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PhD in Materials Science and Engineering

Includes fully-paid tuition, a stipend and fee support

A doctorate (PhD) in Materials Science and Engineering from Duke develops your research skills in close collaboration with our world-renowned engineers and scientists.

As a Duke doctoral student, you will have opportunities to publish with your faculty advisor, present research at professional conferences, and explore your field in a highly collaborative, cross-disciplinary environment.



  • 30 units of coursework
  • Materials Science and Engineering Graduate Seminars
  • Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training
  • Qualifying exam
  • Preliminary exam
  • Dissertation and defense

Important Notes

Detailed Information about our PhD Program

Participating Academic Departments at Duke

Degree Requirements

  1. In the 1st year, four to six courses* must be selected from eight core courses:
    CHEM 548: Fundamentals of Solid State Materials
    CHEM 544: Statistical Mechanics - OR - ECE 521: Quantum Mechanics
    ME 562: Materials Synthesis and Processing

    ME 563: Fundamentals of Soft Matter
    ME 511: Computational Materials Science
    ECE/NANOSCI 511: Foundations of Nanoscale Science and Technology - OR -ECE 721/ME 711: Nanotechnology Materials Lab/Advanced Materials Lab
    * Up to 2 of the six core courses may be replaced by courses deemed critical by advisors and students for their research projects
  2. For the first three semesters the Materials Science and Engineering Graduate Seminar is required.
  3. In the second year, three elective courses are required (a maximum of one elective course may be replaced with an independent study to receive course credit for Ph.D. research).
  4. A qualifying exam in the third semester, a preliminary exam after three years, and a final defense exam are required for the Ph.D. degree.
  5. Academic Integrity and Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training required by The Graduate School at Duke University must be completed within the first three semesters

Credit for Master's Degree

In the case of a PhD student matriculating with a master's degree, course credit requirements are reduced to 21 credits total, and the selection of courses must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Fully-Paid Study

The Graduate School at Duke provides a competitive package that should provide PhD students with financial support for the majority of the time they are registered and working toward their degree. PhD students are supported in a variety of ways, including funding from their departments, The Graduate School, or other governmental and private sources.

Generally speaking, The Graduate School At Duke provides PhD students with a stipend, payment of tuition, and fee support for their first five (5) years of study, as well as health insurance for the first six (6) years if students are on the Duke student medical insurance plan. After their fifth year, students are responsible for tuition and fees, and most of our students obtain external or departmental funding to cover those costs.

See the Cost to Attend page at The Graduate School website for a detailed breakdown of tuition, fees, and other expenses.

Application Deadlines

Please see the website of The Graduate School at Duke University for a complete list of the latest departmental application deadlines.

Go to Deadlines