Degree Requirements

For the MS

For the master of science in materials science and engineering, the student is required to complete a minimum of 30 graduate credit hours.

Requirements include MTE 511 and MTE 512 and at least 4 of the following courses:  MTE 526, MTE 532, MTE 540, MTE 550, MTE 561.  For the remaining 18 credits, the student may choose between a thesis or coursework option.

Thesis Option

The student must complete a thesis with a minimum of 6 graduate credits.  Additional thesis credits may substitute for course electives.  The remaining graduate credits must consist of additional MTE or other 4000-, 500- or 600-level engineering, science, management or mathematics electives.  All courses must be approved by the student’s advisor and the Materials Graduate Committee.

Non Thesis Option

The student must complete a three credit capstone project or equivalent that demonstrates the ability to design, implement, and complete an independent professional project.  The remaining graduate credits must consist of additional MTE or other 4000-, 500- or 600-level engineering, science, management or mathematics electives.  All courses must be approved by the student’s advisor and the Materials Graduate Committee.

Satisfactory participation in the materials engineering seminar (MTE 580) is also required for all full-time students.  In addition to general college requirements, all courses taken for graduate credit must result in a GPA of 3.0 or higher.  Waver of any of these requirements must be approved by the Materials Science and Engineering Graduate Committee, which will exercise its discretion in handling any extenuating circumstances or problems.

Students must also complete a three-credit capstone project (or equivalent) that demonstrates the ability to design, implement, and complete an independent professional project. All courses must be approved by each student's advisor and the Materials Graduate Committee.

For the PhD

The number of course credits required for the PhD, above those for the MS, is not specified precisely. For planning purposes, the student should consider a total of 21-30 course credits. The remainder of the work will be in research and independent study. The total combination of research and coursework required will not be less than 60 credits beyond the MS or not less than 90 credits beyond the BS. Admission to candidacy will be granted only after the student has satisfactorily passed the Materials Engineering Doctoral Qualifying/ Comprehensive Examination (MEDQE). The purpose of this exam is to determine if the student's breadth and depth of understanding of the fundamental areas of materials engineering is adequate to conduct independent research and successfully complete a dissertation. The MEDQE consists of both written and oral components. The written exam must be successfully completed before the oral exam can be taken. The oral exam is usually given within two months of the completion of the written exam. The MEDQE is offered one time each year.

A member of the Materials Science & Engineering faculty will be appointed to be the chairperson of the MEDQE Committee. This person should not be the student's PhD thesis advisor; but that advisor may be a member of the MEDQE Committee. Others on the committee should be the writers of the four sections of the examinations and any other faculty selected by the chairperson. Faculty from other departments at WPI or other colleges/ universities, as well as experts from industry, may be asked to participate in this examination if the Materials Science & Engineering faculty deems that it is appropriate.

At least one year prior to completion of the PhD dissertation, the student must present a formal seminar to the public describing the proposed dissertation research project. This PhD research proposal will be presented after admission to candidacy.

All Materials Science & Engineering students in the PhD program must satisfactorily complete a minor in a program-related technical area. The minor normally consists of a minimum of three related courses and must be approved by the Graduate Study Committee and the program head.