Materials Science and Engineering (Ph.D.)


Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) research is aimed at educating and training the next generation of out-of-the box thinkers to solve the biggest global challenges.

By fostering a multidisciplinary approach, MSE degree programs strive to endow students with the tools to strategically question current design paradigms and drive innovative materials and manufacturing solutions across a diverse range of technological sectors. Motivated by modern materials challenges in energy, computing, transportation, impact protection, robotics, and global health care, MSE programs’ comprehensive, experiential training is designed to arm graduates with a modernized skill set tailored to confront those challenges head-on.

MSE degree programs are designed to engage students with:

  • Active hands-on training in the latest materials characterization and computational methods, materials-focused intellectual property protection and technology transfer, and professional soft skill development.
  • Enhanced educational opportunities promoted through industry partnerships, facilitating internships and class time spent in active commercial manufacturing labs.
  • A diverse core of faculty mentors driving advances in controlling structure at the nanoscale, predictive property modeling, high performance metal, polymer and ceramic composites, photovoltaics, and additive manufacturing.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Materials Science and Engineering

The overall objective of the MSE-PHD is to develop students to be science and engineering professionals who use their multidisciplinary problem solving skills to address global challenges in the field of materials science and engineering.


The primary requirement of the MSE-PHD is a dissertation covering research performed by the student under the supervision of an approved research advisor. A minimum of 72 semester credits including course work and research is required by the graduate school. These must include 13 credits from the core courses: MSE 501 (1 unit), 3 out of a possible 6 units of MSE 502, where MSE 502A and MSE 502B are required, MSE 503, MSE 504, and a course in optical/electrical properties of materials (select from the course offered by MSE, CHEM 511, CHEM 517, PH531, or ECE574). Additionally, 4 credits of MSE 793 (Professional Development Seminar) are required and 6 credits of approved Specialty courses at the 500 level or higher (e.g. MSE 505). MSE PHD students will be required to meet a Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training component (course-based, workshop, other pre-approved form). A minimum grade point average of 3.0 must be achieved for core credits.

An oral qualifying exam at the end of the 1st year is required with annual reviews to follow. An oral preliminary presentation and examination for proposed dissertation research must be completed near the end of the 2nd year of study and at least one year before the required final examination of the dissertation defense.

Coursework, credit requirements, and more information is available in the Colorado State University general catalog. Please see your department’s website or contact your department representative with more program-related questions.

 Next Steps


Coursework, credit requirements, and more information is available in the Colorado State University general catalog. Please contact your department representative with program-related questions.

Student Employment

All applicants to the PHD in Materials Science and Engineering are considered for available GRA, GTA and GSA appointments. Applicants should clearly indicate in their Statement of Purpose, their interest in active research areas and/or particular research labs in the department.

Financial Aid