Graduate Degree Plan

Degree Plans must be obtained before graduation. Please see your advisor!

Suggested steps to writing your degree plan

  1. Meet with your research advisor, or if you do not have one assigned as yet, then meet with the current graduate advisor.
  2. For the meeting, print out the degree plan form: Master’s degree plan form or Doctoral degree plan form. Take a current unofficial transcript print out or a listing of courses you have taken to date.
  3. If you have done courses at another graduate program, you can transfer 6 hours for an MS and 24 hours for a PhD.
  4. Requirements related to number of courses are tabulated below. Some additional points are given here:
  • For students doing a Master’s you can take more than the total credit hours and also take research hours. 
  • For all plans, additional research hours will not substitute for in-class course work.
  • If you have past coursework that overlaps with the core courses, you are encouraged to meet with the professor teaching the core class and review whether you need to take it.
  • M.S. students can take core courses throughout their program.
  • Doctoral students should take core courses within the first two semesters, keeping in mind that they need to do a Ph.D. cumulative qualifier at the end of their first year. Note that qualifiers are only offered in Summer. Therefore students joining in Spring will be able to take their qualifier when there is one complete rotation of core courses offered during their enrollment.
  • For doctoral students, the credit hours related to total in-class course hours represent the minimum required. You can take additional in-class courses and lower the number of research hours that you take. You cannot take more research hours to supplement in-class course requirements.
  • The thesis/dissertation hours represent the maximum permitted on your degree plan. These require continuous enrollment. Therefore it is recommended that you take these hours close to the semester when you expect to defend your thesis/dissertation.

Hours at a glance

The graduate curriculum committee has proposed to the graduate council a new plan based on our review of peer institutions. The new core will be:

1. Bonding and structure
2. Thermodynamics
3. Mechanical properties of materials
4. Electronic properties of materials


MS (Thesis)

MS (Problems)*

PhD with prior MS

PhD after a Bachelors Degree

Core courses

12 hours (Four 3 credit hour courses)

12 hours (Four 3 credit hour courses)

12 hours (Four 3 credit hour courses)

12 hours (Four 3 credit hour courses)

Elective courses

12 hours (Four 3 credit hour courses)

15 hours (Five 3 credit hour courses)

Minimum 9 hours (three 3 credit hour courses)

Minimum 24 hours (eight 3 credit hour courses)


2 hours (Two semesters of 1 credit each)

2 hours (Two semesters of 1 credit each)

2 hours (Two semesters of 1 credit each)

2 hours (Two semesters of 1 credit each)



6 hours of Thesis

6 hours of Problems

10 research hours

9 hours of Dissertation

22 research hours

12 hours of Dissertation






[*] Students with prior MS degrees in Materials, Metallurgy, Ceramics or Polymers may consider substituting the core for electives

Please note that MS (Problems) is considered a terminal degree.  Therefore following a Problems M.S., your Ph.D. degree plan will require 72 hours.  Following an M.S. Thesis degree, your PhD plan will require 42 hours.

Another point to consider is that under electives you are able to take two special problem courses for your Ph.D. to reflect the one-on-one instruction with your advisor. In the M.S. plan, you are able to take one special problems course as an elective.


For more information on graduate degree plans, contact

Sarah Jones
MTSE Student Relations
Phone: 940-565-3260
Fax: 940-565-4824