Graduate Programs

Materials students in labThe interdisciplinary Materials Science program is a collaboration of the departments of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Chemistry, Mechanical Engineering, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, and Physics.

Learn more about the graduate degree programs in Materials Science at Mines:

PhD Program

Master of Science, Thesis

Master of Science, Non-Thesis

Master of Science, Non-Thesis, Dual Degree 

General Information


Materials Science Core Courses

Materials Thermodynamics class

Materials Thermodynamics - MLGN 591 - 3.0 hours

A review of the thermodynamic principles of work, energy, entropy, free energy, equilibrium, and phase transformations in single and multi-component systems. Students will apply these principles to a broad range of materials systems of current importance including solid state materials, magnetic and piezoelectric materials, alloys, chemical and electrochemical systems, soft and biological materials and nanomaterials.

Advanced Materials Kinetics and Transport - MLGN 592 - 3.0 hours

A broad treatment of homogenous and heterogeneous kinetic transport and reaction processes in the gas, liquid, and solid states, with a specific emphasis on heterogeneous kinetic processes involving gas/solid, liquid/solid, and solid/solid systems. Reaction rate theory, nucleation and growth, and phase transformations will be discussed. A detailed overview of mass, heat, and charge transport in condensed phases is provided including a description of fundamental transport mechanisms, the development of general transport equations, and their application to a number of example systems. Prerequisites: A 300 level or higher course in thermodynamics, introductory college chemistry, electricity and magnetism, differential equations, or permission of instructor.

Student learning outcomes

  1. Identify and solve solid-state diffusion problems in material science applications that have complex geometries, boundary and initial conditions, and with multiple driving forces.
  2. Describe qualitatively the mechanisms of diffusion and role of defects in crystalline and amorphous materials across all classes of materials and quantitatively predict diffusivity and its changes with temperature.
  3. Quantitatively and qualitatively predict changes in diffusivity across all classes of materials with temperature, pressure, and defect concentration.
  4. Recognize material phenomena that result from stress-driven morphological evolution and model evolution kinetics that result from surface diffusion and vapor transport.
  5. Discriminate phase transformations based on thermodynamics and quantitatively model microstructural evolution.
  6. Construct rate equations for the kinetics of materials processing in reaction-limited, diffusion-limited, and coupled regimes.
  7. Formulate appropriate approximations to model material kinetics and defend their chosen approximations.

Topics covered

  • Continuum Description of Diffusion: Driving Forces & Fluxes
  • Atomic Models for Diffusion
  • Stress-Driven Morphological Evolution
  • Kinetics of Phase Transformations
  • Kinetics of Materials Processing

Bonding, Structure, and Crystallography - MLGN 593 - 3.0 hours

This course is an overview of condensed matter structure from the atomic scale to the microscale. The course relates atomic orbitals, bonding, and symmetry to the structure of crystalline materials, surfaces, crystalline defects, polymers, and amorphous materials. Diffraction techniques are then developed for characterization of structure at the crystalline through microscopic scales.

Prerequisites: A 300 level or higher course in thermodynamics or permission of instructor.

Safety Training

At the beginning of each semester, Environmental Health and Safety presents a mandatory General Safety class for all incoming graduate students. Students who need access to chemical stores and waste collection services are provided additional training. You are required to attend the Safety Seminar held in your home department/division each year.

Good Standing

Graduate students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in both graduate and undergraduate courses. Falling below the grade standards places the student on academic probation. If the cumulative average is not raised by the end of the semester, the student will be dismissed.

Activities and Collateral Duties

Students will be given the chance to experience both teaching and research activities. TA assignments vary based upon the advisor's home department.

Summer and Field Appointments

All graduate assistant and graduate hourly appointees working toward degree requirements during the summer or field sessions are required to register for 3 to 4 research credits.

Thesis Committee and Academic Advisor

The PhD candidate, in collaboration with his or her advisor, selects a thesis committee (four professors, one from other than his or her home department or division).

The Master of Science (thesis) candidate, in collaboration with his or her advisor, selects a thesis committee of three professors. All may be from the home department.

The advisor/thesis Committee form should be completed during the first semester at Mines. Please refer to the Office of Graduate Studies advisor/thesis committee webpage for more information.

MS Degree and PhD Entrance Requirement

The successful completion of the master's thesis or case study presentation, followed by questions from a committee of three faculty members, is the official completion to the master's program. This occurs approximately one to two years into one's program at Mines.

Students must either have taken, or have waived, the three Materials Science core courses, and must have satisfied the course credit hours for their master's program. If an incoming graduate student has a master of science degree from an engineering and science program, he or she enters directly into the PhD program and can transfer some or all his or her credits with committee approval.

This master thesis or case study content should be part of the graduate student's PhD research and thesis effort so as not to hinder the progress of the PhD thesis program.

Materials Research Society

The Colorado School of Mines student chapter of the Materials Research Society was established in Fall 2012. Its purpose is to foster scientific discussion among students and faculty in the various materials disciplines, to generate student interest in materials science, and to promote the exchange and dissemination of information from the society. This is accomplished through a variety of activities, including research seminars, panel discussions, professional networking events, and social events. Currently, the chapter has 25 members.


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Last Updated: 09/19/2017 14:30:54