Choosing Your Program

Your graduate education awaits! Below, you will find a comparative view of the three graduate programs we offer at Cornell University in Materials Science and Engineering. 

 

MSE Graduate Programs

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) | Master of Science (M.S.) | Master of Engineering (M.Eng.)

Upcoming Admissions Events

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1.  Cornell MSE Graduate Programs Information Session (virtual)

September 1, 2022 from 7:00-8:00pm EDT. Meet current students and department staff, and learn around our three graduate programs. Register here


2.  Cornell MSE PhD Application Workshop Program (virtual)

Cornell MSE graduate students together with the Cornell MSE JEDI (justice, equity, diversity, inclusion) Initiative piloted a 1:1 peer mentor application workshop program in 2021 (for the 2022 admission cycle). For the 2023 admission cycle, MSE JEDI aims to expand the program while offering another set of workshops in the fall of 2022. 

To signal your interest in this workshop, please click here to submit a brief interest survey. Program seats are limited based on the number of available mentors, and workshop participants will be selected through an application process, with preference given to students from historically marginalized backgrounds in STEM (e.g. Black, Latine, first-generation, students with disabilities, LGBTQ+, veteran students). As we get closer to the fall semester, we will reach out to you with the official workshop application link.


3.  Consider Cornell: Explore (virtual)

The Cornell Graduate School is currently accepting applications for Consider Cornell: Explore, a virtual diversity preview program that aims to demystify the graduate school exploration and admissions processes. The program offers a uniquely tailored series of graduate admissions workshops and interactions with current graduate students, world-renowned faculty, and program administrators.

The program will take place virtually on Friday, August 12, 11:00am-5:00pm EDT.

More information including the program schedule, eligibility criteria, and the online application can be found here: https://gradschool.cornell.edu/consider-cornell-explore/. Application deadline is July 31, 2022


4.  Graduate School Recruitment Office

We invite you to stay in-the-know for all things Cornell Graduate School by periodically checking the Cornell recruitment events calendar.

Programs Overview

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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Research based, culminated with a dissertation and oral defense


Master of Science (M.S.) Research based, culminated with a thesis and oral defense.


Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) Project based, culminated with a project summary and oral presentation

Career Outlook

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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Academia, industry, government


Master of Science (M.S.)Industry, PhD, government


Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) Industry, PhD, MBA, MS

Funding/Tuition

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Rates subject to change yearly. For updates, please visit: Financial Support. Students in all three programs pay a $43 activity fee per semester.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Fully funded through TA/GRA appointments, plus stipend and health insurance, unless a student holds an external fellowship (which may be eligible for top-off funding).


Master of Science (M.S.) Self-funded with opportunity to apply to external fellowships. 2022-23 academic year tuition rate: $29,500.


Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) Self-funded with opportunity to apply to College of Engineering fellowships or be offered department scholarships. 2022-23 academic year tuition rate: $62,456.

Teaching Assistantship Opportunity

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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) PhD students are required to TA for at least one semester during their academic program. The Field notifies students as to when they will TA, generally in their second year.


Master of Science (M.S.) TA opportunities are not guaranteed.


Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) TA opportunities are not guaranteed.

Required Coursework

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View the Course Catalog for details about each course. Note: you may have to change the term on the top right of the Course Catalog screen.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

  • MSE 5801 (first fall semester)
  • MSE 5802 (first spring semester)
  • Choose 3:
    • MSE 6010
    • MSE 6020
    • MSE 6030
    • MSE 6040
    • MSE 6050
    • MSE 6060
  • MSE 8010 (each term)
  • MSE 8000 (each term)
  • MSE 8020 (each term)
  • Take additional electives as requested by special committee based on a student's specific interests

Master of Science (M.S.) Minimum of 60 credits total:

  • Four 5000+ level *technical courses
  • MSE 8010 (each term)
  • MSE 8000 (each term)
  • MSE 8020 (each term)
  • Take additional electives as requested by special committee based on a student's specific interests

*technical courses that fulfill MSE MS course requirements comprise of 5000+ level courses taught in the College of Engineering, and courses within the following department codes: AEP, PHYS, CHEM, BIOMG, VETBMS, VETCS, MATH, BTRY, STSCI, and CS.


Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) Minimum of 30 credits total:

  • 21 credits in MSE: 
    • MSE 5860
    • MSE 5862
    • MSE 5840
    • Choose 1: 
      • MSE 5861
      • MSE 5862
      • MSE 5810
      • MSE 5850
      • MSE 5820
    • MSE electives and Materials Application Electives (or similar content at 5000+ level)
    • Project: 4-8 credits total
    • 6 credits in MSE courses beyond the project
    • 1 credit seminar course
    • MSE 5005 (each term)
  • Choose 1:
    • NCC 5540
    • CHEM 5720
    • CEE 5900
    • CEE 5910
    • CEE 5930
    • NBA 6650
    • CEE 6900
  • 6 technical elective credits consistent with preparing for a career in a materials related field.

Milestones and Deadlines

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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

  • Chairperson selection: first semester
  • Qualifying Exam (Q Exam): May of the first year. This examination consists of oral exams in seven subjects: Materials Chemistry, Thermodynamics, Kinetics, Mechanical Properties, Electronic Properties, Structures, and Math. The intent is to access the qualification of first year PhD students in the field of Materials Science and Engineering.
  • Minor Member Selection: Prior to the end of the third semester.
  • Admission to Candidacy (A Exam): Prior to the start of the 7th semester. This oral examination takes place with a PhD student's full committee and one additional field appointed faculty representative. Students present their dissertation proposal.
  • Oral Dissertation Defense (B Exam): Prior to the start of the 14th semester. This public oral examination takes place with a PhD student's full committee. This is the final presentation on a student's dissertation research.

Master of Science (M.S.)

  • Chairperson selection: first semester
  • Minor Member Selection: Prior to the end of the third semester.
  • Oral Thesis Defense (M Exam): Prior to the start of the 8th semester (but generally prior to the end of the 4th semester). This public oral examination takes place with an MS student's full committee. This is the final presentation on a student's thesis research.

Master of Engineering (M.Eng.)

  • Project (or project course) selection: first three weeks of the first semester
  • Project Poster Presentation: Public showcase of MEng students' project work at an annual poster session. Open to all Cornell affiliated individuals and invited industry representatives.
  • Final Project Presentation: Oral presentation at the end of each semester MEng students are enrolled in project credits. All MEng students, plus faculty and industry representatives attend and judge these presentations.

Advisor Selection Process

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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Each PhD student selects one Chairperson and two minor members to fill their PhD research committee. The Chairperson serves as the research advisor throughout the PhD students' program.

Students meet with potential Chairpersons in the first 2 months of the PhD program. After a matching process, students identify a Chairperson before the end of their first semester.

Minor members must be selected by the end of the third semester.

More details: Selecting Your Special Committee


Master of Science (M.S.)

Each MS student selects one Chairperson and one minor member to fill their MS research committee. The Chairperson serves as the research advisor throughout the MS students' program.

Students meet with potential Chairpersons in the first 3 weeks of the MS program. After a matching process, students identify a Chairperson before the end of their first semester.

Minor members must be selected by the end of the second semester.

More details: Selecting Your Special Committee


Master of Engineering (M.Eng.)

Each MEng student is designated an advisor by the field; usually the Associate Director of the MSE MEng program.

MEng students must identify a project and project advisor in addition to their program advisor (or enroll in MSE 5070).

Open project information is disseminated during orientation. Students view a series of project presentations and schedule interviews. Students must select a project advisor within the first 3 weeks of the first semester.

Still have questions? Contact us

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If you have questions about our graduate programs after reviewing the above information, please contact our admissions representative: mse-admissions@cornell.edu