Apr 24, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
    
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Materials Science and Engineering Major, PhD


The faculty of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, seek to prepare students to join the international ranks of professional scientists and engineers in fundamental areas of materials science and engineering, as well as cross-disciplinary sciences in which materials expertise plays a critical role in the development of new knowledge and technologies. Students planning to major in materials science and engineering for the master’s or doctoral degree will ordinarily have attained a satisfactory record in a bachelor’s degree materials program, or in related technical areas of science and engineering.

Campus Code


Knoxville Campus

Admissions Standards/Procedures


  • The materials science and engineering program is flexible and interdisciplinary in nature. Students may be admitted from a wide range of disciplines. These include physics, chemistry, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, materials engineering, nuclear engineering and engineering science programs.
  • Applicants for admission to the PhD program in materials science and engineering are expected to have completed a bachelor’s degree in an area of engineering or science with a grade-point-average of at least 2.70 out of 4.00 (or 3.00 during the senior year of undergraduate study).
  • All applicants must submit scores from the general Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
  • Applicants whose native language is not English must have a minimum TOEFL score of 550 on the written exam or 80 on the Internet-based Test to be considered for admission to the programs.
  • After one year in residence and with the approval of the faculty, a student may proceed directly to the doctoral program without completion of a master’s degree.

Credit Hours Required


Minimum of 72 graduate credit hours after the bachelor’s degree, 42 graduate credit hours after the master’s degree

Required Courses


Additional Concentration Requirements


  • Automotive Materials Concentration at least 12 credit hours of coursework must be from the approved automotive materials specialization list.
  • Energy Science and Engineering Concentration, all 18 graduate credit hours of coursework must be from the curriculum jointly approved by the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education and the MSE graduate affairs committee.
  • Nanomaterials Concentration at least 12 credit hours of coursework must be from the approved nanomaterials specialization list.

Non-Course Requirements


  • Satisfactory performance on the Comprehensive Examination. In MSE, this comprehensive examination consists of three parts:
    • the Qualifying Examination;
    • the Dissertation Proposal (this proposal satisfies the Graduate School written requirement for the comprehensive examination);
    • the Dissertation Proposal Oral Examination (this oral portion of the comprehensive examination is encouraged by the Graduate School).

Additional Information — Concentration Course Lists


Energy Science and Engineering Concentration Course List


  • Core courses (6 credit hours)

  • Knowledge Breadth curriculum (3 credit hours),
  • Political, social, legal, ethical, and security issues related to energy (e.g.,  POLS, PHYS, ESE)
  • Entrepreneurship, leadership, and management (e.g., IE, ME, MGT, ESE)
  • Additional courses may be selected in consultation with the Bredesen Center’s Director
  • Knowledge Specialization curriculum for Domain Science (6 credit hours),
  • Bioenergy and biofuels (e.g., EEB, MICR, BCMB, CBE, LFSC, PLSC)
  • Cross-cutting energy sciences (e.g., MICR, ECE, CHEM, PHYS, MATH, STAT)
  • Distributed energy and grid management (e.g., ECE)
  • Energy conversion and storage (e.g., CBE, CHEM, ME, MSE, PHYS)
  • Energy materials (e.g., MSE, PHYS)
  • Environmental and climate sciences related to energy (e.g., GEOL, MICR, BCMB, EEB, ESS, FORS, GEOL, LFSC, MICR, PLSC, ENVE, FWF)
  • Nuclear energy (e.g., NE, CHEM, ME, PHYS)
  • Renewable energy (MATH, CBE, ENVE, ME, STAT)
  • Transportation sciences (e.g., CBE, CE, ECE,  ME)
  • Additional courses may be selected in consultation with the major professor or research advisor
  • (1 credit hour) taken three times for 3 credit hours
  • ESE program specifics may be reviewed under the Energy Science and Engineering Major, PhD program section of this catalog. The Bredesen Center Graduate Student Handbook is also a resource.