics Laboratory
This laboratory contains a spectroscopic ellipsometer for film characterization; high purity liquid chromatography (HPLC) system; lyophilizer; centrifuge; refractometer; electro-spinning system for producing nano-fibers.

X-ray Tomography Laboratory
This laboratory contains a high resolution X-ray tomography instrument and a cluster of computers for 3D microstructure reconstruction; mechanical stage, a positioning stage and a cryostage for in-situ testing. For more information on departmental facilities, please visit the Department’s Facilities web page.

Centralized Research Facilities
The Department of Materials Science & Engineering relies on Core Facilities within the University for materials characterization and micro- and nano-fabrication. These facilities contain state-of-the-art materials characterization instruments, including environmental and variable pressure field-emission scanning electron microscopes with Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) for elemental analysis, and Orientation Image Microscopy (OIM) for texture analysis; a Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) with STEM capability and TEM sample preparation equipment; a dual beam focused ion beam (FIB) system for nano-characterization and nano fabrication; a femtosecond/ terahertz laser Raman spectrometer; visible and ultraviolet Raman micro spectrometers with a total of 7 excitation wavelengths for non-destructive chemical and structural analysis and Surface Enhanced Raman (SERS); a Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectrometer with a microscope and full array of accessories; a Nanoindenter; an X-ray Photoelectron Spectrometer (XPS)/Electron Spectroscopy for Chemical Analysis (ESCA) system; and X-Ray Diffractometers (XRD), including small angle/wide angle X-Ray scattering (SAX/WAX).

More details of these instruments, information how to access them and instrument usage rates can be found on the Core Facilities web page.

Materials Science and Engineering Faculty

Michel Barsoum, PhD (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Distinguished Professor. Processing and characterization of novel ceramics and ternary compounds, especially the MAX and 2-D MXene phases.
Hao Cheng, PhD (Northwestern University). Assistant Professor. Drug delivery, molecular self-assembly, cell-nanomaterial interactions, regenerative medicine and cell membrane engineering.
Yury Gogotsi, PhD (Kiev Polytechnic Institute) Director, A. J. Drexel Nanotechnology Institute. Distinguished University & Charles T. and Ruth M. Bach Professor. Nanomaterials; carbon nanotubes; nanodiamond; graphene; MXene; materials for energy storage, supercapacitors, and batteries.
Maher Harb, PhD (University of Toronto). Assistant Professor. Solid state physics, ultrafast electron diffraction, time-resolved X-ray diffraction, ultrafast lasers, nanofabrication, nano/microfluidics, instrument development, vacuum technologies.
Richard Knight, PhD (Loughborough University) Associate Department Head and Undergraduate Advisor. Teaching Professor. Thermal plasma technology; thermal spray coatings and education; plasma chemistry and synthesis.
Christopher Y. Li, PhD (University of Akron). Professor. Soft and hybrid materials for optical, energy, and bio applications; polymeric materials, nanocomposites, structure and properties.
Andrew Magenau, PhD (University of Southern Mississippi). Assistant Professor. Structurally complex materials exhibiting unique physical properties designed and fabricated using an assortment of methodologies involving directed self-assembly, externally applied stimuli, structure-function correlation, and applied engineering principles suited for technologies in regenerative medicine, biological interfacing, catalytic, electronic, and optical applications
Steven May, PhD (Northwestern University). Associate Professor and Graduate Advisor. Synthesis of complex oxide films, superlattices, and devices; materials for energy conversion and storage; magnetic and electronic materials; x-ray and neutron scattering.
Ekaterina Pomerantseva, PhD (Moscow State University, Russia). Anne Stevens Assistant Professor. Solid state chemistry; electrochemical characterization, lithium-ion batteries, energy generation and storage; development and characterization of novel nanostructured materials, systems and architectures for batteries, supercapacitors and fuel cells.
Caroline L. Schauer, PhD (SUNY Stony Brook). Associate Professor. Polysaccharide thin films and nanofibers.
Wei-Heng Shih, PhD (Ohio State University). Professor. Colloidal ceramics and sol-gel processing; piezoelectric biosensors, optoelectronics, and energy harvesting devices; nanocrystalline quantum dots for bioimaging, lighting, and solar cells.
Mitra Taheri, PhD (Carnegie Mellon University) Hoeganeas Associate Professor of Metallurgy. Associate Professor. Development of the ultrafast Dynamic Transmission Electron Microscope (DTEM) for the study of laser-induced microstructural evolution/phase transformations in nanostructured materials; use of various <em>in-situ </em>Transmission Electron Microscopy techniques.
Christopher Weyant, PhD (Northwestern University). Associate Teaching Professor.
Antonios Zavaliangos, PhD (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) A.W. Grosvenor Professor. Professor. Constitutive modeling; powder compaction and sintering; pharmaceutical tableting, X-ray tomography.

Emeritus Faculty

Roger D. Corneliussen, PhD (University of Chicago). Professor Emeritus. Fracture, blends and alloys, as well as polymer compounding.
Roger D. Doherty, PhD (Oxford University). Professor Emeritus. Metallurgical processing; thermo-mechanical treatment.
Ihab L. Kamel, PhD (University of Maryland). Professor Emeritus. Nanotechnology, polymers, composites, biomedical applications, and materials-induced changes through plasma and high energy radiation.
Jack Keverian, PhD (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Professor Emeritus. Rapid parts manufacturing, computer integrated manufacturing systems, strip production systems, technical and/or economic modeling, melting and casting systems, recycling systems.
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