The doctoral degree emphasizes the creation of new knowledge through extensive independent research, including the formulation of hypotheses, the interpretation of phenomena revealed by research, and the extraction of general principles upon which predictions can be made. An important part of this process is presenting and defending the results. Ph.D. candidates are expected to present their results at research review meetings, at national and international conferences, and, in particular, in peer-reviewed publications. In addition to disseminating the new results, these activities offer ways for Ph.D. candidates to establish themselves as members of the international technical community. In the MSE department, doctoral research can be conducted in a range of areas, including nanomaterials, biomaterials, materials for energy applications, metals, ceramics, electronic materials, and magnetic materials. Each doctoral student’s research is guided by a faculty advisor and a dissertation committee with milestones that allow graduation in four years or less. The milestones and expectations for doctoral students are described below.
Admission to the doctoral program
Applicants must supply the following materials to qualify for admission:
- Official transcripts from previous degree programs
- The results of GRE exams
- Three letters of reference
- For the case of non-English speakers, a TOEFL score report
- The application fee
All admissions decisions are made by the department head, based on recommendations from the graduate recruiting committee. A typical student qualifying for admission will have an undergraduate GPA greater than 3.0, a verbal GRE score of at least 146, a quantitative GRE score of at least 159, and an analytical writing GRE score greater than or equal to 3.5. For non-US citizens, the TOEFL score should be 84 or higher (and also exceed minimum scores in each of the four sections of the test).
Each year, we enroll between 15 and 25 doctoral students.
All full-time Ph.D. students accepted through the normal application process receive fellowships that pay tuition, fees, and a stipend for living expenses. These awards are sufficient to cover all expenses for the year (including summers); students can concentrate on coursework and research without financial concerns or interruption. Students only pay for books, course supplies, and thesis costs. Off-campus housing is available within walking distance of campus.
Doctoral students generally receive financial support for their tuition and stipend from fellowships, traineeships, government grants, graduate assistantships, or scholarships. The vast majority of graduate assistantships that cover a stipend and tuition are paid for by competitive external research grants. Hence, continued financial assistance for doctoral students is contingent upon both satisfactory research progress and academic performance.