Materials Science

Material science
Degree Type
Corvallis Campus
Table of contents


Materials science deals with the structure and properties of materials, including metals, ceramics, glasses, polymers, semiconductors, and composites.

Materials scientists delve into the properties of materials at the atomic and molecular levels. They apply their knowledge to create new materials that can be used to build new technologies or enhance existing technologies and products.

Oregon State’s highly interdisciplinary curriculum spans the colleges of Engineering, Science, and Forestry. Students experience a wide variety of courses taught by faculty in mechanical, civil, nuclear, and chemical engineering, as well as physics, chemistry, wood science, and more.

Our graduates are well-prepared to work in many industries and roles, including aerospace, automotive, manufacturing, nuclear power, pharmaceuticals, nanotechnology, biomedical materials, textiles, sustainable materials, telecommunications, and transportation.

Materials Science Faculty


Undergraduate Information

  • Material Science of Nanotechnology  
  • Electronic Materials and Devices  
  • Thin Film Materials Characterization and Properties  
  • Fracture of Materials  
  • Physical Metallurgy  

Full list of requirements  

The minor in Materials Science is flexible and works well with a number of different majors in Engineering and Science. Some students combine their Materials Science Minor with the Accelerated Master's Program (AMP) to earn graduate credits in their Junior and Senior year.


For undergraduates, we offer a B.S. degree via the Atlantis Program. Here, Oregon State and Saarlandes University (Saarbrucken, Germany), have created a unique bachelors degree program focused on creating a new kind of engineer with a global perspective that will enable them to operate in the complex multinational workplace in the future. Students who complete the program will receive two bachelors degrees in a five-year program: a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from OSU and a B.S. in Materials Science from Saarlandes University.

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Graduate Information

The discipline of materials science is inherently interdisciplinary, involving fundamental aspects of chemistry, physics, biology, geoscience, mathematics and engineering. This allows students to earn M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Materials Science in many different research areas, including all classes of materials, and in a wide range of applications. The coursework requirements are extremely flexible to allow students to tailor their program of study to directly support their research activities.

For students majoring in other disciplines, a graduate minor is also available to students by taking 15-18 credits of classes in the M.S. or Ph.D. program. Additionally, Mechanical Engineering M.S. and Ph.D. students can pursue the Materials-Mechanics option which is a transcript visible focus on materials science.

Core coursework and Requirements

M.S. Thesis combines 45 credits of course work and research (503 thesis credits). Student will write a thesis document that will be published by the University.

M.S. Project combines 45 credits of coursework and research (506 project credits). Student will write a project document that will not be published by the University. This option is used in cases where project sponsors restrict publication of data or when a student is working towards a Ph.D. and would like to obtain an M.S. in addition.

Ph.D. combines 108 credits of coursework and research (603 thesis credits). Students are required to produce original research that expands the boundaries of knowledge in their field and will write a dissertation that will be published by the University.

Requirements Program information and milestones

The Master of Engineering degree in Materials Science (MEng MatSci) offers students the opportunity to pursue advanced study in the field of materials science without also having to complete a research thesis or project. This coursework-only degree is concerned with the practical application of specialized, graduate-level engineering knowledge.

Requirements Program information and milestones

As a Master of Science Materials Science student at Oregon State, you will pursue one of the following program options

  • Thesis option. The MS MatSci thesis option involves original materials science research or the novel application of existing materials science knowledge to a practical problem. Your research topic must be approved by your graduate committee and your work will be supervised and graded by your major professor. In addition, your research title must be registered with the Graduate School and your thesis must be reviewed and approved by the Graduate School.
  • Project option. With the MS MatSci project option, you will fulfill the Graduate School’s research-in-lieu-of-thesis requirement by completing a project in which you apply materials science knowledge and methods to a practical problem. The project must be approved by your graduate committee and will be supervised and graded by your major professor. As with the thesis option, you will document your project with a final report, but project reports are not reviewed and approved by the Graduate School.


A graduate minor degree in Materials Science is available to students that complete ME 570 plus additional core coursework totaling 15 credits (M.S. minor) or 18 credits (Ph.D. minor). A member of the Materials Science Graduate Faculty (not from the student's home department) must serve as the Minor Professor on the committee.

A graduate minor is an academic area that clearly supports the major. On a master's or doctoral program, a minor may be:
1. an academic area available only as a minor,
2. a different major,
3. the same major with a different area of concentration,
4. an approved major at another institution in the Oregon University System, or
5. an integrated minor.

An integrated minor consists of a series of cognate courses from two or more areas. These courses must be outside the major area of concentration, with most of the courses being outside the major department. The graduate faculty member representing the integrated minor must be from outside the major department. Graduate minors are listed on the student's transcript.

An individual course cannot be double-counted as satisfying both a major requirement and a minor requirement.

Elective Courses (approved by the student's committee and the Program Director) will be selected by the student under guidance from the advisor. These courses can be used by the student to receive further training in fundamentals and to explore new areas in support of their research.

Additional approved elective courses (not exhaustive - new courses continually added)

  • CCE 552 Green Building Materials
  • CH 511 Inorganic Chemistry
  • CH 512 Inorganic Chemistry II
  • CH 513 Solid State Chemistry
  • CH 540 Physical Chemistry
  • CH 541 Physical Chemistry II
  • ECE 516 Electronic Materials and Devices
  • ECE 517 Basic Semiconductor Devices
  • ECE 518 Semiconductor Processing
  • ECE 612 Process Integration
  • ECE 613 Electronic Materials Characterization
  • ECE 614 Semiconductors
  • ECE 615 Advanced Semiconductor Devices I
  • ECE 616 Advanced Semiconductor Devices II
  • MATS 578 Thin Film Materials Characterization and Properties
  • MATS 671 Electronic Properties of Oxides
  • ME 580 Materials Selection
  • NSE 545 Materials for Nuclear Energy Systems
  • NSE 546 Nuclear Materials Characterization & Qualification
  • ST 511 Methods of Data Analysis
  • ST 512 Methods of Data Analysis II

For the M.A., M.S., Ed.M., M.F., or Ph.D. degree, a student may select two graduate major areas to pursue instead of the traditional single major. Only one degree is awarded, and the student basically must satisfy all degree requirements for majors in both areas. For more details, contact the Graduate School.


The Advanced Manufacturing graduate option recognizes the highly interdisciplinary nature of manufacturing, which spans the fields of systems engineering, machine design and control, engineering mechanics, fluid dynamics, heat and mass transfer, thermodynamics, and materials science and involves both experimental and computational efforts. Graduate students pursuing degrees in Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, or Materials Science may declare an Advanced Manufacturing option.

More information

Please Note:  If you are seeking a graduate assistantship, and wish to be included in the priority consideration pool, you must complete and submit the University application by December 31. Every year, our deadline for priority consideration is December 31.

On your application, you will be asked to identify potential mentors to be your research advisor. For M.S. or Ph.D. applicants, this is very important as the person(s) you identify will likely review your application. Make sure you choose faculty who are aligned with your research interests.

All applicants will be reviewed on their academic preparation, graduate school skills and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. M.S. or Ph.D. applicants with also be rated on their research readiness. There are specific questions in the application that address these items. It is very important that you complete these questions in order to be considered for admission.

Q1. What is the difference between M.Eng., M.S. and Ph.D. program options you offer?

We offer four different graduate degree options in the Materials Science Program. The M.S. and Ph.D. program require a research advisor, for the M.Eng. program a major professor will be assigned to you.

  • M.Eng. degree requires 45 credits of course work. Student will write a portfolio document that will serve as their final assessment. This is a great option for self-funded students who would like an advanced degree.
  • M.S. Thesis combines 45 credits of course work and research credits. Student will write a thesis document that will be published by the university.
  • M.S. Project combines 45 credits of coursework and research credits. Student will write a project document that will not be published by the University. This option is used in cases where project sponsors restrict publication of data or when a student is working towards a Ph.D. and would like to obtain an M.S. along the way.
  • Ph.D. combines 108 credits of coursework and research credits. Students are required to produce original research that expands the boundaries of knowledge in their field and will write a dissertation that will be published by the University.

Q2. Can I switch from M.Eng. to M.S. or Ph.D. after I join OSU?

M.Eng. students are admitted under the expectation that they are pursuing a coursework only degree (no research). If during your time at OSU, you find a research advisor and project you would like to work with, it is possible to change to a M.S. or Ph.D. Note that, you must complete at least one year of coursework before changing degree types.

Q3. Are there any funded positions available for incoming students?

All students, regardless of domestic/international status, are eligible to be awarded a graduate research assistantship (GRA) and/or graduate teaching assistantships (GTA) position, however it is very competitive. These positions cover your tuition, benefits and salary. These funds are allocated by individual faculty members so it important to identify prospective advisors prior to applying. M.Eng. students are typically self-funded and not considered for funded positions. Scholarships and tuition waivers are rare and only used in special circumstances (i.e., in combinations with external fellowships).  

Q4. Are GRE test scores required?

GRE scores are not required for any applicant. However, if you have taken the GRE, you may submit your scores in your application.  

Q5. Do you accept applications for the winter/spring term or only for fall admissions?

It is recommended that you apply during the fall admission cycle because this is when most faculty are recruiting and considering students. If you need to start later than fall you can ask for a deferment to a later term after you are admitted. Apply by December 31 for full consideration. No applications will be accepted after April 30 for the upcoming academic year.  

Q6. Is it possible to waive the application fee?

In cases of extreme need, an individual faculty member can request a waiver of the application fee for a prospective student they intend to recruit. Students may not make this request directly. Your future advisor will make this request to the program director and you will be provided a code to waive the application fee, if approved.  

Q7. Do international students have a disadvantage when it comes to applying directly to the Ph.D. program or funding?

We do not discriminate between domestic and international students in terms of admission or funding. However, it is a highly competitive process. No M.S. or Ph.D. student will be admitted without a research advisor willing to mentor them (regardless of funding). It is important to research the Material Science faculty and identify potential advisors aligned with your skills and interest in your application. M.Eng. students are self-funded and do not need to identify a research advisor. Admission into this program is less competitive. Applicants must still meet all of the graduate school requirements for admission.  

Q8. How do I apply for a graduate assistantship?

There is no separate application process for graduate assistantships, you will automatically be given full consideration for graduate assistantships. For almost all graduate assistantships, including both teaching and research assistantships, the selection process is determined by individual faculty members. Therefore, the best approach is to directly contact faculty members with research activities that aligns with your interests and research skills. It is important to correctly identify faculty members in your area of interest on your application. This will route your application to them for review.

The Material Science graduate student handbook has additional details about all aspects of the graduate program. The handbook published during the year of your matriculation contains the expectations you will be held to and is you guide to graduation.

Materials Science Graduate 2022-2023 Handbook

Vincent Remcho
Materials Science Program Director

Amy Thomson
Graduate Program Coordinator & Graduate Advisor

John Barber
Head Advisor, MIME Undergraduate Programs

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