Carnegie Mellon University

Master of Science (M.S.) in Materials Science (MS)

Degree Overview

The M.S. in Materials Science (MS) degree combines both coursework and research to provide an advanced foundational education to professionals interested in research careers in Materials Science and Engineering (MSE). Students in the program will gain a fundamental understanding of materials structure, properties and the processing of materials and their applications in various areas of engineering. Students will normally complete the degree in three to four full-time academic semesters. Students interested in completing the program outside of the standard two full-time semesters should discuss this carefully with the MS program director prior to enrollment.

Our M.S. in MS degree provides the foundation at the graduate level of all MSE activities in coursework, while allowing for flexibility in individual research interests: students can pursue research with over 40 MSE affiliated faculty. The M.S. in MS degree is well suited to include projects involving industrial interactions and/or interdisciplinary work. Students generally carry out all 72 project units on a single project, for which they must write an approved Master’s Final Report.

Degree Requirements

Course Requirements

  • 24 units of MSE core courses
  • 24 units of MSE graduate elective courses (27-7**)
  • 24 units of approved MSE-related courses

Courses taken by past students in the MS program [pdf]

Research Units (TOTAL 72) and Other Requirements

  • Students are required to carry out MSE-related graduate research; they must take (at least) 72 additional units of 27-756 Masters Project.

Master's Final Report

  • A Master's Final Report that clearly and successfully states the objectives and accomplishments of the MSE-related research must be written and approved.
  • The Master's Final Report is to be submitted to the research advisor at least TEN days before grades are due.
  • A passing grade in "27-675 Masters Report" will be assigned based on approval of the Master's Final Report by the research advisor or department head.

Graduate Seminar

Miscellaneous Rules

I. Grades

  • All students must maintain a B (3.0) average to graduate.
  • Course units with a grade lower than C (2.0) are not acceptable toward the degree requirements.
  • Grades in approved projects (ex. 27-756 Masters Project) may not be used in calculation of the B (3.0) average.
  • Grades in approved projects (ex. 27-756 Masters Project) must be B (3.0) or above to count towards the unit calculation for graduation.

II. Completion Timelines

  • The average grade of the course work shall be at least a B (3.0), and the student may choose any 72 of the first 120 units attempted to compute the average course grade.
  • The student must satisfy the graduate research (27-756) and masters final report requirements upon completion of the first 120 units of graduate research (27-756) attempted.
  • The student must satisfy all of the requirements upon completion of no more than 240 units attempted.

III. Units per semester

  • Only by permission of the department head may a student with 12 units or less of graduate research enroll in more than 51 units. Such students shall not be permitted to register for more than 60 units.
  • Only by permission of the department head may a student with more than 12 units of graduate research enroll in more than 48 units. Such students shall not be permitted to register for more than 51 units.
  • Units of course-work and project-work are to be taken together insofar as possible. To ensure this, more than 39 units of course-work may be taken in only one semester: students are encouraged to take 48 units of course work in their first semester while settling on a research advisor / project.

IV. Options for the Summer Session

  • Students are not required to participate in summer on-campus research. Students can also search for off-campus internships. They should consult with the MS student handbook  and their academic advisor for more details about visa limitations or registration requirements.
  • A student interested in carrying out on-campus summer research has two options:
    • Graduate Reading and Research (27-773) allows the student to carry out research towards their Final Report without paying tuition, though these units do not count towards other degree requirements.
    • Masters Project (27-756) allows a student to carry out research towards their Final Report but requires tuition to be paid per credit hour; these units can count towards the MS degree requirements

*Part-time MS enrollment is an option available for students in special circumstances, such as students who would like to pursue an MS degree while maintaining external employment. Note that immigration regulations do not allow Carnegie Mellon University to issue visa documents for the part-time MS program.