Materials chemistry is a multi-disciplinary field that involves chemistry, engineering, physics, and biology. If you are interested in this field, you may be considering pursuing a graduate degree in materials chemistry or materials science. Below, we will discuss what kinds of graduate programs are available, what types of courses are offered in these programs, and how to gain admission.
Graduate Degrees in Materials Chemistry
Graduate degrees in materials chemistry are offered as both master's degrees and Ph.D. degrees, and the courses in these programs often overlap. Below, we will look at some of the classes that you may take if you decide to work toward a graduate degree in materials chemistry.
Graduate programs in materials chemistry will generally include a course in thermodynamics, which will cover thermodynamic theory and principles. Students may learn about topics like partition functions, chemical equilibria, and surface phenomena. These courses may discuss thermodynamics in relation to another topic, like kinetics or chemical statistical thermodynamics.
Polymers are an often-discussed topic in materials chemistry, so graduate programs in this field will likely include at least one if not more courses in this subject. Students will learn about the nature of different types of polymers and discuss how to characterize polymers. The course may also include a laboratory component in which students will gain a hands-on understanding of how polymers are formed and their respective properties.
Advanced Topics in Inorganic Chemistry
As inorganic chemistry is key in the field of materials chemistry, students can expect to take courses in this subject to build upon their knowledge gained during their undergraduate studies. A course in advanced inorganic chemistry will discuss topics like organometallic compounds, molecular symmetry, and bonding. Students may also learn about group theory in inorganic chemistry, as well as ligand field theory.
Graduate programs in materials programs will also typically require students to take one or more courses in spectroscopy. These courses will focus on atomic and molecular states, including electronic and vibrational. Students may cover both introductory and advanced topics in this subject, or focus on more specific aspects of spectroscopy, like organic spectroscopy.
Students will also likely be required to take a course in organic chemistry, which will cover topics like bonding theory and molecular structure. The class may also focus on stable and reactive states of molecules and the factors that determine these states. Students can expect to apply their studies in organic chemistry to related studies, like polymer chemistry.
General Admission Requirements for Graduate Degrees in Materials Chemistry
Some schools offering graduate degrees in materials chemistry may have more selective admission requirements than others, but in general, students can expect to need a bachelor's degree in a field like engineering or one of the sciences in order to be eligible for these programs. Some programs may have a minimum GPA requirement to be considered for normal admission, such as a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Students will typically also be expected to submit their undergraduate transcripts, an application form and fee, resume, personal statement, and letters of recommendation.
Students who enroll in graduate programs in materials chemistry can choose between master's degree programs and Ph.D. programs, both of which will include courses in various sub disciplines within materials chemistry.