Ph.D. Degree in
Materials Science and Engineering
- 36 credit hours of course work and 9 credit hours of dissertation research are required for the Ph.D. Degree. The distribution of required credits is described below.
- Direct entry to the Ph.D. Program without prior completion of a Master’s Degree is available for suitably qualified candidates.
- The department may waive the requirement for up to 18 credit hours of course work for students entering with a Master’s Degree or credits for graduate course work performed at another recognized graduate school. Waivers will only be granted for courses that cover subjects eligible for credit toward a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Delaware.
Requests for a course waiver must be initiated by the student before the beginning of their second semester at UD. Waivers must be approved by the Department Chairperson upon the recommendation of the Chair of the Department Graduate Committee and will be contingent on the student’s demonstration of satisfactory performance in course work taken at UD.
- The following courses, totaling 14 credits, are required. Equivalent courses may be substituted when approved by the faculty advisor and Department Chairperson:
MSEG 608 - Structure and Properties of Materials I (3 credits)
MSEG 609 - Structure and Properties of Materials II (3 credits)
MSEG 803 - Equilibria in Materials Systems (3 credits)
MSEG 804 - Kinetics in Materials Systems (3 credits)
- Students must select a specialization and complete the required courses for that specialization.
Soft Materials Specialization
MSEG 832 - Principles of Polymer Synthesis (3 credits)
MSEG 833 - Polymer Synthesis and Characterization Laboratory (3 credits)
MSEG 835 - Polymer Physics (3 credits)
Hard Materials Specialization
MSEG 640 - Applied Quantum Mechanics I (3 credits)
MSEG 841 - Solid State Materials I (3 credits)
MSEG 842 - Solid State Materials II (3 credits)
Composite Materials Specialization
MSEG 832 - Principles of Polymer Synthesis (3 credits)
MSEG 817 - Composite Materials (3 credits)
- The remaining 13-16 credits of elective courses will be chosen after discussion with the student’s advisor, and will usually be related to the student’s area of research. Courses required for a different specialization can count as elective courses.
- Students must complete the required credits of course work with an average GPA of 3.00 or higher.
- Up to six credit hours of thesis work (MSEG 868) taken prior to the admission to Candidacy may be counted as elective course credit.
- After admission to Candidacy, the student must complete 9 credit hours of Dissertation MSEG 969.
- All graduate students are expected to attend departmental seminars.
- Qualifying examination: Candidates for the Ph.D. degree are required to demonstrate proficiency in the knowledge of materials science by passing the qualifying examination. This is administered at the request of the student/advisor and consists of a comprehensive written and oral research project review on a topic chosen by the candidate and his/her advisor. The written part should contain no more than 15 pages single-spaced (12-pt. Font), not including the bibliography. The oral presentation should be approximately 30 minutes in length. Both the written and oral presentations should include, but are not limited to, discussion on the following topics/issues:
- Motivation and Significance of the Research
- Definition of the Critical Issues
- Literature Search/Bibliography
- Research Objectives
- Outline of the Experimental/Theoretical Approach
- Anticipated Results
- Timeline (sequence of accomplishments and milestones)
- Metrics to Determine the Successful Outcome of the Research
- Relevant Supporting Preliminary Data
- Potential Impact (scientific or technological)
The oral exam is designed to evaluate comprehensive knowledge in materials science and engineering, “soft” skills, e.g., communication, awareness of market-driven technology, etc., and the ability to organize and plan a project. Thus questions during the oral exam will not only be directed towards the research topic but can also be directed toward peripheral materials issues related to the proposed research. Full time students entering the Ph.D. program with a Master’s Degree are expected to take the qualifying examination and set up a Qualifier/Dissertation Committee in their first five semesters. Under certain circumstances, an extension is possible upon request to and approval of the research advisor and Department Chairperson. The Qualifier/Dissertation Committee will contain the student’s advisor(s) and at least three other faculty, at least one of whom is not a member of the Materials Science and Engineering Faculty. Within the first two years, students will be admitted to candidacy based on three criteria:
- Results of Qualifying Examination"
- Successful completion of the required courses with a GPA of 3.00 or higher.
- Satisfactory research progress as determined by the candidate’s qualifier/Dissertation Committee.
Admission to candidacy decisions will be made by the Department Chairperson with advice from the Departmental Graduate Committee. For those who enter the program with a M.S. or equivalent or those exceptionally well qualified students (with a B. S. degree or equivalent) wishing to directly enter the Ph.D. program, they will have until the end of January of their second year (a second and final chance by June 1 in the same year if performance on first exam is unsatisfactory) to take the Qualifying examination.
Part-time students entering with a B.S. degree take the qualifying examination no later than the sixth semester, and will then follow the above procedure with the expectation that admission to candidacy requirements be satisfied by the second year after the qualifying exam is taken.
- Pre-Defense Meeting: Candidates are required to present their research to their Ph.D. Qualifier/Dissertation Committee. This meeting should take place 3-6 months before the anticipated graduation date, before the student has engaged in formal job applications and before the written dissertation is complete. The purpose of this meeting is to get the committee’s input about whether the scope and quality of research conducted is appropriate for graduation in the near future, to provide guidance on further work required, and to guide the writing of the dissertation.
- Dissertation: A dissertation containing original results of the student’s research effort must be presented and approved by the Ph.D. Committee and the Department Chairperson.
- Final Oral Examination: After an oral presentation open to all interested persons, the student will be examined on the dissertation by the Ph.D. Qualifier/Dissertation Committee. In addition to examining the results of the original research contained in the dissertation, the committee will pay particular attention that suggestions for future work shall constitute a well- formulated and coherent plan to extend the research significantly.