Materials Science and Engineering MS Degree

Stanford School of Engineering

  • Master's Degree
  • Fee:
    Fee may apply



The Master's program in Materials Science and Engineering provides training in solid state fundamentals and materials engineering at a more advanced level. To receive the Master's degree, students must take 45 units of courses (approximately 15 quarter-long classes). The 45-unit requirement breaks down into the following categories:

  • Core Courses
  • Lab Courses
  • Additional Course Work (bringing units to a minimum of 30)
  • Approved Electives or Master's Research Report (15 unit requirement)

If a student has taken a course elsewhere substantially the same as a graduate course here, he/she may petition to substitute that course for a requirement and then take a different course to enhance the overall graduate program. Any such substitutions must be approved by the advisor and Advanced Degree Committee.

A minimum GPA of 2.75 for all degree course work taken at Stanford must be maintained. All Program Proposals are subject to approval by the Student Services Manager and the Academic Degree Committee.

Core Courses & Labs

  • 3 courses from  MATSCI 201-210
  • 3 laboratory courses: MATSCI 171, 172, 173


  • 4 courses from MATSCI 201-210
  • 2 laboratory courses from MATSCI 171, 172, 173

One laboratory  requirement may be fulfilled from another engineering department. All core courses and labs must be taken for a letter grade.

Note: Students who have academic credit for equivalent lab courses at other universities, equivalent practical experience, and/or other have a materials-related degree or background are expected to file a petition with the Student Services Manager to have this requirement waived and substitute other appropriate technical courses for the lab units.

Additional Course Work

Additional courses offered by the department of Materials Science and Engineering must be taken to bring the program progress to a minimum of 30 units. All courses contributing to this requirement must be taken for a letter grade. Research units, one-unit seminars, and courses in other departments (i.e. where a student cannot enroll in a course with a MATSCI subject code) cannot be counted towards this requirement. Contact the department of Materials Science and Engineering to obtain a list of courses that satisfy this requirement:

Approved Electives

Students must take 15 units of approved electives that result in a technically coherent program to complete the unit requirements for the MS degree. Of the 15 units of elective courses:

  • If writing a Master's Research Report, a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 15 units of Materials Science research units may be counted. MS research units may only be counted if writing a research report.
  • A maximum of 3 units may be undergraduate units (offered at Stanford University).
  • A maximum of 5 units may be used for a foreign language course (this may not include any remedial English courses, or courses in the student's native language if it is not English).
  • The combination of seminar units, undergraduate units, and language units may not exceed 6 units total.
  • The combination of research units, seminar units, undergraduate units, and language units may not exceed 15 units total.
  • 12 of the 15 units must be taken for a letter grade, unless submitting an MS research report.

Master's Research Report

Student's should submit a program proposal that includes the research units if they plan to prepare a Research Report. This program of study must include no less than 6 and no more than 15 units of Materials Science research. The research report submitted must be a reflection of the units counted - a 15 unit report is expected to be more substantive and complex than a 6 unit report. Final determination is up to the readers of the report, who must be designated ahead of time.

The research report must be approved by 2 faculty members. One faculty member is the student's research advisor. The other faculty member is chosen by the student, subject to approval by the department (see the Student Services Manager). 3 copies of the report (1 copy for each approving faculty member and 1 copy for the department library), in final form and signed by 2 faculty members, must be submitted to the Student Services Manager prior to the end of the final quarter of the program.




For course tuition and fees, please click Tuition & Fees.


Time Commitment

Most part-time students take an average of 3 to 5 years to complete the 45-unit requirement. You must complete a Master's degree within 5 years of starting the program.


For assistance while in the application process, please contact the Materials Science and Engineering Student Services Office using the following email address:

Expected Background

Any engineering discipline or related science discipline (i.e., physics, chemistry, etc.), or mathematics is a good base for graduate study in Materials Science and Engineering.

Program Proposal

The Master's Program Proposal form should be filled out, signed by the student's academic advisor, and submitted to the department Student Services Manager by the end of the student's first quarter of study. Any proposed changes in the course of study should be discussed with the student's advisor prior to making the change and approved on an appropriate form. Final changes to the Master's program must be submitted no later than one academic quarter prior to the degree conferral.

If a student began with a course work only degree, changes his/her mind, and decided to do a Research Report after the original program proposal has been submitted, a new proposal with the research units included should be submitted for approval at least 2 quarters before the degree is granted.

Honors Cooperative Program Students

MS students should be aware that they will not be able to take all of the necessary courses online in Materials Science. Attendance in courses offered only on-campus will be necessary to complete such a degree. Please make arrangements with your employer to be on campus during some quarters during the middle of the day to complete the needed course work.