Materials Science and Engineering


Degrees Offered


Clemson University offers the Master of Science (MS) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees in Materials Science & Engineering. These programs include experimental and modeling aspects of advanced materials, such as amorphous, bio-, nanoscale, photonic and electronic materials. Courses encompass phase transformations, processing of ceramic and metallic materials, polymer synthesis, surface/interfacial modification and mechanical behavior. The graduate program is designed to enable students to initiate and conduct independent investigation. In addition, if you are accepted into one of these programs, you will acquire a comprehensive understanding of a specific area in materials science through course work and thesis/dissertation research. The programs are open to BS and MS graduates from materials science and engineering, metallurgy, ceramics, polymer science, physics, chemistry and other science and engineering disciplines.


More information can be found in this graduate handbook.


Program of Study

MS: You and your advisor will devise a plan of study that incorporates the required course work and thesis research. Topics will include deformation mechanisms in solids, phase equilibria in materials science, kinetics, fracture & fatigue, and solid state science.

PhD: Although excessive tenures are discouraged, the Department of Materials Science and Engineering does not recognize any minimum or maximum time for obtaining the PhD degree. However, the Graduate School does place restrictions on the maximum time allowed to obtain a graduate degree. Obtaining a doctoral degree usually takes approximately three years; however, the degree will be awarded when your academic and research advisor(s) are satisfied that the research program is complete and that all other formal requirements have been met. The financial support for you, as a PhD candidate can have a limit depending on the source of your support. All PhD students are required to take a comprehensive examination after the completion of two semesters, but no later than the completion of three-and-a-half semesters as a full-time student or equivalent. A successful oral examination given at least three weeks before graduation is also required for the PhD degree.


The Department of Materials Science and Engineering has facilities available for ceramic, metal, glass and polymer processing; optical and electron microscopy (SEM, TEM); AFM; X-ray diffraction; thermal analysis (DSC, TGA) and optical, electrical and mechanical property (tensile, fatigue, drape, etc) characterization. Other specialized capabilities include fabrication of amorphous metallic alloys, ultrasound-based free-forming, microwave synthesis, synthesis and characterization of biomaterials, solution and colloid-based materials processing, high-temperature materials characterization, chemsorption and temperature-programmed reduction/oxidation, nano-indentation and facilities to convert organic and inorganic fibers into stable and coherent fabric structures (nonwovens, knits and woven).

Aligned with MSE is COMSET, the Center for Optical Materials Science & Engineering Technologies, which operates one of only a handful of optical fiber draw towers and MCVD latches at universities in the US. Numerous light sources are available, including argon, Ti-sapphie, dye and femto-second Nd:YAG lasers as well as a 450W Xe lamp for excitation and pulse-probe experiments from the UV through the 1550 nm telecommunications band. Detectors include PMTs and solid-state CCDs for detection of light (e.g., rare earth emissions) from the UV through the near infrared. In partnership with Clemson’s Spiro Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, local technical colleges, industry and regional economic development entities, COMSET is actively pursuing the University’s vision of becoming the focal point for knowledge creation and transfer in high-value-added photonic material technologies. This is being realized through partnerships, by technology transfer to established and new venture firms, through serving partners in scientific, business and entrepreneurial education and mentorship and in educating a world-class talent pool at the two-year, four-year and advanced degree levels. Details on COMSET’s mission, facilities and accomplishments are online at

Additional major manufacturing and testing facilities are available at the National Brick Research Center and the Clemson Apparel Research (CAR) Center.

Our Students

Approximately 80 graduate students from throughout the US and around the world are enrolled in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Clemson University. The department seeks to recruit high-caliber graduates from science and engineering backgrounds in materials science, polymer science, physics, chemistry and other related scientific disciplines.

Graduates from the program have been placed in academic and business roles at such companies as General Shale Brick, Stiles and Hart Brick, Boral Bricks, Hanson Brick, Southern Color and Chemical, SGH, Corning, Alcoa-Fujikura, JDS-Uniphase, Cisco, FujiFilm, Aeropsatiale, LSI Logic, Oxford Instruments Alstrom, Honeywell, Michelin, Boeing-Seattle, Richards, Inc., French Electric Power Authority, W. R. Grace, TATA, TIMET, Stirling Metals, Concurrent Technology, Degussa, Seagate Technology and Smith-Nephew and at universities such as Berkeley, North Carolina State and Georgia Tech.


Required Documents


Research and teaching assistantships are available from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, private-sector industry and government agencies. Assistantships and fellowships with competitive stipends are available for top students.


Program Contact(s)

Program Coordinator(s)