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 Master of Science (M.S.) in Materials Science and Engineering

Materials Science & Engineering, M.S.

View the catalog information

The MS/MSE program offers thesis track and non-thesis track alternatives. Both are available to on-campus students and to off-campus students through distance-learning. However, incoming off-campus students are initially admitted to the non-thesis track. At the invitation of a research-active participating faculty member (advisor), students, who demonstrate an interest and aptitude for scientific research, may petition the Graduate School for transfer to the thesis track.

m.s. materials scienceTo graduate with the MS/MSE degree, a student on the non-thesis track is required to complete a minimum of 36 semester credit hours. In the final year of their program, non-thesis track students complete a culminating experience or “practicum.” To fulfill the practicum requirements, students must undertake and complete a substantial materials-related project of approximately six months duration. As part of the practicum, students must participate in a one-week summer laboratory session at Montana Tech. The project selection, scope, and objectives must be approved in advance by the student’s academic advisor, the MS/MSE program director, and the Montana Tech graduate school. At the conclusion of the project, the student must submit a detailed comprehensive technical report and deliver a presentation to an audience of MSE faculty and students.

Thesis-track students are required to complete a minimum of 30 semester credit hours. Thesis track students must prepare and submit a research-based thesis and pass a formal thesis defense examination, which will be conducted by the student’s research advisor and committee. The thesis and defense examination must conform to established Montana Tech Graduate School and department policies and guidelines.

The program requirements are summarized in the following table. Courses are categorized as "Core Courses", "Advanced Graduate Courses", and "Seminar", and, depending on whether the student selects the thesis or the non-thesis track.

All students must complete the following mandatory Core Courses:

  • Bonding, Structure, and defects
  • MTSI 511 – Thermodynamics of materials
  • MTSI 512 – Kinetics and phase transformations

Beyond the core courses, the general curricular requirements are summarized in the following points:

  • Students in each track are required to take one 3-credit-hour graduate-level course in advanced mathematics, computer applications, or experimental design.
  • A minimum of nine technical elective credits are required for the thesis track and 15 for the non-thesis track. The technical electives must be in STEM disciplines and are accepted at the advisor’s discretion. Courses are typically at the 500 level but, subject to committee approval, as many as six credits in 400 level courses may count toward the M.S. degree requirement. Students may take a maximum of three approved courses (9 credits) from the Master of Science in Project Engineering Management (MPEM) program as technical electives.
  • Two 1-credit seminar courses (ENGR 5940 and TC 5160) are required.
  • Thesis track students are required to earn a minimum of 6 thesis credits while performing research and writing/defending a M.S. thesis.
  • Non-thesis track students are required earn a minimum of 6 independent study credits to complete their practicum requirement.
  • Thesis and practicum credits may not substitute for elective credits.

More than thirty materials-oriented graduate courses are available and eighteen of these courses are available through distance learning, and many are delivered in real time via the existing synchronous delivery system.

Applicants are expected to have earned a bachelor of science degree in a physical science or engineering discipline with a minimum GPA of 3.0 (4.0 maximum basis) or equivalent. Undergraduate studies normally include mathematics at least through differential equations, at least one year each of general physics and chemistry, a course in physical chemistry or modern physics, an elementary course in properties of materials (such as EGEN 213 or EMAT 251), and engineering coursework (including prerequisites) equivalent to: EGEN 201 – Engineering Mechanics/Statics; EELE 201 – Circuits for Engineers; EGEN 335 – Fluid Mechanics; EGEN 305 – Mechanics of Materials. Applicants may be admitted with deficiencies but, to the extent possible, such courses are expected to be made up during the student’s first year in the program.