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Course content

The master of science degree in materials science and engineering, offered jointly by the College of Science and the Kate Gleason College of Engineering, is designed with a variety of options to satisfy individual and industry needs in the rapidly growing field of materials.

The objectives of the program are threefold:

- With the advent of new classes of materials and instruments, the traditional practice of empiricism in the search for and selection of materials is rapidly becoming obsolete. Therefore, the program offers a serious interdisciplinary learning experience in materials studies, crossing over the traditional boundaries of such classical disciplines as chemistry, physics, and electrical, mechanical, and microelectronic engineering.

- The program provides extensive experimental courses in diverse areas of materials-related studies.

- The program explores avenues for introducing greater harmony between industrial expansion and academic training.

Plan of study

A minimum of 30 semester credit hours is required for the completion of the program. This includes five required core courses, graduate electives, and either a thesis or project. The core courses are specially designed to establish a common base of materials-oriented knowledge for students with baccalaureate degrees in chemistry, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, physics, and related disciplines, providing a new intellectual identity to those involved in the study of materials.

The program has an emphasis on experimental techniques, with one required experimental course as part of the core. Additional experimental courses are available for students who wish to pursue course work in this area. These courses are organized into appropriate units covering many aspects of the analysis of materials. This aspect of the program enhances a student’s confidence when dealing with materials-related problems.

- Electives

Elective courses may be selected from advanced courses offered by the School of Chemistry and Materials Science or, upon approval, from courses offered by other RIT graduate programs. Elective courses are scheduled on a periodic basis. Transfer credit may be awarded based on academic background beyond the bachelor’s degree or by examination, based on experience.

- Thesis/Project

Students may choose to complete a thesis or a project as the conclusion to their program. Students who pursue the thesis option take two graduate electives, complete nine semester credit hours of research, and produce a thesis paper. The project option includes four graduate electives and a 3 credit hour project.

Admission requirements

To be considered for admission to the MS program in materials science and engineering, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

- Hold a baccalaureate degree in chemistry, physics, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, or a related field from an accredited college or university,

- Submit official transcripts (in English) from all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work,

- Submit two letters of recommendation, and

- Complete a graduate application.

- International applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the Test of Written English (TWE). A minimum TOEFL score of 575 (paper-based) or 88-89 (Internet-based) is required. A 4.0 is required on the TWE. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores are accepted in place of the TOEFL exam. Minimum scores will vary; however, the absolute minimum score required for unconditional acceptance is 6.5. For additional information about the IELTS, please visit In addition, upon arrival at RIT, international students are required to take the English language exams, administered by the English Language Center. Individuals scoring below an established minimum will be referred to the center for further evaluation and assistance. These students are required to follow the center’s recommendations regarding language course work. It is important to note that this additional course work may require additional time and financial resources to complete the degree requirements. Successful completion of this course work is a requirement for the program.

Candidates not meeting the general requirements may petition for admission to the program. In such cases, it may be suggested that the necessary background courses be taken at the undergraduate level. However, undergraduate credits that make up deficiencies may not be counted toward the master’s degree.

Any student who wishes to study at the graduate level must first be admitted to the program. However, an applicant may be permitted to take graduate courses as a nonmatriculated student if they meet the general requirements mentioned above.

Additional information

- Part-time study

The program offers courses in the late afternoon and evenings to encourage practicing scientists and engineers to pursue the degree program without interrupting their employment. (This may not apply to courses offered off campus at selected industrial sites.) Students employed full time are normally limited to a maximum of two courses, or 6 semester credit hours, each semester. A student who wishes to register for more than 6 semester credit hours must obtain the permission of his or her adviser.

- Maximum limit on time

University policy requires that graduate programs be completed within seven years of the student's initial registration for courses in the program. Bridge courses are excluded.

Visit the Materials Science and Engineering MS page on the Rochester Institute of Technology USA website for more details!




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