Education in the Materials Sciences

Binghamton University offers both undergraduate and graduate students the unique opportunity of obtaining training in the materials area without giving up their major discipline. They may thus build on a strong science- or engineering-based education by taking materials courses in several departments in both the School of Arts and Sciences and the Watson School of Engineering, Applied Science, and Technology.

Degrees in the materials area may be obtained in the Chemistry Department (BS., M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemistry with emphasis/specialization in materials science) and in the Watson School (M.S. in Applied Science with specialization in engineering materials). For both M.S. degree programs, core courses in the areas of solid state/structure, thermodynamics/kinetics, characterization and materials are recommended. The programs differ only in their approach, one being more scientifically oriented and the other more engineering oriented. Program requirements are described below:

B.S. in Chemistry with Emphasis in Materials Chemistry [1]

To obtain a BS. degree with emphasis in materials requires meeting all the normal core requirements of the Chemistry Department plus taking CHEM 444 (Chemistry of Solids, two other materials courses, and a materials laboratory or the completion of a research project in a materials area. These courses may also be used to meet the normal requirements of the BS. degree in chemistry.

B.S./M.S. in Chemistry with Emphasis in Materials

Undergraduate chemistry majors can complete the requirements for both the BS. and M.S. degrees within five years by careful planning of the course requirements and by initiating their research project in their junior or senior year. Interested students are strongly recommended to contact the Materials Research Center by the end of their junior year to plan their curriculum.

M.S. in Chemistry with Materials Specialization [2]

The requirements for the M.S. degree are:

   1. Completion of an acceptable research project and a thesis (CHEM 599).
   2. Participation for two semesters in the graduate seminar (CHEM 592), of which one        semester is normally based on the student's own thesis research accomplishments.
   3. Completion of four graduate-level materials courses [3], at least two of which are in      chemistry
   4. Passing of an oral examination on the subject of the research and thesis.
   5. Completion of at least 30 graduate credit hours obtained under the above                      requirements.

The examining committee for each candidate will consist of three to five members appointed from the faculty or from local industry, and will include at least one member from outside the Chemistry Department.

Ph.D. in Chemistry with Materials Specialization

A student is normally expected to take six to eight courses, at least two of which should be outside the Chemistry Department [4]. The courses recommended include those for the M.S. degree. All students are strongly recommended to take both CHEM 544 and PHYS 572 and to complete all course work in the first two years.

All students attend and participate in seminars given by fellow students, faculty and visiting scientists. Students each present two seminar reports in the course of their study.

Proficiency in the specialized area is normally established by cumulative written examinations followed by an oral examination on the specialty; these are under the guidance of an interdisciplinary examination committee. Students are normally expected to have completed these examinations by the end of their second year; many complete them earlier.

The Ph.D. is earned primarily on the basis of original research work, and students ordinarily begin their research as early as possible in their graduate career (a minimum of 24 credit hours of CHEM 699, Dissertation Research, are required). This research work is to be described in a written dissertation, which the candidate must defend orally before the examination committee.

M.S. in Applied Science with Specialization in Engineering Materials

Candidates for this engineering-based interdisciplinary materials degree must complete a minimum of 32 semester hours with a grade average of B or better. A thesis based on a research project is optional. Of the 32 units, 20 must be in approved materials courses, 16 must be from the Watson School of Engineering and no more than 18 may be from any one department.

Required courses:

• Applied Solid State Theory
• Thermodynamics of Materials
• Materials Characterization
• Experimental Design and Modeling
• Graduate Seminar
• Specialized Materials (3 courses)
• Materials Engineering Thesis or Project (includes lab work)

Materials Courses Offered at Binghamton University

CHEM 445. Inorganic/Materials Chemistry Laboratory (1-4 credit hours)
Preparation and characterization of inorganic and polymeric materials: structure, reaction kinetics, spectroscopic properties, photochemistry, electrochemistry. Lecture and laboratories each week; may be combined with CHEM 444, 471 or 487.

CHEM 443/543. Molecular Photochemistry (4 credit hours)
Introduction to modern molecular photochemistry or organic, inorganic and organometallic systems. Excited states, photophysical processes, energy transfer, electron transfer, substitutional photochemistry, chemiluminescence.

CHEM 444/544. Chemistry of Solids (4 credit hours)
Introduction to modern solid state and materials chemistry. Synthesis of solids, intercalation chemistry, crystal chemistry, structural analysis, catalysis, transport properties, superconductivity, electrochemistry, diffusion and other topical areas. Meets 2 times a week.

CHEM 483/583. Topics in Organic Chemistry (1-4 credit hours)
Advanced treatment of selected areas of organic chemistry. Varies from year to year, but materials areas include polymer chemistry and organometallic chemistry.

CHEM 411/511. Techniques for Studying Solids (4 credit hours)
Discussion of modern instrumental techniques for analyzing and characterizing solids. Includes thermal analysis, surface science, MAS-NMR, EPR, optical and electron microscopy, x-ray and neutron diffraction, optical spectroscopy and other topical techniques.

CHEM 481/581. Topics in Materials Chemistry (1-4 credit hours)
Advanced treatment of selected areas of materials and solid state chemistry. Areas vary from year to year. May be repeated for credit. Present topics include:

A. X-Ray Powder Diffraction: Principles and Practice (4 credit hours)
Grounding in crystallography, space groups, symmetry, and hands-on use of automatic powder diffractometer. Determination of structure, including Rietveld Analysis.
B. Reactivity of Solids (4 credit hours)

Physical chemistry of inorganic solids. Thermodynamics of solids and solid state reactions. Defect equilibria in relation to properties. Kinetics and mechanisms of solid state reactions.

B. Reactivity of Solids (4 credit hours)
Physical chemistry of inorganic solids. Thermodynamics of solids and solid state reactions. Defect equilibria in relation to properties. Kinetics and mechanisms of solid state reactions.

C. Polymer Chemistry (4 credit hours)
A broad introduction to macromolecular materials. Topics include synthetic methods, molecular weight distributions, chain statistics, physical states, mechanical properties and electrical conduction.

D. Materials Laboratory (587 only) (4 credit hours)
Research methods for the synthesis and characterization of inorganic and polymeric materials.

E. Organic Molecular Conductors (2 credit hours)
A fully Web-based course on the synthetic, structural, magnetic, and spectroscopic properties of of organic solids.

CHEM 691. Materials Seminar (1 credit hour)
For graduate students. Discussion of current topics in the field. May be repeated for credit. P/F only.

PHYS 504. Digital and Microprocessor Electronics (4 credit hours)
Principles and applications of digital and microprocessor electronics. Integrated circuits; principles and methods of interfacing applicable to scientific research (lectures and lab).

PHYS 572. Introduction to Solid State Physics (4 credit hours)
Introductory treatment of selected topics in physics of solids. Simple and concrete models, using classical or elementary quantum-mechanical ideas.

PHYS 573/574. Applied Solid State Physics and Devices I and II (4 credit hours)
Crystal structure, semiconductors, optical and magnetic properties of solids, excitons, superconductivity, Josephson junctions, dielectrics, ferroelectrics, magnetic resonance, electro-optical devices, other aspects of condensed matter.

GEOL 528. Pressure-Temperature Composition Phase Equilibria (4 credit hours)
Principles governing construction and interpretation of phase diagrams pertinent to geology. Emphasis on understanding geometric aspects of phase equilibria in P-T-X space.

GEOL 583. SEM/Microprobe Techniques (2 credit hours)
Overview of the theory and operation of the electron microprobe and scanning electron microscope. Intended to develop skills in the usage of these instruments for imaging and chemically analyzing materials (lectures and lab).

BIOL 511/L. Techniques in Transmission Electron Microscopy (2 credit hours)
Lecture and laboratory course on principles and operation of transmission electron microscope. Techniques and instruments used in preparing specimens for examination.
BIOL 512. Principles of Scanning Electron Microscopy (2 credit hours)
Training in theory and operation of scanning electron microscope and ancillary equipment.

EE 575. Electronic Materials and Device Processing (3 credit hours)
Semiconductor device fabrication (crystal growth, oxidation, diffusion, etching, lithography, yield), theoretical foundations; process modeling and simulation.

EE 578. Thin Films: Preparation, Properties, Applications (3 credit hours)
Vacuum principles and instrumentation, deposition techniques (thermal, ion-beams, plasma/sputtering), nucleation and growth; electrical, optical, mechanical properties; hybrid microelectronics, integrated optics; analytical techniques.

ME 561. Materials Engineering: Principles and Applications (3 credit hours)
Role of atomic/molecular architecture in determining properties of materials. Interaction between materials selection and manufacturing/fabrication processes. Role of service conditions.

ME 562. Mechanical Behavior of Engineering Materials (3 credit hours)
Response of materials to applied stresses. Relationship between structure and properties. Macroscopic concepts of fracture mechanics, fatigue. Introduction to plasticity, limit analysis.

ME 563. Polymer Materials Engineering (3 credit hours)
Manufacture, processing, applications of polymers. Role of molecular architecture in determining material behavior. Structural characteristics; property-structure relations.

ME 564. Ceramics Materials Engineering (3 credit hours)
Structure and bonding in ionic solids. Crystalline, amorphous and defect structures. Physical, mechanical, chemical properties based on comparison with metals and organic polymers and types of ceramics.


1. Meets the anticipated course requirements of the American Chemical Society-certified degree in chemistry with specialization in materials.
2. On entrance to the graduate program, students are expected to demonstrate by placement examination a knowledge level comparable to a BS. degree in chemistry.
3. These should be chosen so as to provide training in (1) structure and properties of solids (CHEM 544); (2) kinetics and thermodynamics; (3) modern instrumental techniques; and (4) one area of materials, such as polymers, ceramics or electronic solids.
4. These may be chosen from an approved list of courses in the Biology, Computer Science, Geology, Physics, Mechanical & Industrial Engineering and Electrical Engineering Departments.



Last Updated: 3/3/17