MSE Master's Courses and Schedule

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Required courses Sample schedule Faculty adviser Final project Internship option Elective courses

Required courses

Of the 36 required course credits outlined below, all must be at the 400-level.

Note that students lacking in undergraduate coursework or previous work or research experience, may be required to take prerequisite courses.

22 credits from graded courses and seminars

A minimum of 2.7 is required in each course that is counted toward a graduate degree. A minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 is required for graduation. Courses that are CR/NC at the 400-500 level will count toward overall graduate credits, but will not apply to the 18 graded credits minimum. You have the option to change elective courses to S/NS but only for courses that are in addition to your required core and elective courses. See Graduate School Memo 19 for more information.

Credits Type of course Courses
2 Graduate tutorial MSE 570 - Graduate Tutorial in Materials Science and Engineering
2 Graduate tutorial MSE 571 - Graduate Tutorial in Materials Science and Engineering
6 MSE core courses Two of the following:
  • MSE 510 - Bonding, Crystallography, and Symmetry-Related Properties of Materials (3 credits)
  • MSE 525 - Kinetics and Phase Transformations (3 credits)
  • MSE 541 - Defects in Materials (3 credits)
  • MSE 599 G - Thermodynamics
9 Elective courses Selected from the following:
  • MSE 400-level courses
  • MSE 500-level courses
  • 500-level courses from other engineering departments
3 Weekly graduate student seminars MSE 520 - Graduate Student Seminars

Thesis/non-thesis requirements

Program Credit requirements
Non-thesis A minimum of 6 MSE 600 credits are required if you and your faculty adviser agreed you will pursue a non-thesis master's degree. This applies to the most of the masters students.
Thesis A minimum of 9 MSE 700 credits are required if you and your faculty adviser agreed you will complete a thesis upon graduation.

Remaining credits to complete 36 credits

The remaining credits to reach 36 total are flexible based on recommendations from your faculty adviser, additional courses you wish to take, or can all be completed as additional thesis or non-thesis credits.

Sample Schedule

This is just a sample schedule that will change with your selection of core and elective choices.

Course Course Title Credits
MSE 570 Graduate Tutorial in Materials Sci & Engr 2
MSE 520 Department Seminar 1
MSE 5xx Elective Course Requirements


MSE 600 Research 1
To Do: Select Faculty Adviser and Notify Graduate Program Adviser (GPA)
MSE 541 Defects in Materials 3
MSE 520

Department Seminar

MSE 571 Graduate Tutorial in Materials Sci & Engr 2
MSE 5xx

Elective Course Requirement

MSE 600 Research 4
MSE 525 Kinetics and Phase Transformations 3
MSE 520

Department Seminar

MSE 5xx Elective Course Requirement 3
MSE 600 Research 4
Summer or following Autumn
MSE 600

Project or internship


Selecting a faculty adviser

Each student should obtain their faculty adviser by the end of the first quarter. Students need to make appointments with faculty who meet their interests. The department requires students to complete an Adviser Selection Form as they meet with the various faculty, and this will get turned into the Graduate Program Adviser by the end of fall quarter.  

Final project

The project or internship will be supervised by a UW MSE faculty adviser. A project or internship plan must be approved by the faculty adviser prior to starting it. The student must submit a completed Final Project or Internship Plan Form to the Graduate Program Adviser by the start of the quarter that they intend to graduate. A written report and oral presentation final are required to graduate.

The student needs to work with the MSE faculty adviser to establish a master’s degree Supervisory Committee to conduct the final exam which is an oral presentation of the written report. The Supervisory Committee consists of the faculty adviser and at least one other member from the MSE or related department faculty, a postdoc or a supervisor if completing and internship.

The student in consultation with the faculty adviser establishes the examination date and place. The student is responsible for posting a degree exam notice with the exam date, place and project abstract one week prior to the master’s degree examination. A copy of the notice must also be provided to the department’s Graduate Program Adviser.

The master’s degree examination shall be a public presentation of the project or internship undertaken. After the presentation a closed examination session will be held with the Supervisory Committee to determine if the candidate is ready to graduate.

Internship or industrial option

Internships provide students with hands-on work experience while giving companies the opportunity to recruit, evaluate, and train potential employees. The program's flexible course schedule and final project component make it possible for industrial projects to fulfill the final project requirement — with proper design and mutual employer-faculty guidance.

The Career Center @ Engineering, MSE advisers, and UW career fairs provide resources to help students find internships. Internships are competitive; be persistent and start your search early.

Recent graduates have held internships with the Boeing Company, Cymer and PNNL.

MSE elective courses

Students can consult with their faculty adviser to choose elective courses for their individual path of study.

Structural materials

  • MSE 431 Failure Analysis
  • MSE 462 Mechanical Behavior of Materials
  • MSE 463 Corrosion and Wear of Materials
  • MSE 475 Introduction to Composite Materials
  • MSE 599 Special Topics TBD

Electronic Materials

  • MSE 504 Introduction to Micro Electro Mechanical System
  • MSE 565 Electronic Theory of Materials
  • MSE 599 Introduction to Optoelectronic Materials


  • MSE 582 Biomaterials & Nanomaterials
  • MSE 483/583 Nanomedicine
  • MSE 599 Nanomaterials & Devices in Medicine
  • MSE 599 Molecular Genetics
  • MSE 599C Biomaterials/nanomaterials in tissue engineering
  • MSE 599E Bionanotechnology: Biological/genetically engineered materials

Optoelectronic/magnetic materials

  • MSE 486 Integrated circuit technology
  • MSE 550 Magnetism & Magnetic Materials
  • MSE 560: Organic Electronic/Photonic Materials
  • MSE 565 Electron theory of materials
  • MSE 568 Active and sensing materials
  • MSE 599F Introduction to optoelectronic materials
  • MSE 599E Advanced optoelectronic materials

Energy Materials

  • MSE 560 Organic Electronic & Photonic Materials/Polymers
  • MSE 599 Energy Harvesting
  • MSE 599 Thermoelectricity, Fundamentals & Applications

General MSE

  • MSE 421 Case studies in thermodynamics
  • MSE 442 Materials Processing II
  • MSE 452 Functional properties of materials
  • MSE 471 Introduction to Polymer Science & Engineering
  • MSE 491&2 Design in Materials Engineering
  • MSE 501 Advanced Processing, Inorganic Materials
  • MSE 510 Bonding/Crystallography/Symmetry
  • MSE 533  Characterization Techniques in Materials Engineering
  • MSE 599 Materials in Manufacturing