Information for Current Ph.D. Students


It is the responsibility of the student to seek guidance from his or her major professor regarding course selection and research methods/content for the final master’s thesis. Any questions or problems relating to academic affairs should be addressed to the Director of the Materials Science Program.

Graduation Criteria

All students must pass all of the required coursework (27 credit hours of graded course work) with a minimum 3.0 GPA. In addition to meeting the university requirement to maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 or above, MS&E students need to achieve a grade of "B" or better in each core course. Students not achieving a "B" must either retake the course or take another core course in a different topic area that will be selected by MS&E in consultation with the instructor of the core course in which the student did not achieve at least a "B."

All students are required to take the Interdisciplinary Seminar Series (ISS) every semester they are in MS&E. Students who receive two Unsatisfactory grades in ISS will be dropped from MS&E.

Qualifying Exam

The MS&E Ph.D. qualifying exam is a written exam based on the content of the four core courses. It will be taken after the first year. Students are required to take it in the semester after they finish their core courses. The exam will be given in Fall semester, and it will also be given in Spring semester if needed. Students can take the exam twice.

Preliminary Exam

After passing the Ph.D. qualifying exam and finishing all the elective specialization courses, the student will prepare a prospectus. The prospectus is a written document that includes preliminary research results and a plan and timeline to complete the research. The student will submit the written prospectus to his/her supervisory committee and will also present the prospectus orally. During the oral prospectus presentation, the student will have oral questions from the supervisory committee based on the student’s elective specialization courses to gauge the student’s understanding of the breadth and depth of materials science. This oral examination and presentation of the prospectus will constitute the preliminary examination.

All requirements for the doctoral degree must be completed within five calendar years from the time the student passes the preliminary examination, or the student’s supervisory committee will require that a new preliminary examination be passed.

Students need to register for ISC 8960 (PhD Prelim Exam - MS&E) the semester they do their preliminary exam.

Dissertation and Dissertation Defense

A written dissertation is required, which must be an original work and will serve in part to demonstrate the student’s ability to carry out research. Upon satisfactorily completing the preliminary examination and prospectus, the student will finish his/her research and then prepare a written document for his/her dissertation and defend the dissertation orally.

Dissertation Advisor and Supervisory Committee

The student needs to choose a major professor (dissertation advisor) from the MS&E faculty by the end of his/her second semester. The Ph.D. supervisory committee consists of a minimum of five faculty members with Ph.D. directive status. The major professor is the chair of the supervisory committee and must be an MS&E faculty member. The student and the major professor will select the supervisory committee. A maximum of two members of the supervisory committee can be from the advisor’s department, a maximum of three can be from the advisor’s college, and the committee must have members from at least three different departments. Four of the five committee members must be from MS&E. The fifth committee member is the University representative, who is selected by the student and major professor and can be from any department so long as this committee member’s affiliations satisfy the department and college distribution requirements given above. Additional members may be appointed to the committee if deemed desirable by the major professor. The supervisory committee must be selected by the end of the semester in which the student passes the Ph.D. qualifying exam.

Annual Summary of Research Results

Each student will submit a written summary of his/her RESEARCH results and plans for ongoing research in Spring of each year.The evaluation procedure described below is done yearly until the student graduates.

Before passing the Preliminary Exam, the student’s advisor will evaluate the student’s progress and write a short report that is given to the student, to MS&E, and to the dean of the Graduate School during May of each year.

After passing the Preliminary Exam, the student will present their results and plans to their supervisory committee in Spring of each year. The committee will write a short evaluation of the student’s progress that is given to the student, to MS&E, and to the dean of the Graduate School during May of each year.

Further Information

For further information see the FSU Graduate Student Handbook.

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