Combined BS/MS Degree Program


The goal of the combined BS/MS program in Materials Science and Engineering is to provide a more direct route to the MS degree for well-qualified undergraduate students who wish for more in-depth graduate-level work in preparation for work in industry or for a Ph.D. program. The field of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) applies the principles of chemistry and physics to engineering materials, with a focus on the interrelationship between material structure, their properties, and means by which they are processed. Advanced material applications, such as in smart metallic alloys, impact resistant ceramics, electro-optic polymers and high speed semiconductors, are the areas of technology of strong industrial interest, as well as advanced doctoral research. Students that participate in the BS/MS program will be trained in these advanced material applications.

This program marries the BS and MS programs of the MSE Department to create a more efficient and continuous academic program that leads directly to the MS degree. The greater depth of the program will better prepare students for both industry and for Ph.D. programs, either at UW or elsewhere. The considerable industrial demand for both MS and Ph.D. degreed graduates will be aided by this program and these students will also be able to proceed to Ph.D. programs for academia as well. The program, is designed to enable students to earn both BS and MS degrees in 5 years.

Combined Degree Application Form

Application Procedure
Students may apply to enter the combined BS/MS program any time after they are accepted into the MSE department as an undergraduate major. Requirements for application include:

  • Overall GPA of 3.2 or higher in the last 90 credits before application.
  • At least 15 credits of MSE completed with a GPA of 3.4 or higher.
  • Statement of interest and goals for the MS degree.
  • Interview with admissions committee

Students accepted into the combined BS/MS program by the department will then apply to the graduate school in December of their senior year. These students will normally enroll in the Materials Science option for the MS degree.

Requirements are the same as for the current BS and MS programs. However, up to 7 credits of 400 or 500 level courses taken as an undergraduate over and above the BS requirement may be counted towards the MS degree. These credits would be transferred to the graduate program when the student enters as a graduate student, subject to the approval of the MSE Graduate Program Committee. The graduate school will waive the restrictions on transfer credits for this purpose. Overall degree requirements will be 180 credits for the BS (as at present), plus 36 for the MS (as at present), for a total of 216 credits.
For details of specific requirements, please see the undergraduate program Planbook and the Graduate Program Guidelines of the Department.

Undergraduate students are required to complete MSE 399, a course on research topics and experimental design, in their Junior year. Students admitted into the BS/MS program will combine their BS senior project requirement (MSE 499) with the MS thesis requirement (MSE 700) and will begin their research starting Summer or Autumn Quarter of their senior year
The student will receive 4 credits of MSE 499 for the undergraduate portion of the research program, then register for 9 or more credits of MSE 700 for the thesis. Written and oral reports are required to complete the 499 credits, to be submitted before the end of the senior year. The thesis is required for the completion of the MS degree.

Typical course and research progression
Students admitted to the BS/MS program typically will have 35 or fewer credits remaining in his/her BS program requirements at the beginning of the senior year. A typical Senior/Grad program for a BS/MS program student is shown below, where the undergraduate requirements indicate the remaining undergraduate course requirements, and where 499 is the required credits in the BS senior project requirement.
Table 1: Typical course and research progression for the Combined BS/MS Degree

  Senior Year
Undergrad Req
Grad Req:
Grad Year
Grad Req:
Autumn UG Req 10 cr
499 2 cr
Elective 3 cr
15 credits total MSE 510 3 cr
Grad opt** 3 cr
MSE 520 1 cr
MSE 700 3 cr
Winter UG Req 10 cr
499 2 cr
Grad Elec* 3 cr

15 credits total
MSE 541 3 cr
Grad opt** 3 cr
MSE 520 1 cr
MSE 700 3 cr
Spring UG Req 12 cr

Grad elec* 3 cr
MSE 700 1 cr

16 credits total
BS complete

MSE 525 3 cr
MSE 520 1 cr
MSE 700 9 cr

MS complete (TARGET)
Summer   MSE 599 3 cr
MSE 700 3 cr

* Grad elective may be a 400 or 500 level course, including at least 3 credits at the graduate course level, total of at least 9 credits needed.
** Grad optional courses, 2 required for 6 credits total; must choose from approved department list.

*** Summer after the senior year highly recommended; thesis work will continue as MSE 700 and special courses MSE 599 taken, as available. Research and courses may continue during the summer following their first year of graduate school and beyond if needed.

Contact Us

UW Department of Materials Science & Engineering

phone: (206) 543-2600
fax: (206) 543-3100