Academic FAQs for MSE

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) for Graduate Students

Advisor/Fields of Research

M.S. Program

Ph.D. Program

Other FAQs

Advisor/Fields of Research

How do I choose an initial advisor?

A graduate student in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering will be assigned to an advisor upon the start of their first academic year based on his/her area of interest.  If, however, you decide that there is an advisor that you prefer, you may request that person as your initial advisor.

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How do I change my advisor?

Please come in to see Lili Bulhoes in 3121K Engineering V to fill out a change of advisor form after consulting with your previous and new advisor.

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What kind of research is conducted by the faculty in the Department of Material Science and Engineering?

Please refer to the faculty pages here to check out each research field.

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What fields of research are represented in the department?

There are three (3) main areas in the M.S. program:

  • Ceramics and Ceramic Processing

The ceramics and ceramic processing field is designed for students interested in ceramics and glasses, including electronic materials. As in the case of metallurgy, primary and secondary fabrication processes such as vapor deposition, sintering, melt forming, or extrusion strongly influence the microstructure and properties of ceramic components used in structural, electronic, or biological applications. Formal course and research programs emphasize the coupling of processing treatments, microstructure, and properties.

  • Electronic and Optical Materials

The electronic and optical materials field provides an area of study in the science and technology of electronic materials which includes semiconductors, conducting and light-emitting polymers, electroactive polymers, optical ceramics, and thin films (metal, dielectric, and multilayer) for electronic and optoelectronic applications.  Course offerings emphasize fundamental issues such as solid-state electronic and optical phenomena, bulk and interface thermodynamics and kinetics, and applications which include growth, processing, and characterization techniques. Active research programs address the relationship between microstructure and nanostructure and electronic/optical properties in these materials systems.

  • Structural Materials

The structural materials field is designed primarily to provide broad understanding of the relationships between processing, microstructure, and performance of various structural materials, including metals, intermetallics, ceramics, and composite materials. Research programs include material synthesis and processing, ion implantation-induced strengthening and toughening, mechanisms and mechanics of fatigue, fracture and creep, structure/property characterization, nondestructive evaluation, high-temperature stability, and aging of materials.

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M.S. Program

What are the course requirements?

Thesis Plan. Nine courses are required, of which six must be graduate courses. The courses are to be selected from the following lists, although suitable substitutions can be made from other engineering disciplines or from chemistry and physics with the approval of the departmental graduate adviser. Two of the six graduate courses may be Materials Science and Engineering 598 (thesis research). The remaining three courses in the total course requirement may be upper division undergraduate courses.

Comprehensive Examination Plan. Nine courses are required, six of which must be graduate courses with the exception of MSE 598, selected from the following lists with the same provisions listed under the thesis plan. Three of the nine courses may be upper division undergraduate courses.

Ceramics and ceramic processing: Materials Science and Engineering 111, 121, 122, 143A, 151, 161, 162, 200, 201, 244, 246A, 246D, 298.

Electronic and optical materials: Materials Science and Engineering 111, 121, 122, 143A, 151, 161, 162, 200, 201, 221, 222, 223, 244, 298.

Structural materials: Materials Science and Engineering 111, 121, 122, 143A, 151, 161, 162, 200, 201, 243A, 243C, 244, 250A, 250B, 298.

As long as a majority of the courses taken are offered by the department, substitutions may be made with the consent of the departmental graduate adviser.

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Can I take courses offered by other departments?

Yes, you can take up to two courses outside of Materials Science toward your M.S. degree.  However, in order to count them towards your degree, they must be related to Materials Science.  You may take other courses, but they will not count towards your M.S. degree.

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How many units can I transfer from other universities to UCLA?

Through petition, courses completed in graduate status on other UC campuses may apply to master’s programs at UCLA, provided they were not used toward a previous degree. Such courses may fulfill up to one-half of the total course requirement, one-half of the graduate course requirement, and one-third of the academic residence requirement.

A maximum of two courses completed with a minimum grade of B in graduate status at institutions other than UC may apply to UCLA master’s programs. Two courses would be the equivalent of eight quarter units or five semester units. They may not fulfill the minimum five-graduate-course requirement or the academic residence requirement. The approval of the Graduate Division and the student’s major department is required on a petition for transfer of credit.

Courses taken for any other degree previously awarded at UCLA or another institution, and courses taken before the award of the bachelor’s degree may not be applied toward a graduate degree at UCLA.

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What is the difference between the M.S. Thesis and M.S. Comprehensive Examination Plan?

Thesis Plan. A written report of original results of your research topic, under the supervision and approval of the thesis committee. It must contain some original research contribution. Generally, a M.S. Thesis is about 50 to 70 pages long (when formatted with macros and templates like those used for filing a thesis with the librarian).

Comprehensive Examination Plan:

M.S. Project Plan: A project can be one of the following forms pending on the approval of his/her supervisor:

  1. An expanded version of term paper
  2. A design project
  3. An experimental or theoretical research topic

Written Comprehensive Examination Plan: A student have to take written examinations from six (6) graduate level courses. Each examination is roughly 30 minutes.

NOTE: The oral and written preliminary examination can be used in lieu of the MS comprehensive examination for the students who will pursue the PhD degree in the department. The student must complete the course requirement for the corresponding MS program before being formally admitted into the PhD program.

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I have completed my course requirements. What do I have to do to graduate?

Here is a list of things you need to do for graduation:

  1. You need to have completed the “Program of Study for the M.S. Degree”.
  2. You need to fill out the “UCLA Graduate Division Petition for Advancement to Candidacy for the Master’s Degree”. This can be obtained from Lili’s Office (3121K Engineering V).
  3. You need to fill out the “Nomination of Master’s Committee” form.
  4. Submit your thesis to graduate division if you choose the M.S. Thesis Plan. Check Graduate Division website for details.

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Ph.D. Program

What are the course requirements?

There are no formal course requirements for the Ph.D. degree, and students may substitute coursework by examinations. Normally, however, students take courses to acquire the knowledge needed for the written and oral preliminary examinations.

The basic program of study for the Ph.D. degree is built around one major field and one minor field. The major field has a scope corresponding to a body of knowledge contained in nine courses, at least six of which must be graduate courses, plus the current literature in the area of specialization. The major fields named above are described in a Ph.D. major field syllabus, each of which can be obtained in the department office.

The minor field normally embraces a body of knowledge equivalent to three courses, at least two of which are graduate courses. Grades of B- or better, with a grade-point average of at least 3.33 in all courses included in the minor field, is required for every quarter. If students fail to satisfy the minor field requirements through coursework, a minor field examination may be taken (once only). The minor field is selected to support the major field and is usually a subset of the major field.

For information on completing the Engineer degree, see School wide Programs, Courses, and Faculty.

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What are the Major Fields?

  • Ceramics and Ceramic Processing

The ceramics and ceramic processing field is designed for students interested in ceramics and glasses, including electronic materials. As in the case of metallurgy, primary and secondary fabrication processes such as vapor deposition, sintering, melt forming, or extrusion strongly influence the microstructure and properties of ceramic components used in structural, electronic, or biological applications. Formal course and research programs emphasize the coupling of processing treatments, microstructure, and properties.

  • Electronic and Optical Materials

The electronic and optical materials field provides an area of study in the science and technology of electronic materials which includes semiconductors, optical ceramics, and thin films (metal, dielectric, and multilayer) for electronic and optoelectronic applications.

Course offerings emphasize fundamental issues such as solid-state electronic and optical phenomena, bulk and interface thermodynamics and kinetics, and applications which include growth, processing, and characterization techniques. Active research programs address the relationship between microstructure and nanostructure and electronic/optical properties in these materials systems.

  • Structural Materials

The structural materials field is designed primarily to provide broad understanding of the relationships between processing, microstructure, and performance of various structural materials, including metals, intermetallics, ceramics, and composite materials. Research programs include material synthesis and processing, ion implantation-induced strengthening and toughening, mechanisms and mechanics of fatigue, fracture and creep, structure/property characterization, nondestructive evaluation, high-temperature stability, and aging of materials.

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What are the Minor Fields?

The minor field normally embraces a body of knowledge equivalent to three courses, at least two of which are graduate courses. Grades of B- or better, with a grade-point average of at least 3.33 in all courses included in the minor field, is required. If students fail to satisfy the minor field requirements through coursework, a minor field examination may be taken (once only). The minor field is selected to support the major field and is usually a subset of the major field.  Please see your advisor for approval if you would like to pursue a particular minor field.

Students entering the Ph.D. program with a Master’s degree from another university can transfer this Master’s degree as the equivalent of a Minor Field.

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What is the Oral Preliminary Examination?

During the first year of full-time enrollment in the Ph.D. program, students must take five out of the six subjects for the oral preliminary examination which encompasses the body of knowledge in materials science at the level equivalent to that required for a B.S. degree. Students must pass four out of the five subject examinations they choose to take. Students may not take an examination more than twice.

The six fields are: Diffusion & Phase Transformation, Electronic Properties, General Materials Science, Thermodynamics, Characterization, Mechanical Properties.

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What is the Written Preliminary Examination?

After all coursework is completed in the major and minor fields, students take a written preliminary examination in the major field**. Students may not take this examination more than twice.

**A list of courses can be taken in lieu of the written preliminary examination. You must submit your final examination to prove you have a sufficient understanding of the material. These are the classes you can take:

Major Field courses: at least 6 graduate level courses (must include MSE200 & MSE201) & 3 upper division courses;

Minor Field courses: 3 courses, at least 2 are from 200-series.

MSE 598 may not be used.

These classes can also be used towards graduation.

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What is the Oral Qualifying Examination?

After passing both preliminary examinations, students take the University Oral Qualifying Examination.  The nature and content of the examination are at the discretion of the doctoral committee but ordinarily include a broad inquiry into the student’s preparation for research. The doctoral committee also reviews the prospectus of the dissertation at the oral qualifying examination.

Note: Doctoral Committees. A doctoral committee consists of a minimum of four members. Three members, including the chair, are “inside” members and must hold appointments at UCLA in the student’s major department in HSSEAS. The “outside” member must be a UCLA faculty member holding an appointment in a department outside the student’s major department.

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I have completed my course requirements. What do I have to do to graduate?

Here is a list of things you need to do for graduation:

  1. You need to have completed the “Proposal of Fields of Study for the Ph.D. Degree”.
  2. You need to fill out the “Nomination of Doctoral Committee” form one month prior to your Oral Qualifying Examination.
  3. You need to fill out the “Schedule for Oral Qualifying Examination” form one month prior to your Oral Qualifying Examination.

If you are required to take the Final Oral Examination you have to do the following:

  1. You need to fill out the “Schedule for Final Oral Examination” form one month prior to your Final Oral Examination.
  2. When you are ready to submit your dissertation please check the Graduate Division website for details.

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Other FAQs

How do I become a California Resident?

If you are not a California resident, you must pay Non-Resident Tuition (NRT) fees. To become a California resident, you must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident. You should start this process immediately after arriving at UCLA. You must make an appointment to see the Resident Deputy as soon as possible to establish your California residency. The deputy can be reached at 310 825 3447. The Registrar’s Office can help you submit the right forms to establish residence for tuition purposes.

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How long can I stay in school?

The average length of time for students in the M.S. program is five quarters. The maximum time allowed for completing the M.S. degree is three years from the time of admission to the M.S. program.

From admission to the award of the Ph.D. degree the average length required is 18 quarters.

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What is the minimum requirement to stay in school?

For a M.S. student you must maintain a GPA no less than 3.0.

For a Ph.D. student, grades of B or better are required in each course, with a grade-point average of at least 3.25 over the set of courses used to satisfy the Major field and 3.33 for the Minor field.

Every student is required to enroll in at least 12 units per quarter to satisfy University Regulation for being a full time student.

 

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