Graduate Programs

Program Options

We offer Master’s Thesis, Master’s Non-thesis, and PhD degrees in two areas of specialization; Metallurgical and Materials Engineering (MME) and Materials Science.  If you are unsure which degree is best for you, our faculty advisors will work with students after admission to determine the best degree to suit their career goals.

Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Program Description

Metallurgical and materials engineering plays a role in all manufacturing processes which convert raw materials into useful products adapted to human needs. The primary goal of the Metallurgical and Materials Engineering program is to provide students with a fundamental knowledge-base associated with materials-processing, their properties, and their selection and application.

The emphasis in the department is on teaching and research focused toward materials processing operations which encompass: the conversion of mineral and chemical resources into metallic, ceramic or polymeric materials; the synthesis of new materials; refining and processing to produce high performance materials for applications from consumer products to automobiles, aerospace and electronics; the development of mechanical, chemical and physical properties of materials related to their processing and structure; and the selection of materials for specific applications.

Minimum requirements for admission include a 60% on the quantitative GRE as well as a 3.0 GPA.

Materials Science Program Description
Materials science is an interdisciplinary field involving the properties of matter and its applications to various areas of science and engineering. This scientific field investigates the relationship between the structure of materials at atomic or molecular scales and their macroscopic properties. Since this field incorporates elements from a variety of different fields, the interdisciplinary Materials Science program is a collaboration between numerous departments at Colorado School of Mines.

The interdisciplinary graduate program exists to educate students with at least a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering or science in the diverse field of materials science. This diversity includes the four key foundational aspects of materials science—materials properties including characterization and modeling, materials structures, materials synthesis and processing and materials performance—as applied to a variety of materials (i.e., metals, ceramics, polymers, electronic materials and biomaterials).

Degree Requirements

Metallurgical and Materials Engineering

Master of Engineering (Non-thesis)
  1. A minimum of 24.0 credit hours of approved course work and 3.0 hours of either a three credit hour research based Independent Study (MTGN599) or a designated design course (minimum of 3 credit hours) and graduate seminar enrollment during duration of program (up to a maximum of 1 credit hour).
  2. The designated design courses include the following courses: MTGN414, MTGN445, MTGN450, MTGN461, MTGN464, MTGN466, MTGN475/477, MTGN549, MTGN564, MTGN560. Alternative courses can be substituted with approval from the advisor and department head.

Restrictions:

  1. Only three (3) credit hours of independent course work, e.g. MTGN599, may be applied toward the degree.
  2. A maximum of nine (9) credit hours of approved 400-level course work may be applied toward the degree.
  3. Courses taken to remove deficiencies may not be applied toward the degree.

The Master of Engineering Degree can also be obtained as part of the combined undergraduate/graduate degree program. See the Physics section of the Undergraduate Catalog for more details.

Master of Science
Requirements: A minimum total of 30.0 credit hours, consisting of:

  1. A minimum of 18.0 credit hours of approved course work and a minimum of 6.0 hours of graduate research-credits listed under MTGN707.
  2. Approval of all courses by the Thesis Committee and the Department Head. (Thesis Committee: consisting of 3 or more members, including the advisor and at least 1 additional member from the Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Department.)
  3. Submittal and successful oral defense of a thesis before a Thesis Committee. The thesis must present the results of original scientific research or development.

Restrictions:

  1. Only three (3) credit hours of independent course work, e.g. MTGN599, may be applied toward the degree.
  2. A maximum of nine (9) credit hours of approved 400-level course work may be applied toward the degree.
  3. Courses taken to remove deficiencies may not be applied toward the degree.
PhD
Requirements: A minimum total of 72.0 credit hours consisting of:

  1. A minimum of 36.0 credit hours of approved course work and a minimum of 24.0 hours of research-credits (MTGN707). Credit hours previously earned for a Master’s degree may be applied, subject to approval, toward the Doctoral degree provided that the Master’s degree was in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering or a similar field. At least 21.0 credit hours of approved course work must be taken at the Colorado School of Mines.
  2. All courses and any applicable Master’s degree credit-hours must be approved by the Thesis Committee and the Department Head (Thesis Committee consisting of: 5 or more members, including the advisor, at least 2 additional members from the Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Department, and at least 1 member from outside the Department.)
  3. Presentation of a Proposal on the Thesis-Research Project to the Thesis Committee.
  4. Passing grade on the written and oral Qualifying-Process (Q.P.) Examinations.
  5. Presentation of a Progress Report on their Research Project to the Thesis Committee; this presentation is usually 6 months after successfully completing the Q.P. Examinations and no fewer than 6 weeks before the Defense of Thesis.
  6. Submittal and successful oral-defense of a thesis before the Thesis Committee. The thesis must present the results of original scientific research or development.

Restrictions:

  1. Only six (6) credit hours of independent course work, e.g. MTGN599, may be applied toward the degree.
  2. A maximum of nine (9) credit hours of approved 400-level course work may be applied toward the degree.
  3. Courses taken to remove deficiencies may not be applied toward the degree.

Materials Science (Interdisciplinary)

Master of Science (Non-thesis)
The non-thesis Master of Science degree has been designed for engineers or scientists who are working in industry. The thesis requirement is replaced with the requirement to complete a Case Study. The industrial student, who most likely has technical laboratory or manufacturers experience, may find this program more suited to their employment responsibilities.

The non-thesis Master of Science degree requires a minimum of 30 total semester hours of acceptable coursework and case study credit including:

  • 24 hours of courses (minimum)
  • 6 hours of case study credits. (Sign up for MLGN 599, Case Study Materials Science, using a paper form at the Registrar’s Office).

Non-thesis students are strongly encouraged to gain industrial or laboratory experience during the course of their studies through co-ops or other arrangements. Students must indicate their intent to pursue a non-thesis Master of Science at their initial enrollment in the Materials Science program. Permission to change tracks from thesis to non-thesis, or vice-versa, will be granted only under certain circumstances. It must be approved by your advisor and submitted for approval by the Graduate Affairs Committee.

Dual Masters of Science (Non-thesis)
The dual degree program offered through the Materials Science Program provides non-thesis students the opportunity to earn two master’s degrees over two years of study. After completing the program, students will have earned a Master of Science in Materials Science from Mines and a Masters of Science in Physical Chemistry & Chemical Physics (PCCP) from the University of Bordeaux (UBx).

PROGRAM PLAN

Year One (August 15 – May 15): Students begin coursework at Mines 

  • MLGN 591 – Materials Thermodynamics
  • MLGN 592 – Advanced Materials Kinetics and Transport
  • MLGN 593 – Bonding, Structure, and Crystallography
  • AND 5 elective courses aligned with the UBx PCCP program

Year Two (September 1 – June 15): Students begin coursework at UBx 

  • 5 graduate courses
  • 6-month internship at French national laboratory
  • Author Case Study report and defend to CSM-UBx faculty

Additional information

Master of Science

A Master of Science Degree requires the ability to perform research work as well as understand and apply the advanced concepts presented in graduate-level courses in your area of specialization. A Master of Science thesis, which is a report of original scientific research or development, is required for the completion of your degree. You will conduct your research project with the guidance of your advisor but must demonstrate independent thinking.

The Master of Science degree requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of acceptable course work and research credit including:

  • 18 hours of Materials Science courses (must have completed the three core courses)
  • 6 to 12 hours of thesis research credits depending on Focus Area requirements
  • Submit a thesis and pass the Defense of Thesis examination before the Thesis Committee.

You must complete a minimum of 18 hours of approved graduate course work. Up to nine hours of 400-level courses may be counted towards graduation. Up to nine hours of course work with a grade of “B” or better may be transferred from another recognized institution upon the approval of the Graduate Affairs Committee and the Graduate Dean. A total of 30 hours is needed for the Master of Science degree.

The typical time to completion is 1 1/2 to 2 years.

  • 1st Semester: Begin course work, including the three core courses; select research topic; appoint thesis committee: begin research.
  • 2nd Semester: Present course work to committee; continue course work and research.
  • 2nd Year: Complete course work and thesis; defend thesis.

Thesis Proposal/Defense Process

PhD
  1. The Doctor of Philosophy degree requires a minimum of 72 hours of course and research credit including; the fulfillment of the three Materials Science core courses (9 credits hours), plus 5 more courses within the Materials Science program or a participating department, totalling 24 course credits hours. In order to achieve the required 72 credit hours, credits are acquired through a mix of courses and research credit hours, again tailored to the individual student needs. The 48 remaining credits will primarily be research credits.
  2. Successful completion of the written qualifying examination in the specialty area
  3. Successful completion of the thesis proposal
  4. Prepare and submit a written thesis and pass a Defense of Thesis examination before the Thesis Committee.

DEGREE PROCESS

The following constitutes the qualifying processes by which doctoral students are admitted to candidacy in the Materials Science program.

  • CORE CURRICULUM – The three required core classes must be completed within the first Fall and Spring semesters for all doctoral candidates. Students must obtain a grade of B- or better in each class to be eligible to take the qualifying examination at the end of the succeeding spring semester. If a student receives a grade of less than B- in a class, the student may request an additional final examination be given during the mid-term break of the following spring semester. If the result of this examination is a B- or better, the student will be allowed to take the qualifying examination. The grade originally obtained in the course will not be changed as a result. If not allowed to complete the qualifying examination at the end of the spring semester, students will be discouraged from the PhD program and encouraged, rather, to finish with a Masters degree.
  • QUALIFYING EXAMINATION – A qualifying examination is given annually at the end of the spring semester under the direction of the Materials Science Graduate Affairs Committee. All first-year Materials Science students are expected to successfully complete the qualifying examination within three semesters to remain in good standing in the program. The examination covers material from the core curriculum plus a standard introductory text on Materials Science, such as “Materials Science and Engineering: An Introduction”, by William Callister.
  • THESIS PROPOSAL –  A student’s PhD thesis committee administers a PhD Thesis Proposal defense. The PhD proposal defense should occur no later than the student’s fourth semester. While the proposal itself should focus on the central topic of a student’s research efforts, during the proposal defense, candidates may expect to receive a wide range of questions from the Committee. This would include all manner of questions directly related to the proposal. Candidates, however, should also expect questions related to the major concept areas of Materials Science within the context of a candidate’s research focus. The Committee formally reports results of the PhD proposal defense to the Materials Science Program Director using the Committee Reporting form developed by the Office of Graduate Studies.
  • Upon completion of these steps and upon completion of all required coursework, candidates are admitted to candidacy.
  • THESIS DEFENSE – Following successful completion of coursework and the qualifying process, doctoral students must submit a thesis and successfully defend it in an oral presentation to the Thesis Committee in a public meeting. The thesis must present the results of original scientific research or development. For more detailed instructions on the thesis defense process, please see the Office of Graduate Studies website.

Thesis Proposal/Defense Process