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MSE Departmental Honors Program

The goal of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering ‘s Honors Program is, in the words of UW Honors, "to provide an opportunity for the gifted undergraduate engineering student to develop to his/her fullest extent."


After the junior year of MSE core courses, if you are a current MSE major with at least a 3.3 cumulative UW GPA and at least a 3.5 cumulative MSE GPA, you are encouraged to join the Department’s Honors Program. Any students interested in joining the MSE Honors Program and who have met the minimum requirements are encouraged to schedule an appointment with the MSE adviser.

Program Requirements

You do not need to register for additional credits in order to complete the MSE departmental honors program.  Students complete the following academic requirements:

  • You take two MSE 400-level technical electives (or NME electives if you are an NME student) as Ad Hoc courses. This involves registering for the courses like normal, then arranging with the instructor the completion of additional work for the course. The work you will complete will be detailed in your Ad Hoc course application form.
  • You complete an Honors Senior Project by registering for 4 credits of MSE 499 section B.

To still graduate as a Department Honors student, you must also still meet the following program requirements at the time of graduation:

  • Minimum 3.3 cumulative UW GPA
  • Minimum 3.5 cumulative MSE GPA

If your GPAs drop below these minimums, the department will need to drop you from department honors in order for you to graduate.

More about MSE Ad Hoc Honors Credit

Through the ad hoc option, a student creates a contract with a MSE faculty member in a MSE course to obtain honors credit in that course by completing additional work. The student chooses which course to designate as ad hoc and requests permission to take the course on an ad hoc basic from the MSE faculty member. Ad hoc courses must be at least a 400-level MSE course. Undergraduates can also take a 500 level MSE course and designate it as ad hoc. Students can consult with the MSE academic advisor about the specific courses they would like to designate as ad hoc.  Once the ad hoc work is identified, students complete the ad hoc application form in time to meet the deadlines for the quarter.

This extra work will need to be defined between the MSE faculty member and student. Students will need to check with their MSE instructor to discuss the expectations and requirements for the ad hoc credit. This may include periodic meetings between the faculty and student during the quarter that the ad hoc credit is pursued. The Honors Program assumes that any department honors student who exercises this option is interested in pursuing the course in greater depth and with more intensity than she or he could within the framework of the regular class and that the student is prepared to undertake extra work. 

Additional work could include:

  • Writing an extra paper on a topic discussed in class
  • Giving a special presentation to the class or to the broader community (college or university)
  • Conducting independent lab or library research on a topic covered in the class
  • Reading current journal articles about a topic covered in class and providing an annotated bibliography at the end of the quarter

Students need to submit the ad hoc honors form by the UW Honors deadline for the quarter in which they wish to pursue ad hoc honors credit.