Graduate Programs (Leading to the M.Sc. and Ph.D. degree)
Environmental Engineering Educational Program
Courses in environmental engineering are offered to graduate and undergraduate students. The focus, however, is on education for the M.Sc. degree - a program from which students graduate as masters in Environmental Engineering. Selected research topics in Environmental Engineering are presented to Ph.D. candidates. Specialization in the field can be studied already at the undergraduate level. In a practical sense, classes cover a wide range of subjects concerning environmental engineering and science, and therefore are interdisciplinary. The M.Sc. program in Environmental Engineering has been initiated in response to strong demand. This demand comes from governmental bureaus, municipalities, industrial enterprises, and consulting firms. Two kinds of students are enrolled in this program, one group consists of graduate students that come from the industry and the other are in-house students that want to pursue a career in the field. The external graduate students enhance the ties of the department to the community industrial needs. These ties help adapt the environmental studies curriculum and research work to the actual countrywide needs.
MATERIAL ENGINEERING FAQ'S
Frequently asked questions by engineering students and applicants to Tel Aviv University's M.Sc. program in Materials Science and Engineering
Prof. R.L. Boxman Materials Engineering Coordinator
- How does the TAU program differ from programs in other institutions? The study of materials is perhaps the most ancient field of technological investigation and exploitation, to the extent that we label historical and pre-historical periods by the materials which they utilized (e.g. bronze age, stone age, etc.). Conventional modern departments of materials science or engineering are historically based on departments of metallurgy, and have evolved to encompass a wider range of material, including ceramics and polymers. Generally, conventional departments offer a disciplinary approach to materials, beginning with a B.Sc. degree. In contrast, the TAU approach to materials is inter-disciplinary. TAU has no materials department per se, but rather has intensive materials related educational and research activities in four different engineering departments as well as in physics and chemistry. The TAU program is built around this multi-disciplinary expertise, and tends to emphasize cutting-edge materials utilization in high-tech, nano-technology, etc., rather than the more traditional materials applications.
- What is the Inter-faculty nature of the program? The Faculty of Exact Sciences and the Faculty of Engineering jointly administer the program. It has a common core curriculum and a joint research seminar. Students from each faculty may take courses from the other faculty as well.
- What are the differences in the program between the Faculty of Exact Sciences and the Faculty of Engineering? Each faculty has its own entrance requirements, degree requirements and titles, and advanced materials related courses.
- What are the admission requirements to the program in the Faculty of Engineering? Graduates with a B.Sc. in any engineering discipline from a recognized Israeli university with a grade point average of 75 or above may apply for regular admission. The cut-off grade point average may vary from year to year, according to places available and demand. Graduates from other institutions, or with degrees in Chemistry or Physics, may likewise apply, but admission may be conditional on passing a number of completion courses with a sufficiently high grade.
- What are completion courses? Do I get credit for them? Completion courses are B.Sc. level courses which the admission committee imposes on students not having a B.Sc. in a specified engineering field from an Israeli University. Depending upon the circumstances, the completion courses are intended to fill in the academic background of the student, to bring him closer to academic par with the other graduate students, or test his ability to successfully study engineering at the university level. Completion courses do not carry credit for the M.Sc. degree.
- What is the "pre-course"? Must I enroll in it? Do I get credit? The course "Introduction to Materials Science and Engineering" (0542.3260) is a basic undergraduate course in materials. It is required for all program students who do not have a B.Sc. in materials. It does not carry credit to the M.Sc. degree. Students who have completed a similar course may request an exemption by submitting a copy of the syllabus of the course which they studied, and a transcript showing the grade received, to the secretariat. Exemptions will be granted if the course studied is sufficiently close in content, and if the grade received was at least 75.
- What are a "temporary advisor" and a "permanent advisor"? Each student will be assigned a faculty member as temporary advisor. The role of the temporary advisor is to advise the student on all academic matters, including selection of courses, and finding a thesis or project topic, and a permanent advisor. The permanent advisor fulfills the above functions, and guides the student during his thesis or project research.
- What "department" am I in, and what is the role of the department? The engineering side of the Materials Science and Engineering program is administered by an inter-departmental committee, which is responsible for the academic content of the program. The academic program is largely based on graduate courses organized and staffed by the various departments. Students are assigned to the department of their advisor. The departments logistically support the student. In some cases, there may be employment opportunities within the department as teaching assistants, depending upon the need of the department and the qualifications of the student. When the student finds a permanent advisor and begins his research work, the advisor and the department provides the facilities.
- What is the difference between a thesis and a project? The thesis and the project are demonstrations of the student's ability to execute independent engineering or research work at the M.Sc. level, and meaningfully contribute to the science and art of Materials. In both, an engineering or scientific question is addressed and answered, and a written report meeting the standards of scientific reporting is submitted. They differ in extent, but not in quality. As a rough rule of thumb, a M.Sc. thesis requires about 9 months of full-time work, while a project is about a quarter of that.
- I work full time. Can I participate in the program? Yes, but its not easy. Graduate courses in the Faculty of Engineering are all given after 1600 in the afternoon, in order to accommodate working students. However, the pre-course, completion courses, and courses offered by the Faculty of Exact Sciences do not necessarily follow this custom. The greatest difficulty is in executing thesis or project research requiring laboratory facilities. Practical considerations including safety, set-up time, competing demands on the equipment, and the need for interaction with the technical staff, can make the execution of experimental research very difficult on a part time basis. If possible, students are advised to make arrangements for some period of time (several months) which they can dedicate completely to the critical stage of their research.
- I work full time. Can I execute my project or thesis research at my job? Sometimes. The following is required: A thesis topic, meeting all of the normal requirements, must be identified. The employer must agree not to place any restrictions on the results of the research, i.e. there may not be any impediments to the thesis report being written and submitted promptly and the research results being published in a journal. There must be someone on the staff who is academically qualified to provide day-to-day supervision of the thesis research who will serve as co-advisor. And a regular member of the TAU faculty must agree to be the thesis advisor. The faculty advisor must have full access to the research. It may be difficult to find a willing faculty advisor. Faculty members are limited in the number of students that they may advise. Generally they agree to use one of their available slots, and to invest a great deal of time in individually interacting with a student, in expectation of a "scientific return" on their investment - specifically an advancement in their scientific ideas. Generally an external thesis does not fulfill that goal, and hence faculty members may be reluctant to supervise such theses. The probability to find an advisor is higher when the research is part of a wider scientific collaboration.
- Is there a time limit to completing the program? Yes - all M.Sc. programs are limited to a maximum of 4 years. Students who anticipate difficulties in completing the program in the requisite time, in particular those who work full time, are advised to complete as much of their course work as possible in the "external studies" framework, and to register for the program only when they can comfortably complete the remaining requirement within the 4-year limit.
- What is the seminar requirement? Must I attend if I work full time outside of the university? The Joint Materials Seminar is a mechanism to learn about new developments in the field, which generally have not yet appeared text books. Full time students are expected to attend regularly. All students are required to attend a total of at least 36 seminars. Part time students can spread their attendance over their years of study as they see fit, provided that attend at least 36 sessions.