Doctoral Program

The Ph.D. Program is designed to prepare students for a career in research and/or teaching in their area of specialization. After completing the M.S. degree (or meeting equivalent requirements) and meeting the minimum standard on the Comprehensive Examination, or successfully defending a written thesis, to be admitted to or continue in the Ph.D. program, a student must:

  • Meet all University requirements.

  • Complete three advanced graduate courses (in addition to those required for the M.S.) that have been approved by the student's advisor.

    • Courses must be 4 units each (12 units total), in an engineering-related field, for a letter grade.

  • Enroll in MATS 200 for six quarters. See Courses for requirement details.

  • Pass the Literature Review Examination. This requirement must be completed within one year after passing the Comprehensive Examination.

  • Pass the Ph.D. Qualifying (Senate) Examination to advance to Ph.D candidacy.

  • Complete and defend a dissertation which, in the opinion of the dissertation committee, contains original work that should lead to publication of at least one significant article in an appropriate referred journal.

Students who transfer with some graduate credit or an M.S. from another institution will have their records reviewed by a faculty advisor, and an appropriate individual course of study may be approved.

To have your records reviewed, please complete the MATS Course Waiver Request Form, and review Graduate Division policies.

Comprehensive Examination

The examination consists of twelve questions, two from each of the six core courses. A passing grade is 60% for the M.S., and 70% for the Ph.D. The examination will not exceed six hours in duration. The examination is usually administered two weeks after spring quarter finals in June. Typically, students take the exam after one year of full-time enrollment. This exam may only be retaken once before the end of the second year of study.

Literature Review Examination

The examination consists of a presentation by the student on literature and interpretations on a research subject directly or indirectly related to the student's thesis topic, in the presence of the student's advisor. This exam must occur within one year of the student having passed the Comprehensive Examination. The student must submit a signed Literature Review Exam Form and the review (paper or presentation) to MATS Advising for completion of the requirement.

Senate Examination (Qualifying Examination)

The Senate Exam is an oral examination of the student's research proposal. The student must create a committee of five faculty members associated with the Materials Science and Engineering Program. Please review MATS committee details and resources from Graduate Division for committee compilation information. The student must notify the graduate coordinator of their intent to hold the Senate Exam four weeks prior to the exam through the MATS Exam Form. A written proposal of the student's research topic must be submitted to the committee at least one week before the exam. This exam is typically taken at the end of the third year of study, but no later than the end of the fourth year.

Thesis Dissertation Defense

The Dissertation Defense is the final Ph.D. examination. Upon completion of the dissertation research project, the student writes a dissertation that must be defended in an oral examination and public presentation conducted by the doctoral committee. The student must notify the graduate coordinator of the exam approximately four weeks prior to the exam through the MATS Exam Form.