Ph.D. Program

Our Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program is directed at students hoping to pursue a research career in academics, industry or national labs.  Our curriculum is flexible and easily tailored to support research in all areas of materials and individual interests.   

Typical coursework for Ph.D. program       Degree Requirements       Apply Now

Application Requirements

If you intend to pursue the Ph.D. program with a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent), without a master’s degree, apply directly to the Ph.D. program (not to the M.S. program). An M.S. degree may be obtained during the Ph.D. program once requirements for M.S. have been met. For admission and consideration for financial support, you need:

  • B.S. or M.S. Degree in Materials Science or related fields
  • Cumulative GPA of at least 3.0/4.0 (4.0=A) is required but on average successful applicants have grade point average of 3.7 or higher.
  • GRE optional (waived)
  • English Proficiency (international students only)

Apply by December 15 for fall 2024 admission.

Financial Support & Teaching Experiences

As an applicant to the Ph.D. program, you are eligible for financial support in the form of an research assistantship (RA), teaching assistantship (TA), or fellowship that provides full tuition, a partial fee waiver, and a stipend. Research assistantships are funded by grants or contracts directed by individual professors. MatSE graduate students are also encouraged to seek out fellowships and assistantships through our department and various partners.

5-year Funding Guarantee

Through the Grainger Engineering Five-Year Ph.D. Funding Guarantee, Ph.D. students in their first five years of enrollment are guaranteed a funded appointment for fall and spring that includes a full tuition waiver and stipend. Summer-funded appointments are based on eligibility.

Learn More

Finding an Advisor

All PhD students join a research group early in their first semester (by the end of September).  The department hosts a series of events (either in person or virtual) to help students make this essential connection to a faculty advisor that will provide a research assistantship, lab space or computational resources and guide students through PhD program.
Learn about our faculty and their research.

Where do Ph.D. students go  after graduation?

Stats for doctoral degrees awarded 2014-2021 by destination:

  • 44% academia
  • 38% industry
  • 18% national/international laboratory

  • 3M
  • Intel
  • Lam Research Corporation
  • Apple
  • Applied Materials
  • Dow Chemical Company
  • Genentech
  • Honeywell Aerospace
  • PPG Industries
  • S&C Electric Company
  • Solvay
  • Spirit AeroSystems
  • Thermo Fisher Scientific

National Labs

  • Argonne National Laboratory
  • Lawrence Berkeley Natioanl Laboratory
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society
  • International Institute for Carbon Neutral Energy Research
  • Korea Institute of Science and Technology
  • Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource


  • Colorado School of Mines
  • Cornell University
  • Harvard University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Northwestern University
  • Princeton University
  • Stanford University
  • The Ohio State University
  • University of California
  • University of Florida
  • University of Maryland, College Park
  • University Of Michigan
  • University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison

Schedule a department visit, or get in touch.       Contact Us

*Spring Prospective Student Visits: PhD applicants offered admission for Fall will be invited to visit our department. Additional information, including registration, will be provided via email to admitted PhD students.