Ph.D. Program

The Ph.D. program provides students with the skills to conduct advanced research in processing, characterization, and properties of all classes of materials. The degree is broken into three major stages that culminate in the Qualifying Examination, General Examination, and Final Examination.

Navigating the Ph.D. process

Advisers and Supervisory Committee »
Throughout the program you will work closely with the MSE Graduate Program Adviser, your selected faculty adviser, and your assigned doctoral supervisory committee.
Course of Study »
Ph.D. academic work is highly individualized but there are required core courses, credit minimums, and research requirements you must meet to earn your degree.
Expected Timeline and Publications »
PhD timeline and publication towards degree.
Sample Schedule »
To complete the program in about five years and remain in good standing, students complete at least 10 credits per quarter.
Qualifying Exam »
The qualifying exam (QE) assures a general understanding of structure-properties-processing relationships and specific knowledge in an area of interest/expertise within MSE.
General Exam »
The goal of this exam is to ensure that you are on track to completing your doctorate.
Final Exam
The Final Exam is the last step in completing your doctorate.
Preparing to Graduate »
A list to help you make sure you've completed all requirements on time.

Labs, shops and facilities

slide on microscope Student and faculty researchers have access to these state-of-the-art labs and shops across campus:


If you have questions about the Ph.D. program that are not answered here, please contact the MSE Graduate Program Adviser. For information about admission criteria, application procedures, and tuition and funding, see Ph.D. Program Admission.


Practical, logistical, and administrative info from your advisers:

Grad student and professional organizations


MSE 520 - Seminars for Grad Students

Graduate students are expected to attend the MSE department seminars on Monday afternoons autumn through spring quarters. The weekly seminars address a broad range of interests, industries, and professions. See MSE 520: Seminar Series for the current quarter's scheduled speakers.

To receive credit for attendance, graduate students should register for MSE 520.

Many other departments and programs on campus also have regular seminars at which MSE students are welcome, especially Chemistry, Nanotechnology, Chemical Engineering, Physics, Bioengineering, Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering. Many are posted in the department; information is also available on the departments' websites.