UC San Diego Materials Science and Engineering

Graduate Courses

Course Descriptions
Both the mandatory core courses and elective courses need to be taken. The mandatory core courses described below are required for completion of the progam's graduate degrees. These mandatory & elective core courses provide the basis for the comprehensive exam.

The program electives core are courses that students may take in conjunction with their particular research focus. These courses are offered at various times throughout the academic year. Please see the current class schedule for details.

PhD Students: Successful completion of 3 (three) advanced graduate courses (in addition to those courses required for the M.S. Degree), approved by the student's advisor, are required. Courses must be taken for a letter grade. P/NP or S/U grades will not be accepted.


  1. MATS 201A-Thermodynamics of Solids
  2. MATS 201B-Solid State Diffusion & Kinetics
  3. MATS 201C-Phase Transformations
  4. MATS 227-Structure and Analysis of Solids


Select 2 out of 10:

  1. MATS 205A -Imperfections in Solids
  2. MATS 251A - Electronic and Photonic Properties of Materials
  3. MATS 251B- Magnetic Materials: Principles and Applications
  4. MATS 252-Biomaterials/ Med Devices
  5. MATS 253- Nanomaterials and Properties
  6. MATS 256- Energy Materials and Applications
  7. MATS 257- Polymer Science and Engineering
  8. MATS 261A -Processing of Polymers and Composites
  9. MATS 261B- Mechanical Behavior of Polymers and Composites
  10. PHYS 152A- Introduction to Solid-State Physics
200. Graduate Seminar (0 units) (satisfactory/unsatisfactory grades only) (Fall, Winter, Spring). Each graduate student in the Materials Science and Engineering Program is expected to attend a weekly seminar in materials science or related areas. Master's students must enroll for three quarters, Ph.D. students for six quarters.

201A. Thermodynamics of Solids (4 units). The thermodynamics and statistical mechanics of solids. Basic concepts, equilibrium properties of alloy systems, thermodynamic information from phase diagrams, surfaces and interfaces, crystalline defects. Prerequisite: consent of instructor. (Cross-listed with MAE271A, ECE238A, NANO 265)

201B. Solid State Diffusion and Reaction Kinetics (4 units). Thermally activated processes, Boltzman factor, homogeneous and heterogeneous reactions, solid state diffusion, Fick's laws, diffusion mechanisms, Kirkendall effect, Boltzman-Matano analysis, high diffusivity paths. Prerequisite: consent of instructor. (Cross-listed with MAE271B, ECE238B)

201C. Phase Transformations (4 units). Classification of phase transformations: displacive and reconstructive transformations: classical and non-classical theories of nucleation: Becker-Doering, Volmer-Weber, lattice instabilities, spinodal decomposition. Growth theories: interface migration, stress effects, terrace-ledge mechanisms, epitaxial growth, coherence effects. Martensitic transformations: crystallography, thermodynamics, kinetics, and mechanics. Precipitation. Order-disorder transformations. Solidification. Amorphization. Prerequisite: consent of instructor. (Cross-listed with MAE271C)

205A. Imperfections in Solids (4 units). Point, line, and planar defects in crystalline solids, including vacancies, self-interstitials, solute atoms, dislocations, stacking faults, and grain boundaries; effects of imperfections on mechanical, electrical, and chemical properties; interactions of dislocations with point defects; hardening by localized obstacles, and precipitation and dispersion hardened alloys. Prerequisite: consent of instructor. (Cross-listed with MAE272, ECE234A)

227. Structure and Analysis of Solids (4 units). The atomic structure and bonding of solids such as metals, ceramics and semiconductors. Symmetry operations, point groups, lattice types and space groups will be covered. Simple and complex inorganic compounds will be studied and structure/property comparisons will be made. Structure determination with X-ray diffraction will be discussed. Ionic, covalent and metallic bonding will be analyzed and compared with physical properties. Atomic and molecular orbitals, bands vs. bonds, free electron theory and other topics will be discussed. (Cross-listed with MAE251, NANO 227, CHEM 222).

251A. Electronic and Photonic Properties of Materials (4 units). The electronic and optical properties of metals, semiconductors, and insulators. The concept of the band structure. Electronic and lattice conductivity. Type I and Type II superconductivity. Optical engineering using photonic band gap crystals in one-,two- and three-dimensions. Current research frontiers. Prerequisites: Consent of the Instructor (Cross Listed with MAE 265A)

251B. Magnetic Materials: Principles and Applications (4 units). The basis of magnetism: Classical and quantum mechanical points of view. Different kinds of magnetic materials. Magnetic phenomena including anisotropy, magnetostriction, domains and magnetization dynamics. Current frontiers of nano-magnetics research including thin films and particles. Optical, data storage and biomedical engineering applications of soft and hard magnetic materials. Prerequisites: Consent of instructor. (Cross-listed with MAE 265B, NANO 251A).

252. Biomaterials and Medical Devices (4 units). This class will cover biomaterials and biomimetic materials. Metal, ceramic and polymer biomaterials will be discussed. Emphasis will be on the structure-property relationships, biocompatibility/degradation issues and tissue/material interactions. Synthesis and mechanical testing of biomimetic materials will also be discussed. Prerequisites consent of instructor. (Cross-listed with MAE 266)

253. Nanomaterials and Properties (4 units). This course discusses synthesis techniques, processing, micro structural control and unique physical properties of materials in nano-dimensions. Topics include nanowires, quantum dots, thin films, electrical transport, electron emission properties, optical behavior, mechanical behavior, and technical applications of nanomaterials. Prerequisites consent of instructor. (Cross-listed with MAE 267)

256. Energy Materials and Applications (4 units). This class will cover the fundamentals/engineering aspects of various energy materials basedon metallic, ceramic, semiconductor, and chemical structures, and theirapplications related to solar cells, fuel cells, batteries, fusionenergy, and hydrogen storage will be discussed.(Cross-listed with MAE254)

257. Polymer Science and Engineering (4 units). Quantitative basic understanding of different branches of polymer science varying from polymer chemistry, characterization, thermodynamics, rheological properties, smart materials, self-assembly in biopolymers (natural)and synthetic polymers, and applications of polymers ranging from medicine to structure. (Cross-listed with BENG 242, NANO 257). Prerequisites: graduate standing in bioengineering (BE 75) or materials science (MS 76) or consent of instructor.

261A. Processing of Polymers and Composites (4). Introduction to processing and fabrication methods of polymers and composite materials. Processing techniques; facilities and equipment, material-processing-microstructure interaction, materials selection, form and quality control. Extrusion, injection molding, blow molding, compression molding, thermoforming, casting, foaming. Wet layup; sprayup; autoclave cure, SMC; RTM; resin infusion; winding and fiber placement; pultrusion. Process induced defects and environmental considerations. (Cross-listed with SE 251A.) Prerequisites: graduate standing.

261B. Mechanical Behavior of Polymers and Composites (4).Material-science oriented course on polymers and composites. Mechanical properties of polymers; micromechanisms of elastic and plastic deformations, fracture, and fatigue of polymers and composites. (Cross-listed with SE 251B.) Prerequisites: graduate standing

Phys 152. Introduction to Condensed Matter Physics (4 units). Crystal symmetry, free electron gas, band structure, properties of insulators, semiconductors and metals; atomic diffusion, alloys, eelectric transport phenomena.

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Elective Courses

207. Surface Reactions, Corrosion and Oxidation (4 units). The nature of surfaces; nucleation and growth of surface films. Techniques for studies of surface structures and of surface films. Types of corrosion phenomena and mechanisms of corrosion. Methods of corrosion control and prevention. Mechanisms of oxidation. Control of oxidation by alloying and surface coatings. Prerequisite: MS 201A or consent of instructor.

213A. Dynamic Behavior of Materials I (4 units). Elastic waves in continuum; longitudinal and shear waves. Surface waves. Plastic waves; shock waves; Rankine-Hugoniot relations. Method of characteristics, differential and difference form of conservation equations; dynamic plasticity and dynamic fracture. Shock wave reflection and interaction. Prerequisite: consent of the Professor. (Cross listed with 273A)

225. Materials for Magnetic Recording (4 units). Magnetic properties of small particles and thin films. Origin of magnetic anisotropy. Switching behavior. Magnetopics. Effect of surfaces on magnetic properties. Prerequisite: MS 221 or consent of instructor. (Cross listed with ECE246A)

236 Advanced Ceramics (4 units). Topics include phase equilibria and crystallography, defects and thermodynamics (Kröger-Vink Notation), glass science, electrical and ionic transport behavior, Brouwer diagrams, powder synthesis and compaction, sintering theory and gain growth, mechanical, optical, magnetic, electrical properties, fuel cells. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

240A. Scanning Electron Microscopy (4 units). Electron optics, electron-beam-specimen interactions. Image formation in the SEM. The role of specimen and detector in contrast formation. Imaging strategies. X-ray spectral measurements. Qualitative and quantitative x-ray microanalysis. Materials specimen preparation. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

240B. Transmission Electron Microscopy (4 units). Operation and calibration of the TEM, lens defects and resolution, formation of images and diffraction patterns, electron diffraction theory (kinematical dynamical), indexing diffraction patterns, the fine structure in diffraction patterns, diffraction contrast. Quantitative analysis of crystal defects, phase contrast, and specimen preparation. Prerequisite: MS 240A or consent of instructor.

243 Modern Materials Analysis (4 units). Analysis of the near surface of materials via ion, electron, and x-ray spectroscopes. Topics to be covered include particle solid interactions. Rutherford Backscattering, secondary ion mass spectroscopy, electron energy loss spectroscopy, particle induced x-ray emission, Auger electron spectroscopy, extended x-ray absorption fine structure and channeling. Prerequisite: consent of the instructor.

254. MEMS Materials, Fabrication and Applications (4 units). Fabrication of Micro-Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) by bulk and surface micro machining of single crystal, polycrystal and amorphous silicon and other materials. Performance issues including electrostatic, magnetic, piezoelectric actuations, residual stresses, deformation. Novel device applications, future trends are smart materials and Nano-Electro-Mechanical (NEMS) systems. Prerequisites consent of instructor. (Cross-listed with MAE 268)

258. Medical Device Materials (4 units). In this interdisciplinary course, the nature, properties, and applications of various medical device materials will be discussed. The devices include coronary stents, catheters, drug delivery vehicles, and other implant, surgery, or therapeutics related devices. (Cross-listed with MAE 250.)

295 Research Conference (2 units). Group discussion of research activities and progress of group members. Prerequisite: consent of the instructor.

296. Independent Study (4 units). Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

299. Graduate Research (1-12 units). S/U (satisfactory/unsatisfactory) grades only.

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Related Electives
Subject to the approval of a faculty advisor, students may also choose from the following courses offered by various other departments participating in the Materials Science Program. Course descriptions can be found in the UCSD's General Catalog.

Courses from Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE)
MAE 229A Mechanical Properties (4)
MAE 231A. Foundations of Solid Mechanics (4)
MAE 231B. Elasticity (4)
MAE 232A,B,C. Finite-Element Methods in Solid Mechanics (4)
MAE 233A. Mechanics of Composite Materials (4)
MAE 233B. Micromechanics (4)
MAE 238. Stress Waves in Solids (4)
MAE 251. Structure and Analysis of Solids (4)

Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE)
ECE 230A,B,C. Solid State Electronics (4)

PHYS 133/219 Condensed Matter/Materials Science Laboratory (2)
PHYS 152B/232 Electronic Materials
PHYS 211A Solid-State Physics (5)
PHYS 211B Solid-State Physics (4)

Various other courses from Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Physics, NanoEngineering, BioEngineering department, Chemistry and Biochemistry department, Math, Structural Engineering department, the School of Biological sciences may also be taken depending on individual interests and thesis topics.

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