Doctorate in Materials Science and Engineering

Doctorate in Materials Science and Engineering

Students working in lab

The graduate programs in materials science and engineering from Drexel Engineering engage you in learning and research at the forefront of materials science. Students graduate prepared for careers in academia, industry or at national research labs.

What is a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering?

A Materials Science and Engineering PhD is a postgraduate degree that prepares professionals for taking on emerging topics in design and use of materials for energy, nanotechnology, biomaterials, electronic materials, soft materials, computational materials science, and advanced materials design and processing. As a student, you will enhance your academic qualifications and skills to advance your career in this exciting engineering specialization and seek solutions to many of society’s biggest challenges.

The PhD in Materials Science and Engineering program has the following major aims:

  • Deliver education covering the breadth and depth of the most current and advanced knowledge in materials science and engineering through research-driven study of the chosen field of specialization.
  • Endow graduates with advanced research skill sets focused on materials design, processing, characterization, and technological deployment.
  • Prepare graduates to be leaders in their careers in academia, research and industry.


  • On-campus
  • Full-time
  • The PhD in Materials Science and Engineering will take four to six years to complete on a full-time basis.

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Why choose Drexel for your Materials Science and Engineering PhD program?

As a Carnegie R1 institution, Drexel is in the top tier of research output and one of only 34 US institutions with that designation. The 2022 US News and World Report Global Universities ranking for Materials Science, Drexel University is ranked #39 globally, which is 13th highest in the US, and is #1 in the world in both normalized citation impact and in percentage of highly cited papers that are among the top 1% most cited.

Students have access to Drexel’s state-of-the-art instrumentation facilities for materials characterization including scanning and transmission electron microscopes, battery testing, advanced polymer testing suite and synthetic facilities including nanomaterial reactors, atomic layer deposition and molecular beam epitaxy.

At Drexel and in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE), students are encouraged to be innovative and imaginative in their research. You will work side-by-side with top researchers in the field while becoming a world-expert in your dissertation topic. In 2021 the MSE department has received more than $4 million dollars in awards and has had over $3 million in research expenditures. Drexel PhD students shape the field through pioneering research that often leads to commercialization and entrepreneurship. Just in 2021 alone, the College of Engineering faculty have garnered 16 US patents, three license agreements and has produced a new startup company.

Materials faculty members Christopher Weyant and Antonios Zavaliangos received Provost Awards for Distinguished Teaching and Service.

Faculty Spotlight

Materials faculty members Christopher Weyant and Antonios Zavaliangos received Provost Awards for Distinguished Teaching and Service.

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Faculty in are experts with industry experience or are at the forefront of research and teaching. Our MSE faculty have garnered many awards and numerous notable achievements — a few of these include:

  • 16 Professional Society Fellows
  • 10 Early Career Awards
  • Over 21,000 citations in 2019 to journal publications authored by MSE faculty
  • 34 patents filed in 2019


The city of Philadelphia and the surrounding metro area are home to multiple industrial research and production facilities that attract advanced materials science and engineering talent. Learn more.

Curriculum and Requirements

Both in research and in curriculum, the Drexel material science and engineering PhD program emphasizes a combination of fundamentals with topical specialization and interdisciplinary training.

At least 90 credits are required for the PhD degree. You will choose a doctoral thesis topic after consultation with the faculty early in the program. An oral thesis presentation and defense are scheduled at the completion of the thesis work.

The 90 credits consist of the 45 credits 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.

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.

Graduate advisors will guide your course selection and scheduling of core and elective courses. Visit the Drexel Catalog for more information and sample study plans or learn more about our admissions requirements.


All students in the materials science engineering PhD program engage in research as part of their degree. Candidates are encouraged to base their thesis on some aspect of faculty research.

The MSE department has world-class research facilities, research groups and institutes that pursue novel research and knowledge. These are sponsored by grants from many organizations ranging from the Army Research Laboratory (ARL), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute of Health (NIH), American Chemical Society (ACS), Pfizer, Inc., to a host of other institutions.

Opportunities exist to engage in leading edge research in  engineering new materials for better battery performance, improved water treatment technologies, next-generation electronics, new tissue regeneration and drug delivery for patients, combatting the COVID pandemic, computational materials design, and developing sustainable materials to reduce society’s environmental impact.

Current research in materials science and engineering covers areas such as:

  • Ceramics
  • Composites
  • Computation and theory
  • Electronic materials
  • Energy
  • Health and medicine
  • Materials processing
  • Metals
  • Nanomaterials
  • Polymers
  • Structured materials
  • Sustainability

Visit research areas for an overview and activity taking place at the College of Engineering.

Funding Opportunities

The vast majority of incoming graduate students are funded by research assistantships, so we encourage you to contact faculty whose research interests you.

In addition, you may wish to investigate the following funding opportunities:

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