Study Abroad

Can I do Study Abroad if I am studying materials science and engineering?

Yes, many MSE students have studied abroad for a semester, summer or winter term and found it was a great experience.

When does it work best to do Study Abroad?

Most MSE students find that the spring semester of the third year is the easiest time to do a semester abroad. This works particularly well if you can take ENMA 461, Thermodynamics, early (e.g. in your sophomore year).

What kinds of classes can I take that will fulfill MSE graduation requirements?

  • In general, it is recommended that you take technical electives, specialization electives or your upper level science elective as your “departmental” classes when you study abroad. Classes in these categories not need to directly correspond to courses at UMD. They can be approved by your advisor if they make sense in terms of course content and level, your specialization, and your overall individual program. You may also take GEN ED requirements (MSE does not approve these).
  • If you want to take a required MSE class abroad, it must directly correspond to the UMD class. In general that means that the level and content need at least an 80% overlap.

What are the steps in getting MSE Study Abroad approval for departmental requirements?

  1. If you might be interested in Study Abroad, talk with your advisor during your regular advising sessions so you can plan ahead and be prepared. You should start planning at least a year in advance.
  2. No later than the beginning of the semester before you plan to study abroad, work with the A. James Clark School of Engineering's International and Leadership Programs Office to identify the school where you will study abroad.
  3. Examine the classes that will be offered the semester you will be doing Study Abroad and pick a set that interest you and can be applied to your degree as Specialization Electives, Technical Electives or Upper Level Science Electives. It is a good idea to get extra potential classes approved in case the classes you want to take are not offered or are full when you go abroad. In general it is recommended that you get six classes approved in advance if you wish to take four classes that meet MSE requirements.

    Note: If the institution you will be attending offers classes that are not 3 credits each, then the guidelines for meeting specialization elective requirements are that each student should have “a minimum of 5 specialization classes totaling at least 13 credits and at least the minimum of 120 total credits required for graduation.”
  4. Once you identify the classes you want to take, prepare a packet to discuss with your MSE advisor. This packet should include:
    • The MSE Study Abroad Course Evaluation Request form (.docx) with appropriate information filled in for each class.
    • The catalog description of the class, if there is one.
    • A PDF of the course syllabus for each class that is not already in the Transfer Center Database. We require a PDF, not a link, so that we can document your program for ABET accreditation. Courses will not be approved without a syllabus. A catalog description is NOT sufficient.
    Note: The process for getting GEN ED requirements approved is separate from getting MSE program requirements approved. Please work with the International and Leadership Programs Office in the A. James Clark School of Engineering ( to get approval for GEN ED classes. MSE advisors do not approve GEN ED classes.
  5. Make an appointment to discuss your Study Abroad plan with your MSE advisor and forward to complete packet to her/him.To avoid frustration, do not send potential classes piecemeal or without the syllabus or MSE form.