The Department of Materials Science and Engineering offers a combined, five-year BS/MS Program intended to foster undergraduate research and to accelerate progress toward a MS degree. Students will apply to the BS/MS Program by April 1 of their junior year and start their graduate-level classes in the senior year of their BS degree. Following their undergraduate coursework, students have one full year to complete their master’s degree. As part of their master's, students will complete either a research thesis or a special project, which they will start in the senior year of their undergraduate career.

Only full-time domestic students currently enrolled as Major Status in the Materials Science and Engineering undergraduate program can be admitted to the combined BS/MS Program. There is a 3.0 GPA requirement. International students are not eligible for the BS/MS degree.

Materials Science and Engineering BS/MS 2022-2023 Program of Study

Materials Science and Engineering BS/MS 2020-2021 Program of Study


AdmissionsDegree RequirementsSupervisory CommitteeProgram of StudyThesis and Defense

Program Description

BS/MS Program is a vigorous five-year program designed to launch them into industry or prepare them for a PhD program.  The bachelor’s portion of the combined degree requires a minimum of 122 semester credit hours; most engineering students exceed 122 hours. The MS degree requires the completion of 30 additional 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.

Students will start their graduate-level classes in the senior year of their bachelor’s degree and have one full year to complete their master’s coursework. As part of their master’s, students will complete either a research thesis or a special project. Credits are non-transferable. Meaning, if a student takes credits of MSE 6970–Thesis Research and then decides to complete a special project instead, they will have to retake credits under MSE 6590–Special Project. Students are encouraged to confer with faculty to decide which path is best for them.

In order to apply to the BS/MS Program, students are responsible for selecting a research area or special project. Students must also find a faculty mentor to assist them throughout the BS/MS Program. When students apply to the program, they will include a letter of recommendation from their faculty advisor. In students’ senior year of their bachelor’s degree, they are encouraged to register for at least 1-credit of MSE 6970–Thesis Research or MSE 6590–Special Project. Due to the condensed nature of the program, it is imperative students start their research/special project before completing the bachelor’s portion of their degree.


Who can apply?

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 3.0 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 1 of the student’s junior year. Students will be notified of admissions decisions by May 1.

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. Undergraduate status is maintained until the end of Spring semester senior year.

Application Requirements

BS/MS Application Deadline: April 1

MSE juniors wanting to apply to the BS/MS program will need to complete the following Department Application, which includes a current Degree Audit, resume, personal statement and three letters of recommendation. The BS/MS program is a two-part application. First, juniors must apply directly to the MSE Department. Juniors admitted into the BS/MS program will then be required to complete a separate application for Graduate School admissions. The Graduate School admission application is due January 15 of senior year. For more information on the Graduate School admission application, please see the below tab titled “Admission to the Graduate School.” Juniors seeking admission to the BS/MS program, should complete the following Department Application.

Department Application Requirements:
  • BS/MS Junior Application 
  • 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 student’s M.S. thesis advisor.
    • The faculty advisor must confirm their support and briefly outline the M.S. Thesis Research Project.
    • Letters of recommendation should be sent directly by the provider to the MSE Academic Advisor.
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Current Degree Audit

Application and application materials should be sent through email to the MSE Academic Advisor. 

Admission to the Graduate School

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 3.0 is maintained. The successful admission into the program is simply a matter of addition paperwork. Please note that application deadline is January 15 for fall semester.

Entrance criteria for the BS/MS program is consistent with criteria for the traditional MS program. To apply for admission to the Graduate School click here.


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. Any deviation from the Program of Study for the BS/MS Program must be approved by the Academic Advisor.

Students will also be required to complete the following requirements during the course of the program:

  • Supervisory Committee
  • Program of Study
  • Thesis and Defense

Required Courses

A minimum of 30 credit hours total are required for a master’s degree. Minimum of twenty credits of course work and the remainder are either special projects or thesis research.

All BS/MS students are required to take MSE 6032 during senior year of the BS and the first semester of their BS/MS program.  Students are required to take two MSE/MET E 6000 level courses (3 credits each) the spring semester of their senior year.

MSE 6032 and other 6000 level courses completed during a student’s senior year in the BS program 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.

Graduate Seminar

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.

Thesis Hours

Students must complete at least 8 credit hours of either Thesis Research or Special Project credit hours. Student will decide their registration based on whether they are completing a Thesis or Special Project/Non-Thesis for graduation.

  • MSE 6970 – Thesis Research: Master of Science
  • MSE 6590 – Special Project – M.S. Non-Thesis

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/project defense) is taken.

The Thesis or Special Project are written reports submitted to the student’s Supervisory Committee. Students are then required to present the results of their thesis/project in an oral presentation to the Supervisory Committee and other designated audience. Both the thesis/report and presentation are required for completion of the MS degree.

Request for Graduate Credit

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.

Registration Restrictions

  • 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. 

Supervisory Committee Form


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.

Procedure to Complete

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.

Program of Study Form


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.

Thesis and Defense Forms

Materials Science and Engineering Department Defense form:

Graduate School and Thesis Office forms:

Upon successful completion of the combined degree program, both the Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees are awarded simultaneously. Students must apply for graduation to the Registrar’s Office for both the Bachelor’s and Master’s degree to be awarded in the appropriate semester. Both applications must be completed and turned into the Graduation Office by the deadline for the appropriate semester. Students must satisfy all the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and University of Utah requirements for each degree. Reminder that Coursework may not be applied to more than one degree. BS/MS students are required to complete two graduation applications. To apply for graduation for both the BS and MS click here.
Grading Policy
Materials Science & Engineering Undergraduates are required to take all Materials Science and Engineering courses and receive a grade of “C” or better in order to advance to higher level Materials Science and Engineering courses. If a student does not receive a “C” or better in a Materials Science and Engineering course they will be required to retake the course. Failure to receive a “C” or better on the second attempt will result in dismissal from the program. A cumulative grade point average of 2.3 or higher must be maintained for all courses completed towards a degree in Materials Science and Engineering. Students who fall below the GPA of 2.3 will be put on probation. Students on probation must raise their cumulative GPA above a 2.3 within 12 months or they will be dropped from the program.
Adding, Dropping, and Withdrawal Procedures
Adding Classes – All classes must be added within two weeks of the beginning of the semester. Adding classes after the deadline is not permitted in the College of Engineering and requires a petition letter. Dropping Classes – A drop implies that the student will not be held financially responsible and a “W” will not be listed on the transcript. Student may drop any class without penalty or permission during the first ten calendar days of the term. Withdrawing from Classes – means that a “W” will appear on the student’s transcript and tuition will be charged. Withdrawal from Full Term Length –Beginning the eleventh calendar day and continuing through the midpoint of the term, students may withdraw from a class or the University without instructor/department permission. After midpoint of the term, students may petition the deadline for withdrawal if they have a nonacademic emergency. For more information about the petition process, please contact your Academic Advisor. Check the academic calendar for specific add, drop, and withdrawal dates.
Repeating Courses
When a College of Engineering class is taken more than once, only the grade for the second attempt is counted. Grades of W, I, or V on the student’s record count as having taken the class. The Materials Science and Engineering Department enforce these guidelines for other courses as well (e.g., math, physics biology, chemistry). Attempts of courses taken at transfer institutions count as one attempt. This means a student may take the course only one time at the University of Utah. Courses taken at the University of Utah may not be taken a second time at another institution. If a second attempt is needed, it must be at the University of Utah. Please work with your Academic Advisor to determine the value of repeating courses. Students should note that anyone who takes a required class twice and does not have a satisfactory grade the second time may not be able to graduate. It is the responsibility of the student to work with the department of their major to determine how this policy applies in extenuating circumstances. Students must meet with the Materials Science and Engineering Academic Advisor before attempting to repeat a course a second time.
Major Declassification
It is the goal of the Materials Science and Engineering Department to successfully graduate all Materials Science and Engineering students. However, any student who does not perform satisfactorily may be dropped from the program. “Satisfactory performance” must be evaluated individually, but generally consists of meeting the standards of professional and ethical conduct that are expected of engineers (and hence engineering students), and maintaining satisfactory academic progress. While it is impossible to give an exhaustive list of actions that could cause us to revoke Major Status, examples include:
  • 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
Leave of Absence
A Leave of Absence allows degree-seeking undergraduate students who have registered for and completed university credit classes to request an extension of their enrollment eligibility for a maximum period of seven consecutive semesters (including summers). Requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis and may be granted for the following reasons: illness (personal or familial), military service, humanitarian or religious service, or participation in a University of Utah sponsored program. To apply for a leave of absence and for more information click here.
Appeals Procedures
If a student believes that an academic action is arbitrary or capricious he/she should discuss the action with the involved faculty member and attempt to resolve. If unable to resolve, the student may appeal the action in accordance with the following procedure.
  1. 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,
  2. 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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