University of California, Riverside

Materials Science and Engineering

MS&E Program By-laws


  1. Objective
  2. Membership
    1. Membership Criteria
    2. Membership Retention
    3. Termination of Membership
  3. Organization and Administration
    1. MSE Program Director
    2. Graduate Advisor
    3. Faculty Advisor
    4. Committees
      1. Graduate Program Committee
      2. Membership Committee
      3. M.S. Comprehensive Examination Committee
      4. Ph.D. Graduate Examination Committee
      5. M.S. Thesis Committee
      6. Ph.D. Dissertation Committee
    5. Meetings
    6. Quorum
    7. Amendments


Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) is concerned with the study of the structure, properties, processing and applications of materials. The MSE program aims to provide fundamental knowledge for understanding of materials with the objective of predicting, modifying, and tailoring their properties to achieve enhanced performance of the devices based on these materials. The mission of the interdepartmental MSE graduate program is to deliver graduate education and training that will lead to the awarding of M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in MSE. The program provides coordinated and coherent training that will allow students to obtain a core background in the fundamental materials subjects with the flexibility to pursue a chosen area of specialization in the materials and engineering field. The program's focus on energy, nanotechnology and sustainability make it unique among materials departments and programs.

The MSE program offers the Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Materials Science and Engineering through the Thesis (Plan I) and Non-Thesis (Plan II) options, and advance graduate education and training leading to the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Materials Science and Engineering.  [top]


A. Membership Criteria: The MSE founding faculty members recognize that participation in a graduate program can take many forms. Criteria for membership can include 1) maintenance of an active funded research program in the MSE field and providing support for graduate students; 2) teaching courses that are required for the operation of the instructional component of the graduate program; 3) contributing to training and mentoring of MSE graduate students; 4) taking an active role in administration of the MSE program; 5) continued participation in MSE program activities by Emeritus faculty, and 6) support of MSE research endeavors by non-academic senate members. Other contributions that are expected of all MSE participating faculty to support continued membership in MSE include: chairing or serving on MSE committees; providing and grading questions for the Preliminary (Comprehensive) Examinations; serving on Ph.D. Oral Qualifying Examinations and Dissertation Committees; participation in elections and attendance at the faculty meetings.

The approval of new members to the MSE program is vested in the Membership Committee. Faculty members requesting membership in the MSE program should send their Curriculum Vitae to the MSE Program Director who will forward the document to the Membership Committee for consideration. [top]

B. Membership Retention: The membership status of MSE faculty will be reviewed every three years by the MSE Membership Committee. Faculty whose membership is to be evaluated will be notified in Fall of the academic year and may be asked to supply a brief summary of their MSE related activities to the committee by the end of the Fall quarter. The Membership Committee will complete its evaluations by the end of Winter quarter of the same academic year. The MSE faculty members who fail to achieve renewal of their membership may appeal that decision. The appeal should be submitted in writing and forwarded to the Program Director for presentation to the Graduate Program Committee and reaching the final decision. [top]

C. Termination of Membership: MSE graduate program faculty members who no longer wish to participate in the program may request termination of their membership at any time by sending a memo to the Program Director. [top]


The administration of the program and its activities will be vested in the MSE Graduate Program Committee consisting of one member from each participating department and a Program Director who will serve as chair. The Bourns College of Engineering will be the administrative home to the interdepartmental MSE graduate program. [top]

A. MSE Program Director - The MSE Program Director (Chair of MSE Program) is responsible for the overall direction and organization of the MSE Program. The Program Director is the chief officer and spokesperson for MSE. The program Director represents MSE at the Dean of Engineering's meetings with the Department Chairs and will maintain liaison with the chairs of the participating department outside of BCOE.

The Program Director will be appointed by the Chancellor for a term of three years. A Nominating Committee approved by the Membership Committee will solicit the names of nominees for a Program Director from the MSE participating faculty. The faculty will be polled for comments on the nominees. All received comments will be kept confidential. The Nominating Committee will forward at least two names to the Dean of Engineering along with the comments. The Dean of Engineering, in consultations with the Graduate Dean, will forward his/her recommendation to the Chancellor who makes the appointment. [top]

B. Graduate Advisor - The MSE Graduate Advisor is in charge of the overall academic advising of students in the MSE graduate program. The specific responsibilities of the Graduate Advisor include: (i) chairing the Graduate Program Committee; (ii) coordinating the recruitment activities for the Graduate Program; (iii) offering advising sessions for the graduate students; (iv) holding orientation sessions for the incoming graduate students on various aspects of graduate study; (v) ensuring completion of annual reviews of student performance; (vi) counseling graduate students without a research advisor (e.g. M.S. Plan II students); and (vii) revising the Graduate Student Handbook.

The Graduate Advisor will be nominated by the MSE faculty through the election called by the Director every three years. The nominated Graduate Advisor will be approved by the Dean of Engineering and appointed by the Dean of the Graduate Division. Assisted by the Graduate Program Assistant, the Director and the Graduate Advisor will administer the graduate program under the policies established by the Graduate Program Committee. [top]

C. Faculty Advisor - The Faculty Advisors will advise students on curriculum planning, research, examination preparation and provide M.S. thesis and/or Ph.D. dissertation supervision. The Graduate Advisor generally will assign each incoming student a temporary Faculty Advisor after consultations with faculty members. It is expected that, within the first year of study, each graduate student will have a formally assigned permanent Faculty Advisor for his/her graduate degree program. Selection of a permanent Faculty Advisor is initiated by request of the student and approved by the desired faculty member and the Graduate Program Committee. [top]

D. Committees

1. Graduate Program Committee - The administration of the MSE graduate program and its activities will be vested in the Graduate Program Committee consisting of one representative from each department participating in MSE program and the MSE Graduate Advisor who will serve as a chair of the committee. The representatives to the MSE Graduate Program Committee are appointed by the chairs of the participating departments at the request of the MSE Program Director according to the procedures regulating service assignments at the corresponding departments.

The Graduate Program Committee will be responsible for overseeing courses, curriculum, admission, degree requirements, administration of student assistantship awards and other policy matters. Specific responsibilities include the following:

  • Review and recommend action on proposed new graduate courses and changes in existing graduate courses;
  • Recommend any changes in the M.S. and Ph.D. degree requirements and progress requirements to the MSE participating faculty;
  • Review applications for admission and make admission recommendations to the Graduate Division at UCR;
  • Review and approve petitions for advancement to candidacy for Ph.D. degree;
  • Approve recommended appointments for the Graduate Examination Committees and Thesis and Dissertation Committees, and transmit these to the Dean of the Graduate Division;
  • Recommend candidates for graduate fellowships;
  • Review TA evaluations from students and faculty.

A graduate student representative will be selected by the students to provide input on matters pertaining to graduate course work, degree requirements and other student concerns. This student's role is to serve as a liaison between the faculty and students. This student representative will not be a member of the committee and will not have voting privileges but he/she will be invited to all Graduate Program Committee meetings, except during discussions of special student records and funding decisions. [top]

2. Membership Committee - The Membership Committee is made up of the Graduate Program Committee and the MSE Program Director. Its functions are specified in Sections II and III. [top]

3. M.S. Comprehensive Examination Committee - The committee to administer the M.S. Comprehensive Examination will be selected by the Graduate Program Committee and approved by the MSE Program Director. [top]

4. Ph.D. Graduate Examination Committee - The responsibility of the Ph.D. Graduate Examination Committee will be to administer a comprehensive written examination for the Ph.D. degree. Specific duties will include (i) prepare questions for the examination; (ii) administer the examination; (iii) determine the outcome (Pass or Fail) for each student; and (iv) recommend remedial actions for Ph.D. students who do well overall in the written examination but show deficiencies in a specific subject.

The Graduate Examination Committee will consist of a minimum of three MSE faculty members appointed by the MSE Graduate Advisor. The committee members should normally be voting members of the Academic Senate. Any exceptions must be supported by a memo of justification from the student's faculty advisor and must be approved by the Graduate Program Committee and the Graduate Dean. [top]

5. M.S. Thesis Committee - For each M.S. student who selected Plan I (Thesis Option) the M.S. Thesis Committee is to be formed after the permanent Faculty Advisor has been chosen. The M.S. Thesis Committee is responsible for the academic guidance and evaluation of the student performance. A primary task of the committee is to determine whether or not the student's M.S. thesis is acceptable toward fulfilling the requirements of the M.S. degree in MSE.

The M.S. Thesis Committee consists of the student's Faculty Advisor, who serves as the committee chair, and two additional MSE participating faculty members who are nominated by the student's faculty advisor and approved by the Graduate Program Committee. All committee members should be able to provide guidance and judge the quality of the thesis research. After review of the nominations, the Graduate Dean will appoint the M.S. Thesis Committee on behalf of the Graduate Council. Emeriti faculty can serve on the M.S. Thesis Committee. If an Emeritus professor would like to serve as a chair of the committee, then normally a co-chair will be appointed. [top]

6. Ph.D. Dissertation Committee - The Ph.D. Dissertation Committee consists of a minimum of three UCR Academic Senate members, who are MSE participating faculty, in addition to the student's Faculty Advisor who chairs the committee. All committee members should be able to provide guidance and judge the scholarship of the dissertation research. Membership of the committee should be nominated by the student's Faculty Advisor, approved by the Graduate Program Committee, and appointed by the Dean of the Graduate Division. Emeriti faculty can serve on the Dissertation Committee. If an Emeritus professor would like to serve as a chair of the committee, then normally a co-chair will be appointed.

The specific responsibilities of the Ph.D. Dissertation Committee include (i) supervision of the dissertation research; (ii) review and approval of the written dissertation; (iii) administration and evaluation of the oral dissertation defense; and (iv) making a recommendation to the Graduate Division whether or not a Ph.D. degree should be conferred to the candidate. [top]

E. Meetings - Faculty meetings will be held at least once a year. The Program Director may call a special meeting of the program as deemed necessary or desirable by the Graduate Program Committee. A group of five or more MSE faculty members may also petition the Program Director to call a special meeting to discuss program issues. [top]

F. Qurom - For all issues that require a vote, a quorum is achieved when votes are received from 50% of the eligible members. Passage of issues requires the support of a simple majority. Voting may be done by E-mail ballot. In the absence of a quorum, any number of MSE faculty members present shall be sufficient to adjourn to a newly identified meeting date. [top]

G. Amendments - All amendments and revisions must be submitted to Graduate Council for review and approval. Passage of amendments to bylaws must satisfy the quorum rules indicated above. [top]

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

College Information

Bourns College of Engineering
313 Materials Science & Engineering Building

Tel: (951) 827-3383
Fax: (951) 827-3188x

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