Materials Science and Engineering

Graduate Study

For information on graduate admission, see Graduate Programs on page 26.

The following introductory information is based on 2019-20 program requirements for UCLA graduate degrees. Complete program requirements are available at Program Requirements for Graduate Degrees. Students are subject to the detailed degree requirements as published in program requirements for the year in which they enter the program.

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering offers Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in Materials Science and Engineering.

Materials Science and Engineering M.S.

Areas of Study

There are three main areas in the M.S. program: ceramics and ceramic processing, electronic and optical materials, and structural materials. Students may specialize in any one of the three areas, although most students are more interested in a broader education and select a variety of courses. Basically, students select courses that serve their interests best in regard to thesis research and job prospects.

Course Requirements

Thesis Plan. Nine courses are required, of which six must be graduate courses. The courses are to be selected from the following lists, although suitable substitutions can be made from other engineering disciplines or from chemistry and physics with the approval of the departmental graduate adviser. Two of the six graduate courses may be Materials Science and Engineering 598 (thesis research).

Comprehensive Examination Plan. Nine courses are required, six of which must be graduate courses, selected from the following lists with the same provisions listed under the thesis plan. Three of the nine courses may be upper-division courses.

Ceramics and ceramic processing: Materials Science and Engineering 121, 122, 143A, 151, 161, 162, 200, 201, 210, 211, 246D, 298.

Electronic and optical materials: Materials Science and Engineering 121, 122, 143A, 151, 161, 162, 200, 201, 210, 221, 222, 223, 298.

Structural materials: Materials Science and Engineering 121, 122, 143A, 151, 161, 162, 200, 201, 210, 211, 243A, 243C, 250B, 298.

As long as a majority of the courses taken are offered by the department, substitutions may be made with the consent of the departmental graduate adviser.

Undergraduate Courses. No lower-division courses may be applied toward graduate degrees. In addition, the following upper-division courses are not applicable toward graduate degrees: Chemical Engineering 102A, 199, Civil and Environmental Engineering 108, 199, Computer Science M152A, 152B, M171L, 199, Electrical and Computer Engineering 100, 101A, 102, 110L, M116L, 133A, M171L, 199, Materials Science and Engineering 110, 120, 130, 131, 131L, 132, 140, 141L, 150, 160, 161L, 199, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering 102, 103, 105A, 105D, 199.

Thesis Plan

In addition to the course requirements, under the thesis plan students are required to write a thesis on a research topic in materials science and engineering supervised by the thesis adviser. An M.S. thesis committee approves the thesis.

Comprehensive Examination Plan

Consult the graduate adviser for details. If the comprehensive examination is failed, students may be reexamined once with the consent of the graduate adviser.

Materials Science and Engineering Ph.D.

Major Fields or Subdisciplines

Ceramics and ceramic processing, electronic and optical materials, and structural materials.

Course Requirements

There is no formal course requirement for the Ph.D. degree, and students may substitute coursework by examinations. Normally, however, students take courses to acquire the knowledge needed to satisfy the written preliminary examination requirement. In this case, a grade-point average of at least 3.33 in all courses is required, with a grade of B– or better in each course.

The basic program of study for the Ph.D. degree is built around one major field and one minor field. The major field has a scope corresponding to a body of knowledge contained in nine courses, at least six of which must be graduate courses, plus the current literature in the area of specialization. Materials Science and Engineering 599 may not be applied toward the nine-course total. The major fields named above are described in a Ph.D. major field syllabus, each of which can be obtained in the department office.

The minor field normally embraces a body of knowledge equivalent to three courses, at least two of which are graduate courses. If students fail to satisfy the minor field requirements through coursework, a minor field examination may be taken (once only). The minor field is selected to support the major field and is usually a subset of the major field.

Written and Oral Qualifying Examinations

During the first year of full-time enrollment in the Ph.D. program, students take the oral preliminary examination that encompasses the body of knowledge in materials science equivalent to that expected of a bachelor’s degree. If students opt not to take courses, a written preliminary examination in the major field is required. Students may not take an examination more than twice.

After passing both preliminary examinations, students take the University Oral Qualifying Examination. The nature and content of the examination are at the discretion of the doctoral committee but ordinarily include a broad inquiry into the student’s preparation for research. The doctoral committee also reviews the prospectus of the dissertation at the oral qualifying examination.

Note: Doctoral Committees. A doctoral committee consists of a minimum of four members. Three members, including the chair, are inside members and must hold appointments in the department. The outside member must be a UCLA faculty member in another department. Faculty members holding joint appointments with the department are considered inside members.

Fields of Study

Ceramics and Ceramic Processing

The ceramics and ceramic processing field is designed for students interested in ceramics and glasses, including electronic materials. As in the case of metallurgy, primary and secondary fabrication processes such as vapor deposition, sintering, melt forming, or extrusion strongly influence the microstructure and properties of ceramic components used in structural, electronic, or biological applications. Formal course and research programs emphasize the coupling of processing treatments, microstructure, and properties.

Electronic and Optical Materials

The electronic and optical materials field provides an area of study in the science and technology of electronic materials that includes semiconductors, optical ceramics, and thin films (metal, dielectric, and multilayer) for electronic and optoelectronic applications.

Course offerings emphasize fundamental issues such as solid-state electronic and optical phenomena, bulk and interface thermodynamics and kinetics, and applications that include growth, processing, and characterization techniques. Active research programs address the relationship between microstructure and nanostructure and electronic/optical properties in these materials systems.

Structural Materials

The structural materials field is designed primarily to provide broad understanding of the relationships between processing, microstructure, and performance of various structural materials, including metals, intermetallics, ceramics, and composite materials. Research programs include material synthesis and processing, ion implantation-induced strengthening and toughening, mechanisms and mechanics of fatigue, fracture and creep, structure/property characterization, nondestructive evaluation, high-temperature stability, and aging of materials.