Studyportals placeholder

Materials Science and Engineering, Ph.D.

  • Application Deadline
  • 60 months
University rank #2 (QS) , CA,
The PhD program is designed to give students a broad and deep understanding of materials science and engineering so that they will have long and fruitful careers as researchers.


  • During the first two years of the PhD program, students are required to take at least 10 courses from our core curriculum, attend the weekly colloquium lectures to learn about cutting-edge materials science research, locate a faculty research advisor and become involved in a research group.
  • Students are expected to find a research group to join by the start of spring quarter. During the summer after the first academic year, students typically work intensely on research under the guidance of a professor in the Materials Science and Engineering Department or a professor from another materials-related department.
  • In the second year, students continue to do research and typically take one or two courses per quarter. Between October and January, they take a qualifying examination, which they must pass to be formally admitted to candidacy for a PhD degree. In the first part of the exam, students give a 20-minute presentation on their proposed area of dissertation research. A committee of professors, which includes the student's advisor, then questions the student on the proposed topic for 20 minutes. Finally, the professors ask questions for 80 minutes on topics from the core curriculum. 
  • Students are expected to demonstrate an understanding of the fundamentals of materials science and to show that they can think clearly on aspects that are important for their research. Students who do not pass the qualifying exam can attempt it one more time in the spring quarter. It is not uncommon to pass one part but not both parts on the first try.
  • The final stage of the PhD program is to write a dissertation and pass the university oral examination, which involves giving a public seminar defending the dissertation and answering questions from a private panel of four professors. Most students complete the entire program in five years and receive several employment offers as they write their dissertation.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 60 months
    • Duration description
      Most students complete the entire program in five years and receive several employment offers as they write their dissertation.
  • Credits
    135 units alternative credits
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

    Courses include:

    • Applied Quantum Mechanics I
    • Materials Chemistry 
    • Atomic Arrangements in Solids 
    • Thermodynamics and Phase Equilibria 
    • Waves and Diffraction in Solids
    • Defects in Crystalline Solids 
    • Rate Processes in Materials
    • Mechanical Properties of Materials
    • Electronic and Optical Properties of Solids
    • Organic and Biological Materials

    English Language Requirements

    • Minimum required score:


      The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120. Read more about TOEFL iBT ®.

      Schedule TOEFL®
    • Minimum required score:


      The TOEFL®PBT is administered in a paper format and measures your ability to use and understand English in a classroom setting at the college or university level. It accurately measures how well you can listen, read and write in English while performing academic tasks. Read more about TOEFL®PBT.

      Schedule TOEFL®

    General Requirements

      Application Requirements

      • Application Fee - $125. Application fees are non-refundable and submitted with the online application. 
      • Statement of purpose
      • Three letters of recommendation
      • Official GRE scores
      • Official TOEFL scores (if applicable),
      • Academic Transcripts for both undergraduate and graduate institutions

      Tuition Fee

      Fellowship/assistantship salary and tuition guaranteed for first five years of the program for all students, including international students

      Living costs for Stanford

      • 1100 - 1600 USD/month
        Living Costs

      The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


      Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

      The Global Study Awards: get funded with up to £10,000 to study abroad

      Together with the ISIC Association and British Council IELTS, Studyportals offers you the chance to receive up to £10000 to expand your horizon and study abroad. We want to ultimately encourage you to study abroad in order to experience and explore new countries, cultures and languages.


      Did you know you can compare your wishlisted programmes with our new Comparison tool?