DISTANCE INSTRUCTION, CONTINUING EDUCATION, AND THE MATERIALS ENGINEERING GRADUATE PROGRAM
Materials Engineering is a rapidly changing field, and continuing education is essential. We are committed to providing advanced education services to both traditional and non-traditional students. Our degree programs support a large amount of distance instruction and enable students to obtain degrees while remaining in the workforce. Whether you are pursuing an advanced degree or taking a single course to keep abreast of the field, we provide a wide variety of courses to meet your educational needs.
Graduate Degrees offered:
M.S. with independent study option
M.S. with thesis option
5 year B.S./ M.S.
The components of the degree:
Course Work: Many courses are provided through distance instruction. Students may select from 400 and 500 level courses with approval of their academic advisor. A broad range of courses are offered that are designed to appeal to students with a background in chemistry, physics, and related engineering disciplines in addition to those with a traditional Materials Engineering background.
Advisor: An academic advisor is selected in the department to match your background and interests. A research advisor who is working directly with the student on site may be selected subject to approval.
Independent Study Option: The Independent Study topic is selected with the academic advisor and is subject to approval by the student's graduate committee. The study may be an in-depth study based on the literature, however, students are strongly encouraged to include a research component. The resulting report and presentation should be of "conference proceeding" quality.
Thesis Option: The thesis topic is selected with the academic and research advisors. The thesis is an in-depth study based on original research and should be of "publication" quality.
Dissertation: The topic is selected with the academic and research advisors. The dissertation is an in-depth study based on original research which makes a significant contribution to the field. It is required that a paper based on the dissertation be submitted to a peer reviewed journal prior to graduation.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1) Which degrees are "distance education" degrees?
None of our degrees are traditional "distance education". However, we are committed to offering a broad selection of classes through distance leaning. Students in our classes have the ability to interact with their professors and classmates, make presentations, and participate in class discussions. This program enables students to complete their graduate course work off campus with an experience similar to that in a traditional classroom.
2) Do I need to visit the NMT campus at all during my graduate degree?
Yes, a few campus visits are necessary and are essential to our educational mission. For a M.S. (Independent Study Option), you will need to visit our campus at least once to present and defend your independent study. For a M.S. (Thesis Option), you will need to visit campus at least twice: (1) to propose your thesis research; and (2) to defend your thesis. For a PhD., you will need to visit campus at least three times: (1) to propose your research; (2) to take your (oral) qualifying exam; and (3) to defend your dissertation.
3) How hard is it to visit the campus?
It's very easy. We are an hour's drive south of Albuquerque, NM, along Interstate 25. This places NMT within easy driving distance of the major population areas of Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Las Cruces. Visitors driving in from Denver, Phoenix, or El Paso usually spend the night as do those arriving at the Albuquerque International Airport.
4) Which M.S. degree is for me?
Most of our on campus students select the traditional thesis option and are required to do so if they are supported by a research assistantship or plan to earn a Ph.D. Many of our distance students select the independent study option. The 5-year B.S./M.S. degree is a rigorous program offered to B.S. students of Materials Engineering and related fields. Students must apply to the BS/MS program early in their B.S. degree.
5) Do I need an undergraduate degree in Materials Engineering in order to pursue a graduate degree in Materials Engineering?
No, an undergraduate degree in Materials Engineering is not necessary although it helps. Some of our best students are from fields such as chemistry, physics, geological sciences, civil engineering, chemical engineering or mechanical engineering. However, additional undergraduate classes may be required to provide you with an appropriate background.
6) How many classes do I need to take to get a Masters degree?
You need 24 credit hours of classes (8 classes) and 6 credit hours of thesis for the thesis option. You need 27 credit hours of classes (9 classes) and 3 credit hours of Independent Study for the Independent Study option.
7) I'm interested in doing a graduate degree at NMT but don't know if I am able to do the course work. Is there a way to sample a course before applying?
Yes! We recommend that distance students start by taking a single class as a "special student" which does not require application to the program. If you wish to do this, you should talk to a professor in the department to decide which class best fits your background. Special students may take up to 12 credit hours before formally enrolling in a degree program.
8) The class I am taking is too hard. What do I do?
If you find you are in over your head, DROP THE CLASS; don't just stop doing the work. Notify your professor. If you fail a class, the F stays on your record unless you retake the class.
9) My job requires that I travel a lot. What if this causes me to miss some lectures?
Distance instruction lectures can be viewed asynchronously, and the professors will work with you to make up late assignments. However, the course must be completed, and grades turned in by the end of finals week.
10) Can I transfer credits into the program from a different school?
Yes, you can transfer in up to 12 credit hours; however, these classes must be appropriate and approved by your advisor and graduate committee.
11) How long does it usually take to get an M.S. with Independent Study option degree as a part time student?
That depends on how heavy a course load you take and how many credits you transfer in. If you take one class a semester (including summer) and do not transfer in any credits, the degree will take about 4 years. With transfer credits and/ or taking more than one class a semester, it is possible to graduate in as little as two years.
12) As a part time student, how many classes should I take at a time?
Our classes are rigorous. We recommend that students take one class a semester at the beginning. On campus students find two courses a semester to be an acceptable load, and distance students take one or two classes depending on their other obligations.
13) I would like to start working on my M.S. degree at NMT. What do I do?
First, email one of the professors in the department with a background in an area you are interested in (and copy the department chair on the email). Second, enroll in a class as a special student. Third, apply for admission into the degree program.
14) Are the classes "live"? May I attend a class in person?
Course content is usually generated during the semester the course is offered; however, we "rerun" classes as well. This permits us to offer a broader range of classes. Even if a class is a "rerun," professors are available to meet with you and often hold regular sessions providing a classroom or help session environment without a formal lecture. You are always welcome to attend any class meeting on campus