Aug 24, 2019  
2013-2014 SDSM&T Academic Catalog 
2013-2014 SDSM&T Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Materials Engineering and Science, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Dr. Jon J. Kellar
Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering
Mineral Industries 112
(605) 394-2343

Advisory Council

Advisory Council members are from the Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Materials and Metallurgical Engineering, Physics, and Chemistry.

Materials Engineering and Science

The doctor of philosophy program in materials engineering and science (MES) offers a student the opportunity to expand his/her knowledge and understanding of the science and technology of materials production, behavior, and applications. The student will undertake multidisciplinary approaches, combining the basic elements of both engineering and science, to the solution of materials-related problems. Because such problems are found in every science and engineering discipline, the degree applicant has considerable flexibility in the selection of the department in which to pursue dissertation research, within the confines of the applicant‘s academic preparation and interests. Candidates will study either a science or engineering emphasis within the MES Ph.D. program. For example, research emphasis may be placed on improving processes for the production of metallic, polymeric, ceramic, or other structural or electronic materials. Alternatively, the degree candidate may investigate mechanisms for improving material properties, which in turn, could lead to new or better applications. Classroom and individualized instruction will provide the necessary theory to complement such creative activities.

Example areas of specialization include but are not limited to

  • Activities of Multicomponent Systems
  • Computational Modeling
  • Polymer Synthesis
  • Concrete Technology
  • Corrosion Inhibition
  • Development of Multiphase Materials
  • Fiber Reinforced Composites
  • Geotechnology
  • Magnetic Nanocomposites
  • Nanoscale Electronic Materials
  • Polymer Matrix Composites
  • Reaction Kinetics
  • Semiconductor Materials and Devices
  • Strengthening Mechanisms
  • Surface Chemistry of Flotation
  • Thermophysical Properties
  • Thin Films

The program is administered directly by the Dean of Graduate Education and sponsored programs, with the head of the MES Ph.D. advisory council serving as program coordinator. The advisory council currently comprises faculty members from the Departments of Civil and Environmental, Mechanical, Materials and Metallurgical Engineering, and the Departments of Physics, and Chemistry.

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE), three letters of recommendation, and a GPA of 3.00 or better are required of all applicants for the MES Ph.D. program. The TOEFL exam is required for students whose native language is not English.

All candidates for the MES Ph.D. program are required to successfully complete the following minimum credits and earn a grade of “C” or better, except for a final grade of “S” in MES 800:

Category Credits
Analytical Mathematics 3
Numerical Mathematics 3
Program Major Emphasis (Engineering or Science) 44-54
Dissertation Research 20-30
Total beyond the B.S. degree 80

General Program Requirements

(Minimum program requirements: 80 credits)

M.S. Degree (24 credits)

Programs-major courses may be used to satisfy coursework hour requirements for analytical mathematics, numeral mathematics, or fundamental science courses taken in the M.S. program of study (subject to approval).

Program Emphasis (30 credits)

Two program emphasis areas are available: materials science and materials engineering. See sections below.

Research (20 credits)

Additional research credits

A maximum of 10 additional research credits may be included within the hours specified for the program major, subject to approval by the student‘s advisory committee. The courses listed in Sections II and III below are suggested courses for the science of engineering emphasis, but students are not limited to this selection. Students may take courses out of each emphasis when developing their programs of study.

Science Emphasis Requirements

(Minimum program requirements: 30 credits)

Thermodynamics of Solids (3 credits)

Crystal Structure/Chemistry of Solids (3 credits)

Bulk or Surface Analysis (3 credits)

Fundamental Engineering Mechanics (6 credits)

Courses from the engineering emphasis section can also be used to fulfill this requirement. 

Dissertation Related Topics (12 credits)

Engineering Emphasis Requirements

(minimum program requirements: 30 credits)

Analytical Mechanics


Failure Analysis Fracture Mechanics

Fundamental Materials Science (6 credits)

Courses from the science emphasis section can also be used to fulfill this requirement. 

Additional Information

An assessment of the student‘s qualifications will be undertaken early in their program. The assessment is comprised of performance in pre-determined courses and a dissertation proposal. Further information is available in the School of Mines materials engineering and science Ph.D. Handbook.

Each student is also required to pass a comprehensive examination. There is no language requirement for the MES doctoral program.

For program supervision purposes, the MES Ph.D. program coordinator is the graduate advisor until the major professor is appointed. The major professor is the person responsible for the student‘s dissertation research. The graduate office representative on the student‘s dissertation committee must be selected from outside of the department with which the major professor is affiliated, and should also be a member of the MES Ph.D. Advisory Council. The MES Ph.D. Advisory Council must approve all programs of study. It is not necessary that the student be associated with the department of affiliation of his or her major professor. The detailed information on examination policy, admission to candidacy, and defense of dissertation are included in the School of Mines Materials Engineering and Science Ph.D. Handbook.