information for students in Materials Science and Engineering Program

Materials Science and Engineering

Information for Current Students

Graduate Student Roster

Ph.D. Students
Student Hometown Advisor/Research Group
Trenin Bayless Omak, Washington Jerry Downey
Blaine Berrington Butte, Montana Courtney Young
Molly Brockway Anchorage, Alaska Jack Skinner
Jannette Chorney Butte, Montana K.V. Sudhakar
Maureen Chorney Townsend, Montana Katherine Zodrow
Sean Dudley (C) Butte, Montana employed by Jensen Hughes
Matthew Egloff Syracuse, New York Courtney Young
Suvash Ghimire Kathmandu, Nepal Bowen Deng
Abdul Sommed Hadi Ghana Bryce Hill
Nathan Huft (C) Pierre, South Dakota Bruce Madigan
Teagan Leitzke Wausau, Wisconsin Jerry Downey
Prince Sarfo Ghana Courtney Young
Katie Schumacher Kalispell, Montana Jerry Downey
Marc "Freddy" Sime Cameroon Dario Prieto
Luke Suttey Butte, Montana Jack Skinner
Simon Timbillah (C) Tamale, Ghana Courtney Young
Salah Uddin Chittagong, Bangladesh Brahma Pramanik
Grant Wallace (C) Crittenden, Kentucky Jerry Downey
Taylor O. Winsor Shoreline, Washington Peter Lucon


information for current materials science studentsM.S. in Materials Science & Engineering

Ryan Foley
Elizabeth Raiha
Auva Speiser



The next Qualifying Examination is tentatively scheduled to take place during the third week of August 2019. Further details will be provided after the exact date, time, and location are confirmed.


Ph.D. students are eligible to sit for the Qualifying Examination after successful completion of the six core courses. The Qualifying Examination will consist of six separate exams that cover the subject matter of the core courses. In the past, the exam has been divided into an open book and notes (morning) session and a closed book and notes (afternoon) session. The examination is typically scheduled to take place in mid-August. Students must communicate their intent to sit for the exam to the Program Director by May 31.


First-year Materials Science Ph.D. students and first-year Materials Science and Engineering M.S. students are advised to register for the designated core courses. Class meetings will be held in ELC 202 on the days and times listed.


MTSI 500 – Materials Seminar (1 cr-h); required for Ph.D. students

Instructor: Dr. Jerry Downey

Home Campus: Montana Tech

Class Meetings: An introductory meeting will be held in ELC 204


MTSI 502 – Function and Applications (3 cr-h) required for Ph.D. students

Lead Instructor: Dr. Monica Serban

Home Campus: The University of Montana

Class Meetings: 9:00 – 9:50 am Monday, Wednesday and Friday

MTSI 512 – Kinetics and Phase Transformations (3 cr-h) required for M.S. and Ph.D. students

Instructor: Dr. Dario Prieto

Home Campus: Montana Technological University

Class Meetings: 9:30 – 10:45 am Tuesday and Thursday


MTSI 552 – Adv. Materials Characterization II (3 cr-h) required for Ph.D. students.

Instructor: Dr. Robert Walker

Home Campus: Montana State University

Class Meetings: 10:00 –11:00 am Monday and Wednesday

MTSI 689 – Pre-exam Dissertation: students who are engaged in research but have not advanced to candidacy must enroll in the section of MTSI 689 assigned to their advisor. The student should consult with the advisor to determine the appropriate number of credits.


MTSI 690 – Dissertation: Ph.D. candidates who are actively engaged in research must enroll in the section of MTSI 690 assigned to their advisor. The student should consult with the advisor to determine the appropriate number of credits.


After passing the qualifying exam and typically before the start of a student’s third year, the student will take the candidacy examination. By passing this exam, the student demonstrates that he/she is capable of conceiving, planning, and designing an original and creative research project on a topic of importance in the field of Materials Science and effectively communicating the results of the research orally and in writing.

The candidacy exam consists of two parts:

  1. a written proposal describing the student’s intended dissertation research
  2. an oral defense of the proposal to the student’s doctoral committee

The defense includes an open seminar that is followed by a closed interview/examination conducted by the student’s Committee. The examination can cover a broad range of topics related to the proposed dissertation research.

The outcome of the candidacy exam will be either

  1. full pass
  2. conditional pass
  3. fail

Full pass enables the student to advance to candidacy with no further program requirements remaining other than the dissertation and annual meetings with the committee. A conditional pass will be awarded if the committee feels that the student is lacking knowledge in a specific area that is vital to the proposed research.

The committee may recommend specific requirements for the student to fulfill in order to successfully advance to candidacy. These requirements may include taking (and passing) an additional course; preparing an appendix or response to questions that arose about the proposed research’s viability; and/or reconvening with the committee for a second oral examination.


To earn the Ph.D. degree, the candidate must prepare, present, and defend a dissertation that is based on original and independent research conducted by the student under the guidance of the graduate supervisory committee. The dissertation must demonstrate the candidate’s ability to address a major intellectual problem and to propose meaningful questions and hypothesis through the mastery of research methods, theory, and tools of the discipline. An oral, public defense of the dissertation is required and is scheduled for a minimum of 2 hours. A copy of the dissertation is given to the department and copies are placed in the three participating campus libraries.