About the Metallurgical Engineering Graduate Program

Graduate Student Manual for Metallurgical Engineering 2023

Graduate Student Manual for Metallurgical Engineering 2021

Graduate Student Manual for Metallurgical Engineering 2019

Degrees Offered

The Department of Metallurgical Engineering is part of the College of Mines and Earth Sciences, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, and offers

    • Master of Engineering (M.E.),
  • Master of Science (M.S.), and
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees.

It typically takes two years to complete a Master’s degree and four years to complete a Ph.D.

General Areas of Research

Faculty and students are typically engaged in the following general areas:

  • Mineral processing: fracture characteristics of particles, comminution, mathematical modeling of specific processes, fluid dynamics of specific operations, flotation, surface chemistry, and novel designs.
  • Hydrometallurgy: metal extraction, concentration, purification, electrodeposition, and corrosion.
  • Pyrometallurgy: thermodynamics, kinetics and modeling of high-temperature chemical processes.
  • Physical metallurgy: powder metallurgy, nondestructive metal failure detection, magnetic materials, rapid solidification.
  • Synthesis and processing of advanced inorganic materials: nanosized and nanostructured materials, magnetic materials.

Specific research topics vary every year. See Faculty for individual research specialties and current projects. <!– See Research and Facilities for a description of some of the department’s laboratories.

Each student will establish a supervisory committee which consists of three faculty members. In compliance with The Graduate School’s policy, the supervisory committee chair must be a regular faculty at the University of Utah. The majority of the committee members must be tenure line faculty in the MSE department. The supervisory committee is responsible for approving the student’s academic program, preparing and judging the qualifying examinations, approving the dissertation subject and final dissertation, and administering and judging the final oral examination.



Program of Study Worksheet
Defense Final Oral Exam
Proposal Pass-Fail
Supervisory Committee Request


  • For information on admission to the MS program click here.
  • For information about housing options at the University of Utah, click here.
Degree Residency Requirements

At least 24 credit hours must be in resident study at the University of Utah. The Graduate Council may approve departmental or programmatic exceptions to the minimum residency requirements and proposals for new programs or academic offerings using distance learning technologies and/or off-campus sites, as provided by Graduate School policy.

Degree Time Limit

All work for the master’s degree must be completed within four consecutive calendar years. On recommendation of the student’s supervisory committee, the dean of The Graduate School can modify or waive this requirement. If the student exceeds the time limit and is not granted a modification or waiver, the department has the option to discontinue the student. Students whose studies have been interrupted for long periods of time and who have been granted extended time to complete their degrees may be required to complete additional courses, to pass examinations, or otherwise to demonstrate that they are current in their field.

Continuous Registration

All graduate students must be registered for at least one course from the time of formal admission through completion of all requirements for the degree they are seeking, unless granted an official leave of absence (see Leaves of Absence section, below). Students not on campus and not using University facilities are not expected to register for summer term. Students must, however, be registered during summer term if they are taking examinations or defending theses/dissertations. If students do not comply with this continuous registration policy and do not obtain an official leave of absence, they will be automatically discontinued from graduate study. In this case, students will be required to reapply for admission to the University through Graduate Admissions upon approval of the home department. Students should be registered for graduate level courses (5000-6000 level for masters); until they have completed all requirements for the degree including, the defense of the thesis or project.

Advancing to PhD
  • MS students that have successfully completed an MS degree and would like to pursue a PhD degree in the same program should petition the Materials Science and Engineering faculty for approval of advancement to the PhD program. A letter from the PhD advisor must accompany the petition from the student, committing the research project for this student.  A copy of the thesis release for the MS must accompany the petition.
  • Students who have completed their MS degrees, but do not have a PhD advisor, may not petition the faculty until such time as they have secured a project and advisor.  Approved petitions will become part of the students PhD file.  A change of graduate status will not be filed with The Graduate School until the petition has been approved by the faculty.
Full-Time Status

Full-Time Student Status

Full-time status for graduate students at the University of Utah must meet the following conditions:

Registering for 9 credit hours and up to 11 credit hours of approved graduate study courses. For MS students, some of these credit hours may be for thesis research (MSE 6970 for MS Thesis students) or special project (MSE 6590 for MS Non-thesis students.)

Part-Time Student Status

Domestic graduate students are allowed to attend graduate school on a part-time basis; however, it is necessary that a part time student be registered for a minimum of 3 credit hours each semester. A letter must be submitted to the Materials Science and Engineering Administrative Office and must be received at the beginning of the student’s first semester advising the Academic Advisor that the student will be part time. This student will remain a part time student until the Materials Science and Engineering Administrative Office is notified otherwise. Part time students still need to satisfy the residency requirement for their perspective degrees.

Leave of Absences

Domestic students who wish to take a leave of absence for a semester must complete a Request for Leave of Absence form and have it approved by their supervisory committee. The form must then be submitted to the Academic Advisor for further processing. The form must be filled out prior to the semester that will be missed. Leave of absences can be granted for up to one year. International students are not allowed to take a leave of absence.

Credit/No Credit

The only courses in the MS students can take for Credit/No-Credit (CR/NC) are MSE 7800 and MSE 7801, (Graduate Seminar) and MSE 6970 (Thesis Hours) or MSE 6590 (Special Projects). All other courses on the student’s program of study must be taken for a letter grade.

Students will receive Credit (CR) in MSE 6970 (Thesis Hours) or MSE 6590 (Special Projects) for satisfactory research progress. If the student is not showing satisfactory progress for their research a grade of No Credit (NC) will be given.

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.

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.
Americans with Disabilities Act

The University of Utah seeks to provide equal access to its programs, services, and activities for people with disabilities. If you will need accommodations in classes, reasonable prior notice needs to be given to the instructor and to the Center for Disability and Access.

Health Insurance and Family Leave

Graduate students have an option to obtain affordable health insurance coverage through the Graduate School as part of the Tuition Benefit Program. TAs and RAs are generally eligible. If a student prefers a different insurance policy, reimbursement can be obtained up to the cost of the plan available through the Graduate School. See link here.

The MSE Department supports graduate students seeking family medical leave and/or reasonable accommodation as outlined generally under Policy 5-200 Leaves of Absence (health related) of the University of Utah Regulations that cover family medical leave and/or reasonable accommodation for conditions such as illness, pregnancy leave, military leave, foster care, adoption, hardship leave, care for elderly parents, or care for children.

Graduate students in the MSE graduate programs and employed by the MSE Department as either an RA or TA are entitled to up to 12 weeks for a family medical leave of absence beginning within the time of employment. A leave will not extend beyond the time of the thesis defense or other final date marking the completion of examinations needed for the program.

Orderly Dismissal Policy for Graduate Students

In some cases, a student may not satisfy the requirements and expectations of the MSE PhD program triggering an assessment of the student’s status in the program. These include reasonable rate of progress towards completing the requirements of the degree program. While expectations for scholarly output and rate thereof is left to the judgement of the advisor and supervisory committee, a general guideline is that PhD students in the MSE department are encouraged to present at conferences and workshops and should have at least three first-authored papers accepted to reputable peer-reviewed journals before graduation and multiple conference presentations and papers. The student’s supervisory committee (or a majority thereof) will be the deciding body. The maximum sanction for unacceptable academic performance is dismissal from the Program (see Student Code, University Policy 6-400; http://www.regulations.utah.edu/academics/6-400.html). In cases requiring dismissal from the Program, a “Recommendation for Change of Graduate Classification” form will be filed with the Graduate Records Office. The student may appeal the decision, following the procedure outline in the Student Code (University Policy 6-400).

If any of the criteria listed below are not met, the advisory committee will have discretion to either:

  1. Dismiss the student from the program immediately.
  2. Place the student on academic probation for 1 semester. In this case, the student’s committee will provide a list of specific milestones which the student must accomplish in order to be reinstated to good standing. If these milestone are not accomplished within 1 semester, the student will be dismissed from the program.

Criteria – Graduate students must:

  1. Maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
  2. Passing all required examinations within specified times limits (e.g. for PhD students the candidacy exam, dissertation proposal, and thesis defense).
  3. Continuously maintain an official advisor and supervisory committee from the 3rd semester through completion of the program.
  4. Continually make acceptable progress toward the degree as determined by the supervisory committee + thesis advisor.

The following process is recommended to help students prepare for graduation:

  • During the semester before your graduation date, students should check their Electronic Graduate Record File in CIS. For more information on how to access the Electronic Graduate Record File click here.
  • If students have questions or issues surrounding graduation, they should make an appointment with the MSE Academic Advisor. It is important that you communicate with the Academic Advisor about your intended graduation date and progress.

In order to graduate, students must meet all of the University of Utah requirements as well as the department requirements for graduation.

For graduation deadlines and how to apply click here. Students can also find information on the Commencement Ceremony here.

Campus Resources

Our students’ success and well-being are paramount in providing a world-class education. Take advantage of the numerous resources and services created to help students of all kinds prosper during their time at the U. For a list of complete resources click here.

Safety and Wellness

Your safety is our top priority. In an emergency, dial 911 or seek a nearby emergency phone (throughout campus). Report any crimes or suspicious people to 801-585-COPS; this number will get you to a dispatch officer at the University of Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS; dps.utah.edu). If at any time, you would like to be escorted by a security officer to or from areas on campus, DPS will help — just give a call.

The University of Utah seeks to provide a safe and healthy experience for students, employees, and others who make use of campus facilities. In support of this goal, the University has established confidential resources and support services  to assist students who may have been affected by harassment, abusive relationships, or sexual misconduct. A detailed listing of University Resources for campus safety can be found at https://registrar.utah.edu/handbook/campussafety.php

Your well-being is key to your personal safety. If you are in crisis, call 801-587-3000; help is close.

The university has additional excellent resources to promote emotional and physical wellness, including the Counseling Center (https://counselingcenter.utah.edu), the Wellness Center (https://wellness.utah.edu), and the Women’s Resource Center (https://womenscenter.utah.edu). Counselors and advocates in these centers can help guide you to other resources to address a range of issues, including substance abuse and addiction.