Materials Science & Nanoengineering

Materials Science & Nanoengineering

Contact Us

Department of Materials Science and NanoEngineering (MSNE)

Phone: 713.348.3698

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

To attain the PhD, students must complete 90 semester hours of credit, including:

  • 18 credit hours of coursework
  • Students must attend at least 10 of the 13 MSNE seminars per semester for the duration of their study.
  • Students are required to perform such duties (Teaching Assistant/Grader) for at least 4 semesters but no more than 6 semesters.

The residency requirement is 4 full-time semesters (9+ hours each). Successful candidates must pass a qualifying exam and write and orally defend a thesis on original research.

Master of Science (MS)

To attain the MS degree, students must complete 30 semester hours of credit, 24 of which must be taken at Rice, including:
  • 18 credit hours of coursework
  • Students must attend at least 6 of the 13 MSNE seminars per semester for the duration of their study.
  • Students are required to perform such duties (Teaching Assistant/Grader) for at least 2 semesters but no more than 4 semesters.

The residency requirement is 2 full-time semester (9+ hours). Successful candidates must write and orally defend a thesis.

Professional Master's Degrees (MMSNE)

These non-thesis degree options are designed for engineers who have attained a bachelor's degree and are looking to further their careers in industry. They combine engineering coursework with professional development and communications. For full details on the program, click here.

How to Apply

Please read carefully through these step-by-step instructions before sending questions to the GR/UG Program Administrator.  For frequently asked questions regarding admission, please click here.

We are currently accepting applications.

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent undergraduate degree
  • Grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale or the equivalent in another grading system
    If your university/college does not use the 4.0 grading system, please translate your GPA into the 4.0 scale if at all possible
  • GRE general test scores taken within last three years
    • There are no published required minimum scores. For information and test registration, visit the GRE home page at
  • Recommendations from at least three people who know your academic achievements and potential
  • TOEFL score if your native language is not English. The minimum score is 90 on Internet-based, 250 on computer-based, and 600 on paper-based test.
    • For information and test registration, visit IELTS (minimum score of 7) is acceptable in lieu of TOEFL. This TOEFL/IELTS requirement is waived for students who have received or will receive prior to entering our graduate program, a degree from a university where English is the official language of communication. 

Every fall about 20 applicants are offered admissions to our Ph.D. degree program. Our faculty seeks only the highest caliber students for the number of Ph.D. positions available. Please be sure that you meet the minimum requirement before you apply. In addition, we encourage you to be well informed about our graduate degree requirements.  

Application Deadlines 

The deadline for fall semester applications is January 15th. Late applications for fall admissions may be considered until March 15th. The deadline for spring semester applications is November 1st. Please note that we admit very few students for spring semester due to faculty and space availability.

Application Packet 

A complete application consists of the following:

  • Online application form: After you submit your online application, you cannot change any information provided in the form. Should you need to update your application, please contact the GR/UG Program Administrator by e-mail with the information that you wish to be in your application.
    • Application fee: The application fee ($85.00) can be paid online when you submit your online application form 
      • We cannot accept cash, a check or money order and we do not grant fee waivers
    • Transcripts: One official transcript from all universities/colleges attended
      • A transcript must be enclosed in a sealed envelope with an official stamp or signature across the seal when the department receives it.
      • We do not need secondary school (high school) transcripts
      • If your transcripts and proof of degree are not in English, you must provide an official translation from a translation service. The document should be on the translator's letterhead or bear their official seal or stamp.  
    • GRE scores: The department must receive the official score report from ETS. Use the institution code 6609 and department code 1402. The test must have been taken within the past three years. 
    • Three letters of recommendation: We accept letters of recommendation through your online application. 
      • To submit online recommendations, current email addresses and titles for all references must be included with your online application form 
    • TOEFL score: The department must receive the official score report from IELTS. Use the institution code 6609 and department code 73. If you take an IELTS in lieu of TOEFL, please write to the GR/UG Program Administrator so the department will be able to obtain the score directly from the IELTS office.

    Financial Aid

    If you need financial support from Rice (fellowships or assistantships) and you are applying to one of our research programs, please answer "yes" to the question "Do you need financial aid from Rice?" found in the online application form. Your application will be considered for any applicable fellowships and assistantships available at Rice University. There is no financial aid available through Rice for the non-research program (MMSNE).

    The fellowship award consists of monthly stipends provided by the department and a full tuition waiver offered by the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Generally, the award is offered to applicants who are seeking full-time admission for the Ph.D. degree. Applicants seeking the MSMSNE as their terminal degree, if offered admission, are usually offered admission only.

    Mailing Address

    Attn.: GR/UG Program Administrator
    Department of Materials Science and NanoEngineering– MS 325
    Rice University
    P.O. Box 1892
    Houston, TX 77251-1892
    If you are using Express mail, FedEx, DHL, etc., be sure to use our street address:  
    Attn.: GR/UG Program Administrator
    Rice University – MS 325
    Department of Materials Science and NanoEngineering
    6100 Main Street
    Houston, TX 77005-1827 

    Notification of Application Status

    You will receive an email notification upon receipt of your application. The message will indicate if your application is missing an item or items. Only complete applications are reviewed and considered. We will contact the top candidates by email to make offers of admission in mid-March to mid-April. A final application status notification will be sent to all other applicants to whom offers are not made by the end of May. 

    To avoid the delay of your application process, please do not contact the department chair or faculty members to inquire about admission requirements or application procedures/status. They will simply forward your message to the GR/UG Program Administrator.