Below you will find an overview of the MSE and Ph.D. curriculum. For the full requirements, please see the MSE Graduate Handbook.


Master of Science in Engineering-M.S.E.

Two different types of M.S.E. degrees are offered: one with a primary focus on coursework (Coursework M.S.E.) and one with an emphasis on research (Research M.S.E.)

Coursework M.S.E.
  • 30 credit hours of courses
  • 15 credit hours of MSE department courses
  • Up to 8 credit hours may be satisfied by MSE 690
  • At least 2 cognate courses (a minimum of 4 credit hours) new cognate approval request
  • Students taking MSE 690 must submit a research report commensurate with the number of MSE 690 credits taken. This report must be approved by the project supervisor. It may also be used as a document for the Ph.D. oral candidacy exam.
Research M.S.E.
  • 30 credit hours of combined coursework and research
  • 12 credit hours of MSE department courses
  • 9 credits of MSE 690
  • At at least 2 cognate courses (a minimum of 4 credit hours) new cognate approval request
  • Oral master’s thesis defense
  • The oral defense may also serve as the Ph.D. oral exam at the committee’s discretion


Ph.D. Candidacy Requirements

  • Students must show a bachelor’s degree or equivalent awarded by an accredited institution.
  • Students must complete at least 18 hours of graded graduate coursework on the Ann Arbor campus.
  • Student must complete 4 credit hours of cognate coursework with a grade of B- or better.
  • Pre-candidates must enroll in 3 credits of MSE 990 research credits each fall and winter semester until Candidacy.  Candidates must enroll in 8 credits of MSE 995 research credits each fall and winter semester until graduation.
  • Successful completion of College of Engineering Responsible Conduct of Research & Scholarship/RCRS training.
  • A cumulative minimum GPA of B (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) is required for all graduate work taken for credit. 
  • Successfully pass the Prelim Exam for Candidacy.
  • Successfully pass the Qualification Exam Core areas.


Doctor of Philosophy - Ph.D.

  • Course Requirements (12 MSE course credits, 2 Cognate Coursesnew cognate approval request
  • Students complete an additional 9 hours of formal coursework, above that required for the M.S.E. degree.
  • Qualification Exams (Within 2 Years)
  • Prelim Exam (Thesis Research Proposal; Within 2 Years)
  • One semester of “Teaching Experience” as Graduate Student Instructor
  • Data Meeting (no later than 4 years)
  • Annual PhD Student Evaluation Form (annually)
  • MSE Colloquium (4 semesters)
  • Submission of a Ph.D. Thesis and Final Defense


Core courses and PhD qualification:

The PhD qualification process in MSE requires the incoming graduate students to take and pass the following core courses, each with at least B+ grade, in their first year:

1. Thermodynamics (MSE 532), offered in the Fall term

2. Kinetics (MSE 535), offered in the Winter term

*3. Fundamentals of MS&E (MSE 550), offered in the Fall term

* The core course MSE550 is targeted at students entering the MSE graduate program with a non-MSE undergraduate major such as Physics, Chemistry, etc.  The students with a non-MSE undergraduate degree may petition the graduate committee to opt out of 550. The petition should provide evidence, through copy of undergraduate transcript, that the student has taken the equivalent of the following required courses in MSE undergraduate curriculum at University of Michigan, and passed each with B+ or higher grade:


MSE 220 or 250 (Intro MS&E); MSE 242 (Solid State / Materials Physics);

MSE 350 (Structures of Materials); MSE 420 (Mechanical Behavior of Materials).


The written qualifying exam option as a substitute for taking the core courses will no longer be offered, i.e., all incoming students will be required to take and pass the 2 or 3 (as applicable) core courses. However, a student who takes a core course but fails to get a grade of B+ or higher, may petition the graduate committee to take a ‘make up’ written test in that core course as a second attempt towards qualification. Although the student’s grade on the transcript will not change, the score in the ‘make up’ written test will be used by the graduate committee to determine if the student has met the qualification requirement in that core topic.


A score below B+ in the core course and failure in the following ‘make up’ written test will result in disqualification from the PhD program.


Students who do not complete all of the above PhD qualification core courses in year 1 may be asked to discontinue from the PhD program.


The Office of the Registrar's Schedule of Classes lists when classes are offered for current and past terms.