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 developing 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, visit the Graduate Programs in Materials Science and Engineering page in the Columbia Engineering Bulletin.

"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: three recommendation letters, transcripts from every post-secondary institution attended, 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.

Program Requirements

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. All degree requirements must be completed within five years. A candidate for the terminal masters degree is required to maintain at least a 2.5 GPA. Students enrolled in the MS/PhD Track program must maintain a 3.0 GPA.

Applicants for admission are required to take the Graduate Record Examinations.

For full details, please see the Columbia Engineering Bulletin.


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

Course List

Required Courses

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. 30 points of credit (typically ten three-point courses) are required for the degree. The requirements include

  • Eighteen (18) points, MSAE 4000-, 6000-, 8000- level courses (max three points of research)
  • Six (6) points, approved electives (see the list in the Columbia Engineering Bulletin), which may not include research points, e.g. MSAE E6723
  • Six (6) points, general electives (which may include three additional points of research.)

Of the 30 points of credit required for the MS degree, 18 points of MSAE4000-, 6000-, or 8000-level courses must be included. Only three points of research (MSAE6273 or other research course) may be used to satisfy the MSAE point requirement. A minimum of six points of MSAE courses must be taken in the first semester. Furthermore, it is expected that 15 of the first 24 points taken will be in MSAE courses; any exceptions must be approved by a faculty adviser.

Six points of restricted electives may be chosen from the list of approved electives in the Columbia Engineering Bulletin; a course not on the approved list can be counted only with prior, written approval. Research units may not be included.

Six points of electives may be chosen freely. These electives may include MSAE courses, approved electives, other electives, or an additional three points of research, with a maximum of six points of research counted toward the degree requirements. As a reminder, no undergraduate courses (3000-level or below) may be counted toward the degree.

Students interested in a specific focus in metallurgy or other areas in materials science and engineering should consult their faculty adviser for relevant course listings.


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

See the Elective courses list in the 2023–2024 Bulletin.

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 students may have their programs approved by faculty.

Concentration in Materials Theory and Simulation (MTS)

Computational materials science is a pervasive topic in disciplinary areas of materials science and engineering, as well as in solid state physics, solid state chemistry, earth science, and beyond. The Materials Theory and Simulation (MTS) concentration within the Materials Science and Engineering MS degree program provides students sufficient preparation to begin independent research in this emerging area.


Have a question? Feel free to reach out to our Student Services Coordinator or contact a Materials Science & Engineering Masters only or CVN Advisor.

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:

Attn: Shewanna House
Accounting & Business Management
Senior Student Services Rep
Payments & Deposits
210 Kent Hall, Mail Code 9205
1140 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027

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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