Doctor of Philosophy with a major in Materials Science and Engineering

Doctor of Philosophy with a major in Materials Science and Engineering

Course Requirements
Research Advisor and Supervisory Committee
Qualifying Exam
Supervised Teaching
Thesis Defense
Summary of the graduate degree requirements
Individual Development Plan (IDP)

 

Contact Information

Prof. John J. Mecholsky, Jr.
Graduate Coordinator
100D Rhines Hall
jmech@mse.ufl.edu
(352) 846-3306

Student Academic Advising
108 Rhines Hall
advising@mse.ufl.edu
(352) 846-3312

Course Requirements

The MSE Department offers a Ph.D. degree, which requires 90 credits of course work. In addition to the four core courses, a one-credit course EMA 6920 Professional Development, and four credits of EMA 6940 Supervised Teaching are required, which should be taken in the Fall semester of the second year. A passing grade for Ph.D. students in the core courses and EMA 6001 is B or better in each course.

Research Advisor and Supervisory Committee

Each Ph.D. student has a supervisory committee whose members guide and supervise the student’s research program. This committee is solely responsible for setting specific degree requirements, conducting and reporting on oral examinations, and approving the student’s doctoral dissertation. The student should meet at least annually with their supervisory committee to discuss their progress towards the Ph.D. degree.

The student’s supervisory committee is usually chaired by his/her research advisor, who must be a Graduate Faculty in Materials Science and Engineering – some 40 faculty – but not necessarily a faculty member of the MSE department. Students must affiliate with a research advisor within the first semester. The other three members of the supervisory committee are selected by the student and the committee chair and typically complement the student’s research interests. One committee member must be from outside the graduate faculty of MSE.

Students need to select a research advisor by November 1 of the first semester. Students need to form their Supervisory Committee no later than the end of their second semester of study or after 12 credit hours in order to be able to register for a third semester. The form can be found at http://www.mse.ufl.edu/academics/spinstructions/. Changes in the membership of the supervisory committee are made by petition to Academic Advising.

Students without a research advisor will be assigned departmental duties such as a teaching assistant (TA).

Qualifying Exam

The purpose of the Qualifying Exam is to certify that a student possesses the fundamental knowledge and the academic and research skills necessary to complete a Ph.D. thesis.

The successful completion of the exam implies that the course work is nearly completed and that other requirements are either completed or nearly complete. In the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam, the students write a Ph.D. research proposal and defend it orally in front of their supervisory committee. In addition, the exam will test knowledge of the four core subjects.

The students have a maximum of two years from the entry to the graduate program and up to two attempts, to pass the Qualifying Exam. It is recommended to take the exam no later than the end of the fifth term (counting the summer term) from the entry to the graduate program. Students converted from the M.S. program has an extra semester to pass the qualifying exam. The Qualifying Exam is graded pass/fail separately for the writing and oral components. An overall passing grade requires passing both the writing and oral component. All work for the doctorate must be
completed within five calendar years after the qualifying examination, or this examination must be repeated.

To select a proposal topic, students should consult with their advisor and supervisory committee. The proposal topic – title and abstract – must be submitted to the supervisory committee at least four weeks before the Ph.D. qualifying exam. The abstract should include a brief description of the students’ significant independent intellectual contribution in formulating the proposed research.

Written Proposal

The proposal should be prepared as to be submitted to a federal agency for consideration and follow guidelines for the proposal summary, description, and references of the National Science Foundation or other federal agencies (NIH, DOE, DOD, etc.). Example proposals can be made available by the faculty advisor or by other graduate students. Example proposals may also be available online from some agencies, e.g. NIH (http://www.niaid.nih.gov/researchfunding/grant/Pages/appsamples.aspx), or for the NSF: https://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=gpg.
The proposal should present original research is original and lead to new scientific understanding, new properties, or economic benefit. The proposal needs to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the literature, describe the tools and techniques to be used to answer the questions raised and how the proposed techniques will specifically answer the questions.

The student should discuss the proposal topic and the requirements, expectations and other issues related the qualifying exam with his/her research advisor and the committee. However, the written proposal should be primarily the work of the student. The research advisor will not review or edit the written proposal prior to the submission of the proposal document to the entire supervisory committee.

The document is limited to 20 printed pages including all figures and tables but excluding references. The document should be single-sided with 1 inch margins all around. For the proposal text, 1.5 line spacing and a 12-point font should be used. The following topics should be addressed:

a) Summary of the proposal (1 page)
b) Introduction, motivation, problem statement, and significance
c) Objectives of proposed research
d) Literature background
e) Proposed research – tasks and experiments to be carried out to achieve objectives
f) Description of procedure and methods
g) Description of preliminary work if applicable
h) Anticipated outcomes and broader impact
i) Timeline and required resources
j) References

The information associated with items b-d above should occupy about 25% of the proposal description, items e-g should occupy about 65% and h-i should occupy about 10% (excluding abstract and references).

The written proposal document must be submitted to the Supervisory Committee at least five business days before the presentation and oral examination take place.

Oral Presentation and Exam

The proposal presentation and oral examination occur in the same session. The exam cannot be held on reading days. The exam may be held during the final exam week if the student does not have any non-research courses that semester, or during academic breaks with the approval of the Supervisory Committee. The chair and external member of the committee must be physically present at the exam, other can call in remotely.

The proposal presentation should be about 30 minutes in length and complement the written proposal. The presentation should demonstrate to the committee the value of the proposed research and the ability of the student to identify a scientific problem and determine a plan to resolve it.
The audience and the committee may ask questions during the presentation or at the end of it. Afterwards, the general audience will be excused.

After the audience is excused, the committee will ask relevant questions to evaluate the students’ competency in the chosen field of research and the proposal (presentation and written proposal). In addition, the committee will evaluate the student’s competency in the core subjects and graduate level materials science and engineering topics.

Following the oral examination, the student will be excused from the room and the committee will deliberate the student’s performance. A pass or fail decision will be made at this time. The written and oral components of the exam will be graded separately. Passing both components is required to pass the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam. The student will be informed of the committee’s decision once the deliberation is completed. If a student receives a failing grade in either the written or the oral component, or both, the student can defend the failed component(s) in the next academic term.

If a student in the M.S. program applies to the Ph.D. program and is accepted, the student may elect to take the Qualifying Exam and, upon successful completion, satisfy the Master’s Non-Thesis and the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam simultaneously.

Ph.D. students may qualify to apply for a M.S. degree (non-thesis). Application for an M.S. degree should be made at least one semester prior to the semester of anticipated graduation from the Ph.D. program.

Supervised Teaching

In their second or third year, every Ph.D. student will also take four credits of EMA 6940 Supervised Teaching and engage in supervised teaching of students (STS) for two separate courses as part of the course requirement for EMA 6940. The expected work load is five hours per week per course. Teaching assignments will be given before the beginning of the semester. It is the student’s responsibility to meet with the assigned faculty instructor as soon as the assignment is made to discuss duties and expectations. Possible duties may include, but are not limited to, host office hours and review sessions, grade homework and exams, help create homework and exam problems, prepare homework and exam solutions, proctor exams, prepare, copy and distribute classroom materials, and attend the lecture and labs. Under special circumstances and agreed upon by the student and instructor, the student can give a lecture.

The TA’s performance will be evaluated by both the faculty instructor and the students enrolled in the course. Students who do not receive satisfactory evaluations by the instructor need to repeat the assignment as TA in a future semester. The instructor evaluation will also be forwarded to the TA’s research advisor. The TA should communicate regularly and promptly with the instructor to resolve issues related to students’ work in the course as well as the performance and duties of the TA. An official grievance process is in place if the TA feels they are being treated unfairly by the students in the course and/or the faculty instructor. The complaint goes to the MSE Graduate Coordinator first, then to the Associate Chair for Academics, and to the Department Chair.

Thesis Defense

The final Thesis Defense examination for the M.S. (thesis) and Ph.D. degree is in the form of a public defense with open questioning followed by a closed session with private questioning by members of the supervisory committee. At the time of the Thesis Defense, the written dissertation must be completed in all respects and editorially acceptable for final approval, though it may be modified as a result of the exam. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all requirements of the Materials Science and Engineering program and the Graduate School have been successfully
completed in order to be awarded a M.S. or Ph.D. degree.

The Thesis Defense must be announced online at least one business day prior to the defense. Fill out the electronic form “Final Examinations (M.S.-Thesis or Ph.D.)” found at http://www.mse.ufl.edu/onpremforms/. If you have any internal substitutes (maximum of two), then indicate the  substitution on the form. For example, “Dr. Phillpot will substitute for Dr. Perry.” The entire Supervisory Committee must attend and examine the student. External and chair must be physically present at the exam, other can call in remotely. Two internal MSE members may be substituted if necessary. Final examination forms must be returned within five business days of the defense or ASO will process as a failed examination

The student must submit the completed Electronic Thesis or Dissertation (ETD) signature page to ASO no later than three business days prior to the Graduate School Editorial Office’s deadline. If the ETD signature page is not completed at the final examination, then the student will be given
the ETD page for completion. The defense should be no more than six months before the Ph.D. degree is awarded.

The successful completion of the Final Examination must be updated into GIMS by the deadline defined by the UF Graduate School, which is posted on the UF Academic Calendar for each semester. Note that this deadline is typically several weeks prior to the end of classes for that semester. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that their Final Examination Report is submitted to their Supervisory Chair with sufficient lead-time to permit review, feedback, modification, assignment of final grade, submission of Final Examination Report Form, and uploading of this form by the GAO.

If the student receives a U grade in the Final Examination, he/she must retake the exam in the next semester. The Final Examination may be retaken only once. If a second U grade is awarded, the student will be released from the program

Summary of the graduate degree requirements

SCH (Semester Credits Hours) Requirements
Master (Thesis)
Master (Non-thesis)
Doctor of Philosophy
Total SCH
30
30
90
MSE Core Requirements
12
12
13
MSE Electives
≥6
≥6
≥6
Specialization Electives
≤9
≤9
Variable
Supervised Teaching
N/A
N/A
4
Research/Special Project
≤5
0
Variable
Supervisory committee members (minimum number)
3
1
4
Qualifying Exam
None
None
Yes
Final Exam
Oral Defense and Written Thesis
Written
Oral Defense and Written Thesis
Time limit for completing degree
7 Years
7 Years
5 Years