Faculty affiliated with the University of Notre Dame’s Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) doctoral program gathered in late May for a half-day session to review the program’s first three years and discuss ways to build on the program’s strong start moving forward.
Notre Dame introduced the interdisciplinary Materials Science and Engineering PhD program in July 2020. Through the end of the Spring 2023 semester, four students have graduated with the interdisciplinary MSE PhD, and the program currently has more than 30 students.
The agenda topics, led by members of the program staff and governing committees, included:
- the current state of the program
- survey feedback from MSE students
- a benchmark study with similarly structured MSE programs in the U.S.
- goals for Notre Dame's program over the next five years
- the direction of materials research in the next 20 years
- upcoming materials research center grant opportunities
Several recommendations were generated during the discussions:
- Review the materials course page from the students’ perspective to identify better ways to organize the courses. This could benefit current students, and serve to attract new students.
- Continue efforts to raise the visibility of the program and enhance graduate recruiting. Toward this end, the following ideas were proposed: revive the Materials Research Society student chapter; investigate and potentially join the Materials Research Council; have affiliated students and faculty cite the materials program in their publications and presentations.
- Establish metrics to better measure the program’s progress, including materials research, to better evaluate the program’s impact.
- Further examine national program rankings, and evaluate the risks, rewards, and timing to enter these national rankings.
- As an outlook, autonomous materials discovery will accelerate the development of new materials and the understanding of measurements.
The MSE leadership committees will follow up on these and other inputs from this half-day session.
The MSE program is open to current and incoming PhD students in seven departments/programs in the College of Engineering and College of Science. For more information, please visit the program website (mse.nd.edu) or email MSEfirstname.lastname@example.org.