Program Description

Throughout their academic and research experiences in the science of advanced materials program, students gain hands-on experience exploring chemical, physical and mathematical properties of advanced materials. CMU faculty maintain active research labs and are involved in collaborative relationships with other institutions and within the industry, providing valuable contacts with experts in a variety of materials areas.

Classes are small and students are engaged in research with faculty mentors by the end of the first year. The formal coursework focuses on the scientific framework for studying in materials research: modeling, synthesis and characterization.

Research Opportunities and Assistantships

The SAM program is a research intensive doctoral program. Most students are hired as research assistants or teaching assistants. Students are involved in cutting-edge research and typically publish several papers in top journals before and after graduation. 

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Ph.D. in Science of Advanced Materials program requires:

  • a master's degree in a materials-related area;
  • transcripts of previous undergraduate and graduate studies;
  • GRE scores (CMU institutional code is 1106; no separate program code);
  • a statement outlining your interest in the SAM program and identifying the faculty mentor with whom you've already been in contact;
  • a CV/resume; and
  • three (3) letters of recommendation (may be submitted to by those providing the recommendation).
  • International students must provide evidence of English​ proficiency (CMU institutional code is 1106)

Students with a bachelor's degree in physics, chemistry, biochemistry, biology, geology, engineering, mathematics or other relevant areas of sciences may wish to pursue a master's degree at CMU before applying to the SAM program.

Applications are due by February 1 to be fully considered for Fall admission. Applicants are encouraged to contact specific SAM faculty members prior to submitting their application. Apply online at

Graduation Requirements

In addition to the required coursework, students are required to take a comprehensive examination to demonstrate competence in their area of specialization and the science of advanced materials more generally, prepare an original research proposal, present it as a seminar to program faculty and students and defend it before the dissertation committee. Students must also prepare an oral defense of a scholarly dissertation that presents the results of the student's dissertation research. 

Career Outlook

For More Information

Jessica W. Lapp
Program Coordinator, Science of Advanced Materials


SAM Program Website