Materials Science and Engineering Graduate Program

The Materials Science and Engineering program at Montana Tech prepares students for careers in materials-related fields including aerospace, biomaterials, chemicals, electronic materials, energy, and metals. The interdisciplinary program provides students access to faculty in resources of the participating STEM departments, which enables the students to attain depth in the specialized discipline of their choice.

Master of Science (M.S.) Materials Science & Engineering

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.

To 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 is 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 an M.S. thesis.
  • Non-thesis track students are required to 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.

Filed of Study

The M.S. Degree in Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) program has a distinct interdisciplinary culture that provides students with the depth and breadth of knowledge that leads to successful careers in fields such as aerospace, automotive, biomaterials, chemicals, electronics, energy, metals, and telecommunications. MSE bridges the basic sciences and the engineering disciplines. Program graduates specialize in relationships between the properties, structure, processing and performance of metals, ceramics, polymers, and composite materials. Materials engineers design, operate, and optimize technologies to produce materials and energy, and to improve the environment.

Examinations

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 final examination for the thesis-option students consists of an oral presentation and defense of the thesis. The presentation is open to all interested parties, but the thesis defense examination is only open to the members of the graduate committee. Committee members may ask questions pertaining to the thesis and to any of the graduate courses applied toward the M.S. degree.

In the final year of their program, non-thesis track students must complete a culminating experience or “practicum” that entails a substantial materials-related project of approximately six months duration and participation in a one-week summer laboratory session at Montana Tech. The practicum project topic, 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. To conclude the practicum, the student submits a comprehensive technical report and delivers a presentation to an audience of MSE faculty and students.

Information for Prospective Students

  • 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, and 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.
  • It is possible to earn the M.S. degree en route to the Ph.D. in Materials Science. Students who opt to follow this route are advised to enroll in the Ph.D. program and consult with their advisor regarding fulfillment of the M.S. degree requirements.
  • M.S. students who are employed as GRAS engaged in funded thesis-track research projects or as GTAs are eligible for stipends and tuition waivers. The maximum stipend for an M.S. student is $18,000/calendar year.

Distance Learning

It is possible for students to earn the MS/MSE degree almost entirely via distance learning. The degree requirements for the non-thesis and thesis alternatives are essentially the same as those previously described for students in residence at Montana Tech. Off-campus research is encouraged for qualified students. This alternative enables off-campus students to enter the thesis-track and conduct their M.S. research at their place of employment. Student participation is subject to the following stipulations:

  • The student must be employed by a company, national laboratory, or government agency or department (the Employer) prior to admission to the program and, to enter the thesis track, the proposed research must be approved in writing by an authorized representative of the Employer, the student’s academic advisor, and the Dean of the Graduate School.
  • The thesis research project must be well defined and acceptable to the graduate student’s advisory committee. The thesis may be based on either fundamental or applied research that involves (original) computational and/or experimental research to investigate a current problem of interest to the field of materials science and engineering.
  • Where possible, a qualified representative of the Employer will serve as an on-site thesis committee member; to qualify as a committee member, the individual must be a professional with an M.S. or Ph.D. degree in materials science and engineering or a closely related field.
  • The student must follow the published Montana Tech guidelines for thesis content, format, preparation, and defense.
  • The student must be on-campus in person for the thesis defense.
  • The student must register every semester that he or she is working toward fulfillment of the degree requirements.

Tuition and Mandatory Fees

Please use these tables to see the approximate tuition and mandatory fees costs for programs in the Graduate School.

On-Campus Programs

Status Part-Time Credit Full-Time (12 or more credits)
Resident Approximately $350/credit hour Approximately $3,800/semester
Non-Resident Approximately $1,110/credit hour Approximately $12,500/semester

Distance Programs

Status Part-Time Credit Full-Time (12 or more credits)
Resident Approximately $300/credit hour Approximately $3,400/semester
Non-Resident Approximately $550/credit hour Approximately $6,400/semester
Program taught in:
English

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Last updated March 5, 2019
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