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Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering


The Ph.D. in materials science and engineering is a research-intensive program that prepares students for careers in research and teaching in the field. Students in the program work closely with our distinguished faculty, who have research strengths in the following areas:

  • Renewable energy
  • Nanomaterials synthesis and processing
  • Metallic foams and porous materials
  • Diffusion, crystallization and mass transport
  • Materials modeling
  • X-ray diffraction

The program culminates in a research-based dissertation that makes an original contribution to the field.

Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. in materials science and engineering has three main requirements:

  1. Coursework. You can view core coursework requirements in the Course Catalog. Elective courses will be worked out with your dissertation committee.
  2. Candidacy examination. This exam is intended to evaluate your overall knowledge of materials science and engineering as well as expertise in your areas of focus. The exam has both an oral and written component.
  3. Dissertation. You must write and defend an original, research-based dissertation that contributes to scientific knowledge in your field.

Ph.D. students will develop an individualized program of study with their advisory committee. The program of study describes the specific courses, research and related activities you will take to meet your degree requirements. The Graduate Dean must approve your program of study, and we recommended that you develop a program of study as soon as possible upon arriving at the university.

Advisory committee

When you start your program, you may be assigned a temporary advisor. However, you should select a general research area, full advisory committee and major advisor sometime during the first semester, if you are entering the Ph.D. program having already completed a master's degree. If you do not have a master's degree when you start the program, you may take additional time to settle on your advisory committee.

Advisory or examining committees consist of at least five members of the graduate faculty: three from your area of specialization, and two from a department outside Chemical and Materials Engineering. Formal approval of your advisory or examining committee is given by the Graduate Dean. The committee is very important in guiding your progress toward an advanced degree, and high priority should be placed in forming the committee during the first semester. You are free to change advisors or committee members at any time.


To apply to the doctoral program, you should have an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution in a field that prepares you for graduate work in materials science and engineering. Additionally, you should meet the following minimum requirements:

  1. Overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale)
  2. Official transcripts (statement of marks) from every institution attended for a complete history of your education. Certified English translations of all transcripts must be submitted.
  3. Official GRE test scores from an exam taken within the past 5 years
  4. Official TOEFL or IELTS test scores if the educational history is from a non-English speaking country* with minimum scores of:
    • TOEFL: 550 (paper) or 79 (internet)
    • IELTS: 6.5 (academic version)
    *English-Speaking Countries Exempt from Testing - if the last degree is from an English speaking country, then the applicant is exempt from taking TOEFL/IELTS.
  5. Resume or curriculum vitae
  6. Statement of purpose
  7. Letters of recommendation from former professors indicating your ability to complete advanced coursework and research

How to Apply

Applicants to the program should apply through The Graduate School website. Please direct any questions about applications and admission to Graduate Program Director Dev Chidambaram at

Application deadlines

The Graduate School accepts applications on a rolling basis; however, to receive full consideration for financial support, you should meet the following deadlines:

  • Fall semester: March 15
  • Spring semester: October 1

Financial support

Ph.D. students are eligible for both research assistantships and teaching assistantships. Research assistantships are given by individual faculty members, while teaching assistantships are state-funded and are awarded by the department.

Housing Options

The University offers on-campus housing for graduate students. Visit the graduate housing website to learn more about living at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Related Degrees and Programs

Contact Chemical and Materials Engineering

Phone (775) 784-6771
Fax (775) 327-5059
Location Paul Laxalt Mineral Research
Address University of Nevada, Reno
Reno, NV 89557

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