Research Concentrations

This degree emphasizes Research skills suitable for students targeting PhD study or a career as research scientist/engineer in R&D organizations and industry. Therefore, the curriculum is structured to enable students to develop skills and knowledge in at least one of the following five (5) major areas of research specialization/concentration: (1) Computational and Data-Driven Materials Science; (2) Energy, Electronic and Quantum Materials; (3) Polymer and Bio Materials; (4) Metallic and Structural Materials; (5) Advanced Materials Characterization.


Students seeking a Research Master’s degree must complete 30 credit hours of coursework including research credits.

Graduate courses offered towards the 30 credit hours are divided into three modules/categories.

i)               Foundation courses (minimum of 6 to maximum of 9 credit hours) 

ii)             Elective courses (maximum of 9 credit hours)

iii)           Specialized courses and research (minimum of 15 credit hours) 

 MSE Research Course Plan of Study Form for Master

Foundation courses: 

i) MSE 532 (Advanced Thermodynamics of Materials; 3 credit hours) 

ii) MSE 535 (Kinetics, Phase Transformations and Transport; 3 credit hours)

Theses courses are required for all students enroll in Research Masters track.

In addition, MSE 550 (Fundamentals of Materials Science and Engineering; 3 credit hours) is also required for students without undergraduate degree in Materials Science and Engineering.


Elective courses: 

Students may count up to 9 credit hours within this module. Up to 2 non-MSE courses (maximum of 6 credit hours) may be counted toward the 9 credits. One non-MSE course can be a non-engineering, professionally related (e.g. Business, Entrepreneurship, Public Policy, Patent Law, TechCom, Engineering Education) course. The other non-MSE course must be a graduate level Engineering or Science course. 

These non-MSE courses MUST be approved by the Master’s committee. 


Specialized courses and research:

Courses selection within this category will determine the specialization track (which will appear on the Master’s degree transcript). 

Students must count a minimum of 15 credit hours within this module. 

i) All students enroll in Research Masters track must take at least two additional MSE courses (6 credits) in the area of the specialization (see list of courses for details).

ii) All students enroll in Research Masters track must also take a minimum of 9 credits (maximum of 12 credits) of MSE 690.

  • Research Problems in Materials Science and Engineering toward the MSE 690 credits must be conducted with a MSE faculty mentor in their lab. 
  • With approval from Master’s committee, research Internship at industry may be considered if it involves a UM MSE faculty mentor.
  • Students must submit a Master’s thesis to an examining committee of three faculty members, two of which must be from MSE. This committee will include the research advisor and two other faculty selected by the advisor in consultation with the student and approved by the Master’s Committee Chair.
  • The thesis must be defended orally before this committee and approved by a majority of the committee and the advisor.
  • This thesis should contain a critical review of background information and relevant literature, a statement of objective, a results section, and a thorough scientific analysis of these results.  It should have a degree of originality suitable for publication.
  • In the event that the student is not satisfied with the results of his/her examination(s), an appeal for arbitration can be made in sequence to the Master’s committee chair, the Dept. chair, the Rackham Graduate School or the College of Engineering Ombudsman.