Program Requirements


The academic program for each student will be developed in conjunction with the advisor and advisory committee. Advisory committees may include faculty from Materials Science and Engineering, Physics, Chemistry and other areas of science and engineering. Students are encouraged to cross over disciplinary boundaries as part of their academic plan of study, their research activities and their participation in seminars and meetings.


  • The Doctoral degree (PhD) requires at least 72 credit hours and a dissertation. At least 27 credit hours must come from graduate course work and the remaining credit hours from thesis research (MSE 895). The courses must include 18 credit hours of MSE 700-level graduate courses and 9 additional graduate credit hours (500 and 700 level) in MSE or other technical disciplines. Additional courses should be taken as appropriate for the student’s research program. There is an MSE PhD qualifying exam, a preliminary oral exam and a final oral exam.
    • The MSE PhD qualifying exam (QE) is required for all PhD candidates and satisfies the written component of the Preliminary Examination. The MSE QE is based on a written research proposal and oral defense of that proposal. It also includes a component that tests basic knowledge of MSE principles in an oral format. All PhD students must pass the QE exam by the end of their fifth semester in order to remain as PhD candidates. The rules and scheduling for the QE can be downloaded here, PhD Qualifier Exam.
    • A Preliminary Oral Exam is also required for PhD candidates, and should be taken within three semesters after having completed the qualifying exam. The process for scheduling the preliminary exam can be found in the NCSU graduate student handbook. See the MSE guidelines for preparing the preliminary oral exam.
    • A Final Doctoral Oral Exam is required for Ph.D. student candidates. The guidelines for the Doctoral Oral Exam are available on the Graduate School website.
  • The Master of Science (MS) degree is a thesis degree that requires 30 credit hours of graduate course work of which 6 credit hours are thesis research (MSE 695). The courses must include 15 credit hours of MSE graduate courses and 9 credit hours of any graduate courses in technical disciplines. (Summer dissertation research, MSE 696, does not count towards the credit hour requirement) There is a thesis defense exam.
  • The Master of Materials Science and Engineering (MMSE) degree is a non-thesis (course only) master’s degree. The MMSE degree is available to on-campus students and to distance education students enrolled in the Engineering Online (EOL) program. To be admitted into the program, students must have a BS degree in materials science and engineering or related field, and a minimum overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0.Additional information about the MMSE degree and Distance Education Program can be found here.
  • The Master of Nanoengineering degree requires 30 total credit hours: 12 credit hours in core courses, a minimum of 12 credit hours in an area(s) of specialization and 6 technical elective credit hours. Program offers concentrations in Materials Science, Nanoelectronics and Nanophotonics, and Biomedical Sciences in Nanoengineering. There is no thesis requirement, nor is there a final oral exam. This program is appropriate for the distance-education Masters degree and is also offered to on campus students. The MNAE degree is also available as an Engineering On Line degree:


A plan of work (POW) is to be submitted by all candidates, no later than the end of their second semester. The MMSE degree requires a chairman for the POW, but no committee members. The thesis MS and PhD degrees require a committee of faculty members and a chairman. Consult the director of graduate programs (DGP) for more details and approval of the POW.


Graduate students with research or teaching assistantships have their tuition paid based on the terms of the Graduate Student Support Plan (GSSP). The requirements of the GSSP are available on the Graduate School website:

In order to remain eligible for the GSSP, students must remain in full time status. This normally requires that students be enrolled for 9 or more credit hours for the Fall/Spring semesters. Dropping below 9 credit hours during the semester can lead to loss of GSSP status, and loss of visa status for International students. Drop/add of courses during a semester must not be executed without the specific approval of the DGP, and must be done before the drop/add deadline for the semester.