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Materials Chemistry

Solar panels on a grass field.

Our active materials research community encompasses departments in the Colleges of Science and Engineering.

Interactions extend to local companies such as Hewlett-Packard and Intel. Through interactions with the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute, students can join a vibrant innovation community. Unique education, internship, and funding opportunities support the successful translation of basic research to commercial products. Students can earn an MS degree in materials science engineering (MSE) en route to a Ph.D. in chemistry, pursuing a Ph.D. degree in materials science is an additional option.

"We’re pushing the boundaries of science and seeing things that no one has ever seen before."

Mas Subramanian

University Distinguished Professor & Milton Harris Professor of Materials Science

Graduate Program

The graduate program at OSU is geared to provide the student with a solid foundation in materials chemistry. The student and his or her advisor work together to select the courses best suited to the student's interests and research project. In addition, the student's doctoral committee (consisting of 4-5 faculty members) closely follows the student's progress through yearly informal meetings. Graduate students in good standing are fully supported by a combination of research grants and/or departmental funds. Student stipend includes salary, tuition costs, and 90% of student fees.

Research seminars

We maintain an active seminar program with both academic and industrial speakers from across the country and around the world. These seminars are typically given on Thursday afternoons at 4 pm.

Students actively participate in the seminar program through individual meetings with the speakers. In addition, students also have more informal interactions including lunch with the visiting scientists. In fact, many of the lunches have ultimately translated into postdoctoral positions and job opportunities.

Each spring, a leader in the field of organic chemistry is invited to present the James D. White Honorary Lecture. This award was started in 2011 to honor the distinguished Professor Emeritus Jim White. Professor White has made sizable contributions to organic chemistry research for over four decades at Oregon State University and was honored with the Centenary Medal (1999), Cope Scholar Award (2003), and MDF Discovery Award (2004).


Gilbert Hall, the Ag & Life Sciences Building, and the Radiation Center house chemistry research and administrative offices with separate undergraduate teaching labs located in Gilbert Addition. Facilities are available for the synthesis of solids as powders, thin films, and large single crystals. A complete range of facilities is available for characterizing the structure and properties of solids. This includes four X-ray diffractometers for determining structures, an atomic force microscope, and extensively shared instrumentation in the College of Engineering and the Physics Department. A number of pulsed and CW laser systems are used in our research labs. These include an optical parametric oscillator and dye lasers giving tunable radiation from the UV to the infrared as well as a Coherent anti-Stokes Raman system with a state-of-the-art spectral resolution of 0.001 cm-1.


Corvallis is a small university town of 50,000 an hour-and-a-half drive south of Portland in the beautiful Willamette Valley. Summers are mild with temperatures of 85°F, clear blue skies, and low humidity; winter lows seldom dip below 32°F. The Pacific Northwest is famous for rain which results in lush green forests and farmland. Residents enjoy microbrews, strong coffee, and local wines with their unique Northwest cuisine. Within an hour’s drive, a parade of volcanic peaks marches through the Cascade Mountains offering rugged terrain for hiking, biking, camping, rock climbing, and water and snow sports. The Pacific coast is a pleasant 50-minute drive to the west.