University of Wisconsin Madison College of Engineering

Degree Requirements for MSP

Degree requirements for students in the Materials Science Program are found here.

Contact Information for Materials Engineering Admissions
Materials Engineering Admissions
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1509 University Ave
Madison, WI 53706
Fax: 608/262-8353
You are here:
  1. Materials Science and Engineering, MSE > 
  2. Academics > 
  3. Prospective graduate students > 
  4. Degree requirements


Degree requirements for Materials Engineering


The Department of Materials Science and Engineering offers two advanced degrees: The MS and PhD in Materials Engineering.



MS in Materials Engineering


Most students entering the MS program have fulfilled the basic course requirements needed to begin their MS studies. If students have not had the equivalent of the basic courses in metallurgy, ceramics or materials science, they are required to make up the deficiencies by taking appropriate undergraduate courses from the BS degree program of UW-Madison. The content of a student's BS program, rather than the title of his or her BS degree, is used in determining deficiencies. The MS degree requirements are found here.


PhD in Materials Engineering


The PhD degree is granted in recognition of original scholarship. Therefore, beyond passing a qualifying examination, students must demonstrate research ability in their area of specialization as evidenced by preparation and defense of an original research proposal, and completion (preparation and defense) of a doctoral thesis. A PhD candidate who begins with a BS in engineering (with no deficiencies) may expect a 4-to-5 year graduate program.


The program of study for a prospective PhD student must be approved by the Graduate Affairs Committee. The PhD requirements are found here. They require a program of course work, a qualifying exam, a preliminary exam, and a thesis dissertation and defense. 


The PhD qualifying examination is a written examination, the objective of which is to test the student's competence in materials engineering subjects. Each student is required to answer questions in three areas of specialization. 


You will need to use your email address to access this googledocs folder.  

Log in to view example Materials Engineering Qualifier questions.




The purpose of the comprehensive PhD preliminary examination is to establish that students have attained an appropriate depth and breadth of knowledge in their field, and that they can use this knowledge in analyzing problems and planning their research. The examination is most beneficial if it is taken when students have performed sufficient research so that the research plan can be reviewed. However, the examination is not limited to the defined research topic. The examination calls for a written report on research in progress and an oral examination by a five-person faculty committee, including one member from another department. The committee will critically evaluate the proposed thesis. Candidates who do not pass the preliminary examination are given a second and final opportunity to do so within six months of the first examination.


Students are recommended for the PhD degree after satisfactorily completing and defending a thesis.