Columbia’s program in Materials Science and Engineering offers a graduate program leading to the Master of Science (M.S.), Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.), Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and Doctor of Engineering Science (Eng.Sc.D. or DES) degrees. 

Materials science and engineering is concerned with synthesis, processing, structure, and properties of metals, ceramics, polymers, and other materials, with emphasis on understanding and exploiting relationships among structure, properties, and applications requirements. Our graduate research programs encompass projects in areas as diverse as polycrystalline silicon, electronic ceramics grain boundaries and interfaces, microstructure and stresses in microelectronics thin films, oxide thin films for novel sensors and fuel cells, optical diagnostics of thin-film processing, ceramic nanocomposites, electrodeposition and corrosion processes, structure, properties, and transmission electron microscopy and crystal orientation mapping, magnetic thin films for giant and colossal magnetoresistance, chemical synthesis of nanoscale materials, nanocrystals, carbon nanotubes, nanostructure analysis using X-ray and neutron diffraction techniques, and electronic structure calculation of materials using density functional and dynamical mean-field theories. Application targets for polycrystalline silicon are thin film transistors for active matrix displays and silicon-on-insulator structures for ULSI devices. Novel applications are being developed for oxide thin films, including uncooled IR focal plane arrays and integrated fuel cells for portable equipment. Long-range applications of high-temperature superconductors include efficient power transmission and highly sensitive magnetic field sensors.

Thin film synthesis and processing in this program include evaporation, sputtering, electrodeposition, and plasma and laser processing. For analyzing materials structures and properties, faculty and students employ electron microscopy, scanning probe microscopy, cathodoluminescence and electron beam–induced current imaging, photoluminescence, dielectric and anelastic relaxation techniques, ultrasonic methods, magnetotransport measurements, and X-ray diffraction techniques. Faculty members have research collaborations with Lucent, Exxon, IBM, and other New York area research and manufacturing centers, as well as major international research centers. Scientists and engineers from these institutions also serve as adjunct faculty members at Columbia. The National Synchrotron Light Source at Brookhaven National Laboratory is used for high-resolution X-ray diffraction and absorption measurements.

Entering students typically have undergraduate degrees in materials science, metallurgy, physics, chemistry, or other science and engineering disciplines. First-year graduate courses provide a common base of knowledge and technical skills for more advanced courses and for research. In addition to course work, students usually begin an association with a research group, individual laboratory work, and participation in graduate seminars during their first yea

Master of Science Degree

Candidates for the Master of Science degree in Materials Science and Engineering will follow a program of study formulated in consultation with and approved by a faculty adviser. Thirty points of credit are required at a minimum.

The following five courses (15 points) are required for the degree:

15 points:

MSAE E4100: Crystallography

MSAE E4201: Materials thermodynamics and phase diagram

MSAE E4202: Kinetics of Transformations in Materials

MSAE E4206: Electronic & magnetic properties of solids (3 pts)

MSAE E4215: Mechanical behavior of materials (3 pts)

Electives

If a candidate has already taken one or more of these courses at Columbia University, substitutions from the Type I Elective list may be approved.

The remaining 15 points will be chosen from elective courses, 9 points of which must be Type I and 6 points of which may be Type I or Type II:


Type I Electives:

MSAE E4090: Nanotechnology

MSAE E4101: Structural analysis of materials

MSAE E4102: Synthesis and processing of materials

MSAE E4132: Fundamentals of polymers and ceramics

MSAE E4207: Lattice vibrations and crystal defects

MSAE E4250: Ceramics and composites

MSAE E4990: Special topics in materials science and engineering

MSAE E6085: Computing the electronics structure of complex materials

MSAE E6091: Magnetism and magnetic materials

MSAE E6100: Transmission electron microscopy

MSAE E6225: Techniques in X-ray and neutron diffraction

MSAE E6229: Energy and particle beam processing of materials

MSAE E6230: Kinetics of phase transformations

MSAE E6251: Thin films and layers

MSAE E6273: Materials science reports

MSAE E8235: Selected topics in materials science

MSAE E4000-, 6000- or 8000-level courses not listed here

Type II Electives:

BMEN E4300: Solid biomechanics (3 pts)

BMEN E4301: Structure, mechanics, and adaptation of bone (3 pts)

BMEN E4501: Tissue engineering, I (3 pts)

APPH E4100: Quantum physics of matter (3 pts)

APPH E4110: Modern optics (3 pts)

APPH E4130: Physics of solar energy (3 pts)

APPH E6081: Solid state physics, I (3 pts)

APPH E6082: Solid state physics, II (3 pts)

ELEN E4301: Introduction to semiconductor devices (3 pts)

ELEN E4411: Fundamentals of photonics (3 pts)

ELEN E4944: Principles of device microfabrication (3 pts)

EAEE E4001: Industrial ecology of earth resources (3 pts)

EAEE E4160: Solid & hazardous waste management (3 pts)

ENME E4113: Advanced mechanics of solids (3 pts)

ENME E4114: Mechanics of fracture & fatigue (3 pts)

ENME E4608: Manufacturing processes (3 pts)

CHEE E4252: Introduction to surface and colloid chemistry (3 pts)

CHEE E4530: Corrosion of metals (3 pts)

CHEN E4620: Intro to polymers and soft materials

CHEN E4640: Polymer surfaces and interfaces

 

CHEM G4168: Materials chemistry

MECE E4211: Energy sources and conversion

APMA E4101: Introduction to dynamical systems (3 pts)

APMA E4200: Partial differential equations (3 pts)

APMA E4300: Introduction to numerical methods (3 pts)

APMA E4400: Introduction to biophysical modeling (3 pts)

Columbia Video Network (CVN) students may have their programs approved by faculty. Special reports (3 points) are required of CVN students.

All degree requirements must be completed within five years. A candidate is required to maintain at least a 2.5 GPA. Applicants for admission are required to take the Graduate Record

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Doctoral Program

At the end of the first year of graduate study in the doctoral program, candidates are required to take a comprehensive written qualifying examination, which is designed to test the ability of the candidate to apply course work in problem solving and creative thinking. The standard is first-year graduate level. There are two four-hour examinations over a two-day period.

Candidates in the program must take an oral examination within one year of taking the qualifying examination. Within two years of taking the qualifying examination, candidates must submit a written proposal and defend it orally before a Thesis Proposal Defense Committee consisting of three members of the faculty, including the adviser. Doctoral candidates must submit a thesis to be defended before a Dissertation Defense Committee consisting of five faculty members, including two professors from outside the doctoral program. Requirements for the Eng.Sc.D. (administered by the School of Engineering and Applied Science) and the Ph.D. (administered by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences) are listed elsewhere in the SEAS bulletin.


Degree Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Materials Science and Engineering

  • Complete requirements for the M.S. with a 3.0 Minimum GPA
    (unless a Master’s Degree from another institution has already been earned, in which case students receive 30 points and 2 Residence Units of advanced standing)

  • Complete requirements for the Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) Degree:
    • Written Qualifying Examination
      Courses suggested for preparation at the level of the general and materials science parts of the written qualifying examination are listed in the qualifying examination memorandum.

    • Ethics requirement
      Online ethics course during Fall of 1st, year, attend departmental ethics seminar during Spring of 1st and 2nd years

    • Oral Exam (usually Spring of 2nd year)
       
    • 30 points of courses and/or research (beyond M.S.) taken for a letter grade with 3.0 GPA
      Can be fulfilled with core and related courses of specialization not used for the M.S. degree as well as research points, but no more than 15 points of research can be applied to this 30 point requirement

    • 6 Residence Units
      One per semester not including summer, takes 3 years without M.S. or 2 years with M.S.

    • Thesis proposal (usually Spring of 3rd year)
       
    • Master of Philosophy Degree awarded
       
  • Complete Dissertation
     
  • Successful Defense

 

Degree Requirements for the Doctor of Engineering Science ( Eng.Sc.D. or DES) in Materials Science and Engineering

  • Complete requirements for the M.S. with a 3.0 Minimum GPA
    (unless a Master’s Degree from another institution has already been earned, in which case student receives 30 points of advanced standing)

  • Written Qualifying Examination
    Specific course requirements are determined in consultation with the program adviser. Courses suggested for preparation at the level of the general and materials science parts of the written qualifying examination are listed in the qualifying examination memorandum.

  • Ethics requirement
    Online ethics course during Fall of 1st year, attend departmental ethics seminar during Spring of 1st and 2nd years

  • Oral Exam (usually Spring of 2nd year)

  • 30 points of courses and/or research (beyond MS) taken for a letter grade with 3.0 GPA
    Can be fulfilled with core and related courses of specialization not used for the MS degree as well as research points, but no more than 15 points of research can be applied toward this 30 point requirement

  • 12 points of MSAE E9800: Doctoral Research Instruction
     
  • Thesis proposal (usually Spring of 3rd year)
     
  • Complete Dissertation
     
  • Successful Defense

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Materials Science & Engineering Faculty

William Bailey
Katayun Barmak - Materials Science and Engineering Program Committee Chair & Doctoral Committee Chair
Simon Billinge
Siu-Wai Chan
Alexander Gaeta
Irving Herman
James Im
Chris Marianetti
I.C. Noyan
Aron Pinczuk
Wen Wang
Renata Wentzcovitch
Yuan Yang

Multidisciplinary and External Advisors

Admitted students may work with scientific advisors external to the materials science and applied physics and applied mathematics faculty, as long as student secures funding from said faculty.  Examples of other faculty in areas closely related to materials science include:

Louis Brus, Chemical Eng. and Chemistry
Paul F. Duby, Earth and Environmental Engineering
C. J. Durning
, Chemical Eng.
Kenneth Eisenthal
, Chemistry
James Hone
, Mechanical Engineering
Ioannis (John) Kymissis, Electrical Engineering
Jeffrey Kysar, Mechanical Engineering
Ponisseril Somasundaran, Earth and Environmental Engineering
Yasutomo Uemura, Physics
Shalom Wind, Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering

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Graduate Specialty in Solid-State Science and Engineering

Solid-state science and engineering is an interdepartmental graduate specialty that provides coverage of an important area of modern technology that no single department can provide. It encompasses the study of the full range of properties of solid materials, with special emphasis on electrical, magnetic, optical, and thermal properties. The science of solids is concerned with understanding these properties in terms of the atomic and electronic structure of the materials in question. Insulators (dielectrics), semiconductors, ceramics, and metallic materials are all studied from this viewpoint. Quantum and statistical mechanics are key background subjects. The engineering aspects deal with the design of materials to achieve desired properties and the assembling of materials into systems to produce devices of interest to modern technology, e.g., for computers and for energy production

Areas of Research
The graduate specialty in solid-state science and engineering includes research programs in semiconductor nanocrystals (Prof. Louis Brus, Chemistry/Chemical Engineering); optics of semiconductors and nanomaterials (Prof. Irving Herman, Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics); molecular beam epitaxy leading to semi-conductor devices (Prof. Wen Wang, Electrical Engineering/Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics); metamaterials and infrared optoelectronic devices (Prof. Nanfang Yu, Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics); and inelastic light scattering in low-dimensional electron gases within semiconductors (Prof. Aron Pinczuk, Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics/Physics); large-area electronics and thin-film transistors (Prof. James Im, Henry Krumb School of Mines/Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics); structural analysis and high Tc superconductors (Prof. Siu-Wai Chan, Henry Krumb School of Mines/Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics); X-ray microdiffraction and stresses (Prof. I. C. Noyan, Henry Krumb School of Mines/Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics); electronic and magnetic metal thin films (Prof. Katayun Barmak, Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics); magnetic properties of thin films (Prof. William Bailey, Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics); the structure of nanomaterials (Prof. Simon Billinge, Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics); electronic structure calculations of materials (Prof. Chris Marianetti, Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics); ultrafast nonlinear optics and nanophotonics (Prof. Alexander Gaeta, Applied Physics and Materials Science and Engineering); and silicon photonics (Prof. Michal Lipson, Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics).

Program of Study

The applicant for the graduate specialty must be admitted to one of the participating programs: applied physics and applied mathematics, or electrical engineering. A strong undergraduate background in physics or chemistry and in mathematics is important.

The doctoral student must meet the formal requirements for the Eng.Sc.D. or Ph.D. degree set by the department in which he or she is registered. However, the bulk of the program for the specialty will be arranged in consultation with a member of the interdepartmental Committee on Materials Science and Engineering/ Solid-State Science and Engineering. At the end of the first year of graduate study, doctoral candidates are required to take a comprehensive written examination concentrating on solid-state science and engineering.

The following are regarded as core courses of the specialty:


APPH E4100: Quantum physics of matter (3 pts)
APPH E4110: Modern Optics (3 pts)
APPH E4112: Laser physics (3 pts)
APPH-MSAE E6081-E6082: Solid state physics, I and II (3 pts)
CHEM G4230: Statistical thermodynamics (4.5 pts)

or

CHAP E4120: Statistical mechanics (3 pts)
ELEN E4301: Introduction to semiconductor devices (3 pts)
ELEN E4944: Principles of device microfabrication (3 pts)
ELEN E6331-E6332: Principles of semiconductor physics (3 pts)
ELEN E6403: Classical electromagnetic theory (4.5 pts)

or

PHYS G6092: Electromagnetic theory, I (4.5 pts)
MSAE E4100: Crystallography (3 pts)
MSAE E4206: Electronic and magnetic properties of solids (3 pts)
MSAE E4207: Lattice vibrations and crystal defects (3 pts)
MSAE E6220: Crystal physics (3 pts)
MSAE E6240: Impurities and defects in semiconductor materials
MSAE E6241: Theory of solids
PHYS G6018: Physics of the solid state
PHYS G6037: Quantum mechanics

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