OSU Logo

Materials Science at Oregon State University

Degree Requirements

The Materials Science program is designed to allow substantial flexibility for students with broad backgrounds and interests.

For both M.S. and Ph.D. students, the curriculum consists of six core courses and specialized coursework tailored towards your research thrust.

Typical Program of Study

M.S. Ph. D.
MATS 5704 cr.4 cr.
Materials core coursework12 cr.16 cr.
Focus area (including Processing course)9 cr.12 cr.
Free electives8 cr.13 cr.
Thesis12 cr.63 cr.
45 cr.108 cr.

Core Coursework

To fulfill the core requirements of the Materials Science Program, students must complete 4 credits of ME 570 (Structure-Property Relationships in Materials) as well as one class from each of three (for a M.S.) or four (for a Ph.D.) different categories listed below:

  1. Thermodynamics of Materials
    MATS 581: Thermodynamics of Solids (4 credits)
  2. Kinetics/Rate Processes of Materials
    MATS 582: Rate Processes in Materials (4 credits)
  3. Mechanical Behavior of Materials
    MATS 584: Fracture of Materials (4 credits) or MATS 587: Dislocations and the Mechanical Behavior of Materials (4 credits) or WSE 530: Polymer Composites (3 credits) or ME 583: Composite Materials(3 credits)
  4. Electronic/Magnetic Behavior of Materials
    PH 575: Introduction to Solid State Physics (3 credits) or MATS 571: Electronic Properties of Materials (4 credits)
  5. Characterization of Materials
    MATS 555: Experimental Techniques in Materials Science (4 credits) or OC 528: Microprobe Analysis (3 credits)
  6. Computational Materials Science
    MATS 588: Computational Methods in Materials Science (4 credits)

Top of Page

Focus Area

Students are required to take one Materials Processing course (3-4 credits) chosen from the classes offered by their focus area. Additional focus area classes are selected by the student under guidance from their adviser and the graduate committee.

Top of Page

Free Electives

Elective Courses (approved by Program Director) will be selected by the student under guidance from the adviser and graduate committee. These courses can be used by the student to receive further training in fundamentals, generally, in the Area of Concentration and to explore new areas. The list of classes is available at this link.

Top of Page

Graduate Thesis Committees

For the MS degree the thesis committee consists of at least four members of the graduate faculty—two from Materials Science, one in the minor field if a minor is included, and a Graduate Council representative. When a minor is not included, the fourth member may be from the graduate faculty at large.

For the PhD degree the thesis committee consists of a minimum of five members of the graduate faculty, including two from Materials Science and a representative of the Graduate Council. If a minor is declared the committee must include a member from the minor department. At least one member of the committee must be on the graduate faculty of Materials Science from a different department/school than the major professor.

Top of Page

Ph. D. Candidacy

Prior to taking the Preliminary Exam, Ph. D. students must receive a grade of B or higher in all required Materials Science core courses.

The format of the Preliminary Examination must include a written and an oral portion, however the exact nature of the exam will be determined by the major professor and thesis comittee at the student's program meeting. Typically the written portion would be a "research proposal" in a format and on a topic approved by the thesis committee. The written component must be submitted to the thesis committee at least one week prior to the oral examination. The oral exam must be scheduled through the graduate school using forms found at this link.

Top of Page

Non-thesis MS

A non-thesis or project-based MS degree is an option in cases where project sponsors restrict publication of data or when a student is working towards a PhD and would like to obtain an MS in addition. The project-based MS must conform to all Graduate School requirements. Please contact the Materials Science program director for further details regarding this option.

Top of Page

Graduate Minor

A graduate minor degree in Materials Science is available to students that complete ME 570 plus additional core coursework totaling 15 credits (M.S. minor) or 18 credits (Ph.D. minor). A member of the Materials Science Graduate Faculty (not from the student's home department) must serve as the Minor Professor on the committee.

A graduate minor is an academic area that clearly supports the major. On a master's or doctoral program, a minor may be:
1. an academic area available only as a minor,
2. a different major,
3. the same major with a different area of concentration,
4. an approved major at another institution in the Oregon University System, or
5. an integrated minor.

An integrated minor consists of a series of cognate courses from two or more areas. These courses must be outside the major area of concentration, with most of the courses being outside the major department. The graduate faculty member representing the integrated minor must be from outside the major department. Graduate minors are listed on the student's transcript.

An individual course cannot be double-counted as satisfying both a major requirement and a minor requirement.

Top of Page

Dual Majors

For the MA, MS, EdM, MF, or PhD degree, a student may select two graduate major areas to pursue instead of the traditional single major. Only one degree is awarded, and the student basically must satisfy all degree requirements for majors in both areas. For more details, contact the Graduate School.

Top of Page