FAQ - Accelerated Masters of Science


Frequently asked questions about the one-year, Accelerated Masters of Science degree program offered starting in Fall 2017 by the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Penn State, University Park

The one-year, Accelerated Masters of Science (MS) is a new rigorous, interdisciplinary program will require 30 credits for completion and will culminate in a residential research project, poster presentation, and a scholarly paper. It will provide students with a strong foundation in materials science and engineering that can be applied across a broad range of disciplines in both industry and academia. The program is ideal for a scientist or engineer with an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering, chemistry, chemical engineering, engineering science, mechanical engineering, nuclear engineering, physics, or related degree.

Q: What are the course requirements?

A: 21 course credits that will be fulfilled by 3-credit 400/500-level courses, 6 independent study credits dedicated to research, 2 seminar credits, and 1 credit of professional development.

Q: What is the cost of the program?

A: The tuition in 2017 is approximately $46,280 for year-round enrollment and is subject to change every summer.

In addition, living expenses for 12 months for 2017-2018 are estimated to be $23,000, including $1,600 for books. Medical insurance is expected to be $3,500.

Q: How is this program different from the thesis-based M.S. degree program?

A: The courses offered are the same for both degrees. However, the time to degree is substantially shorter in the case of the non-thesis degree which is of 12 months duration (Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters) versus an average of 18-24 months duration in the case of a thesis-based degree. At the end of the summer semester, students will be required to summarize their research findings in a paper and poster versus a thesis and oral defense.

Q: How many students will be admitted to the program?

A: Enrollment is limited to 10 students in the Fall of 2017.

Q: Will I be able to carry out research?

A: Yes, in fact research is a requirement of the degree. The non-thesis M.S. program will enable students to carry out research with one of 30 active research faculty in specialized laboratories and shared facilities in two new or newly renovated buildings:



They will also be advised by a Dedicated Academic Faculty Advisor over the entire 12 months of the degree program.

Q: What are the benefits of the Accelerated M.S. Degree?

A: There are several benefits from the student’s perspective. In the case of domestic students, they will be available for employment and compensation at the M.S. level 6-12 months earlier than in the case of the thesis M.S. program thus shortening their time to career advancement and associated financial gains. In the case of international students that hold an F-1 visa, they will be eligible to pursue Optional Practical Training (OPT) in the United States after one year of graduate studies in the United States.

Q: Will I be able to pursue a Ph.D. after completing the Accelerated M.S. Degree?

A: Yes. This degree is an engaged education and research program that prepares students for future careers in industry or future education in a Ph.D. program