Materials Science and Engineering Master's Degree

Online Program Overview

Degree Level
Master's Degree
Total Credits
Fully Online
Contact Us
Minimum GPA
Qualifying Exam
GRE Required

Materials Science Engineering is a rapidly growing, multidisciplinary activity that has emerged as a recognizable field in recent decades. Scientists and engineers in this field lay the basis for understanding, developing, testing, and applying materials that form the foundation for present and future technologies (for example, ceramic engines for the automotive industry, semiconductor devices for the microelectronic industry, and polymers and composite materials for various industries including sports and automotive industries). More significantly, the choice and power of future human endeavors will depend critically on the development of improved and environmentally-sound materials, whether as inexpensive and highly efficient solar cells for clean power generation or as radiation-resistant alloys for fusion reactor walls.

Although over half a million scientists and engineers currently are working in the materials field, only about 10 percent of them hold materials-designated degrees (the remainder include chemists, physicists, electrical engineers, chemical engineers, and mechanical engineers). As such there is demand for -- and the field will benefit from -- scientists and engineers, who take the multidisciplinary materials science approach in their careers.

The program also offers the professional degree, Metallurgical Engineer, for engineers who wish to do advanced work beyond the level of the M.S. degree but who do not desire to emphasize research. For more information:

"I have been quite happy with ALL of the classes I have taken. This has not been easy - as some of the classes have been challenging. Also, with the unpredictable nature of my travel schedule, the logistics, at times, have been even more of a problem. But, in the end, there has been good cooperation at all levels and things have worked out well in the end. In conclusion, I thought my travel schedule would prohibit me from being able to successfully complete any advanced degree. This has not proven to be the case."
Bob Havrin, Baker Process

Admissions Requirements

Degree required for admission: Students admitted to the program must possess an undergraduate degree in engineering, science, mathematics, or other related field (subject to the approval of the Materials Science and Engineering Program) from an accredited academic institution. Applicants should have a strong undergraduate record to be competitive for admission.

GPA required: Minimum of 3.0 

GRE requirements: General test required 

Other application requirements: 3 recommendation letters, transcripts, resume, and a personal-professional statement are required.  If you have not earned a degree from an undergraduate or graduate institution in which the instructional language was English, you may be required to take the TOEFL/IELTS. All application requirements in the Graduate Application must be completed as specified in the application. 

Breadth requirement: Elements of Materials Science (MSAE E3103) is required for students who have not covered this material in earlier undergraduate or graduate courses. No credit toward the M.S. degree will be given for taking this course. 

For answers to your most common admissions questions, please review our FAQ page here.

Breadth requirement: Elements of Materials Science (MSAE E3103) is required for students who have not covered this material in earlier undergraduate or graduate courses. No credit toward the M.S. degree will be given for taking this course.

Degree Requirements:

Students must complete all core courses and selected electives (described below) for a total of 30 graduate points of academic work via CVN with an academic average of 2.5 or better. All degree requirements must be completed within 5 years of the beginning of the first course credited toward the degree. This includes courses taken in the non-degree program.


MSAE students are advised to visit the Materials Science page on the APAM website for the most current information regarding program requirements.

Core courses:

The following six courses (18 points) are required for the degree:

18 points:

MSAE E4100: Crystallography

MSAE E4200: Theory of crystalline materials: phonons

MSAE E4201: Materials thermodynamics and phase diagrams

MSAE E4202: Kinetics of transformations in materials

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

MSAE E4215: Mechanical behavior of structural materials (3 pts)

Course List



If a candidate has already taken one or more of these courses at Columbia University, substitutions from the Elective list must be approved by consultation with their faculty advisor and approval of the program committee.

The remaining 12 points will be chosen from elective courses. (List of approved electives in 2019-2020)

Any MSAE4000, MSAE6000, MSAE8000 course

Similar courses not listed here may be considered by petition, addressed to the APAM Department Student Services Coordinator.

Students interested in a specific focus in Metallurgy or other materials fields should consult their faculty adviser for relevant course listings.

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

Tuition & Fees

2023–2024 Tuition & Fees

Please note that all tuition and fees are in U.S. dollars and are estimated. Tuition and most fees are prescribed by statute and are subject to change at the discretion of the Trustees.

CVN Credit Tuition: $2,462.00 per point (Credit Hour)
CVN Fee: $395 non-refundable fee per course
Transcript Fee: $105 non-refundable one-time fee
Tuition Deposit: $1,000 (More information on our Resources page)

Estimated cost of one nondegree course: $7,886.00
Estimated total cost of certification (four courses): $31,229.00

Estimated total cost of MS (ten courses): $77,915.00
*Estimated total cost of DES (ten courses plus a minimum of 12 research credits): $108,249.00

Graduate Admission Application Fee: $85 non-refundable one-time fee 
Certification Program Application Fee: $85 non-refundable one-time fee 

Late Registration Fee: $100 non-refundable fee

CVN Withdrawal Fee: $75, plus prorated tuition and all non-refundable fees
For example: A three-credit course would be $7,781 + transcript fee $105 (one-time) + CVN fee $395 = $7,886

*Assumes DES student enrolls in two six-credit research courses.

For Drop/Withdrawal fees and dates, refer to the Academic Calendar for the current term.

Please note: CVN no longer offers courses for audit.

Payment should be mailed to:

Columbia University
Student Account Payments
P.O. Box 1385
New York, NY 10008-1385

Before you mail your check or money order, please take careful note of the following requirements to ensure the timely processing of your payment:

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