Masters of Science (M.S.)

female grad studentThe program for the M.S. degree must include a total of at least 30 credits. Subject to the approval by the graduate program chair or co-chair and the graduate school, a maximum of 10 credits of high-quality graduate work conducted at an accredited U.S. institution may be applied toward the requirements for the master's degree.  However, credits earned to complete a previous master's degree, whether at Penn State or elsewhere, may not be applied to a second master's or doctoral degree at Penn State.  The one exception is that credits may be counted for both the MS and PhD in MatSE if both degrees are earned at Penn State. A minimum of six research credits (MatSE 600) is required. The minimum number of formal course credits required is 18 (excluding MatSE 590 and 600), with a minimum of 12 credits at the 500-level (excluding MatSE 590 and MatSE 582).

The instructional program includes three required graduate core courses in materials including Thermodynamics of Materials (MATSE 501), Kinetics of Materials Processes (MATSE 503) and Principles of Crystal Chemistry (MATSE 512). All candidates for advanced degrees are also expected to attend the MatSE 590 colloquium.

The Graduate School requires that all candidates for advanced degrees complete training in Scholarship and Research Integrity (SARI). The SARI requirements for the iMatSE program include completion of an online Responsible Conduct of Research training program and a 1 credit Professional Development course (MATSE 582). Students should complete the SARI requirements by the end of their first year of study.

A thesis describing independent research performed by the student shall be written and defended in an oral examination. Bound copies will be made available for the University Library and the thesis advisor. A thesis committee will administer the final oral examination of the thesis. The M.S. committee will consist of a minimum of three (3) graduate faculty members. At least two (2) of these must be members of the iMatSE graduate faculty. The student (in conjunction with his/her advisor) will recommend appropriate members for the committee. Students intending to graduate in a particular semester must activate their intent to graduate, submit the thesis for format review and submit a final version of the thesis to the graduate school by the specific dates listed on the graduate school website.

Summary of Requirements

The following table summarizes the M.S. degree requirements:

Minimum Total Credits

30 credits

Minimum Research Credits

6 credits

Minimum Formal Course Credits

18 credits

Minimum 500-Level Credits

12 credits

Core Graduate Course Credits

9 credits


2 credits/year

Scholarship and Research Integrity Credits

Online training and 1 credit of MatSE 582 (Materials Science and Engineering Professional Development)

Minimum GPA for Graduation


Thesis Requirement

A written thesis and an oral defense administered by a committee of 3 faculty members, with at least 2 from the iMatSE graduate program