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Program Objectives

The Washington State University Materials Science and Engineering Program PhD holds the following objectives as its primary aims.

  1. To train students to become effective researchers in the subject of materials science and engineering, to contribute to our understanding of materials science and address technical challenges in materials engineering.
  2. To prepare students for careers as scientists and engineers in industry, government, and

Learning Outcomes

The following student learning outcomes have been identified as necessary for the successful achievement of the program objectives. Students successfully graduating from the MSEP will:

  • demonstrate expertise and understanding of the core physical science and engineering fields;
  • identify problems in the field of MSE, design sound experimental or theoretical methods to address these problems, and perform the corresponding research to solve these problems;
  • clearly and effectively communicate, both written and orally, their scientific activities to their peers and to the general public;
  • engage effectively with the scientific community through professional participation in conferences, meetings, and workshops; and
  • understand careers in MSE, including employment opportunities in industry, government, and academia
  • understand the importance of safe laboratory practices as well as the ethical and social responsibilities of scientists.

Outcome Assessment

We will use the following assessment tools to measure the achievement and the learning outcomes of the students, so that the strengths and weaknesses of our program can be identified.

  1. Students will be evaluated annually by their thesis advisor. This will be collected using a qualtrics survey. As part of this evaluation, the advisor will quantify on a scale from 1 to 5 the student’s achievements. The advisor will be given a rubric, designed by the MSEP administration, explaining the quantification of each of the outcomes. In addition, for each outcome the advisor will be requested to give qualitative comments about the student’s success or failure to achieve these outcomes.
  2. Prior to being evaluated by their advisors, the students will complete a qualtrics survey. In the survey the students will record the publications and presentations given during the evaluation period. The students will list the professional organizations to which they belong. The students will quantitatively assess on a scale from 1 to 5 the difference between their expected and the actual achievements for each of the learning outcomes. The MSEP administration will provide the students a rubric explaining the quantification of each of the outcomes. This feedback will be used to guide the MSEP administrations to better adjust program activities towards the expectations of students.
  3. At the conclusion of each student’s PhD prelim exam and thesis defense, the committee members will be requested to complete a qualtrics survey quantifying the student’s success in achieving the learning outcomes. A rubric, designed by the MSEP administration, explaining the quantification of each of the outcomes will be provided. Quantitative comparison of these two surveys will demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes.
  4. As part of the seminar course, students will be given presentations about safety, ethics, and the social responsibility of scientists and engineers (e.g., the National Society of Professional Engineers code of ethics). They will also receive presentations about careers in MSE including industry, government, and academia. Prior to the semester, the students will be given a mandatory survey discussing these topics and again at the end of the course the students will again be surveyed. The difference in the students’ survey results will demonstrate the achievement of learning outcomes.
  5. One year after graduation, the alumni will be contacted and requested to complete a qualtrics survey regarding their learning experience. The alumni will quantitatively assess on a scale from 1 to 5 the training they received vs. the actual job demand. The alumni will be asked for qualitative feedback about MSEP and WSU in general. They will also be given information regarding the alumni services of the WSU MSEP.