students working in nano lab

One-year, non-thesis M.S. in Engineering at the Nano-scale

Our new one-year, non-thesis master of science degree program combines an interdisciplinary foundation in nanoscience and nanoengineering with significant hands-on nanofabrication experiences that are essential for graduates to meet the growing industry demand for skilled nanotechnology personnel or to continue towards their Ph.D. degree.

This residence-based M.S. is a 30-credit program, requiring completion of a scholarly paper. It is ideally suited for individuals with bachelor’s degrees in science, and most engineering engineering fields, who are planning to pursue careers in areas such as biomedicine, aerospace, electronics, information technology, manufacturing, and advanced materials, to name just a few.

The program draws on the engineering science and mechanics department’s extensive nanotechnology expertise, the uniqueness of its world-class interdisciplinary faculty, and the use of the Penn State Center for Nanotechnology Education and Utilization cleanroom.

Whether your career interests lie in academia or industry, if you’re ready for a one-of-a-kind graduate program that will prepare you for a career in one of the most rapidly growing and exciting fields, then the M.S. in Engineering at the Nano-scale is for you.

Course Requirements

Timeline to complete the M.S. in Engineering at the Nano-scale

Students seeking the one-year, residence-based Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Engineering at the Nano-scale will start their degree in the fall semester and are expected to complete all required coursework, including three credits of research, resulting in a scholarly paper, and their degree by the end of the following summer semester.

The plan of study is as follows:

Fall Semester

  • Take 9 credits of Core courses
  • Take 3 credits of Elective courses
  • Take 1 credit of E SC 596-Individual Studies
  • Identify adviser (no later than the end of September)

Spring Semester

  • Take 6 credits of Core courses
  • Take 6 credits of Elective courses
  • Take 1 credit of E SC 596-Individual Studies
  • Submit title and one-page proposal on individual study research by spring break

Summer Semester

  • Take 3 credits of Elective courses
  • Take 1 credit of E SC 596-Individual Studies
  • Submit final scholarly paper


  • Core Courses: 15 credits
  • Elective Courses: 12 credits
  • Individual Studies (Research): 3 credits

Total: 30 credits

Course Outline

Required Courses:

  • E SC 412: Nanotechnology: Materials, Infrastructure, and Safety (Fall) (3 cr.)
  • E SC 520: Engineering at the Nano-scale (Fall) (3 cr.)
  • E SC 521: Pattern Transfer at the Nano-scale (Fall) (3 cr.)
  • E SC 522: Fabrication and Characterization for Top-down Nano-manufacturing (Spring) (3 cr.)
  • E SC 523: Fabrication and Characterization for Bottom-up Nano-manufacturing (Spring) (3 cr.)

Elective Courses:**

Electives may be customized to complete emphases in: (1) energy, (2) electronics and photonics, and (3) nanomaterials; or to explore cutting-edge topics such as bionanotechnology, nanomechanics, and smart nanostructures.

  • E SC 414M: Elements of Material Engineering
  • E SC 445: Semiconductor Optoelectronic Devices
  • E SC 450: (MATSE 450) Synthesis and Processing of Electronic and Photonic Materials
  • E SC 481: Elements of Nano/Micro-electromechanical Systems Processing and Design
  • E SC 482: Micro-optoelectromechanical Systems (MOEMS) and Nanophotonics
  • E SC 483: Simulation and Design of Nanostructures
  • E SC 484: Biologically Inspired Nanomaterials
  • BIOE 512: Cell and Molecular Bioengineering
  • CHEM 511: Chemical Nanoscience
  • E SC 501: Solar Cell Devices
  • E SC 502: Semiconductor Heterojunctions and Applications
  • E SC 511: Engineering Materials for Energy Conversion and Storage
  • E SC 541: Laser-Materials Interactions
  • E SC 542: Laser-Integrated Manufacturing
  • E SC 550: Power Semiconductor Devices
  • E SC 551: High-Power Energy Storage
  • E SC 577: Engineered Thin Films
  • E SC 581: Microelectromechanical Systems/Smart Structures
  • E SC 582: Micro- and Nano-Structured Light Emitting Devices
  • E SC 583: Micro- and Nano-Optoelectronic Devices and Applications
  • E SC 584: Introduction to Bio-Architecture
  • E MCH 543: Shape Memory, Smart Materials and Mechanical Behavior
  • E MCH 544: Multiscale Modeling and Materials
  • E MCH 545: Nanomechanics

*Elective courses are all 3-credit courses. Take 12 credits combined.
**Additional elective courses may be approved by the M.S. NANO Director or the ESM Graduate Officer.

Individual Studies (Research):

  • E SC 596: Individual Studies (Fall/Spring/Summer) (3 cr. total)

Scholarly Paper Requirements

The topic of the scholarly paper will be determined by the M.S. NANO Program Director and the student. The scholarly paper must demonstrate the student’s capability to integrate and apply concepts and techniques learned in the courses, and thereby, demonstrate the technical, environmental, ethical, and safety knowledge needed to practice engineering at the nano-scale.

An electronic copy of the approved culminating research paper must be submitted to the ESM department at least two weeks before the end of summer classes. Students who need more time to complete the final paper may extend the submission due date after the third semester (summer). The degree will be granted after the paper has been reviewed and approved, and all degree requirements have been met. Students are not required to remain in residence while they complete the final paper.

Subject to permission of the author, all scholarly papers will be published on the ESM department website and on Scholars Sphere at Penn State. They may additionally be submitted for publication to a peer-reviewed journal. Students who plan to publish their work in a journal may delay access to the papers on Scholars Sphere and the ESM website until after publication.

Application Deadlines

The deadline to apply for the Fall 2016 semester is August 1, 2016.

*Please note there is no spring enrollment option for this program. International students are encouraged to apply early.

Application Criteria

Bachelor of Science degree
Prior to starting the program, all applicants must have obtained a baccalaureate degree or equivalent in engineering, science, or a related field from an accredited U.S. university or institution or an officially recognized degree-granting international institution.

GPA expectations for applicants are: 3.0 or higher. Scores below the minimum value may be considered for admission on a case-by-case basis.

Letters of Reference
Three letters of recommendation should be submitted with the completed application.


Statement of Intent
Please tell us why you want to pursue an advanced degree in Engineering Science and Mechanics and how it will help you further your career objectives.

Copies of Transcripts
Transcripts must show all previous coursework.

How To Apply

All applications for ESM graduate programs must be completed electronically through the Penn State Graduate School Admissions and Program Information Portal.

As this is a new degree program, it will be a few weeks before the MS NANO code for the program appears on the Graduate School website under the Engineering Science and Mechanics graduate degree programs. To expedite approval of your application for Fall 2016 (and your visa application for international students), we recommend that you submit your application to the Master of Science degree in Engineering Science and Mechanics (ESMCH).

Please note the following steps for submitting your application through the portal:

  1. On the Apply to the Graduate School at Penn State page, select Create a New Account to begin your application.
  2. Complete application sections including Biographical, Contact, Citizenship, Education, Test Scores, Scholarships, References, and Work Experience.
  3. In the Program Specific Questions section of the application, you will be required to select one of two tracks for the degree. Please select the “One-year non-thesis track requiring a scholarly paper” option from the dropdown menu (see image below). This will allow our Graduate Admissions committee to expedite review of your application and admission to the program.
    screen shot of grad school application website
  4. In the Additional Information section at the end of your application (see image below), please write in the statement “I wish to apply for the MS NANO Engineering at the Nanoscale degree.” We will transfer your application to the MS NANO code as soon as the Graduate School updates the website.
    screen shot of grad school application website

If you have any additional questions, please contact Tammy Coval, graduate program assistant, at 814-863-4586 or

If you are ready to apply, click here.

Click here to go to the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics website.

apply now

For questions or additional information, please contact:

  • Professor Osama O. Awadelkarim
    Director, Center for Nanotechnology Education and Utilization (CNEU)
    407D Earth and Engineering Sciences Building
  • Professor Michael T. Lanagan
    Graduate Officer
    N-329 Millennium Science Complex
  • Tammy Coval
    Graduate Program Assistant
    212 Earth and Engineering Sciences Building
  • Susan Barger
    Administrative Assistant CNEU
    118G Research Building West