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PhD Program

Carbon Anatase Dog by Babak AnasoriThe PhD program has two major aims:

  • Provide an education which encompasses both the breadth and depth of the most recent knowledge base in the various Materials Science & Engineering fields in a format suitable for individuals seeking careers in education and/or industry.
  • Provide students with research training through thesis research.


A student must have at least the required 90 quarter credits for the PhD degree.  An MS degree is not a prerequisite for the PhD degree, but does count for 45 quarter credits toward the 90 quarter credit requirement.  Students may transfer no more than 18 credits (equivalent to 12 semester-credits) from approved institutions, provided they follow the department's rules and regulations.  The 90 credits consist of the 45 credits normally taken for an MS degree plus 45 additional credits for the PhD degree.  Of the 45 additional credits for the PhD degree, 18 must be from regular course work (exclusive of Independent Study and Research credits).  The remaining 27 credits may consist of Research, Independent Study, or additional advanced course work consistent with the approved Plan of Study.  Hence, beginning with a BS degree, the required 90 credits for a PhD degree are tabulated below:

Required courses *

6 credits

Selected core course*

12 credits


56 credits

Art of Being a Scientist Course - MATE 580

1 credit

Materials Seminar Series - MATE 536

6 credits


9 credits


90 credits

* For definitions of required, selected core (SC) and optional courses (OC), please see below.  Additional courses are encouraged for students entering the department with an MS degree.  Students entering the department at the BS level must satisfy the course requirements for the MS degree.  Students choose a doctoral thesis topic after consultation with the faculty.  Students are required to consider topics early in the program.  An oral thesis presentation and defense are scheduled at the completion of the thesis work.

In addition to the graduate seminar, which is required of all graduate students, doctoral program students must pass an oral candidacy examination and an original proposal defense.  The exam is designed to improve and assess the communication skills and the analytical abilities of the student. The following procedures should be followed to complete the PhD.

Candidacy Exam Requirement

All Drexel Materials PhD students are required to take the PhD Candidacy Examinations administered by the  Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

Materials Courses (PhD, MS, BS/MS)

An introductory course (MATE 503) is required for students without an undergraduate engineering degree. For course availability information, please refer to the Term Master Schedule.