PhD in Materials Science and Engineering

PhD in Materials Science and Engineering

Develop Materials of the Future

Our PhD program in Materials Science and Engineering focuses on advanced materials and their application across the full spectrum of technical challenges around the world.

You'll receive a broad and deep understanding of materials science and engineering, preparing you for a range of career paths, including in academia, national laboratories, industry, government or nonprofits.

We offer the PhD in Materials Science and Engineering at our Potsdam campus.

Why Earn a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering From Clarkson?

The PhD in Materials Science and Engineering is multidisciplinary in its approach and engages faculty from across the divisions of the Coulter School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. This structure infuses the materials science and engineering curriculum with diverse perspectives and emphasizes industry-shaping research.

Our PhD program creatively combines opportunities for intellectual growth with hands-on experience in engineering materials and processes. You'll be able to choose coursework tailored to your areas of research interest. 

What You'll Learn

The PhD in Materials Science and Engineering program consists of 90 credit hours of coursework, seminars and project work.

This MSE program is designed to provide you with an in-depth, fundamental understanding of metals and alloys, polymers, ceramics, composites and advanced materials, as well as the relationships among structure, properties and processing.

Applications of advanced materials in biotechnology, electronic devices, alternative energy and the environment are at the forefront of technology development. Companies such as Corning, General Electric, IBM and GlobalFoundries, as well as the federal government and academia, seek scientists and engineers with MSE degrees to sustain their competitive edge.

Required core classes in materials science include:

  • Advanced Characterization of Materials
  • Advanced Materials Science and Engineering

You'll then choose four courses related to materials properties and applications. Example courses include:

  • Additive Manufacturing
  • Advanced Mechanics of Composite Materials
  • Advanced Welding Metallurgy
  • Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering Applications
  • Bioelectronics and Bionanotechnology
  • Colloids and Interfaces
  • Dielectrics
  • Electronic Devices for IC Simulation
  • Functional Polymer Systems
  • Intermolecular Forces in Modern Engineering
  • Introduction to Polymer Science
  • Nanostructured Materials
  • Physics of Semiconductor Devices
  • Polymer Materials
  • Principles of Physical Metallurgy
  • Selected Topics in Materials Engineering

You'll additionally select two courses in materials processing and characterization. Example courses include:

  • Corrosion Engineering
  • Manufacturing Implications of Advanced Materials Processing
  • Microelectronic Circuit Fabrication
  • Particle Transport, Deposition and Removal
  • Scanning Probe Techniques in Soft Condensed Matter Physics

Some courses are available online and can be taken remotely.

Review the full curriculum for the PhD in Materials Science and Engineering.

A limited number of one-year and partial-year tuition scholarships are available for qualified full-time students. A limited number of stipends are also available. Most scholarships and/or stipends are associated with department assistantships or completion of a master’s thesis as part of the qualified applicant’s plan of study.

To learn more about our scholarships and how to apply, contact the Coulter School of Engineering and Applied Sciences' graduate division at

All students must complete the candidacy procedure within two years after admission to the PhD program. Students may have two attempts to pass the candidacy procedure. If they fail their first attempt, they have two months to make a second attempt.

A dissertation must be submitted and defended orally before a committee of five faculty members, with at least one member from outside the department of the candidate's thesis advisor. Typically, faculty advisors are members of the Departments of Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry or Physics.

A complete application consists of the following:

  • Online Application Form
  • Resume.
  • Statement of Purpose.
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation.
  • Official Transcripts.
  • GRE Test Scores.
    • Optional: Applications will be read without GRE test scores, but applicants should submit scores if they believe they will enhance their application.
  • For international applicants, an English proficiency test is required.
    • Minimum test score requirements: TOEFL (80) and TOEFL Essentials (8.5), IELTS (6.5), PTE (56) or Duolingo English Test (115).
    • The English language-testing requirement is not waived based on language of instruction, nor do we accept university certificates. English testing is waived if an applicant has a degree from a country where English is the Native Language. Click here to see the list of these countries.

Career Possibilities

The PhD program is designed to prepare graduates for careers in research, development, design and education. The median wage of a materials science engineer with a PhD in the U.S. is $118,000 a year, according to However, the expected salary of an engineer with a PhD varies considerably according to experience.

Positions for those with a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering include:

  • Industrial production manager
  • Manufacturing engineer
  • Materials engineer
  • Medical writer
  • Process engineer
  • Professor
  • Research engineer
  • Research manager
  • Senior process engineer

Recent Employers

In looking ahead in their careers, PhD in Materials Science and Engineering students have found positions through:

  • Global Foundries
  • Intel
  • Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory
  • Lumentum
  • The Navicor Group

| STEM OPT Eligible

Contact Us

Department of Graduate Admissions
Phone: 518-631-9831

Interested in learning more about the PhD in Materials Science and Engineering? Contact the Office of Graduate Admissions today with your questions.

Find out more in the Coulter School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

99% Placement Rate - 2023 Graduate School Overall
Clarkson Graduate Materials Engineering accolade for Top 100 in the nation from the US News & World report.

Center for Advanced Materials Processing (CAMP)

The MSE graduate program is closely associated with the Center for Advanced Materials Processing (CAMP). CAMP strives to perform innovative research and conducts educational efforts of interest to industry on the synthesis and processing of advanced materials.

Learn more about CAMP

Expand Your Expertise

Increase your earning potential, and qualify for a wide range of academic and industry opportunities with a PhD in MSE from Clarkson.