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University of Pittsburgh    
2017-2018 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jun 24, 2024
2017-2018 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Materials Science and Engineering - Research Track, MSMSE

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The research track is primarily for full-time students who have the intention to pursue a PhD or are strongly oriented toward a research career. The University transcript will include an entry indicating that a student is in the research MS track.

MS Track Requirements

The Research Track MS degree requires a minimum of 30 credits of course and research based graduate study, including at least 21 course credits. At most up to nine (9) credits of coursework counting towards the required minimum of 21 course credits may consist of technical courses in other non-MSE Engineering, Science or Mathematics disciplines that are approved by a student’s advisor. No more than six (6) credits may be granted toward completion of the requirements for the Research Track MS for work completed at another accredited graduate institution. A minimum of 12 course credits must be derived from 2000- and 3000-level MSE courses, not including credits associated with Graduate Seminar (MSE 3023  and MSE 3024 ), MS Research (MSE 2997 ), and MS Thesis (MSE 2999 ). Students with non-MSE backgrounds are strongly encouraged to take for credit introductory courses (e.g. MSE 2067 , MSE 2068  or equivalent). The student’s advisor must approve the course sequence selection. In addition to coursework requirements a minimum of 3 credits of MS research (MSE 2997 ) and six (6) credits of MS Thesis (MSE 2999 ) are required. Master’s degrees are conferred only on those students who have completed all courses required for the degree with an average grade of least a 3.00 (B) GPA.

MS Thesis

An MS student should initiate research work as early as possible and then register for MS research (MSE 2997 ). Once thesis preparation has begun, a student must register for thesis credits (MSE 2999 ) in each succeeding term until successful completion of the thesis and a final oral defense and comprehensive exam. The MS thesis document is at least expected to be a report on independently conducted research and must adhere to the School of Engineering defined style and format. A Style and Form Manual for a thesis is available in the Engineering Office of Administration.

The purpose of an MS thesis oral defense is to evaluate an MS thesis and the student’s command of the research subject. The successful completion of a defense is a requirement for the MS degree. The thesis examining committee consists of at least three members of the MSE faculty who are recommended by the student’s advisor and approved by the department chair. After successfully completing a defense, a student must deposit an electronic and/or hard copies of the approved thesis in accordance with the current guidelines for thesis submissions available from the Office of Administration of the School of Engineering or the MSE Program Office.

Part-time students may pursue the research MS track. However, they must recognize that, although their thesis topics may be related to the broad technical area of their employment, results of work-related routine technical activities, analysis, surveys, or studies conducted for employers are not acceptable for inclusion in MS theses. Furthermore, part-time students should become aware of the University Intellectual Property Ownership Policy before undertaking theses. Prospective students must clarify all of these issues before contemplating a research-based MS degree.

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