Materials Science and Engineering

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering offers three graduate degree programs: the Master of Engineering (MEng), 5th Year Bachelor of Science and Master of Science (BS/MS), and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

Master of Engineering (MEng)

In collaboration with other departments in the College of Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering is offering a professional master’s degree. The accelerated program is designed to develop professional engineering leaders in materials science and engineering who are seeking knowledge and leadership experience in MSE.

Prospective students will be engineers, typically with industrial experience, who aspire to substantially advance in their careers and ultimately to lead large, complex organizations, both in the public and private sectors.

You may choose to apply to either the full-time one-year program or part-time program for working professionals. You will be asked to choose which option you will be considered for during the application process. Both options employ the same standards and criteria for admissions.

5th Year Bachelor of Science and Master of Science (BS/MS)

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering offers a five-year combined BS/MS program to our undergraduate student cohort. In this program, the existing four-year undergraduate program (BS) will be augmented with a fifth year of graduate study that provides a professionally-oriented component, preparing students for careers in engineering or engineering management within the business, government, and industrial sectors. This five-year program emphasizes interdisciplinary study through an independent project coupled to coursework.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Students pursuing the PhD may also declare a designated emphasis (DE) in one of the following programs: Communication, Computation, and Statistics; Computational and Genomic Biology; Computational Science and Engineering; Energy Science and Technology; or Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

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Admissions

Admission to the University

Minimum Requirements for Admission

The following minimum requirements apply to all graduate programs and will be verified by the Graduate Division:

  1. A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;
  2. A grade point average of B or better (3.0);
  3. If the applicant comes from a country or political entity (e.g., Quebec) where English is not the official language, adequate proficiency in English to do graduate work, as evidenced by a TOEFL score of at least 90 on the iBT test, 570 on the paper-and-pencil test, or an IELTS Band score of at least 7 on a 9-point scale (note that individual programs may set higher levels for any of these); and
  4. Sufficient undergraduate training to do graduate work in the given field.

Applicants Who Already Hold a Graduate Degree

The Graduate Council views academic degrees not as vocational training certificates, but as evidence of broad training in research methods, independent study, and articulation of learning. Therefore, applicants who already have academic graduate degrees should be able to pursue new subject matter at an advanced level without need to enroll in a related or similar graduate program.

Programs may consider students for an additional academic master’s or professional master’s degree only if the additional degree is in a distinctly different field.

Applicants admitted to a doctoral program that requires a master’s degree to be earned at Berkeley as a prerequisite (even though the applicant already has a master’s degree from another institution in the same or a closely allied field of study) will be permitted to undertake the second master’s degree, despite the overlap in field.

The Graduate Division will admit students for a second doctoral degree only if they meet the following guidelines:

  1. Applicants with doctoral degrees may be admitted for an additional doctoral degree only if that degree program is in a general area of knowledge distinctly different from the field in which they earned their original degree. For example, a physics PhD could be admitted to a doctoral degree program in music or history; however, a student with a doctoral degree in mathematics would not be permitted to add a PhD in statistics.
  2. Applicants who hold the PhD degree may be admitted to a professional doctorate or professional master’s degree program if there is no duplication of training involved.

Applicants may apply only to one single degree program or one concurrent degree program per admission cycle.

Required Documents for Applications

  1. Transcripts: Applicants may upload unofficial transcripts with your application for the departmental initial review. If the applicant is admitted, then official transcripts of all college-level work will be required. Official transcripts must be in sealed envelopes as issued by the school(s) attended. If you have attended Berkeley, upload your unofficial transcript with your application for the departmental initial review. If you are admitted, an official transcript with evidence of degree conferral will not be required.
  2. Letters of recommendation: Applicants may request online letters of recommendation through the online application system. Hard copies of recommendation letters must be sent directly to the program, not the Graduate Division.
  3. Evidence of English language proficiency: All applicants from countries or political entities in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This applies to applicants from Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, most European countries, and Quebec (Canada). However, applicants who, at the time of application, have already completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better at a US university may submit an official transcript from the US university to fulfill this requirement. The following courses will not fulfill this requirement:
    • courses in English as a Second Language,
    • courses conducted in a language other than English,
    • courses that will be completed after the application is submitted, and
    • courses of a non-academic nature.

If applicants have previously been denied admission to Berkeley on the basis of their English language proficiency, they must submit new test scores that meet the current minimum from one of the standardized tests. Official TOEFL score reports must be sent directly from Educational Test Services (ETS). The institution code for Berkeley is 4833. Official IELTS score reports must be mailed directly to our office from British Council. TOEFL and IELTS score reports are only valid for two years.

Where to Apply

Visit the Berkeley Graduate Division application page

Admission to the Program

Admission decisions are based on a combination of factors, including academic degrees and records, the statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, test scores, and relevant work experience. The MSE department also considers the appropriateness of your goals to the degree program in which you are interested and to the research interests of the program’s faculty.

To be considered for graduate admissions in MSE you need:

  • A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent (must be conferred prior to enrollment into our program) from an accredited institution in engineering, physics or chemistry is required. We do not accept students without these types of degrees.
  • Sufficient undergraduate training to do graduate work in your chosen field.
  • A minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B). International students should be in the top 5% of their class.
  • We require three letters of recommendation submitted online.
  • A general Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General Test score (85th percentile or higher is desirable) in the Verbal/Analytical/Quantitative sections.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

Normative Time Requirements

Normative Time to Advancement

Step I: Pass the preliminary exam—scheduled prior to the start of the second semester. In this oral exam students must demonstrate (i) mastery of the essential components of a Materials Science and Engineering education at a level commensurate with the completion of an undergraduate MSE degree at Berkeley, and (ii) their ability to use this knowledge in ongoing research.

Step II: Complete the minimum number of semester units of formal course work (major and minors) is 28, of which 16 must be in graduate units in the major field.

Step III: Pass the qualifying exam.

Normative Time in Candidacy

Step IV: Submission of the doctoral dissertation.

Total Normative Time

Total normative time is five years.

Time to Advancement

Curriculum

Courses Required
Approved study list per student’s research interest but must include course requirements below:
Thermodynamics
MAT SCI 201AThermodynamics and Phase Transformations in Solids4
Select one of the following in Structure & Bonding:3
Crystal Structure and Bonding [3]
Computational Materials Science [3]
Materials Characterization
MAT SCI 204Theory of Electron Microscopy and X-Ray Diffraction2-3
or MAT SCI 241 Electron Microscopy Laboratory
Select one of the following in Material Properties:3-4
Defects in Solids [3]
Deformation and Fracture of Engineering Materials [4]
Environmental Effects on Materials Properties and Behavior [3]
Properties of Dielectric and Magnetic Materials [3]
Semiconductor Materials [3]
Magnetism and Magnetic Materials [3]
Thin-Film Science and Technology [3]
Polymer Surfaces and Interfaces [3]
Surface Properties of Materials [3]
Select one of the following in Materials Processing:3-4
Metals Processing [3]
Macromolecular Science in Biotechnology and Medicine [4]
Semiconductor Materials [3]
Magnetism and Magnetic Materials [3]
Thin-Film Science and Technology [3]
Polymer Surfaces and Interfaces [3]
Teaching Pedagogy:
MAT SCI 375AScience and Engineering Pedagogy1-2
or MAT SCI 375B Supervised Teaching of Materials Science and Engineering

Preliminary Exams

In this oral exam students must demonstrate:

  1. Mastery of the essential components of a Materials Science and Engineering education at a level commensurate with the completion of an undergraduate MSE degree at Berkeley, and
  2. Their ability to use this knowledge in ongoing research.

The examination is divided into six topics germane to ceramic, metallic, semiconducting, and soft materials, including their appropriate composites. Six faculty examiners are appointed each semester by the department chair, one examiner per topic, who conduct the exam in individual oral interviews lasting approximately 20 minutes. The examination topics are:

  1. Thermodynamics;
  2. Phase Transformations;
  3. Bonding, Crystallography, and Crystal Defects; 
  4. Materials Characterization;
  5. Mechanical Properties; and
  6. Electronic Properties.

Qualifying Examination

The PhD qualifying exam tests the student's ability to identify a significant problem, to assemble the background information needed to grasp it in the context of the field, and to construct a technical approach that provides a plausible path to its solution. At the same time the qualifying exam will test the student's knowledge of the subject matter within the broad research field and his or her major field.

The examination consists of two parts, namely, a written proposal, and the oral examination:

  1. Written Proposal. The proposal describes intended PhD research. At least two weeks before the examination date the student must submit a written research proposal to his/her committee. The proposal must include a one page abstract and be roughly five to ten pages long. It must contain a concise statement of the research problem and its significance, a discussion of the technical background, the technical approach (experimental and/or theoretical), the anticipated results, and a bibliography. This written proposal is to be prepared by the student without direct collaboration or assistance from the faculty.
  2. The Examination. The student should prepare a 30-minute oral presentation of the research proposal(s). The committee will question the student on the material presented orally, the material contained in the written proposal, and on the general technical background to the research area. The student should be familiar with the relevant literature. The student must also defend the significance of the research problem and the viability of the technical approach. The second part of the examination consists of questions in the major and minor fields.

Time in Candidacy

Dissertation

Required Professional Development

Teaching

The faculty of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering considers teaching experience to be an important part of a doctoral student’s program of study and requires that all graduate students pursuing a PhD serve at least one semester as a graduate student instructor (GSI) in an MSE course (usually after the first year).

Seminar

All graduate students are required to enroll (MAT SCI 298-Sect 1) and attend the weekly department colloquium series.

Master's Degree Requirements (MS)

Unit Requirements

There are two plans for the master of science degree.

Plan I requires a minimum of 20 semester units are required, of which at least 8 must be strictly graduate units in the major subject (University requirement), and of these 8, there shall be no more than 2 units of credit for MAT SCI 299 while the remaining units must be graded course units. The remaining 12 units may be upper division or graduate courses proposed by the student and research supervisor and approved by the major field adviser.

Plan II requires a minimum 24 semester units is required, of  which at least 12 must be strictly graduate units in the major subject, and of these 12 units, there shall be no more than a total of 2 units of credit MAT SCI 299. The remaining 12 units may be graded upper division or graduate courses approved by the major field adviser.

Curriculum

Courses Required
Thermodynamics:
MAT SCI 201AThermodynamics and Phase Transformations in Solids4
Structure & Bonding:
MAT SCI 202Crystal Structure and Bonding3
or MAT SCI 215 Computational Materials Science
Materials Characterization:
MAT SCI 204Theory of Electron Microscopy and X-Ray Diffraction2-3
or MAT SCI 241 Electron Microscopy Laboratory
Select one of the following in Materials Properties:3-4
Defects in Solids [3]
Deformation and Fracture of Engineering Materials [4]
Environmental Effects on Materials Properties and Behavior [3]
Properties of Dielectric and Magnetic Materials [3]
Semiconductor Materials [3]
Magnetism and Magnetic Materials [3]
Thin-Film Science and Technology [3]
Polymer Surfaces and Interfaces [3]
Surface Properties of Materials [3]
Select one of the following in Materials Processing:3-4
Metals Processing [3]
Macromolecular Science in Biotechnology and Medicine [4]
Semiconductor Materials [3]
Magnetism and Magnetic Materials [3]
Thin-Film Science and Technology [3]
Polymer Surfaces and Interfaces [3]
Electives - for remaining units required (20, Plan I; 24, Plan II)5-9

Capstone/Thesis (Plan I)

A thesis is required. The research topic and research supervisor must be specified on the program of study form.

The thesis committee is formally appointed by the dean of the Graduate Division upon recommendation of the student's major field adviser and the AAC. It consists of three members: the research supervisor plus one other member from the department, and one member either be from outside the College of Engineering or from a field of engineering not closely related to that of the candidate. The student is encouraged to consult all committee members while the research is in progress.

Capstone Report (Plan II)

At least a month before the student intends to graduate, a project report based on MAT SCI 299 work or on a phase of his/her work as a research assistant and approved by the project supervisor, must be submitted to the committee. It is the student's responsibility to see that the final corrected report is submitted and the examination taken by the last day of the semester.

Master's Degree Requirements (MEng)

Unit Requirements

Minimum units to complete the degree is 25 semester units (must be in 200 series). Twelve units must be materials science and engineering units; 8 semester units must be in core leadership curriculum units; and 5 semester units in the capstone project units.

Curriculum  

These concentrations are suggestions only. Students are encouraged to select electives that best satisfy their specific educational objectives.

General Program Concentration

Technical Electives I
Select one of the following:3
Thermodynamics and Phase Transformations in Solids [4]
Theory of Electron Microscopy and X-Ray Diffraction [3]
Computational Materials Science [3]
Semiconductor Materials [3]
Magnetism and Magnetic Materials [3]
Photovoltaic Materials; Modern Technologies in the Context of a Growing Renewable Energy Market [3]
Polymer Surfaces and Interfaces [3]
Technical Electives II & III
Select two of the following:6-7
Crystal Structure and Bonding [3]
Defects in Solids [3]
Deformation and Fracture of Engineering Materials [4]
Environmental Effects on Materials Properties and Behavior [3]
Macromolecular Science in Biotechnology and Medicine [4]
Thin-Film Science and Technology [3]

Materials for Advanced Energy Systems Concentration

Technical Electives I
Select one of the following:3
Thermodynamics and Phase Transformations in Solids [4]
Theory of Electron Microscopy and X-Ray Diffraction [3]
Technical Electives II & III
Select two of the following:6-7
Crystal Structure and Bonding [3]
Thin-Film Science and Technology [3]

Materials for Advanced Structural Materials Concentration

Technical Electives I
Select one of the following:3
Thermodynamics and Phase Transformations in Solids [4]
Theory of Electron Microscopy and X-Ray Diffraction [3]
Computational Materials Science [3]
Technical Electives II & III
Select 6-7 units of the following:6-7
Crystal Structure and Bonding [3]
Defects in Solids [3]
Deformation and Fracture of Engineering Materials [4]

Advances in Opto-Electronic Materials Concentration

Technical Electives I
Select one of the following:3
Thermodynamics and Phase Transformations in Solids [4]
Semiconductor Materials [3]
Magnetism and Magnetic Materials [3]
Technical Electives II & III
Select 6-7 units of the following:6-7
Crystal Structure and Bonding [3]
Thin-Film Science and Technology [3]

TECHNICAL COMPREHENSIVE EXAM

The technical component of the Master of Engineering (MEng) comprehensive exam for Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) students will be administered by the current instructor of the graduate survey course, MatSci 200A, plus one or two additional faculty to constitute a committee including at least two members of the academic senate.  The committee will compose a 20-question multiple-choice written exam based on the content of Mat Sci 200A, which will be offered to MSE MEng students on the Friday of the reading week of the Fall semester.  A score of 60% on the exam will constitute a pass.  If a student does not pass, they will be given a chance to retake another 20-question multiple choice written exam on the Friday of reading week of the Spring semester.  If a student fails the exam for the second time, they will be given the option to take the exam for the third and final time the following Fall semester.  Failure to pass the exam on this third attempt will constitute a failure of the comprehensive exam requirement for the MEng degree.

ORAL PRESENTATION AND REPORT

An oral presentation and a written report of the capstone project are required by the end of the Spring Semester. The audience at the oral presentation must consist of the Materials Science and Engineering Advisor, instructor(s), peers and industry partners.

Courses

Materials Science and Engineering

Faculty and Instructors

+ Indicates this faculty member is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.

Faculty

Joel W. Ager, Adjunct Professor.

Paul Alivisatos, Professor. Physical chemistry, semiconductor nanocrystals, nanoscience, nanotechnology, artificial photosynthesis, solar energy, renewable energy, sustainable energy.
Research Profile

Elke Arenholz, Associate Adjunct Professor.

Mark D. Asta, Professor.

Jillian Banfield, Professor. Nanoscience, Bioremediation, genomics, biogeochemistry, carbon cycling, geomicrobiology, MARS, minerology.
Research Profile

Robert Birgeneau, Professor. Physics, phase transition behavior of novel states of matter.
Research Profile

Gerbrand Ceder, Professor.

Daryl Chrzan, Professor. Materials science and engineering, computational materials science, metals and metallic compounds, defects in solids, growth of nanostructures.
Research Profile

Thomas M. Devine, Professor. Synthesis of nanomaterials, nuclear power, oil production, secondary batteries for electric vehicles, computer disk drives, and synthesis and characterization of metal oxide nanowires, corrosion resistance of materials.
Research Profile

Fiona Doyle, Professor. Electrochemistry, mineral processing, solution processing of materials, interfacial chemistry, extractive metallurgy, remediation of abandoned mines.
Research Profile

Oscar D. Dubon, Professor. Magnetic, optical materials, processing, properties in electronic.
Research Profile

Kevin Healy, Professor. Bioengineering, biomaterials engineering, tissue engineering, bioinspired materials, tissue and organ regeneration, stem cell engineering, microphysiological systems, organs on a chip, drug screening and discovery, multivalent bioconjugate therapeutics.
Research Profile

Frances Hellman, Professor. Condensed matter physics and materials science.
Research Profile

Digby D. Macdonald, Professor in Residence.

Lane W. Martin, Associate Professor. Complex Oxides, novel electronic materials, thin films, materials processing, materials characterization, memory, logic, information technologies, energy conversion, thermal properties, dielectrics, ferroelectrics, pyroelectrics, piezoelectrics, magnetics, multiferroics, transducers, devices.
Research Profile

Phillip B. Messersmith, Professor.

Andrew M. Minor, Professor. Metallurgy, nanomechanics, in situ TEM, electron microscopy of soft materials.
Research Profile

Kristin A. Persson, Assistant Professor. Lithium-ion Batteries.
Research Profile

R. Ramesh, Professor. Processing of complex oxide heterostructures, nanoscale characterization/device structures, thin film growth and materials physics of complex oxides, materials processing for devices, information technologies.
Research Profile

Robert O. Ritchie, Professor. Structural materials, mechanical behavior in biomaterials, creep, fatigue and fracture of advanced metals, intermetallics, ceramics.
Research Profile

Miquel B. Salmeron, Adjunct Professor. Molecules, lasers, atoms, materials science and engineering, matter, scanning, tunneling, atomic force microscopies, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy.
Research Profile

Junqiao Wu, Associate Professor. Semiconductors, nanotechnology, energy materials.
Research Profile

Ting Xu, Associate Professor. Polymer, nanocomposite, biomaterial, membrane, directed self-assembly, drug delivery, protein therapeutics, block copolymers, nanoparticles.
Research Profile

Peidong Yang, Professor. Materials chemistry, sensors, nanostructures, energy conversion, nanowires, miniaturizing optoelectronic devices, photovoltaics, thermoelectrics, solid state lighting.
Research Profile

Jie Yao, Assistant Professor. Optical materials, Nanophotonics, optoelectronics.
Research Profile

Haimei Zheng, Assistant Adjunct Professor.

Lecturers

Matthew Sherburne, Lecturer.

Emeritus Faculty

Robert H. Bragg, Professor Emeritus.

Didier De Fontaine, Professor Emeritus. Phase transformations in alloys, crystallography, thermodynamics of phase changes, particularly ordering reactions, phase separation, calculations of phase equilibria by combined quantum, statistical mechanical methods.
Research Profile

Lutgard De Jonghe, Professor Emeritus. Ceramic properties, advanced ceramics, silicon carbide, densification studies, microstructure development.
Research Profile

James W. Evans, Professor Emeritus. Production of materials, particularly fluid flow, reaction kinetics, mass transport, electrochemical, electromagnetic phenomena governing processes for producing materials, metals, storing energy.
Research Profile

+ Douglas W. Fuerstenau, Professor Emeritus. Mineral processing, extractive metallurgy; application of surface, colloid chemistry to mineral/water systems; fine particle science, technology; principles of comminution, flotation, pelletizing; hydrometallurg, extraction of metals.
Research Profile

Andreas M. Glaeser, Professor Emeritus. Ceramic joining, TLP bonding, brazing, reduced-temperature joining, ceramic-metal joining, ceramic processing, surface and interface properties of ceramics, thermal barrier coatings.
Research Profile

+ Ronald Gronsky, Professor Emeritus. Internal structure of materials, engineering applications.
Research Profile

Eugene E. Haller, Professor Emeritus. Semiconductor crystal growth, characterization of impurities and defects in semiconductors: infrared and microwave detectors, isotopically controlled semiconductors.
Research Profile

Marshal F. Merriam, Professor Emeritus.

+ J. W. Morris, Professor Emeritus. Structural materials, computational materials, the limits of strength, deformation mechanisms, non-destructive testing with SQUID microscopy, mechanisms of grain refinement in high strength steels, lead-free solders for microelectronics.
Research Profile

Eicke R. Weber, Professor Emeritus. Optical materials, magnetic materials, semiconductor thin film growth, device processing in electronic materials.
Research Profile

Contact Information

Materials Science and Engineering

210 Hearst Memorial Mining Building

Phone: 510-642-3801

Fax: 510-643-5792

Visit Department Website

Department Chair

Daryl Chrzan, PhD

216 Hearst Memorial Mining Building

Phone: 510-643-1624

dcchrzan@berkeley.edu

Head Graduate Adviser

Jie Yao, PhD

380 Hearst Memorial Mining Building

yaojie@berkeley.edu

Student Services Adviser

Ariana Castro

210 Hearst Memorial Mining Building

Phone: 510-642-0716

msessa@berkeley.edu

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