The Materials Science and Engineering program at the University of Texas at Austin handles admissions in a manner that is unique among materials graduate programs. Most programs will offer general admission to qualified students. When those students enroll, they will then have a semester, or in some cases, a full year to choose a research supervisor and project.
We prefer to do things differently. We consider the research interests of the applicants alongside the research interests of faculty who are seeking new students. We match the research interests of both parties to ensure a satisfactory research experience on both sides. This takes a little time during the admissions process, but it saves the student and the faculty supervisor a great deal of time when the student enrolls. Entering a graduate program with a faculty supervisor in place allows students to begin research immediately, which in turn enables the students to choose courses that are directly related to their research projects.
As stated above, these faculty-applicant matches are made during the admissions process, which means it takes a little longer for admitted applicants to receive offers of admission. However, when an admitted applicant receives an offer, it comes directly from a specific faculty member, giving the applicant a clear idea of what to expect regarding his or her research project.
Some faculty members like applicants to contact them during the application process. If you have submitted an application and are interested in contacting a specific faculty member, please email the graduate coordinator for instructions.