M.S. Materials Science

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Norfolk State University
Master of Science in Materials Science

The M.S. in Materials Science program provides students with analytical and technical skills and research experience necessary for doctoral programs. Graduates are also prepared for professional jobs involving materials science and engineering principles.

The Master of Science in Materials Science is an interdisciplinary program administered cooperatively by the physics, chemistry, and engineering graduate faculty. Persons holding baccalaureate degrees in chemistry, engineering, materials science, physics, or related disciplines are eligible for admission.

Dr. Sam Sun, Program Coordinator
(757) 823-0035


The program is designed to provide the knowledge, analytical skills, and research experience necessary to prepared students for technical jobs and doctoral degree programs in the interdisciplinary field of Materials Science. Therefore, the curriculum includes an overview of materials science and current research areas, in-depth study of relevant physical theories, and applied research. All students are required to complete a master’s thesis. The thesis research component of the program is typically coordinated through the Center for Materials Research.

However, research may also be conducted off campus through special programs at federal  research  facilities  such  as  NASA  Langley or National Laboratories, with prior approval of the thesis advisor.

What to expect as a student

All students are required to complete a total of 33 credit hours, including research and thesis preparation credits. This requirement includes the following 18 credit hours of core courses:

  • CHM 545 Mathematical Methods
  • MSE 530 Materials Science
  • MSE 533 Polymers and Polymer-Based Composite Materials
  • MSE 535 Electronic and Photonic Materials
  • MSE 575 Instrumentation for Materials Science
  • PHY 580 Quantum Mechanics for Materials Scientists

In addition to the core courses, students must complete nine (9) hours of approved technical electives and a minimum of six (6) hours of research in Materials Science courses. Preparation of a thesis and oral thesis defense is required. Students are expected to present their findings at local and national conferences and to participate in related workshops and short courses as determined by the research advisor.

M.S. Program Outcomes

Intended Student Learning Outcomes:

  • The student will demonstrate fundamental and current materials science knowledge and analytical skills.
  • The student will apply knowledge and skills to work independently on interdisciplinary research projects.
  • The student will demonstrate good oral and written communication skills and be able to present information in a professional setting.
  • The student will demonstrate good oral and written communication skills and be able to present information in a professional setting.
  • The student will apply a broad understanding of materials science and engineering to provide solutions in a global and societal context.

Intended Program Outcomes:
Graduates will have the knowledge and professional skills necessary to serve in the academic, government, research and private sectors working in areas related to materials science and engineering.

Opportunities for Students

Graduate students have the opportunity to work on projects with external research organizations including national laboratories, industries and universities. Among our partners are NASA Langley Research Center, Thomas Jefferson National Laboratories, Cornell University, University of Michigan, University of Arizona, Purdue University, the NSF Science and Technology Center on Real-Time Functional Imaging (STROBE) at the University of Colorado, and the 2D Crystal Consortium-NSF Materials Innovation Platform at Penn State University. Students regularly attend national and international conferences where they present their research results.

Where will my degree take me?

Graduates of the NSU Materials Science and Engineering programs have obtained employment at government agencies and companies including Exxon, Intel, IBM, and Solvay. They have also obtained faculty or post-doctoral positions at various universities.