In WPI’s PhD in Materials Science & Engineering program, you’ll conduct original research on the relationships between the structure, properties, processing, and performance of various materials. Whether you want to create a safer battery or a hip replacement joint that won’t degrade, you can do that here.

Choosing to study at WPI will give you access to our expert faculty and the extensive hands-on opportunities to understand the scientific principles behind materials like metals, polymers, ceramics, and composites and then test how the materials’ structures change and perform under varying conditions.

You may work within our industry-supported centers to focus on areas including metal castings, heat treating, and recycling, and have access to the research-focused Metals Processing Institute. Research here emphasizes designing and developing materials solutions to meet the needs of many industries—from biomedical to batteries.



The PhD program is adaptable and individualized so you can develop a plan that meets the degree requirements but that matches your interests and will advance your professional goals. In our program, you’ll produce original research under the guidance of faculty advisors. Your work will offer something new to the field and help solidify your emerging industry reputation as you complete a dissertation proposal, presentation, and defense.

Lighter Metals, Greener Vehicles



Whether you want to develop new materials, discover a novel way to use something already in existence, or find out how to best recycle the materials we use every day, the resources here will advance your research.


Materials science engineering naturally lends itself to a multidisciplinary approach. A curriculum that blends essential elements of science and engineering skills means graduates of the program are sought after by employers.


With broad knowledge and targeted research experience, materials science engineers find careers in academia, government, business, and industry.

Faculty Profiles

Faculty Profiles

Danielle Cote

Dr. Cote is an Assistant Professor in Materials Science & Engineering at WPI. She received her B.S. from the University of New Hampshire in Chemical Engineering and M.S. and Ph.D. in Materials Science & Engineering from WPI. She also worked as a research engineer at Saint-Gobain High Performance Materials in the Polymer Characterization research group.

Her current research involves:

- Computational thermodynamic and kinetic modeling

- Rapidly solidified materials, with a focus on Al powder alloys (feedstock for AM)


Jianyu Liang

Professor Liang’s research explores the physics of interfaces between the nanometer and micron scales. Her team responds to the challenging interdisciplinary nature of their research endeavor through successful collaboration with colleagues with expertise in metrology, physics, bioscience, medical science, chemistry, and fire protection engineering. Her educational effort includes novel approaches to project-based learning and global centers for science and engineering.


Adam Clayton Powell, IV

Adam C. Powell, IV is an Associate Professor in the Mechanical Engineering department who joined the WPI faculty in August 2018. His field is materials processing, and research focuses on validated mathematical modeling of metal process development for clean energy and energy efficiency. His research group is developing new projects whose goals are to reduce vehicle body weight, lower solar cell manufacturing cost with improved safety, reduce or eliminate environmental impact of aerospace emissions, and improve grid stability with up to 100% renewables.


Pratap Mahesh Rao

My research is aimed at the challenge of meeting the growing energy needs of society and replacing fossil fuels with clean energy sources. The first thrust of my research focuses on creating materials that will be the building blocks of economical, large-scale, clean energy technologies of the future. The key to creating effective energy conversion materials is controlling the flow of energy, electricity and matter at the nanoscale by careful design of the shape, size and composition of materials at the same scale.


Yan Wang

I am William Smith Foundation Dean's Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Here at WPI, my main responsibilities are teaching and research. I have taught Introduction to Materials Science, materials processing and materials for electrochemical energy system. I enjoy teaching and interacting with students because I like to impart my knowledge/experience to the students. At the same time, I can also absorb different knowledge and culture from the students.


After Graduation