Doctor of Philosophy in Materials Science and Engineering

The Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering program is designed to prepare graduates for a wide range of professional opportunities in manufacturing, design, research, or in development. Special emphasis is given to the relationship between basic science and its applications of materials in modern technology. Our program produces broad-based graduates who are prepared for academic and industrial careers in many fields and who have a solid foundation in research and development methodology. 


Degree Requirements


The Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering requires 84 credits beyond the bachelor’s degree. A prior master’s degree may be transferred for up to 30 credits without specific course descriptions. The remaining 54 credits must include at least: 

  • More than 3 out of 4 core courses (9-12 credits) 

  • MT 650 (3 credits)

  • PRV 961 (3 credits): Stevens signature doctoral course

  • MT 690 (a minimum 30 credits): Research in Materials for doctoral dissertation

A time limit of six years is set for completion of the doctoral program. 

Research Seminars

Ph.D. students are required to attend research seminars. Students failing to meet this requirement may be put on probation at the discretion of the faculty.

Qualifying Exam 

Two qualifying exams: The written qualifying exam is a written examination on a syllabus consisting of three core subject matters. Students can choose three subjects out of the four core courses. The goal is to test the students’ fundamental knowledge in materials science and engineering to perform advanced research. The exam needs to be completed by the end of the 2nd semester in the program. Students who maintain GPA higher than 3.7 in their core courses can be waived from this exam. Students who pass the written exam are eligible for the oral qualifying exam. The oral qualifying exam is an oral examination on a syllabus consisting of research papers and projects, prepared jointly by the student and a committee including the advisor and two tenure-track faculty members. The goal is to establish scholarship in an area of research. The exam needs to be completed by the end of the 4th semester in the program. It consists of a presentation, followed by open-door questions from the audience and a closed-door examination from the committee. The committee can pass, fail, or request re-examination (either written or oral). A minimum of 3.5 GPA must be satisfied in order to take the oral exam. 


Students must complete a minimum of 30 credits of MT 960, Research in Materials. The dissertation must demonstrate the student’s mastery of the associated topic area, it must exhibit sound research methodology and it must make a unique and substantial contribution to an area of research.

Thesis Proposal

By the end of their fourth semester, students must write and present a thesis proposal, where they lay out an intended course of research for their dissertation. The proposal should contain an explanation of the problem and why it is important, a sketch of the proposed solution, and background information that serves to indicate that the problem is unsolved and what prior or related approaches to this or similar problems have already been investigated.

Dissertation Defense

The final Ph.D. dissertation is usually defended at the end of the fourth year of full-time study.


The faculty reserve the right to make exceptions to any of the rules and procedures described above in order to promote and preserve the health of the doctoral program and to ensure each student’s prompt and effective progress through the program.