Materials Science and Engineering PhD

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College : Engineering and Computer Science Degree :PHD
Department : Materials Science and Engineering Option : Dissertation
Program Websites :


The Materials Science and Engineering PhD program provides students with a fundamental and applied research-based education suitable for seeking employment in industry or academia.


The Materials Science and Engineering PhD program requires a minimum of 72 credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree. The program requires 27 hours of formal course work exclusive of independent study and a minimum of 15 hours of dissertation research (EMA 7980). A minimum of 12 credit hours of elective coursework is required to be taken at UCF. Details of program requirements are located in the Materials Science and Engineering PhD Handbook.

Total Credit Hours Required:
72 Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Bachelor's Degree

Students entering the Materials Science and Engineering PhD program with a bachelor’s degree are required to complete 72 credit hours of graduate coursework, of which 27 hours must be formal coursework, 12 credit hours must be elective courses taken at UCF and a minimum of 15 dissertation credit hours.

Students entering the Materials Science and Engineering PhD program with a master's degree are required to complete 72 credit hours of graduate coursework including up to 30 hours of credit transfer for formal courses from their master's degree. These students have to take at least 12 credit hours of formal elective courses as listed below at UCF and 27 credit hours of formal graduate coursework in total.

The rest of the hours in the PhD program can be chosen by the student in consultation with the adviser and the dissertation committee and with the approval of the program director.

Unless a completed (signed) program of study itemizing the study plan is approved prior to the end of the first semester of studies, the program director may choose not to accept any part of the coursework (including independent studies and/or directed research) taken by the student on a program of study subsequently submitted by the student. 

Core Courses—12 Credit Hours

The following core courses are used as the basis for the doctoral qualifying exam and are recommended, but not required:

  • EMA 5104 Intermediate Structure and Properties of Materials (3 credit hours)
  • EMA 5106 Metallurgical Thermodynamics (3 credit hours)
  • EMA 5317 Materials Kinetics (3 credit hours)
  • EMA 6126 Physical Metallurgy (3 credit hours) or EMA 6319 Colloids and Interface Engineering (3 credit hours)

Elective Courses—57 Credit Hours

The program requires that 27 credit hours must be formal coursework, exclusive of independent study. Of these, it is required that 12 credit hours consist of elective courses taken at UCF, outside of the core courses listed above. Note that if both EMA 6126 Physical Metallurgy and EMA 6319 Colloids and Interface Engineering are taken, one of them may be taken as an elective. Elective courses that are commonly taught in Materials Science and Engineering are listed below:

  • EMA 5104 Intermediate Structure and Properties of Materials (3 credit hours)
  • EMA 5106 Metallurgical Thermodynamics (3 credit hours)
  • EMA 5317 Materials Kinetics (3 credit hours)
  • EMA 6626 Mechanical Behavior of Materials (3 credit hours)
  • EMA 5108 Surface Science (3 credit hours)
  • EMA 5140 Introduction to Ceramic Materials (3 credit hours)
  • EMA 6130 Phase Transformation in Metals and Alloys (3 credit hours)
  • EMA 6136 Diffusion in Solids (3 credit hours)
  • EMA 5585 Materials Science of Thin Films (3 credit hours)
  • EMA 6516 X-ray Diffraction and Crystallography (3 credit hours)
  • EMA 5586 Photovoltaic Solar Energy Materials (3 credit hours)
  • EMA 5584 Biomaterials (3 credit hours)
  • EMA 5060 Polymer Science and Engineering (3 credit hours)
  • EMA 6518 Transmission Electron Microscopy (3 credit hours)
  • EMA 5705 High Temperature Materials (3 credit hours)
  • EMA 5610 Laser Materials Processing (3 credit hours)
  • EML 6085 Research Methods in MMAE (3 credit hours)
  • EMA 6149 Imprerfections of Crystals (3 credit hours)

 Electives Outside EMA Offerings

  • CHM 5450 Polymer Chemistry (3 credit hours)
  • CHM 5451C Techniques in Polymer Science (3 credit hours)
  • CHM 5715C Optical Materials Processing and Characterization Techniques (3 credit hours)
  • CHM 6711 Chemistry of Materials (3 credit hours)
  • EEE 5332C Thin Film Technology (3 credit hours)
  • EEE 5352C Semiconductor Material and Device Characterization (3 credit hours)
  • EEE 6326C MEMS Fabrication Laboratory (3 credit hours)
  • EML 5290 Introduction to MEMS and Micromachining (3 credit hours)
  • EML 5291 MEMS Materials (3 credit hours)
  • OSE 5312 Light Matter Interaction (3 credit hours)
  • OSE 6432 Guided Waves and Optoelectronics (3 credit hours)
  • PHY 5140C Ion-Solid Interactions (3 credit hours)
  • PHZ 5405 Condensed Matter Physics (3 credit hours)

Other courses may be included in the elective hours with the approval of the student’s faculty adviser and the Materials Science and Engineering graduate program director.

Dissertation—15 Credit Hours

  • EMA 7980 (15 credit hours minimum)

The College of Engineering and Computer Science requires that all dissertation defense announcements are approved by the student's adviser and posted on the college's website, and on the Events Calendar of the College of Graduate Studies website at least two weeks before the defense date.


Both a qualifying exam and a candidacy exam are required. The doctoral qualifying exam is offered twice each year, during the fall and shortly after the end of the spring semesters. This is a two-day written examination intended to evaluate the student’s mastery of the field of Materials Science and Engineering. Depending on their area of research specialization and with their faculty adviser's approval, students may choose to take one of two versions of the exam. One focuses on Nanomaterials and the second is more broadly based in Materials Science Engineering. Details of the content of the two exams may be found at the departmental website, . The candidacy exam should be taken in the academic semester immediately following the student’s passing of the qualifying exam and is scheduled by mutual agreement of the student and his/her dissertation committee. The student must prepare a written description of their proposed dissertation research prior to the examination, and present that to their dissertation committee to review prior to the candidacy examination.  Additionally, the student may be questioned orally during the exam by the dissertation committee on topics relevant to the proposed dissertation research.

Dissertation Committee

The doctoral committee must consist of a minimum of five members: three must be faculty members of the graduate program faculty approved to direct dissertations by the Materials Science and Engineering program (see, one must be at large from outside the degree program. The committee Chair must also be a member of the UCF Graduate Faculty approved to direct dissertations by the Materials Science and Engineering program. Adjunct faculty and off-campus experts, if approved as Graduate Faculty Scholars, may serve as the outside-the-program person on the committee. Off-campus experts and adjunct faculty, if Graduate Faculty Scholars, may not serve as committee chairs but may be co-chairs. The College of Graduate Studies reserves the right to review appointments to advisory committees, place a representative on any advisory committee, or appoint a co-adviser.

The dissertation committee should be selected by the student and adviser at least a month before the candidacy exam. Extra time may be needed if one off-campus expert of adjunct faculty has not yet been approved as Graduate Faculty Scholar. The student and adviser should consult with the graduate program director to ensure that all requirements for the committee members are met and that all committee members informed of their responsibilities.

Admission to Candidacy

The following items are required to be admitted to candidacy and enroll in dissertation hours (enrollment in dissertation hours begins the semester following the completion of these requirements). Evidence of meeting these requirements must be received by the College of Graduate Studies by the day before the first day of classes for the semester in which a student wishes to enroll in dissertation hours.

  • Completion of 51 credit hours of course work, except for dissertation hours.
  • Successful completion of the qualifying examination.
  • Successful completion of the candidacy examination.
  • Successful defense of the written dissertation proposal.
  • The dissertation advisory committee is formed, consisting of approved Graduate Faculty and Graduate Faculty Scholars.
  • Submission of an approved program of study.

Dissertation Defense

All dissertations in Materials Science and Engineering must represent high-quality scientific work. Prior to scheduling the dissertation defense, the high quality of the research must be evidenced by: (1) two refereed journal publications with the doctoral candidate as first author that are in print, or formally accepted for publication, or (2) satisfaction of an alternative publication requirement as recommended by the Dissertation Advisory Committee and approved by a majority vote at a meeting of the program faculty (those having primary or secondary appointments in the MSE Department).

The dissertation proposal must be successfully defended and accepted by the Dissertation Committee in a meeting convened for that purpose. The dissertation proposal must be a complete dissertation document provided to the committee at least two weeks prior to the date of defense. In addition, the high quality of the research must be evidenced by two refereed journal publications of the doctoral candidate as first author that are in print, or formally accepted for publication, prior to the dissertation defense.

All members of the Dissertation Committee vote on acceptance or rejection of the dissertation proposal and the final dissertation. The dissertation proposal and final dissertation must be approved by a majority of the advisory committee.

Equipment Fee

Full-time students in the Materials Science and Engineering PhD program pay $17 per semester for equipment each semester that they are enrolled. Part-time students pay $8.50 per semester.

Application Requirements

For information on general UCF graduate admissions requirements that apply to all prospective students, please visit the Admissions section of the Graduate Catalog. Applicants must apply online. All requested materials must be submitted by the established deadline.

The College of Engineering and Computer Science strongly encourages prospective applicants to request a free pre-screening ( of their qualifications prior to submitting an online application for graduate admission. However, a pre-screening is not required; rather, it is offered as a courtesy to all prospective applicants before they commit to submitting a complete online application and paying an application processing fee.

Admissions decisions are made on the basis of a complete online application only, and not on the basis of any pre-screening. Prospective applicants who are encouraged to apply to their intended graduate program based on the information provided for their pre-screening are not assured of admission or financial assistance when they submit a complete online application. Although it is possible, it is not likely, that prospective applicants who are discouraged from formally applying to a graduate program at the pre-screening stage will be admitted if they elect to submit a complete online application anyway.

In addition to the general UCF graduate application requirements, applicants to this program must provide:

  • One official transcript (in a sealed envelope) from each college/university attended.
  • Official, competitive GRE score taken within the last five years.
  • Master’s and/or bachelor’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering or a closely related discipline.
  • Résumé.
  • Statement about educational, research, and professional career objectives should include the student's intention for full or part-time study and their desire for a assistantship or fellowship.
  • Three letters of recommendation.

Faculty members may choose to conduct face-to-face or telephone interviews before accepting an applicant into their research program.

Application Deadlines

Materials Science and Engineering PhD *Fall Priority Fall Spring Summer
Domestic Applicants Jan 15Jul 15Dec 1Apr 15
International Applicants Jan 15Jan 15Jul 1Nov 1
International Transfer Applicants Jan 15Mar 1Sep 1Dec 15
*Applicants who plan to enroll full time in a degree program and who wish to be considered for university fellowships or assistantships should apply by the Fall Priority date.


Graduate students may receive financial assistance through fellowships, assistantships, tuition support, or loans. For more information, see the College of Graduate Studies Funding website, which describes the types of financial assistance available at UCF and provides general guidance in planning your graduate finances. The Financial Information section of the Graduate Catalog is another key resource.


Fellowships are awarded based on academic merit to highly qualified students. They are paid to students through the Office of Student Financial Assistance, based on instructions provided by the College of Graduate Studies. Fellowships are given to support a student’s graduate study and do not have a work obligation. For more information, see UCF Graduate Fellowships, which includes descriptions of university fellowships and what you should do to be considered for a fellowship.