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Master's Degrees | Materials Science and Engineering

Materials Science and Engineering

Entrance Exam: Not Required
College of Engineering

The Master of Materials Science and Engineering (MMSE) is a non-thesis, course-only master's degree. The same degree requirements apply to on-campus and distance education students. For distance education students who are already employed, the MMSE program offers the convenience and flexibility of online video lectures and exams administered by a local proctor.

The Materials Science and Engineering graduate program focuses on understanding the structure, modification and properties of materials and the development of new or improved processing methods. Consistent with the multidisciplinary nature of the field, a substantial number of our graduate students majored in fields other than materials science, such as chemistry, physics and other engineering disciplines. The department also has a significant number of associated graduate faculty from other departments supervising thesis and dissertation research.


Applicants to the MMSE program typically have a BS degree in Materials Science and Engineering (MSE), another field of engineering or a related technical discipline such as chemistry or physics. If your undergraduate degree is not MSE, the MSE admissions committee may recommend that you begin your graduate work at NC State in the Post-Baccalaureate Studies (PBS) program, as a Non-Degree Studies (NDS) student.

Starting your graduate studies as an NDS student has some advantages:

  • You won't lose any time. Up to 12 credit hours of coursework can be taken as a Non-degree Studies (NDS) student. If you are later admitted to the MMSE program, up to 12 credit hours can be transferred from NDS to the MMSE program. Only courses in which a grade of B or better is received can be transferred.
  • Should you receive a grade lower than B in a course as an NDS student, this course will not transfer to MMSE and it will not be included in the calculation of your graduate grade point average (GPA). Per NCSU policy, a GPA of 3.0 or higher must be maintained to continue in any graduate program. So NDS is a low-risk way to "test the waters" in the MMSE program before committing to it.

Once enrolled in NDS, it is recommended that you register for MSE 500 as your first course. This is a fast-paced overview of the field, and will give you a good indication of how well prepared you are for additional graduate level coursework in materials science and engineering. You can be reconsidered for admission into the MMSE program after you have successfully completed at least two MSE courses as an NDS student.

To be admitted to the NC State Graduate School, you must:

  • have a minimum overall undergraduate grade point average of 3.0
  • have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in the last 60 semester hours of undergraduate work
  • take the TOEFL exam if you are a non-native English speaker and achieve a minimum TOEFL score of 550 (PBT) or 80 (IBT). The institutional code for the Educational Testing Service to report TOEFL scores to North Carolina State University is 5496. International students who have successfully completed at least one year of full-time study in a degree program at a four-year US College or university are exempt from the TOEFL requirement. Detailed TOEFL score requirements and other general information about the Graduate School at NC State can be found on our graduate admissions page.
  • In addition to meeting the university admission requirements, applicants to the MMSE Program must also:
    • provide three letters of recommendation from people familiar with your work
    • provide transcript(s) from your undergraduate institution(s)
    • submit a statement of purpose

Plan of Study

The program consists of 30 credit hours. A full-time graduate student may take 9 credit hours of course work per semester; part-time students typically take 3 or 6 credit hours of course work per semester. All requirements for the degree must be completed within six years of enrolling in the first course which appears on the NC State graduate transcript. All students must comply with Graduate School regulations for continuous registration or must request a leave of absence not to exceed one year.

Students who are employed full-time may enroll in only two courses per semester. It is highly recommended that new students enroll in just one course during their first semester.

Students are assigned an academic advisor and work with this advisor to develop an individual Plan of Graduate Work. Some specialty areas have specific course requirements.

Career Prospects

The Master of Materials Science and Engineering is a flexible program designed to facilitate a deeper understanding of the specific materials science professionals need to make a difference in the workplace. Our graduates work in a wide variety of engineering disciplines, including nuclear, automotive, aeronautical, nanotechnical, civil, electrical and mechanical engineering.

Additional Resources

For detailed information regarding engineering online programs and how to apply and enroll, please visit the Engineering Online website.