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Graduate Program Degree Requirements

Requirements for the M.S. Degree

  • Time period for completion: Full-time students seeking the M.S. degree are expected to complete all the requirements for the degree within two calendar years following entrance into the program. Continuation in the program beyond this time limit will require special approval of the department.
  • Courses: The minimum semester hours of course work (a course usually consists of 3 semester hours) required for the M.S. degree are tabulated below as a function of the degree held upon entrance into the program. In all cases, a student's specific course of study is formulated in consultation with the departmental advisor (thesis director) and must be approved by the department. 


Full-time students seeking the M.S. degree are expected to complete all the requirements for the degree within two calendar years following entrance into the program. Continuation in the program beyond this time limit will require special approval of the department. 

 
 Degree at entrance 

 5-year 

 4-year B.S. 

 4-year B.A. 

 Minimum graduate level semester hours required (course work) 

 12 

 24 

 30 

  • Preliminary Candidacy Evaluation (PCE): All entering graduate students pursuing a thesis degree program will be subject to a preliminary evaluation of their candidacy for the highest degree program they intend to pursue. The evaluation will be conducted by the end of the second semester of enrollment in the graduate program in the MEMS department. Students are responsible for working with their advisor in order to ensure that their PCE is conducted in a timely fashion. The evaluation will be based on a review of the academic performance up to the time of evaluation, including performance in course work and graduate research in the form of course grades, course ranking, GRE scores, and other relevant information. The reviewed material will be made available to the students. A panel of MEMS faculty members selected by the research advisor and approved by the director of graduate studies will conduct the evaluation. The number of panel members will be 3 for the M.S. degree. The evaluation by the panel will normally result in one of the following four possible outcomes: 
    • Approve preliminary candidacy 
    • Approve preliminary candidacy conditionally, and specify conditions 
    • Extend the period of evaluation, and re-do the evaluation latest by the end of the third semester of enrollment in the MEMS graduate program 
    • Disapprove candidacy 
  • Research and Thesis: 
    • Each candidate for the M.S. degree must complete a thesis demonstrating ability in research of a fundamental nature (analytical or experimental). It is expected that the research will be of sufficient importance and quality that positive results would lead to publication. Instructions for preparation of theses can be obtained at the appropriate time through the office of graduate and postdoctoral studies 
    • Candidates for the M.S. degree must register for Research and Thesis (MECH 800) during the year preceding the anticipated date of graduation 
    • The student must select a thesis director during the first semester of study. Active research should begin by the end of the first semester 
    • Candidates for the M.S. degree who are not on campus and who have completed all requirements except the thesis must register for Research and Thesis (MECH 800) every semester until graduation  
  • Language requirement: The MEMS department does not have a foreign language requirement for its graduate degrees. It is recommended that every student understands at least one computer language 
  • Final thesis defense: Upon completion of the thesis, a committee comprised of at least three members will examine each candidate for the M.S. degree. Two, including the committee chair, must be members of the department. The thesis must be made available to the members of the examining committee at least two weeks before the examination date. The oral examination will consist of questions concerning the candidate's grasp of the fundamental principles underlying his/her field of study. In connection with this review, the guidance of the thesis director should be sought. Should the candidate fail in this examination, he/she is allowed to repeat it once with the approval of the committee. A public notice of the MS oral examination must be given by posting an announcement on the departmental bulletin board at least one week prior to the examination. 
  • Residency: The minimum residence requirement for the M.S. degree is one semester of full-time study at the university. 
  • Thesis deadline: Students must observe the deadlines set by the office of graduate and postdoctoral studies for submission of the final thesis to receive their degree for either January or May conferral. Otherwise students have six months from the date of defense to submit their final thesis to the office of graduate and postdoctoral studies.    

Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree

  • Courses: The minimum semester hours of course work (a course usually consist of 3 semester hours) required are tabulated below as a function of the degree held upon entrance into the program. In all cases, a student's course of study is formulated in consultation with the thesis director and must be approved by the department. 
 
 Degree at entrance 

 M.S.-thesis 

 5-year 

 B.S. 

 B.A. 

 Minimum graduate level semester hours required (course work) 

 24 

 30 

 48 

 54 

  • Preliminary Candidacy Evaluation (PCE): All entering graduate students pursuing a thesis degree program will be subject to a preliminary evaluation of their candidacy for the highest degree program they intend to pursue. The evaluation will be conducted by the end of the second semester of enrollment in the graduate program in the MEMS department. Students are responsible for working with their advisor in order to ensure that their PCE is conducted in a timely fashion. The evaluation will be based on a review of the academic performance up to the time of evaluation, including performance in course work and graduate research in the form of course grades, course ranking, GRE scores, and other relevant information. The reviewed material will be made available to the students. A panel of MEMS faculty members selected by the research advisor and approved by the director of graduate studies will conduct the evaluation. The number of panel members will be 4 for the Ph.D. degree. The evaluation by the panel will normally result in one of the following four possible outcomes 
    • Approve preliminary candidacy  
    • Approve preliminary candidacy conditionally, and specify conditions  
    • Extend the period of evaluation, and receive candidacy approval no later than the end of the third semester of enrollment in the graduate program in the MEMS graduate program 
    • Disapprove candidacy  
  • Oral Qualifying Examination: By the end of the third year of enrollment in the graduate program in the MEMS department, the student must pass an oral qualifying examination. The purpose of this examination is to determine whether the student is qualified to conduct independent research at the technical level required for the Ph.D. thesis. The student's grasp of fundamental concepts in his/her field and related fields of interest will be examined. A committee consisting of at least three faculty members of the department and one member of another department will administer the examination. The result of this examination will be the principal factor in the department's decision as to the student's admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. program. Should the student fail in this examination, he/she may be allowed to repeat it once only with the recommendation of the examining committee. Additional details on the structure of the examination for students pursuing Ph.D. degree in materials science are provided below: 
    • The students will be examined in four areas: (1) thermodynamics and kinetics; (2) structures, crystallography and diffraction; (3) mechanical properties; and (4) electrical, optical, and magnetic properties. These four areas are covered in the courses MSCI 401, 402, 406, and 535, and the student is expected to have a thorough understanding of the material covered in each of these courses in order to pass the examination. The examination will take place in four separate sessions, each covering one area and lasting approximately one hour. If one or more parts of the examination are failed, with the recommendation of the examining committee, the student may be allowed to retake the examination or the appropriate parts of it at the beginning of the following semester.  
  • Language requirement: The MEMS department does not have a foreign language requirement for its graduate degrees. It is recommended that every student understands at least one computer language 
  • Research and Thesis: 
    • Each candidate for the Ph.D. must complete a thesis that constitutes an original contribution to scientific knowledge. The thesis will be bound in buckram and permanently preserved in  the library. Instructions for preparation of theses can be obtained at the appropriate time through the office of graduate and postdoctoral studies. 
      • Candidates for the Ph.D. degree must register for Research and Thesis (MECH 800) during the year preceding the anticipated date of graduation. 
      • A student must select a thesis director during the first year of study. Active research should begin by the end of the first year. 
      • Candidates for the Ph.D. degree who are not on campus and who have completed all requirements except completion of the thesis must register for Research and Thesis (MECH 800) every semester until graduation.  
  • Final thesis defense: Upon completion of the thesis, each candidate for the Ph.D. degree must pass a final public oral examination. A committee consisting of at least three members will conduct the examination. Two, including the committee chair, must be members of the department. One member must be from another department within the university. The members of the committee will be announced early enough so that the candidate may discuss with them the nature of the thesis research and the contents of the thesis. The thesis must be made available to the members of the examining committee at least two weeks before the examination date. Although the examination will be concerned primarily with the candidate's thesis, the questioning may also cover other areas. The oral defense may be scheduled at any time except during official examination periods. Public announcements of the oral examinations for the doctoral degree must be made at least two weeks in advance. 
  • Thesis deadline: Students must observe the deadlines set by the office of graduate and postdoctoral studies for submission of the final thesis to receive their degree for either January or May conferral. Otherwise students have six months from the date of defense to submit their final thesis to the office of graduate and postdoctoral studies. 
  • Residency: Normally, three or more years of study past the Bachelor's degree are required for the Ph.D. degree. The minimum residence requirement for the Ph.D. degree is four semesters (fall/spring) of full-time study at the university.