Mechanical Engineering with Concentration in Materials Science, MSME

While pursuing a Master of Science (MS) in Mechanical Engineering, students may choose materials science as a concentration. Materials science has been the key enabler in virtually all engineering breakthroughs that have occurred from early metal ages to the present nano age. In step with the scientific development and discovery of materials, members of the mechanical and industrial engineering (MIE) faculty are involved in interdisciplinary research to further materials processing, synthesis, and design. Research areas are aligned with Northeastern University's broad initiatives of sustainability, security, and health, as well as national initiatives in manufacturing and nanotechnology. Investigations in the areas of metals/alloys, polymers, biomaterials (including biomimetics), and composites incorporating nanoscale materials make use of experimental, theoretical, and computational techniques to tailor structure-processing-property relationships in materials for specific applications. Current areas of research include controlling synthesis and assembly processes to produce well-defined atomic structures; defect engineering; manipulating atomic/microstructures and the chemistry of materials to optimize properties for next-generation structural, electronic, and energy applications; solidification and deformation processing; and life-cycle assessments for nanocomposites/materials. Northeastern faculty and students are committed to creative thinking and engineering innovation to propel materials development to the forefront of scientific research.

General Degree Requirements

To be eligible for admission to any of the MS degree programs, a prospective student must hold a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering, science, mathematics, or an equivalent field. Students in all master’s degree programs must complete a minimum of 32 semester hours of approved course work (exclusive of any preparatory courses) with a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.000. Students can complete a master's degree by pursuing one of the three tracks: course work option, project option, and thesis option. Specific degree requirements for each of these tracks can be found under the "Program Requirements" tab. Students may pursue any program either on a full-time or part-time basis; however, certain restrictions may apply.

Special Ethics Requirement

All MIE graduate students are required to complete a brief online session on Responsible Conduct of Research and Plagiarism during their first semester of full-time study.  All enrolled students will be sent proper instructions on how to complete this assignment and satisfy this important requirement. The outcome of the online session will be filed with the student’s records.

Academic and Research Advisors

All nonthesis students (students doing project or course work options) are advised by the academic advisor designated for their respective concentration or program. MS students doing a thesis option must find a research advisor within their first year of study and may have thesis reader(s) at the discretion of their research advisor. The research advisor must be a full-time or jointly appointed faculty or affiliated member of the MIE department; otherwise, a petition must be filed and approved by the MIE Graduate Affairs Committee. If the research advisor is outside the MIE department, a faculty member with 50 percent or more appointments in the MIE department must be chosen as the co-advisor. Thesis option students are advised by the academic advisor designated for their specific concentration before they select their research advisor(s).

Plan of Study and Course Selection

It is recommended that all new students attend orientation sessions held by the MIE department and the Graduate School of Engineering to acquaint themselves with the course work requirements and research activities of the department as well as with the general policies, procedures, and expectations.

In order to receive proper guidance with their course work needs, all MS students are strongly encouraged to complete and submit a fully signed Plan of Study (PS) to the department before enrolling in second-semester courses. This form helps the students manage their course work as well as helps the department to plan for requested course offerings. The PS may be modified at any time as students progress in their degree programs. However, requests for changes in the PS must be processed before the requested change actually takes place. A revised PS form must also be approved and signed.

Each student’s academic advisor must approve all courses prior to registration. Students may only use courses taken with the approval of their academic advisor toward the 32-semester-hour minimum requirement. However, students may petition the MIE Graduate Affairs Committee to substitute graduate-level courses from outside the approved list of electives.

Students pursuing study or research under the guidance of a faculty member can elect for project option by taking Master’s Project (MATL 7945). An MS project must be petitioned to the MIE Graduate Affairs Committee and approved by both faculty member (instructor) and the academic (concentration) advisor. The petition must clearly state the reason for taking the course; a brief description of the goals; as well as the expected outcomes, deliverables, and grading scheme. 

Students doing course work option may petition the MIE Graduate Affairs Committee to substitute up to a 4-semester-hour Independent Study (MATL 7978).  An independent study must be approved by the academic advisor. The petition must clearly state the reason for taking the course; a brief description of the goals; as well as the expected outcomes, deliverables, and grading scheme. Students in other options (i.e., thesis or project) are not eligible to take independent study.

Options for MS Students (course work only, project, or thesis)

Students accepted into any of the MS programs in the MIE department can choose one of the three options: course work only, project, or thesis. Please see the “Program Requirements” tab on the top menu of this page for more information. MS students who want to pursue project or thesis options must find, within their first year of study, a faculty member or a research advisor who will be willing to direct and supervise a mutually agreed research project or MS thesis. Moreover, students who receive financial support from the university in the form of a research, teaching, or tuition assistantship must complete an 8-semester-hour thesis.

Students who complete the thesis option must make a presentation of their thesis before approval by the department. The MS thesis presentation shall be publicly advertised at least one week in advance and all faculty members and students may attend and participate. If deemed appropriate by the research advisor, other faculty members may be invited to serve as thesis readers to provide technical opinions and judge the quality of the thesis and presentation. 

Change of Program/Concentration

Students enrolled in any of the MIE department programs or concentrations may change their current program or concentration no sooner than the beginning of their second full-time semester of study. In order for the program or concentration change request to be considered by the MIE graduate affairs committee, the student must be in good academic standing and have completed at least 8 semester hours of required course work in their sought program at Northeastern. See here for instructions on how to request a program or concentration change.

Graduate Certificate Options

Students enrolled in a master's degree have the opportunity to also pursue one of the many engineering graduate certificate options in addition to or in combination with the MS degree. Students should consult their faculty advisor regarding these options.

Gordon Institute of Engineering Leadership

Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering with Concentration in Materials Science with Graduate Certificate in Engineering Leadership

Students may complete a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering with Concentration in Materials Science in addition to earning a Graduate Certificate in Engineering Leadership. Students must apply and be admitted to the Gordon Engineering Leadership Program in order to pursue this option. The program requires fulfillment of the 16-semester-hour curriculum required to earn the Graduate Certificate in Engineering Leadership, which includes an industry-based challenge project with multiple mentors. The integrated 32-semester-hour degree and certificate will require 16 hours of advisor-approved materials science technical courses.

Engineering Leadership

Complete all courses and requirements listed below unless otherwise indicated.

Core Requirements

Complete 16 semester hours from the following:16
Soft Matter
Structure, Properties, and Processing of Polymeric Materials
Mechanical Behavior and Strengthening Mechanisms
Thermodynamics of Materials
Kinetics of Phase Transformations
Materials Processing and Process Selection
Environmental Issues in Manufacturing and Product Use


Complete one of the following options:

Course Work Option

Complete 16 semester hours in the following subject areas:16
ME, MATL, or other graduate engineering courses

Project Option

MATL 7945Master’s Project4
Complete 12 semester hours in the following subject areas:12
ME, MATL, or other graduate engineering courses

Thesis Option

ME 7990Thesis 18
Complete 8 semester hours in the following subject areas:8
ME, MATL, or other graduate engineering courses

Program Credit/GPA Requirements

32 total semester hours required