Doctoral Subject Core

A four-subject core that treats materials principles from a universal perspective, rather than by materials class, is required of all doctoral students. These subjects define what we consider to be the irreducible basis of our discipline—what every Ph.D. materials scientist or materials engineer from MIT ought to know. The objective is to provide the student with a rigorous and unified basis on which to build in subsequent advanced level subjects to be provided by the Academic Programs.

The four coresubjects are:

  • 3.20 Materials at Equilibrium (15 units, Fall),
  • 3.21 Kinetic Processes in Materials (15 units, Spring),
  • 3.22 Mechanical Properties of Materials (12 units, Spring), and
  • 3.23 Electrical, Optical, and Magnetic Properties of Materials (12 units, Fall).

It is assumed that incoming students have an undergraduate background equivalent to MIT’s undergraduate degree in Materials Science and Engineering. Students deficient in this background may wish to take appropriate undergraduate subjects concurrently with the four core subjects in the first two semesters in place of any restricted elective subjects. Students concerned about their preparation for the core subjects should consult their registration officer or the instructors.

Post-Core Electives

Each doctoral student must take three post-core graduate electives, selected from the current list of DMSE graduate electives, and approved by the thesis committee. Graduate students may choose to create a specialization/concentration by creating a post-core sub-program of three courses in a particular sub-discipline or, conversely, may formulate a broader educational experience, for example, by choosing courses in three different sub-disciplines.

The thesis committee may approve (without DCGS review and approval) at most one non-DMSE graduate elective (9-12) units. A student may petition the DCGS if the student is proposing more than one non-DMSE graduate elective. The petition form must be submitted to the DMSE Academic Office, 6-107, in advance of registering for the subjects and must include a student statement and signatures by the student and thesis advisor(s).

Many of the restricted elective options are only offered one semester and in some cases every other year. Please refer to the MIT Subjects Listings and Schedule for the most up to date information or see WebSIS.

The following are sample post-core sub-programs:

  • Electronic, Magnetic, and Photonic Materials
  • High-Performance Structural Materials
  • Computational Materials Science
  • Biomaterials
  • Polymeric Materials
  • Materials for Energy and the Environment
  • Nanoscale Materials
  • Materials Processing
  • Materials Economics and Manufacturing, Entrepreneurship
  • Laboratory/Characterization/Instrumentation
  • Materials Design
  • Experimental/Characterization Computational Materials Application/Design