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Materials Science and Engineering (PHD)  
Program Description

The graduate programs in the department are designed to provide advanced study in the fields of materials properties, materials structures, and materials processing. Emphasis is placed on metals, alloys, electronic and optical materials, ceramics, composites and biomaterials. Courses and research are provided in extraction, thermodynamics, kinetics, transport, microstructural characterization, physical properties, processing, and application.

Department/Academic Unit(s)

Materials Science & Engineering -

The science and engineering of materials hold the key to advances in many critical areas of high technology - from integrated circuits and chip carriers to turbine engines and optical waveguides. As a result, the field of Materials Science and Engineering abounds with scientific challenges critical to a broad variety of applications. Exciting times are ahead and MSE is poised to initiate new thrusts in optical materials, biomaterials, tissue engineering, nanotechnology and computational modeling of materials.

The Materials Science and Engineering Department at the University of Arizona has attracted a wide group of world class individuals to its faculty and has developed a pioneering and wide-ranging curriculum at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.  Funding from the state, federal government and industry has provided modern facilities and supported research of ever expanding scope and magnitude.  We conduct research at both the campus setting and at our off-campus research facility, the Arizona Materials Laboratory (AML).

The department has exciting research programs in areas as diverse as high-tech ceramics, non-linear optical materials, sol-gel and biomimetic processing, and polymers in electronic packaging. It has a long tradition of excellence in extractive and physical metallurgy; the movement toward high-tech materials has not been made at the expense of this excellence, but rather as a complement to it.

College of Engineering  
Campus where offered
Main Campus - Tucson  
Admissions Contact
Elsa I Morales
Graduate Program Coordinator
Elsa I Morales
Director of Graduate Studies
Pierre A Deymier
Graduate College Degree Counselor
Christina M Inocencio
Tuition and Fees
Please refer to the UA Bursar's Office Tuition and Fees Calculator for up-to-date information about tuition and fees. 
Please refer to the UA Registrar's's Office Special Course Fees for up-to-date information about special course fees. 

Admissions Information

Admissions Requirements

Minimum GPA  3.0
Official transcripts
3 letters of recommendation
Statement of purpose

International applicants must also provide:
Minimum TOEFL (interned-based):  79
Minimum TOEFL (paper-based):  550
Minimum IELTS (overall band score):  7
GRE scores

Standardized Tests

Required test(s): GRE (international students)
Required GRE Subject tests:
Recommended tests:
Recommended GRE Subject tests:
Minimum GRE Verbal:
Minimum GRE Quantitative:
Minumum GRE Written:
Minimum GMAT:
Minimum MAT:
Minimum TOEFL: 79 (internet-based); 550 (paper-based)
Minimum IELTS: 7

Financial Aid

Research assistantships (please contact research professors directly for RA positions)
Tuition and registration scholarships available for qualified students

Admissions Deadlines

Domestic Applicants:

  • Fall: January 15
  • Spring: June 1

International Applicants:

  • Fall: January 15
  • Spring: June 1
International Conditional Admission
International applicants will not be considered for conditional admission by this program.
Other Information
The GRE Institution Code for The University of Arizona is 4832
ETS Major Field Code(s) for this program: 1400, 1401, 1402, 1403, 1404, 1499
NRC Taxon(a) for this program: Materials Science and Engineering

Completion Requirements

Degree Requirements

General Requirements. The Ph.D. program in The Department of Materials Science and Engineering includes the following required elements:

1. Satisfactory completion of the MSE qualifying examination.

2.  The selection of a faculty Advisory/Dissertation Committee.  This Committee will be composed of a minimum of three members. The Research Advisor and two additional members must be tenured, or tenure-track with appointments within the MSE Department.  Additional members may be tenured or tenure-track with appointment outside the department.  Typically external members are involved with the student’s research topic and may represent perspectives and expertise unique to the interdisciplinary nature of the research effort.  The Student and Research Advisor will work together to identify appropriate Dissertation Committee members.

3.  The completion of at least 63 units of graduate work beyond the B.S. degree. To meet the minimum Graduate College residence requirement, the student must complete a minimum of 30 units of “in-residence” graduate credit at the University of Arizona, (18 units of dissertation plus 12 units of regular graded coursework taken at the University of Arizona). "In residence" units are those offered by the University of Arizona, either via conventional, on-campus classroom courses or through online course offerings.   In addition to satisfying the “in-residence” requirement, the 63 graduate units must include:


  • 36 units of work in the major subject (MSE).  These units must include: 

a.  18 units of  regularly scheduled  classes.  This coursework shall include - MSE 510 - Thermodynamics, MSE  572 - Kinetics,  and at least 9  units of 500 level courses in the Department.   

b.  18 units of  non-graded work (including research, independent study or regularly scheduled graduate-level courses). 

c.  Of these 18 non-graded units, the student must enroll in Colloquium, MSE 595a, during each Fall and Spring semester throughout their doctoral program of study.  Only 2 units of seminar (MSE 595a) will count towards the non-graded unit requirement, however.  In addition, each student at the Ph.D. level is required to make one colloquium presentation during the pursuit of this degree.    (Students who are unable to register for seminar in a given semester (s) may request enrollment exemptions by formally petitioning the MSE Graduate Studies Committee.)  


  • 18 units of dissertation
  • 9 units in a minor


4.  The satisfactory completion of all requirements associated with the minor program chosen by the student.

5.  The satisfactory completion of the MSE Comprehensive Examination

6.  The preparation of a dissertation detailing the research work performed that is accepted by both the student’s Research Advisor as well as the faculty Dissertation Committee.

7.  The satisfactory completion of final defense of the dissertation before the faculty Dissertation Committee.

Minor Requirements


Ph.D. students majoring in the MSE Department must choose a minor in the MSE Department or preferably in a different department within the University. The selection of the minor area will be done with the approval of the student's Dissertation Advisor in consideration of the student's goals. If taken within the Department, the minor shall consist of a minimum of 9 units of graduate credit courses listed in the Department. A minimum GPA of 3.5 (two A’s and one B) is required within the 9 units to fulfill MSE minor requirements. 

Ph.D. candidates in other departments at the University of Arizona who wish to take a minor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering will be required to take a minimum of 9 units of graduate credit courses listed in the MSE Department

Student Handbook  

Program StatisticsInformation about these numbers

Program-level Information
Application Acceptance Rate 37%
Med. Time-to-degree (years) 4.50
Department-level Information
Enrollment Percent Male 63%
Enrollment Percent Female 38%
Enrollment Percent International 22%
Enrollment Percent URM 13%

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Last revised 30 Jun 2014