The Catholic University of America

Academic Program & Requirements

The MS-MSE curriculum will lead to the awarding of the degree of Master of Science in Materials Science and Engineering (MS-MSE) in the School of Engineering.
Candidates for the master’s degree in MSE must complete a minimum of thirty (30) semester hours of graduate work. Two curricular options are available for completion of the master’s degree in MSE, either through coursework or through thesis.
  • Coursework (i.e. non-thesis) master’s degree: Students completing the MS in MSE through the coursework option will be required to complete all 30 semester credit hours required for graduation through coursework with approval from the advisor.

  • Thesis master’s degree: Students completing the MS in MSE through the thesis option will be able to count up to six credits of thesis research towards satisfaction of the 30 semester credit hours required for graduation. Credit for thesis research will be granted upon submission of the written thesis. The remaining courses will be selected in consultation with an academic advisor.


Coursework Requirements

A standard coursework option for the master’s curriculum is comprised of 2 core engineering courses, a minimum of 4 MSE courses, and up to 4 additional non-MSE courses taken with approval of the advisor. A standard thesis option master’s curriculum is usually comprised of 2 core engineering courses, 4 MSE courses, and 2 additional non-MSE courses selected in consultation with the advisor. Students may deviate from the standard requirements by written petition to the program director. Students must receive written approval by the advisor and program director prior to enrolling in substitute coursework.
Core courses in for the MSE degree are provided in Table 1 below. Students are required to complete 1 of the 2 core engineering courses in addition to MSE 519 and the 4 core MSE courses provided in order to meet the minimum requirements for the MSE degree. The remaining 4 courses are to be selected from courses listed in Table 2 (descriptions in Appendix II) in consultation with the student’s advisor.
Table 1: Core courses for the MSE program

MSE Core Curriculum
Course #
ENGR 516
Computational Methods for Graduate Students
ENGR 520
Mathematical Analysis for Graduate Students
MSE 519
Experimental Methods in Materials Engineering
MSE 501
Introduction to Materials Engineering
MSE 522
Mechanical Properties of Materials
MSE 542
Electrical Properties of Materials
MSE 551
Physical Properties of Materials


Special Programs For Completion of the MSE Degree

Within engineering, there are several special programs for completion of a master’s degree. These include accelerated bachelor’s-master’s programs (for current CUA students) as well as dual-masters program options.
Accelerated Joint BS-MS Program
Undergraduate students who have completed at least 60 semester credit hours (of which 45 credits have been completed at CUA) with a minimum GPA of 3.2 at the time of application may apply for the Accelerated Joint Bachelor’s/Master’s Program. This program allows undergraduate students to pursue both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in a shorter time than pursuing both degrees separately.
Joint Master’s Program in Engineering
All master’s degree programs in the School of Engineering can participate in the joint degree program allowing students to earn two master’s degrees from two different engineering programs. The student must satisfy all requirements for both degrees and may be allowed to designate up to four approved graduate engineering courses to help satisfy the requirements for both degrees. Typically, this would reduce the total number of graduate engineering courses required to earn both master’s degrees from 20 courses (i.e. 60 SCH) to 16 courses (i.e. 48 SCH). A minimum of two core MSE courses are required and four specific MSE courses in total.
Students must apply for this program prior to completing 18 SCH of the first master’s degree program and be approved by the chairs/directors of both master’s degree programs.