Undergraduate Student Handbook
- Accreditation, History, Faculty & Staff
- School Contact Info & Academic Advisement
- Program Educational Objectives
- BSMSE General Info & Curriculum
- Grades and Scholastic Requirements
- Readmission Policies, Graduation Requirements & Graduation Procedures
- Engineering Certificate Programs & Post Graduate Opportunities
- Professional and Honor Societies
- Scholarships and Awards & FE Examination
- Change of major
- Seminars & Pre-Law/Pre-Med Programs
- Use of Ugrad Research Courses & Ugrad Research Assistantship courses
The Bachelor of Science in Materials Science and Engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET - http://www.abet.org.
The School of Materials Science and Engineering has an energetic faculty whose interest and expertise cover the broad spectrum of materials science and engineering. The primary function of the faculty is the generation and dissemination of materials engineering knowledge in such a manner as to meet the educational needs of our students. It is the desire of the faculty to encourage student-faculty interaction and to improve the quality and diversity of the educational experience available to the students. For a complete list of our faculty click here.
The assistance and guidance students receive from the MSE staff are important components of their educational experience. Staff members are friendly and go out of their way to help students; please call on them when you need assistance or advice. For a complete list of our staff click here.
School Contact Info & Academic Advisement
5. Contact Information
The School of MSE is housed in multiple buildings on campus. The MSE administrative office is located in the Love building.
School of Materials Science and Engineering
J. Erskine Love Manufacturing Building
771 Ferst Drive, NE
Atlanta, GA 30332-0245
Campus Mail Code: 0245
Fax Number: 404.894.9140
The Associate Chair for Undergraduate Programs is located in room 4510 MRDC.
801 Ferst Drive NW
Atlanta, GA 30332-2490
Campus Code: 2490
Fax Number: 404-894-8780
Graduate Office, Room 297 Love
Undergraduate Office, Room 296 Love
Computer Cluster: Room 158 Love
MSE has conference rooms available for reservation in the Love and MRDC building. Reservations can be made through Virtual EMS
Conference Room: Room 295 Love, 3510 MRDC, 3515 MRDC, 4404 MRDC
The School of Materials Science and Engineering places a "HOLD" on all undergraduate registration prior to Phase I registration. The "HOLD" is removed after the student has attended a group advisement session and submitted a two semester plan of study. Group advisement is held four times each term before Phase I registration. Undergraduates may make appointments with the faculty by contacting them directly. Students are required to meet with their faculty mentor at least once per academic year. Students will be informed via email of the group advisement dates and times. Co-op students who cannot come in for advisement during their work terms must meet with their advisors each term they are in school. Their registration "HOLD" will be removed for the term after their next work term.
Students may also participate in the MSE Student/Industry Mentoring Program.
Dr. Mary Lynn Realff is the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Programs. Each student is assigned an academic advisor, who will follow them through to graduation.
Transfer and dual degree students are assigned an academic advisor by the Academic Advisor.
Program Educational Objectives
7. Program Educational Objectives
The following Program Educational Objectives were established to assist in attaining the visions and missions of the Georgia Institute of Technology and its College of Engineering, and to be consistent with ABET Criteria for Accrediting Engineering Programs.
The Program Educational Objectives of the Bachelor of Science in Materials Science and Engineering program are:
- Our graduates will rapidly rise to leadership roles in materials-related positions in industry, academia, government, and other career pursuits.
- Our graduates will be global leaders, collaborating with diverse, multi-disciplinary teams while incorporating emerging materials developments and engineering technologies that are positively changing society and the human condition.
- Our graduates will continue to grow their cumulative knowledge base by engaging in life-long learning via career-appropriate options, including post-graduate education and professional designations.
- Our graduates will be entrepreneurs, continually discovering, designing and creating new materials of all types, building on the process-structure-properties-performance paradigm to exert positive economic and social impacts across the field and society.
BSMSE General Info & Curriculum
8. Program Information
A program leading to the Bachelor of Science in Materials Science and Engineering (BSMSE) degree is offered by the School of Materials Science and Engineering. This chapter of the School of Materials Science and Engineering Undergraduate Student Handbook provides detailed information on the requirements for the BSMSE degree. This information is based on the Georgia Tech General Catalog. If you plan to graduate under an earlier edition of the catalog, refer to Section 15 of this handbook.
Bachelor of Science in Materials Science and Engineering Curriculum – The BSMSE curriculum requirements can be found in the General Catalog.
Descriptions of all courses are given in the General Catalog.
BSMSE students must complete the requirements for one of the three concentrations: Structural & Functional, Polymer & Fiber or Biomaterials. Note that students cannot declare or receive more than one concentration.
Transfer students should declare their concentration by the end of their second semester at GT.
Non-transfer students should declare their concentration by the end of their second year at GT.
Georgia Tech operates an accredited program in materials science and engineering. The undergraduate program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), an organization sanctioned by several professional engineering societies, including TMS. An accredited degree must satisfy both general and program-specific requirements defined by ABET. The materials science and engineering curriculum is designed to satisfy these requirements. To satisfy the ABET engineering design requirements, design is an integral part of several MSE courses. Additionally, the two course Designing with Materials sequence taken in the senior year (MSE 4410 and MSE 4220 or GT 4823) satisfies the ABET requirement that each accredited program contain a capstone engineering design experience.
Current semester schedule can be found online at OSCAR: https://oscar.gatech.edu/
Grades and Scholastic Requirements
A. Maximum Schedule Load
The maximum number of credit hours for which and undergraduate student may register in fall or spring semester, based on his or her academic standing, is as follows: Good 21 semester hours Warning 16 semester hours Probation 14 semester hours
The maximum number of credit hours for which an undergraduate student may register in a normal summer term, based on his or her academic standing, is as follows: Good 16 semester hours Warning 14 semester hours Probation 12 semester hours
A graduate student may register for a maximum of 21 semester hours in fall or spring semester and a maximum of 16 semester hours during the normal summer term.
Requests for schedule overloads must be recommended by the student's major school and approved by the Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee or Graduate Committee, as appropriate.
B. Scholastic Requirements
The Institute rules state that “The minimum satisfactory grade-point average (GPA) is 1.70 for freshmen and joint-enrolled high school students; 1.80 for sophomores; 1.95 for juniors; 2.00 for seniors and special undergraduates; 2.70 for master's and special graduate students; and, 3.00 for doctoral students.” This is interpreted to mean that by the time you achieve senior status your cumulative grade point average (GPA) must be equal to or greater than 2.00 and must be maintained at this level until graduation. Failure to meet these standards results in warning or probation status with specified time intervals to achieve the required GPA spelled out in the "Academic Standing” list in the Georgia Tech General Catalog. http://catalog.gatech.edu/rules/6/ Failure to achieve the required GPA within the specified time intervals will result in the student being dropped from the Institute rolls.
Students should recognize that academic dropping by the Institute can occur more rapidly than the three-term sequence implied by warning-probation-drop. The more general Institute policy is that “the Institute may drop from the rolls at any time a student whose record in scholarship is unsatisfactory." Thus, for example, any undergraduate student whose scholastic average for a term is 1.00 or below may be immediately placed on academic probation or dropped, regardless of the student's previous record. Juniors and seniors, as well as transfer students, should be particularly aware of this more general Institute policy.
A student, particularly at the junior or senior level, may also be placed on review status by the Registrar's Office. Students placed on this status generally have a satisfactory overall GPA resulting from good previous performance, but their scholastic performance in recent terms has been less than satisfactory. A student on review will not be permitted to register without their major school’s approval.
C. Incomplete Grades
The "I" grade is used when, for reasons beyond her/his control and deemed acceptable by the instructor, a student whose academic performance had been satisfactory becomes unable to fulfill a course's requirements. If the student's academic performance had been so poor as to preclude her/his passing, the instructor shall assign the grade of "F." Regulation VII., "Deficiencies," outlines the removal of the "I" grade. See the Registrar's Office website for more guidance on the use of the Incomplete grade under Incomplete grade page under the Faculty section.Grades/Averages http://catalog.gatech.edu/rules/5/
D. Pass/Fail Grade
In order to encourage students to explore subjects of personal or professional interest without jeopardizing their GPA, the Institute has a limited Pass/Fail option. The policy of the School of Materials Science and Engineering regarding the use of Pass/Fail hours for credit is as follows: No course specifically required by name and number, nor any course used to satisfy a Concentration Specific requirement by the Materials Science and Engineering curriculum may be taken on a Pass/Fail basis, unless the course is offered only on that basis. Neither the technical electives nor the MSE electives may be taken Pass/Fail. Refer to the Georgia Tech General Catalog for additional details including maximum number of Pass/Fail hours allowed.
Readmission Policies, Graduation Requirements & Graduation Procedures
11. Readmission Policies
Students applying in MSE for readmission must consult the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Programs. (make Associate Chair for Undergraduate Programs a hyperlink to Mary Lynn’s email, firstname.lastname@example.org)
The catalog under which a student graduates will be determined by the student's advisor in consultation with the student. Normally, any single catalog issued or in force during a student's residence at Georgia Tech may be used to satisfy the graduation requirements. Students who transfer into the School from another University or another major may use any single catalog issued or in force after the transfer date. Students who are readmitted following an extended period of absence (over one year) may be required to follow a single catalog issued or in force after the date of return. Note that the "ten year" rule for credit hours naturally limits the length of time available to satisfy the requirements of earlier catalogs (See the Georgia Tech General Catalog for details regarding the "ten year" rule).
In order to meet the requirements of earlier catalogs, course substitutions are sometimes necessary. Some of the courses that are replaced by new, equivalent courses are covered by "blanket substitution" approval by the Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. All other course substitutions must be approved on a case-by-case basis by the Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. Each student is responsible for submitting the necessary petitions for this type substitution (i.e.: Petition to the Faculty Form can be found here). Students may access the current MSE curriculum in the GT catalog.
To become a degree candidate, a student must apply for graduation to the Institute the semester prior to the semester of graduation.
To improve the educational experience for our students, the Associate Chair for Undergraduate and Programs and MSE conducts exit interviews with each graduating students. Students who have applied for graduation will be contacted to schedule their exit interviews.
Engineering Certificate Programs & Post Graduate Opportunities
14. Engineering Certificate Programs
MSE and the College of Engineering provides opportunities for specialized study in engineering through its certificate programs. Any MSE student in good academic standing can participate in any certificate programs offered by GT. MSE administers the following certificate programs:
The general requirements of undergraduate multi-disciplinary programs and certificate procedures are listed in the Undergraduate Certificate Guidelines. Upon graduation and satisfactory completion of a certificate program, the student receives both the degree in the major field of study and a certificate attesting to the successful completion of the particular related certificate program(s)."
Please note that if the student specifies any of the listed certificate approved or required courses toward their MSE curriculum Concentration requirement, then they cannot count those same course hours towards fulfillment of a Certificate’s requirements, i.e., they can’t “double dip” between the two. However, if a student applies a MSE course towards the five hours of Free Electives in the curriculum and not towards their Concentration, then they can also count those hours towards fulfillment of a Certificate, i.e., they can “double dip” course hours between the Free Electives and the Certificate requirements.
Students wishing to become more attractive to industry or who are thinking about materials research as a career (university, government, consulting or industrial laboratory) may find it beneficial to their professional success to obtain an M.S. in Materials Science and Engineering and possibly continue for a Ph.D. It is increasingly valuable for materials/ceramic/metallurgical engineers to obtain an advanced degree in materials and the large amount of general courses which must be mastered, limits the amount of specialized knowledge an undergraduate may obtain during a bachelor's program.
BS/MS Program – Materials Science and Engineering
Current undergraduate students may participate in the BS-MS Program offered by the School. Georgia Tech undergraduate students may be admitted into the program after completing a minimum of 30 semester credit hours at Georgia Tech, and have a GPA of 3.5 or higher at time of application. Both the application fee and the GRE test score are waived. Students need to maintain at least a 3.0 GPA when receiving the B.S. degree in order to be converted into graduate student status and must continue immediately into the M.S. program in order to qualify for the 6 semester-hour “Graduate Course Credit” option.
Professional and Honor Societies
16. Professional and Honor Societies
A. Materials Advantage
Material Advantage is comprised of undergraduate students of the Materials Science & Engineering School consisting of four materials professional societies (ASM, TMS, ACerS, and AIST). Material Advantage combines academic, industry networking, outreach, and social activities to bring together the student body. The purpose of Material Advantage at GT is to broaden and enhance interdisciplinary scientific knowledge and collaboration between its members and professionals in the greater-Atlanta area. Dues are $30/year. Visit Material Advantage for more information.
B. Phi Psi Textile Fraternity – Theta Chapter
Phi Psi has been a student group at GT since 1925. We are a national professional textile fraternity, but our focus extends much further than the textile field to include polymers, fibers and other material-related fields. Our chapter activities include hosting speakers and professional events, participating in service projects and planning social events for members. We also store MSE books and files in our closet and Google Drive that are available to all members. We are also an honors fraternity. The only requirements to join is that you be a student working towards a BS in MSE or minor in MSE, ISyE or ChemE, and that you have a GPA of 2.5. Dues are $35/semester with a pledge due of $30 for the first year. Faculty advisor: Mark Losego
C. The Society of Plastics Engineers
The Society of Plastics Engineers provides undergraduate and graduate students at GT with an opportunity to participate in a professional society which provides and promotes scientific and engineering knowledge related to polymers. Participation in the society provides students with an opportunity to learn more about the polymer industry through guest speakers and plant tours, networking opportunities for internships or full-time opportunities, and to meet students with similar interests. Faculty advisor: Dr. Donggang Yao
D. AATCC, the Association of Textile, Apparel & Materials Professionals
The world’s leading not-for-profit association serving textile professionals since 1921. Faculty The Association continues to evolve to meet the needs of those in the ever-changing textile and materials industries. AATCC has served textile professionals. Today, the Association provides test method development, quality control materials, education, and professional networking for a global audience. Advisor: Radhakrishnaiah Parachuru
E. Student Branch of the American Ceramic Society
The Student Branch of the American Ceramic Society was chartered by the American Ceramic Society in 1926. The purpose of this organization is to increase and broaden the knowledge of its members in the ceramic arts and sciences, to promote fellowship among its members and with personnel in the ceramics and non-metallic mineral fields. Undergraduate and graduate students of the Georgia Institute of Technology who are interested in ceramics are eligible for membership. Some of the activities it has sponsored in the past were: technical speakers, field trips, social events (pizza lunches and cookouts), printing T-shirts, and sports teams. The faculty advisor is Dr. Rosario Gerhardt.
F. Materials Research Society
Materials are essential to the Engineering enterprise, and this is why the Materials Research Society (MRS) has more than 11,000 member scientists and engineers in nearly 50 nations. The MRS members are engaged in the research and development of advanced materials, and nearly 20% of these members are undergraduate and graduate students. Unlike some other fields, research is a tremendously important component in Materials Science and Engineering, with more than one hundred faculty members on campus involved in materials-related interdisciplinary research. The MRS University Chapter at Georgia Tech serves to accelerate student interactions with engineers and scientists on campus and distinguished GT visitors. The MRS chapter helps students to see the applicability of classroom learning to real-life applications needed in a technology-oriented society. The faculty advisor is Dr. Mo Li.
G. ASM/TMS Joint Student Chapter
The Georgia Tech ASM/TMS Joint Student Chapter of the School of Materials Science and Engineering is a dual chapter affiliated with both ASM International and TMS, the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society. The goals of each of the professional societies include promoting the field of materials science throughout the world through education and service. The primary purpose of the Georgia Tech chapter is to enhance the professional lives of its members by bringing the students closer to the industry through interactive programs such as field trips and guest seminars. The membership consists of about 50 students interested in various fields of Materials Science and Engineering. The faculty advisor is Dr. Naresh Thadhani.
KERAMOS is a professional ceramic engineering fraternity, the stated purpose of which is:
- To promote and emphasize scholarship and character in the thoughts of ceramic engineering students, to stimulate mental development, and to promote interest in the professional aspects of ceramic engineering, technology and science.
- To bind alumni more closely to their Alma Mater and to the alumni of other universities and colleges' schools, departments, divisions, or options in ceramic science or engineering and to furnish an additional tie of college friendship.
The name of the fraternity is derived from the Greek word for clay. Membership, as in most professional fraternities, is by invitation. Both graduate students in ceramic engineering and undergraduate students who specialize in the ceramic specialty track of the Materials Science & Engineering degree program are eligible for membership. You must be at least a junior and have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.2 (graduate students must have been enrolled for at least two quarters and have a 3.2 GPA).
The chapter works with the other student organizations in MSE to plan social functions involving the entire MSE student body. Meetings are generally open only to members. A ceremony for the initiation of new members is usually held in the fall and spring quarters each year. Dr. Rosario Gerhardt is the faculty advisor.
The Georgia State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers offers Georgia Tech students the opportunity to take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination before they graduate. Students who are within two terms of graduation are encouraged to obtain an application and submit it prior to the deadlines. You will need a recent picture to submit with the typed and notarized application. You will also need to obtain at least five personal references, three of whom must be registered professional engineers . Faculty members who are professional engineers can be identified by the "P.E." following their names at the end. Because of their travel schedules it may be necessary to leave your application with the Dean's secretary for a few days to get signatures from the Dean’s office personnel. Tech Professional Engineers will serve as a reference, even if they do not know you personally, based on the fact that you are a Georgia Tech student.
In the past, a high percentage of our students have passed the FE exam, the first required step to becoming a Registered Professional Engineer. You are most likely best prepared to pass the FE exam, without putting in a lot of time studying for it, just before you graduate from Tech.
FE Application and Deadlines: http://ncees.org/exams/fe-exam
State of Georgia Application Instructions: http://sos.ga.gov/index.php/licensing/plb/22
Change of major
If you wish to change majors to the School of Materials Science and Engineering you must fill out a change of major form. Take the form to Dr. Mary Lynn Realff, room 4510 in the MRDC building for her signature and then to the Director of Undergraduate Programs/Undergraduate Coordinator of your old major for their signature. The completed form should then be turned in to the Registrar’s Office for processing.
Seminars & Pre-Law/Pre-Med Programs
The School of Materials Science and Engineering offers frequent seminars through the MSE Seminar series. Posters announcing and describing the seminars are displayed in the MSE common areas. Undergraduates are encouraged to attend any seminar that sounds interesting to them. Even if some of the material is beyond your present comprehension, you will understand some of it, and begin picking up vocabulary so later seminars will be more understandable. Visit the MSE online calendar for a list of upcoming seminars.
By selecting appropriate concentration and free electives, the Materials Science and Engineering program can be adapted to meet pre-law and pre-med requirements.
GT offers Pre-Med and Pre-Law advisement through Center for Career Discovery and Development.
Pre-Law advisement supports undergraduates, graduate students, post-docs, and alumni who are considering a legal career. A pre-law advisor can answer questions about careers in law or the law school application process. Undergraduates may also pursue a pre-law minor or certificate, which focuses on the analysis and critical writing skills vital to success in a law program. Students may also take advantage of Georgia Tech's partnership with Emory to earn a JM (Juris Masters) degree, by taking courses at Emory Law School in their final year and then taking an additional year of law classes at a discounted rate.
Pre-Med advising provides resources and events to help students and alumni explore health careers and navigate the application process for professional school. A pre-health advisor provides informed support, and students can learn more through regular workshops, panels, and information sessions, as well as a weekly digest and on-line resources.
A materials-related pre-law program is an excellent background for students considering entry into business, contract, international or patent law. With the increased use of man-made materials in the medical profession, Materials Engineering is an excellent choice for a pre-med background.
Most pre-med programs require one year of physics, two years of chemistry with labs and one year of biology with labs. Biochemistry and microbiology courses are considered helpful but not required. Volunteer work (6-9 months minimum) in a hospital is also helpful in getting into most medical schools.
Use of Ugrad Research Courses & Ugrad Research Assistantship courses
23. Use of Undergraduate Research Courses (MSE 2699, MSE 4699) and Undergraduate Research Assistantship courses (MSE 2698 and MSE 4698)
Research for Course Credit
Students performing research with MSE faculty for academic credit must register for either MSE 2699 (Undergraduate Research for freshmen and sophomores) or MSE 4699 (Undergraduate Research for juniors and seniors). Students pay tuition for the course, as for any other course taken for academic credit. Students are not paid for their work.
A student in one of these courses is expected to work an average of three hours per week in the lab over a 15 week semester for each hour of academic credit received. Weekly expectations over an 11 week summer session are increased proportionately.
Students in Undergraduate Research courses must produce something to which a grade can be assigned such as a written report or presentation.
MSE students may apply up to five credit hours of Undergraduate Research (MSE 2699 or MSE 4699) towards a Technical Elective and up to three credit hours towards the Free Elective. Thus, MSE students may apply up to six credit hours of Undergraduate Research towards graduation.
Research for Pay
Students performing research with MSE faculty for pay are encouraged to register for either MSE 2698 (Undergraduate Research Assistantship for freshmen and sophomores) or MSE 4698 (Undergraduate Research for juniors and seniors). Students pay no tuition for these audit only courses. Students may register for up to 12 hours of these courses in a single term. Registering for 12 hours of Undergraduate Research Assistantship will cost no tuition and will qualify you as a full -time student. Some students may pursue this option in the summer if they find an advisor willing to pay them for, essentially, full-time work. These courses appear on the student's transcript providing evidence of having performed research as an undergrauate.
Students also participate in research with MSE faculty without receiving pay or credit, on a volunteer basis, per approval by a faculty advisor. These students should fill out a research approval form (see below) and then sign up for MSE 2698 (Undergraduate Research Assistantship for freshmen and sophomores) or MSE 4698 (Undergraduate Research for juniors and seniors).
If you are interested in taking one of these courses, perform the following steps:
- Find a faculty member who is willing to serve as your research advisor and identify an appropriate research project.
- Obtain Research Approval Form.
- Fill out the form completely. Any forms turned in incomplete will not be processed, causing the student to be ineligible to register for the course.
- Obtain your research advisor's signature on the approval form.
- Take the completed and signed form to room 294 and a permit will be issued allowing you to register for the course. It is the student's responsibility to register for the class after the permit has been issued.
Any student leaving Georgia Tech campus on Official Georgia Tech business must complete a Travel Authority Request (TAR). The TAR must be completed, approved by your advisor, and submitted to the MSE Finance Office prior to departure. This is required even if no cost is incurred by the traveler. If there are expenses to the traveler, failure to complete the TAR prior to departure could result in the denial of reimbursement of the travel expenses. It is your responsibility to be knowledgeable of all travel requirement prior to traveling.