The Department of Materials Science and Engineering offers a combined BS/MS degree program intended to foster undergraduate research and to accelerate progress toward a MS degree. This is a research intensive degree and offers students interested in expanding their research skills the opportunity to work in a research lab.
Only full time domestic students currently enrolled in Major Status in the Materials Science and Engineering undergraduate program can be admitted to the combined BS/MS Program. International students are not eligible for the BS/MS degree.
For undergraduate students interested in a vigorous pursuit of research the BS/MS program allows the student to expand the research of the student’s Senior Design Project to a MS thesis. The Senior Design requirements still must be met to complete the BS requirements.
The MS portion of the Research Project should be an expansion on the research that was done to complete the BS portion of the Senior Design as well as working with the same advisor as explained below:
- When a student interested in the BS/MS degree is discussing their research interest with an MSE faculty advisor, the student should explain in detail the elements of the Senior Design Project and the MS Research Project with the faculty prior to applying for this degree.
- Once a faculty advisor has agreed to work with the student on their Senior Project and the expanded research for their MS degree, the student and faculty will write a progress report for the student and faculty advisor to use as a guideline during the next two years. A copy of this progress report will be forwarded to the Academic Advisor to become part of the student’s departmental academic records.
- Students in the BS/MS degree program will begin working on the design portion of their senior projects during their junior year. Design Projects must meet the requirements as defined in the Senior Design Project Guidelines. The MS thesis topic is an extension of the required Senior Design Project with the addition of the hands on research in the advisors research lab. Student will begin working on the research portion of their degree upon completion of the Senior Design Project. The combined program is designed to be completed in five years and to culminate with the conferral of both the Bachelor of Science and Master of Sciences degrees. The BS degree portion of the combined degree requires the completion of 122 semester credit hours. The MS degree requires the completion of 30 additional hours. The standard BS degree requires 125.5 hours.
- Upon completion of the BS/MS degree, the student will receive both degrees at the College of Engineering Convocation Ceremony. Graduation cannot be applied for through the Graduation Office until the student has completed BOTH degrees.
Applicants for admission to the BS/MS program the student must have Major Status in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Utah. A minimum 3.5 GPA is required for admission to the combined program. It is also suggested that an appointment be made with the Academic Advisor to make sure that all requirements and details for applying for the BS/MS program has been satisfied. Application for the combined program must be submitted to the Academic Advisor by April 1st of the student’s junior year. Students will be notified of admissions decisions by May 1st.
BS/MS Application Deadline: April 1st
Only full time domestic students currently enrolled in Major Status in the Materials Science and Engineering program can be admitted to the combined BS/MS Program. International students are not eligible for the BS/MS degree.
Students should plan to have a total of two to three semesters in graduate status and may begin the process at the completion of the required 122 semester credit hours for the BS portion of the degree. Undergraduate status is maintained until the end of Spring semester senior year. Any deviation from the Program of Study for the BS/MS Program must be approved by the Academic Advisor. A separate application for Graduate School admissions will be due January 15th of Spring semester in junior year. To apply for Graduate Admission click here.
Department Application Requirements:
- Personal Statement
- Student must clearly indicate at the beginning of the personal statement that the application is for the BS/MS degree. The student must provide their understanding and brief description of the MS Thesis Project in the personal statement. Furthermore, students should detail why they should be selected to pursue the BS/MS degree.
- Resume or Curriculum Vitae
- Three Letters of Recommendation
- One of the three letters must come from the senior design project advisor that has committed to serve as the student’s M.S. thesis advisor. The faculty advisor must confirm in the recommendation letter that support will be provided and briefly outline the M.S. Thesis Research Project.
- Letters of recommendation should be sent directly by the provider to the MSE Academic Advisor Marcie Leek (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Minimum 3.5 GPA
- Current Degree Audit
Application materials should be sent through email to the MSE Academic Advisor Marcie Leek (email@example.com).
BS/MS students must apply to the Graduate School after the completion of 122 semester credit hours required for their undergraduate degree. Student must follow the regular University of Utah Graduate School application procedures. On the referral sheet that the MSE Department returns to the Graduate Admissions Office, the MSE Department will note the student has been accepted to the BS/MS program. Graduate Admissions will then approve admission without the BS having been completed.
Admission to the combined degree program guarantees admission to the Graduate School as long as a minimum GPA of 3.5 is maintained. The successful admission into the program is simply a matter of addition paperwork. Please note that application deadline is January 15th for Fall Semester.
Students must complete all the degree requirements for the MSE BS. For the MS, students must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours in courses level 6000 or above:
21 credit hours of coursework
– 18 out of the 21 credits must be MSE courses. Exceptions to this rule are at the discretion of the student’s Supervisory Committee.
– Of the required 18 credits of MSE courses, 12 credits will be dedicated to core MSE courses (MSE 6032, MSE 6001, MSE 6011, MSE 6034).
- 2 semesters of MSE Graduate Seminar (MSE 7800/7801)
- Maximum of 8 hours of Thesis Research (MSE 6970)
All coursework must be completed at a cumulative 3.0 GPA (B grade average). All courses must be passed with a B- or better.
Students will also be required to complete the following requirements during the course of the program:
- Supervisory Committee
- Program of Study
- Thesis and Defense
All BS/MS students are required to take the following MSE core graduate courses during senior year of the BS and the first semester of their MS. These courses will count towards the 21 hours of MSE graduate coursework hours.
- MSE 6032 – Advanced Thermodynamics (3 credits)
- MSE 6001 – Engineering Materials (3 credits)
- MSE 6034 – Kinetics (3 credits)
- MSE 6011 – Advanced Materials Techniques: Experiment, Theory, and Characterization (3 credits)
MSE 6032, MSE 6034, and MSE 6011 are usually completed during a student’s senior year in the BS program. These courses are taken as non-matriculated graduate credit and will need to be formally transferred to the MS once admitted by the Graduate School. For more information on this, please see Request for Graduate Credit below.
Students are required to take 2 semesters (0.5 credit hours each semester) of MSE Graduate Seminar.
- MSE 7800 – Graduate Seminar I (0.5 credits) Fall Semesters
- MSE 7801 – Graduate Seminar II (0.5 credits) Spring Semesters
One oral presentation is required. Graduate Seminar credit hours cannot be used to satisfy the 21 credit hours of MSE coursework.
MSE Graduate Seminar Independent Study
If students are unable to attend the Graduate Seminar in a given semester due to an academic or work related conflict, they will be required to make up the credit through an independent study. Students will still be required to register for MSE 7800/7801, as the credit hours are required for the graduate program. However, it will be the student’s responsibility to attend at least 10 seminars or lecture during the duration of the semester.
The seminars or lectures must be related to the field of Materials Science & Engineering. The seminars or lectures can be on or off campus. They could also be pre-recorded and viewed from various media platforms (example YouTube).
Students must write a one page (typed, single spaced, 12 pt. font) paper addressing the following topics:
• How the topics relates to your research
• One full paragraph should discuss the research style and communication skills of the speaker.
• Students should give advice on how the presentation could have been better
The 10 one-page papers are due the last day of classes in the given semester.
Students must complete at least 8 hours of Thesis Research (MSE 6970, Thesis Research: Master of Science.). The candidate must also be regularly enrolled at the University and registered for at least one course during the semester in which the final oral examination (thesis defense) is taken.
The transfer of graduate courses while taken as an undergraduate student must be done within the first semester of the MS program. The Request for Graduate Credit in BS/MS form can be found here.
Students are required to submit the form to the MSE Academic Advisor for approval before turned into the Registrar’s Office. Once the form has been approved by the Registrar’s Office, the courses that were moved to the graduate career cannot be moved back to the undergraduate career to clear requirements for the completion of the undergraduate degree.
- Graduate credit may be transferred from other regionally-accredited institutions with department and advisor approval. Credits transferred from another institution may be used for only one degree. Up to six semester hours of transfer credit may be applied toward fulfillment of graduate degree requirements if they are of high letter grade (B or higher; ‘credit only’ grades are unacceptable), are recommended by the student’s supervisory committee, and were taken within four years of semester of admission to the University of Utah for master’s students.
- Only nine semester hours of non-matriculated credit, taken no more than three year prior to approval, can be applied toward a graduate degree.
- No candidate for a graduate degree is permitted to register for more than 16 credit hours in any single semester. A schedule of nine credit hours is considered a full load for doctoral degree candidates.
- Only 3 hours of MSE 6980 – Faculty Consultations can be counted towards the MS degree provided there is proper documentation. This can take the place of 3 MSE coursework hours on the Program of Study.
- Only 1 hour of MSE 6950 – Independent Study can be used towards the MS Thesis degree.
- Students in the College of Engineering cannot simultaneously be candidates for an MS in one department and a ME, MS or PhD candidate in the same or in another department.
Each supervisory committee consists of three faculty members. The committee chair and the majority of the committee must be tenure-line faculty in the MSE department. In compliance with The Graduate School’s policy, the supervisory committee chair must be a regular faculty at the University of Utah with at least an adjunct appointment in the Materials Science and Engineering Department and the committee members must meet the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies. If the advisor is an adjunct faculty member in Materials Science and Engineering the other two members of the committee must be tenure track Materials Science and Engineering faculty members. If agreed by the advisor, one member of the committee can be chosen from outside the Department providing the advisor is a tenure track faculty member in Materials Science and Engineering.
During the first semester of graduate study, MS students are required to complete an Program of Study. This form is not a selection of courses that satisfies the minimum requirements, but will be a list of all course work and research hours proposed for the MS degree that will be approved by the Supervisory Committee. It is important that students understand that the Supervisory Committee makes the final decision for the courses that will appear on the Program of Study for the MS.
The procedure to complete the Program of Study form is as follows:
- Students must arrange a meeting with their Supervisory Committee Chair to present the proposed course for the Program of Study form.
At the meeting, the Supervisory Committee Chair will review and approve the student’s courses for their degree.
- In some cases, the Supervisory Committee Chair may require extra course work that exceeds the minimum requirements for a MS degree based on the thesis topic.
- As stated in the Graduate School’s requirements: coursework used to complete requirements for one graduate program may not be used to meet the requirement of another.
Students should become familiar with the information on the Thesis Office website.
The style and format for the MS Thesis are determined by Departmental policy and registered with the Thesis Editor, who approved individual theses in accordance with Departmental and The Graduate School policy. The approved style guides can be found on The Graduate School’s website.
Please be sure to check the Thesis Office manuscript tracking system to see if your thesis has been uploaded to ProQuest.
The draft or final thesis document will serve as the written basis for the presentation and should be submitted to the Supervisory Committee four weeks prior to the oral defense.
The oral defense date is set by the supervisory committee and is open to the public. After the oral presentation, a question and answer period must be allowed. At the conclusion of the public participation, the committee may excuse the public and conduct further questioning on the thesis and related topics. The outcome of the thesis defense is reported on the Report of the Final Oral Exam and Thesis for the Master’s Degree form. These forms are the responsibility of the student and can be found on The Graduate School’s website.
When should you defend in order to graduate in a specific semester?
The earlier you defend in a given semester, the more likely you are to be able to graduate that same semester. Check the Thesis Calendar to see when the submission deadline is. You need to defend far enough ahead of that deadline that you can make any changes to the text required by your committee and ensure that the manuscript adheres to your chosen style guide and Thesis Office requirements by the deadline. Be aware that if you submit your manuscript on the deadline and there are any formatting errors you will not graduate that semester. The sooner you turn your manuscript in the more likely you are to graduate in that semester. As a general rule of thumb, plan to defend in the first 2 months of the semester if you want to graduate that semester.
Students must be registered for at least 3 credit hours of MSE 6970 during the semester of their defense. Once the student defends and the thesis has been accepted by their supervisory committee the student is not required to register for another semester. International Students should check with the International Center once they have defended to make sure that they do not go out of status while completing requested rewrites.
Materials Science and Engineering Department Defense form:
- MS Thesis/Non-Thesis Defense form – Must be completed at the time of defense.
Graduate School and Thesis Office forms:
- Cheating or plagiarizing
- Abuse of faculty or teaching assistants
- Other serious violation of the student behavior code
- Failing to pass major required courses within the boundaries of the repeat policy
- Allowing your cumulative GPA to drop below a 2.3
- Appeal to the Department Chair (in writing) within 40 working days; chairs must notify student of a decision with 15 days. If the faculty member or student disagrees with decision then,
- Appeal to Academic Committee, see II Section D, Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities for details on Academic Appeal Committee hearings.
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