Departments & Programs

MSc in Materials Science and Engineering

Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) is an important and evolving discipline that involves synthesis, characterization, and processing and fabrication of advanced materials and their applications. It covers the spectrum of materials – metals, polymers, ceramics, semiconductors, composites and biomaterials.

As the need for lighter, smaller and smarter materials and devices grows, increasing reliance is placed on materials scientists and engineers to design and develop new materials and devices, powerful characterization techniques, and novel processing and fabrication technologies to significantly advance technology. 

The mission of the MSE Program at Masdar Institute is to educate future leaders in the energy, water and sustainability fields. Graduates of the program will develop the innovative solutions to the technological needs of the region and the world, and will contribute to the establishment of Abu Dhabi as a knowledge-based economy.

The MSE program provides students with the fundamental knowledge, skills, and training necessary for successful careers in industrial or academic roles that are focused on alternative energy and sustainable technologies. Graduates of the MSE Program will be well prepared to work collaboratively, conduct independent and multidisciplinary research, communicate effectively and recognize their role in solving global challenges, while promoting sustainable engineering practices.

Program Goals
The MSE Program aims to produce graduates with the disciplinary preparation that meets the following goals:

  • An ability to identify and address current and future needs in various aspects of materials and devices (both active and passive) for all sorts of applications towards sustainable and improved human wellbeing;
  • An ability to apply a multi-disciplinary approach to conceive, plan, design, and implement innovations and solutions to problems and challenges that involve materials and their properties and applications;
  • An understanding of the potential impact of materials-based technologies and innovations on social, economic, environmental aspects.
  • An understanding of the value of intellectual approach, technical scholarship, service to society, leadership, best practices, and lifelong learning.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Successfully apply advanced concepts of fundamental sciences and engineering to identify, formulate and solve complex materials and devices problems;
  • Successfully apply advanced concepts of materials engineering to the analysis, design and development of materials, devices, systems, and processes to meet desired needs of society professionally and ethically;
  • Use an advanced approach to design and conduct experiments in the area of materials and/or devices and to analyze and interpret data;
  • Be continuously aware of contemporary issues and research opportunities/challenges in the field of materials engineering as related to energy and sustainability and engage in lifelong learning in the field and in the fundamentals of other related disciplines;
  • Use advanced materials characterization techniques, skills, and modern scientific and engineering tools; and
  • Communicate effectively in written and oral form, both individually, and as a member of a multidisciplinary team.

Academics
The academic curriculum in the MSE Program is designed to provide students with fundamental knowledge and rigorous academic training in designing, testing, modeling and processing advanced materials for renewable energy and sustainable technologies.

The program’s core courses ensure that students develop a strong academic foundation through the study of applied mathematical and numerical tools, materials science and engineering principles, mechanical, electrical, optical, magnetic and other functional properties of advanced materials, and novel and sustainable materials processing and manufacturing technologies. The breadth of course offerings will continually grow to allow Masdar Institute students to gain a deeper knowledge in topics of their choosing. 

Research
MSE research at Masdar Institute concentrates on designing, engineering, characterizing, processing and fabricating the next generation of materials that will be required for advancing the development of alternative energy and sustainable technologies.

Research involves theoretical, experimental and numerical aspects and involves fundamental materials research in thin films, photovoltaic materials, thermoelectric materials, polymers, lightweight alloys and functional materials as well as advanced characterization, testing, processing and fabricating methods. The relationship between the fabrication and processing conditions, the resulting material properties and the ultimate device and/or applications will be emphasized.

Examples of ongoing MSE research activities at Masdar Institute are as follows:

  • High-performance thin-film photovoltaic cells
  • Hybrid solar thermoelectric and photovoltaic energy conversion
  • Novel concepts for processing and fabrication of proton exchange membrane fuel cell components
  • Sustainable manufacturing of lightweight alloys for automotive and aerospace applications
  • Thin-film technology for advanced functional materials 

Curriculum
Students must undertake four core program courses in order to meet the requirements of their program. In addition, each student must complete the following:

  • Three elective courses from any program with the approval of their advisor
  • One university core course titled 'Sustainable Energy: Technology, Policy, Economics'
  • 24 credits of thesis work 

Program Core Courses

  • MSE507 – Thermodynamics of Materials
  • MSE508 – Kinetics of Materials
  • MSE 509 – Electrical, Optical, and Magnetic Properties of Materials
  • MSE510 – Thermal and Mechanical Properties of Materials

MSE501 – Electrochemical Processing of Materials – 3 credits
This course covers a variety of topics concerning electrochemical engineering, including thermodynamic and transport properties of aqueous and non-aqueous electrolytes, the electrode/electrolyte interface, and the kinetics of electrode processes. It also covers electrochemical characterization with regards to DC techniques (controlled potential, controlled current) and AC techniques (voltammetry and impedance spectroscopy). Course topics also include applications of the following: electro-winning, electro-refining, electro-plating, and electro-synthesis, as well as electrochemical power sources (batteries and fuel cells).
The prerequisites for this course include undergraduate-level courses in general chemistry, thermodynamics, reaction kinetics, or equivalent.

MSE504 – Atomistic Computer Modeling of Materials – 3 credits
This course provides theory and the application of atomistic computer simulations to model, understand, and predict the properties of real materials. Course topics include: 

  • Energy models – from classical potentials to first-principle approaches;
  • Density – functional theory and the total-energy pseudo-potential method;
  • Errors and accuracy of quantitative predictions;
  • Thermodynamic ensembles such as Monte Carlo sampling and molecular dynamics simulations;
  • Free energies and phase transitions;
  • Fluctuations and transport properties, and
  • Coarse-graining approaches and mesoscale models. 

The class will introduce a variety of methods used in different fields of materials science. Furthermore, students will employ atomistic computer modeling for case studies from industrial applications of advanced materials to nanotechnology.
The prerequisites for this course include undergraduate-level courses in physics and numerical models.

MSE505 – Structure and Properties of Polymers – 3 credits
This course includes a review of polymer molecular structure and bulk morphology; a survey of molecular and morphological influence on bulk physical properties, macromolecular diffusion, gas transport in polymers, electrical and optical properties, and solid-state deformation and toughness. It also features product design case studies.
Prerequisites for this course include undergraduate-level courses in general chemistry, organic chemistry, mechanical properties of materials, or equivalent.

MSE506 – Materials Processing and Manufacturing Technologies – 3 credits
This course discusses a wide variety of basic and recent technologies related to materials processing and manufacturing including materials removal, deformation, joining and solidification. Emphasis will be on the underlying science of a given process rather than a detailed description of the technique or equipment. The course objective is to provide students with the fundamental knowledge of mechanics, materials and metallurgy which are needed to understand the analysis of materials processing and manufacturing techniques and with the tools to apply the knowledge for different applications.
The prerequisite for this course is the completion of an undergraduate-level course in mechanics of materials, or equivalent.

MSE507 – Thermodynamics of Materials – 3 credits
This course provides students with an advanced analysis of the laws of thermodynamics and their applications to equilibrium and the properties of materials. Students will be provided a foundation to treat general phenomena in materials science and engineering, including chemical reactions, magnetism, polarizability and elasticity. Other course topics include: multiphase equilibria as determined by a treatment of solution thermodynamics, graphical constructions that are essential for the interpretation of phase diagrams, and aspects of statistical thermodynamics as they relate to macroscopic equilibrium phenomena.
Prerequisites for this course include the completion of undergraduate-level courses in thermodynamics and the fundamentals of material science.

MSE508 -  Kinetics of Materials – 3 credits
This course presents a unified treatment of phenomenological and atomistic kinetic processes in materials. It provides the foundation for the advanced understanding of processing, microstructural evolution, and behavior for a broad spectrum of materials. The course emphasizes analysis and development of rigorous comprehension of fundamentals. Topics include irreversible thermodynamics, diffusion, nucleation, phase transformations, fluid and heat transport, morphological instabilities, and gas-solid, liquid-solid, and solid-solid reactions.
Prerequisites for this course include the completion of undergraduate-level courses in thermodynamics and the fundamentals of material science.

MSE509 – Electrical, Optical, and Magnetic Properties of Materials – 3 credits
This course covers the electrical, optical, opto-electronic and magnetic properties of materials (metals, semiconductors and ceramics). It includes discussions on the roles of bonding, structure (crystalline, defect, energy band and microstructure) and composition in influencing and controlling physical properties. As part of the course, case studies are drawn from a variety of applications including: semiconductor diodes, optical detectors, sensors, thin films, and other functional materials.
Prerequisites for this course include the completion of undergraduate-level physics courses (II-III-IV).

MSE510 – Thermal and Mechanical Properties of Materials – 3 credits
This course covers the thermal and mechanical properties of various materials such as metals, semiconductors, ceramics and composites. A discussion of the effects of fabrication, processing and microstructure of materials on their thermal and mechanical properties is included as part of the course curriculum. Case studies are drawn from a variety of real applications including semiconductor devices, heat storage, energy conversion, thin film technology, metals and alloys, biomaterials, and composites.
Prerequisites for this course include the completion of an undergraduate-level course in solid state physics, materials science or mechanical engineering, with approval from the course instructor.

MSE511 –  Photovoltaic Technologies: Materials, Devices and Systems – 3 credits
This course covers photovoltaic technologies that enable the direct conversion of solar energy into electricity. The materials and fundamental processes involved are emphasized first. The device level is then treated through design, modeling and simulation, as well as implementation and testing perspectives. Course topics include thin-film, third-generation, and novel and emerging PV technologies. Real examples and case studies are analyzed throughout the course including manufacturing, applications and deployment of diverse PV technologies.
The prerequisite for this course is an undergraduate level course in physics, materials science, or electrical engineering, with the approval of the course instructor.

MSE512 –  Physics for Solid-State Application – 3 credits
The purpose of this course is to provide an understanding of classical and quantum models of electrons and lattice vibrations in solids, emphasizing physical models for elastic properties, electronic transport, and heat capacity. Course topics include crystal lattices, electronic energy band structures, phonon dispersion relations, effective mass theorem, semi-classical equations of motion, electron scattering, semiconductor optical properties and calculation of band structure and transport properties of selected semiconductors. Connection of quantum theory of solids with quasi-Fermi levels and Boltzmann transport used in device modeling will be made.
The prerequisite for this course is completion of an undergraduate-level course in quantum mechanics, linear algebra or differential calculus, with the approval of the course instructor.

MSE513 –  Materials and Devices for Renewable Energy – 3 credits
Materials are the backbone of a plethora of advanced applications, especially those related to energy technologies. This course will explore the fundamentals of energy systems to understand how materials chemistry and structure influence the processes controlling the energy conversion, utilization, and storage. We will analyze the key steps in energy-related processes, explore the governing concepts of energy technologies, and examine what influence materials have on the performance of the technologies of interest. Topics to be covered include fuel cells, batteries, photo-electrochemical devices, and topics on advanced technologies such as solar energy conversion and carbon-based materials for electrical energy storage. Emphasis will be placed on cutting-edge research in the scientific literature.
Prerequisites for this course include the completion of an undergraduate-level course in chemistry, physics and/or the fundamentals of materials science.

MSE516 –  Imaging of Materials – 3 credits
This course will study and investigate the principles and applications of imaging techniques for materials characterization, including transmission and scanning electron microscopy and scanning probe microscopy.

Course topics include electron diffraction; image formation in transmission and scanning electron microscopy; diffraction and phase contrast; imaging of crystals and crystal imperfections; review of the most recent advances in electron microscopy for bio- and nano-sciences; and analysis of chemical composition and electronic structure at the atomic scale.

Lectures are complemented by real-case studies and computer simulations.
Prerequisites for this course include completion of undergraduate-level courses in the electronic, optical and magnetic properties of materials.

MSE600 – Master Thesis in Material Sciences and Engineering –  Total 24 credits
The thesis gives students an opportunity to develop and demonstrate their ability to carry out and document a reasonably comprehensive project requiring considerable initiative, creative thought, and a good deal of individual responsibility. The thesis may be a design project, an analytical paper, or experimental work of a technical nature.

MSE610 –  Advanced Solid State Physics – 3 credits
The purpose of this course is to provide a deep and operational understanding of classical and quantum mechanical models of electrons and lattice vibrations in solids aimed at the development of numerical models. The course will emphasize physical models for elastic properties, electronic transport, and heat capacity. Course topics include: crystal lattices, electronic energy band structures, phonon dispersion relations, effective mass theorem, semi-classical equations of motion, electron scattering and semiconductor optical properties. Band structure and transport properties of selected semiconductors will be calculated. Connection of quantum theory of solids with quasi-Fermi levels and Boltzmann transport used in device modeling will be made.
Prerequisites for this course include the completion of an introductory course in solid state physics (e.g. MSE512 – Physics for Solid State Applications), and an undergraduate level course in quantum mechanics, linear algebra, or differential calculus, with approval from the course instructor.

MSE630 – Science and Engineering of Thin Films, Surfaces and Interfaces –  3 credits

This course focuses on the different technologies used in the synthesis and growth of thin films of various materials (like metals, semiconductors, and ceramics) and presents aspects involving surfaces and interfaces, their processing and transformations.

This course includes elements of vacuum science and technology and a number of structural, physicochemical and functional characterization methods for thin-films, surfaces and interfaces.

Case studies are drawn from a variety of applications including active and passive thin films and coatings, semiconductor devices nanostructures, and advanced and functional materials.
Prerequisites for this course include the completion of MSE509 – Electrical, Optical and Magnetic Properties of Materials, MSE510 – Thermal and Mechanical Properties of Materials, or equivalent with approval from the course instructor.

MSE640 – Advances in Investigation of Intermolecular & Surface Forces – 3 credits
This course aims to present a comprehensive view of intermolecular and surface forces, and the common way to investigate these forces by means of different scanning probe microscopy techniques. The first part of the course will describe the role of such force in determining the properties of a simple and complex system. This subject touches on a very broad area of phenomena in physics, chemical engineering and biology. The second part of the course presents the fundamentals underlying atomic force microscopy (AFM) for the investigation of intermolecular and surface forces. AFM is one of the foremost tools for imaging, measuring, and manipulating matter at the nanoscale by gathering information of the surface throughout a mechanical probe.
Prerequisites for this course include MSE507 – Thermodynamics of Materials, MSE508 – Kinetics of Materials, or equivalent, with approval from the course instructor.

MSE650 – High Efficiency Silicon Solar Cells: Designs and Technologies – 3 credits
This course will address the surface physics and chemistry of crystalline silicon, including the critical phenomenon of surface passivation. It will cover in depth all recombination mechanisms of charge carriers in crystalline silicon and study the different passivation approaches to the surface and how it impacts the various solar cell technologies such as PERC and PERL, as well as newer architectures.  
Prerequisites for this course include the completion of one of the following courses: MSE 509 – Electrical, Optical and Magnetic Properties of Materials, or MSE 511 – Photovoltaic Technologies: Materials, Devices and Systems, or equivalent. An MSc in Physics, Materials Science, or Physical Chemistry is preferred, with approval from the course instructor. 

The Concentration in Space Systems and Technology at Masdar Institute aims to produce post-graduate students with the multi-disciplinary preparation that meets the following goals:

  • An ability to identify and address current and future engineering problems related to energy sources, generation, conversion and industrial processes within a broader framework of sustainable development;
  • An ability to apply a multi-disciplinary approach to conceive, plan, design, and implement solutions to engineering problems in the fields of energy and sustainability;
  • An understanding of the impact of solutions to engineering problems in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context;
  • An understanding of the value of technical and scientific research, service to society, leadership and life-long learning required to further their career aspirations.

In addition to the MSE program specific core courses and the University Core Course, space concentration students are required to take the following ‘Space Concentration Core courses’:

  • SSC501: Spacecraft Systems and Design
  • SSC502: Spacecraft Systems Lab 1
  • SSC503: Spacecraft Systems Lab 2
  • SSC504: Spacecraft Systems Lab 3     

Course

Credits

Year 1: Fall Semester

 

‘MSc. Program Specific Core Course 1’

3

‘MSc. Program Specific Core Course 2’

3

Space Core Course (SSC501: Spacecraft Systems and Design)

3

Master Thesis Work related to space technology

3

Year 1: Spring Semester

 

‘MSc. Program Specific Core Course 3’

3

‘MSc. Program Specific Core Course 4’

3

SSC502: Space Systems Lab-1

1

Master Thesis Work related to space technology

3

Year 1: Summer

 

Master Thesis Work related to space technology

6

Year 2: Fall Semester

 

Technical Elective relevant to space technology

3

MI Core Course: (UCC501: Sustainable Energy)

3

SSC503: Space Systems Lab-2

1

Master Thesis Work related to space technology

6

Year 2: Spring Semester

 

SSC504: Space Systems Lab-3

1

Master Thesis Work related to space technology

6

TOTAL CREDITS

48


  

In addition to the MSE program learning outcome, MSE students choosing the concentration are also expected to attain the following concentration specific outcomes:

  • Demonstrate proficiency in the aspects of space systems design and analysis; and
  • Design and build a small-satellite as a part of a multi-disciplinary team.