PhD and Master’s of Science in Materials Science & Engineering

Graduate Program in Materials Science and Engineering

Materials science and engineering is both a foundational discipline in engineering and a branch of science at the intersection of physics, chemistry, biology, and related disciplines. The University of Wisconsin offers graduate degrees in materials science and engineering, with a primary focus on Ph.D. students, who perform cutting-edge independent research with the support of their advisors and thesis committee members. A Master’s degree is also offered during progress towards the PhD for students enrolled in the PhD program.  Direct admission to the terminal Master’s degree program is unusual.

All students can expect to be supported as fellows, research assistants, or teaching assistants for the duration of their graduate study in materials at the University of Wisconsin.  (See below for more information.)

Requirement and policies for the PhD and MS degrees can be found at the UW-Madison Graduate Guide. Further information is available in the MS&E Graduate Program Handbook.


Information for Prospective Students

As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the GRE requirement is waived for all applicants to Spring 2022, Summer 2022, and Fall 2022 terms.

Admission requirements are available in The Guide.

Application deadlines:

  • Spring semester: October 1
  • Fall semester: December 15**

**takes effect Fall 2020


If you have questions about the application or admissions process, please do not hesitate to


Various types of financial assistance are available for entering graduate students, including research assistantships, teaching assistantships, fellowships and special grants. Decisions regarding financial support are made on the basis of letters of recommendation, grades, GRE general test scores, and, for research assistantships, the matching of the interests or experience of the applicant to the research programs of individual faculty members. January 1 is the deadline for receipt of fellowship applications. Foreign students are generally not eligible for university fellowships. Applications for other types of support are accepted until mid-February.

Research Assistantships (RAs) are available in any materials science area. These appointments are under the supervision of the major professor directing the research. Students interested in research assistantships in a particular area are encouraged to contact professors whose work is of special interest. The faculty’s research interests are given in the Department of Materials Science And Engineering faculty section. An RA permits the most rapid progress toward a degree. Research assistantships in materials science graduate students are comparable to similar stipends from other institutions. Information about stipends can be obtained from the Associate Chair of Graduate Studies. 

Teaching Assistantships involve teaching rather than research experience. They pay approximately the same as Research Assistantships. Teaching experience is especially desirable for students considering an academic career.  The Department of Materials Science and Engineering supports a limited number of teaching assistantships, which are allocated after admissions. Applications for teaching assistantship positions for the 2020-2021 academic year are available here.

Herb Fellowships in Materials Science are given out each year. The Herb Fellowship is a one-year full-ride fellowship for incoming graduate students. It is intended to provide especially strong students extra flexibility and independence in formulating their graduate research program.

Fellowships supporting graduate education are also offered on a competitive basis by organizations such as the National Science Foundation, the Hertz Foundation, UW-Madison Graduate School, the U.S. Department of Defense and a number of industries and foundations. Because some of these fellowships have fall application deadlines, early application is necessary. GRE scores for the General Test are required for fellowship applications.

Information about the graduate program is available in the Materials Science and Engineering Graduate Handbook. 

Information for Current Students

Forms for graduate students in the Materials Science & Engineering program:

PhD students must submit a PhD minor agreement form available here before taking the thesis proposal exam

Before registering for the second semester of courses, students must submit a course plan for all 24 credits, including the core courses, elective courses, and the minor, signed by the student and the advisor: Materials Science & Engineering Course Plan

Graduate students typically enroll for research credits each semester.  The enrollment process is described in an email to students each semester.

To complete the major milestones towards a graduate degree, students must request a warrant using the forms below:

MS Warrant Request Form

Preliminary Exam Warrant Request Form

PhD Warrant Request Form

Previous Degree Programs

This contains the course requirements for students admitted before Fall 2016 in the Materials Engineering program: Materials Engineering Graduate Handbook. It also contains useful information about resources for learning and research and life as a graduate student in Madison.

Graduate students in the Materials Engineering Program can find your forms here:

Materials Engr. Course Substitution Form

Materials Engr. course plan

Materials Engr. PhD committee form

Upon graduation, students should complete the graduate program exit interview.

These documents contain the requirements for students admitted before fall 2016 in the Materials Science Program: MSP terminal MS requirements and MSP PhD requirements

Materials Science Graduate Handbook

Graduate students in the Materials Science Program can find your forms here:

MSP MS committee member form

MSP Core Course Selection Form

MSP Course Substitution Request

MSP Thesis Proposal Approval Form

MSP PhD Thesis Committee Names Form

MSP RRE approval Form

MSP minor form

Each semester, graduate students should request authorization for research credits to work with your faculty advisor. If your advisor’s primary affiliation is outside of Materials Science & Engineering, you will need to contact him/her to get registered.

Upon graduation, students should complete the graduate program exit interview.