Materials Science and Engineering (Ph.D.)

Materials Science and Engineering (Ph.D.)

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Why pursue a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering at UNH?

Our interdisciplinary materials science program will prepare you for advanced work in research, engineering and process development through emphasis on the synthesis, characterization and utilization of nanoscale materials. You’ll work closely with faculty members who are active collaborators with research and development groups located around the world, and are experienced in managing research projects with practical results. The degree is a unique combination of both fundamental science and engineering, preparing you to tackle technical problems from a materials perspective in fields such as sustainable energy, sustainable and biodegradable materials, stimuli responsive coatings, and advanced electronic materials.

Program highlights

You’ll have unique experiences at UNH. Research can be conducted under a single faculty member, however, in many cases several faculty collaborate from different disciplines. Past and current students have had the chance to contribute to materials critical to space telescopes with farther reach than the Hubble and novel materials from boron nitride. They’ve also enjoyed the opportunity to work with local companies, as well as the newly formed biomaterials research center (NH BioMADE) with research in prosthetics, tissue engineering and biosensors. We offer competitive research assistantships for qualified graduate students.

Potential career areas

  • Advanced electronics
  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Biomaterials and biosensors
  • Materials physics
  • Nanotechnology and nanomaterials
  • Professor in academia
  • Research scientist
  • Sustainable energy
  • Theoretical computation


Demeritt Hall
Materials Science Program
Durham, NH 03824

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Curriculum & Requirements

Beginning in the 2023-2024 academic year, the Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering will no longer be accepting new students. Current students will continue to have access to the same high-quality education and resources until they graduate.

We offer degrees to qualified students interested in interdisciplinary research with an emphasis on the synthesis, characterization and utilization of nanoscale materials.  All MSP students learn about the interplay of structure, processing, characterization, and properties of materials with useful applications. Our seventeen faculty members are active collaborators with research and development groups located around the world, and are experienced in managing research projects with practical results. Graduates of our program work in research, engineering and process development positions in a variety of fields.

Ph.D. Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. in Materials Science requires 39 course credits beyond a baccalaureate degree, as well as a significant amount of research.  

MS 960Thermodynamics and Kinetics of Materials I3
MS #961Thermodynamics and Kinetics of Materials II3
Select one course each satisfying the following areas 9-12
Synthesis and processing
Structure-property relationships
MS 900Seminar (two semesters)2
Select five additional courses with at least 12 total credits at the 900 level (including those courses taken at the master’s level)15-20

Other courses that may count as electives in the Materials Science Program are taught by faculty in chemistry, mechanical engineering, physics, and other departments. For a complete list of these courses, please see the Graduate Student Handbook on the materials science website.

Students who have done graduate work at other schools that included courses similar to those in the Materials Science Program may petition for waivers of UNH degree requirements.

The student will be advanced to candidacy after he or she has completed an M.S. degree or 24 credits of graduate coursework with at least 6 credits at the 900 level and the qualifying examination. The qualifying exam shall consist of two parts. The student must present a written proposal adhering to NSF guidelines, followed by an oral defense of that proposal. In addition, the student must submit a substantive review paper and an oral presentation on that paper. A materials science program faculty committee will determine the subject of the paper. A substantive record of publication in conjunction with an oral presentation at a conference may substitute for the review paper. A materials science program faculty committee will decide whether the previous publication record is substantive. The committee will evaluate the paper, the proposal, and the two oral presentations to determine whether the student is suitably prepared for graduate research at the Ph.D. level. The proposal and paper for the qualifying exam should normally be completed within six months of completing 24 credits of coursework.

Upon the successful completion of the qualifying examination, the student is advanced to candidacy and, upon the recommendation of the graduate coordinator, a doctoral committee is appointed by the dean of the Graduate School. The doctoral committee conducts an annual review of the student’s progress, supervises and approves the doctoral dissertation, and administers the final dissertation defense.

  • Students will satisfy all of the learning outcomes from the Master’s program.
  • Students will be competent in designing and conducting and experimental or theoretical program.
  • Students will be competent in reviewing the literature on a specialized topic and be able to prepare an insightful presentation on this topic.
  • Students will be able to prepare archival-level journal publications and present their research at national conferences.
  • Students will be well prepared for postgraduate study in materials science, as well as advanced careers at academic, government, and industrial laboratories.


Applications must be completed by the following deadlines in order to be reviewed for admission:

  • Fall: Program has been suspended
  • Spring: Program has been suspended
  • Summer: Program has been suspended
  • Special: N/A

Application fee: $65

Campus: Durham

New England Regional: No

Accelerated Masters Eligible: No

New Hampshire Residents

Students claiming in-state residency must also submit a Proof of Residence Form. This form is not required to complete your application, but you will need to submit it after you are offered admission or you will not be able to register for classes.


If you attended UNH or Granite State College (GSC) after September 1, 1991, and have indicated so on your online application, we will retrieve your transcript internally; this includes UNH-Durham, UNH-Manchester, UNH Non-Degree work and GSC. 

If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must upload a copy (PDF) of your transcript in the application form. International transcripts must be translated into English.

If admitted, you must then request an official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. We accept transcripts both electronically and in hard copy:

  • Electronic Transcripts: Please have your institution send the transcript directly to Please note that we can only accept copies sent directly from the institution.
  • Paper Transcripts: Please send hard copies of transcripts to: UNH Graduate School, Thompson Hall- 105 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824. You may request transcripts be sent to us directly from the institution or you may send them yourself as long as they remain sealed in the original university envelope.

Transcripts from all previous post-secondary institutions must be submitted and applicants must disclose any previous academic or disciplinary sanctions that resulted in their temporary or permanent separation from a previous post-secondary institution. If it is found that previous academic or disciplinary separations were not disclosed, applicants may face denial and admitted students may face dismissal from their academic program.

Letters of recommendation: 3 required

Recommendation letters submitted by relatives or friends, as well as letters older than one year, will not be accepted.

Test Scores: GRE Required

GRE required. Request official test scores to be sent directly to the Graduate School by the testing service. Test scores more than five years old are not acceptable. Student copies and photo copies of scores are not considered official. Our CEEB code is 3918.

For general information about test scores, including waiver requests and current COVID related impacts, please visit our Test Scores webpage.

Personal Statement/Essay Questions

Prepare a brief but careful statement regarding:

  1. Reasons you wish to do graduate work in this field, including your immediate and long-range objectives.
  2. Your specific research or professional interest and experiences in this field.

Important Notes

All applicants are encouraged to contact programs directly to discuss program-specific application questions.

International Applicants

Prospective international students are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent examination scores. English Language Exams may be waived if English is your first language. If you wish to request a waiver, then please visit our Test Scores webpage for more information.

Explore Program Details

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