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GRA positions

A graduate student’s principal objective is to earn a graduate degree. Appointment as a Graduate Research Associate (GRA) contributes to that objective by providing an apprenticeship experience along with financial support. This apprenticeship complements formal instruction and gives the student practical, personal experience that can be gained only by performing research activities.

GRA positions provide a number of benefits to the student:

  • Full payment of tuition and academic fees,
  • A monthly stipend typically provided on a 12 month cycle,
  • 85% payment of OSU Student Health Insurance premiums for the student,
  • Payment of computer technology fee as well as laboratory fees,
  • Payment of research-related expenses,
  • Travel costs for conference and research-related expenses may also be provided,
  • Total value of this package can be over $70,000 per year.
  • Further information about GRA appointments and benefits.

[Students are responsible for 15% of health insurance premiums as well as student-related fees. These fees total roughly $120 per month. This amount is payroll-deducted per monthly pay over the course of a four-month semester so that the student does not need to pay a large up-front fee each term.]

In exchange for these benefits the student serves on a research project available in the program. As part of the GRA agreement, the student agrees to assist his/her advisor with research work. This commitment comes to, on average, approximately 20 hours per week, though this may vary from time to time. The research project Principal Investigator will serve as the student's academic and research advisor. More about finding an advisor, below.

Please note: Since research carried out for a government and/or industrial organization is usually focused on a topic of concern to the funding source, we cannot guarantee that a student's area of interest will always match the available GRA positions for a given term.

The GRA position is our primary form of financial aid [more about financial aid in the MSE-WE department].

Current GRA openings

Due to the on-going nature of funding, new openings for Spring (January) 2020 semester will soon be posted below. We anticipate 2-6 funded openings for the Spring in areas such as:

  • additive manufacturing
  • nanotechnology
  • electronic, optical, and magnetic materials
  • biomaterials
  • joining/welding technology
  • environmental and energy storage materials
  • emergent materials
  • advanced characterization
  • computational materials research
  • corrosion studies and corrosion prevention
  • membranes for chemical technology
  • sensor technology
  • materials manufacture
  • composites
  • processing and structure-property relationships in structural materials


Jinghua Li

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-292-9743 | Office: 491 Watts Hall

  • Assistant Professor (Ph.D. Duke University, 2016); ultrathin silicon dioxide and hafnium dioxide layers; device design; carbon nanotube electronics and sensors for application in stretchable electronics; materials to address brain injury.

1 opening, funding confirmed for AU20, PhD applicant preferred, open to applicants in MSE or WE (SP20 opening has been filled)

Topic: Bridging the biotic/abiotic interface: wearable/implantable bioelectronics for advanced healthcare .

PhD positions are immediately available in Dr. Jinghua Li’s research group in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at The Ohio State University. Interested areas include (1) skin-interfaced electronics, (2) flexible, high-resolution and long-lived neural interfaces, (3) soft semiconductors and thin-film materials. Our research is highly interdisciplinary combining mechanics, materials, electronics and biomedical science. Candidate with background in surface science, micro-/nano-fabrication and thin-film electronics are strongly encouraged to contact Dr. Li for details (

Dr. Jinghua Li is an assistant professor in MSE at OSU starting from September 2019. Prior to joining OSU, she worked as a postdoctoral fellow with Prof. John A. Rogers in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University. Dr. Li graduated from Duke University with a Ph.D. in Chemistry in 2016. Dr. Li has two main thrust areas: 1) fundamental understandings on synthesis chemistry and interfacial properties of thin-film materials as bio-interfaces; and 2) engineering efforts on application of these materials for the next generation wearable/implantable biomedical devices to bridge the gap between rigid machine and soft biology.

Background required: Highly motivated students with backgrounds in materials synthesis, characterization and micro-fabrication

Stephen Niezgoda

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-292-7294 | Office: 5058 Smith Lab

Assistant Professor (Ph.D., Drexel University, 2000); crystal plasticity, techniques in experimental and simulation co-design, computational material design tools, materials data sciences, structural materials, materials processing, and mechanics of materials.

  • 1-2 PhD positions, MSE or WE, funding confirmed

Topics: Machine Learning for Material Microstructure | Computational modeling of Creep in Superalloys

Need a student for 2 projects. The first involves the development and application of machine learning algorithms for the generation of synthetic material structures and the solution f other microscopy challenges (e.g. sementation, denoising etc). The second project is more of a "traditional" materials modeling project, which involves the simulation of creep in Ni-based superalloys. The project involves developing new models based on observations from experiments and atomistic simulation and implementing them in finite element scale solvers.

Required background:
Good math skills, and an interest (but not necessarily extensive experience) in programing. 

Hongping Zhao

Contact: web & email | Office: 213 Caldwell Labs

  • Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering; Wide bandgap semiconductor materials and structures, new semiconductor materials explorationSolid state physics, material synthesis, device physics.

1-2 PhD positions, MSE, funding confirmed for SP20

Topic: Please contact Dr. Zhao for more information about these openings.



Finding an advisor

For newly admitted students:

The MSE dept. does not assign new students to an advisor; instead, we ask that you meet with each of the faculty who have openings. The professor you work with will act as your academic and research advisor during your graduate studies at Ohio State.

Above, please find the list of available funded research positions. Please meet first with faculty who have openings in your area(s) of interest. If, after meeting with these professors, you do not have an advisor, please meet with the remaining faculty on the list who have openings and come to an agreement to work with one of these faculty. Important: You are required to find an advisor from the funded openings available in the department. This should occur during your first term of enrollment.

You are strongly encouraged to contact any faculty member above who shares your field of interest. Contacting the faculty prior to your arrival on campus can help speed your placement on a research project.

Every effort is made to match you with a project in your field of interest. However, we have only a few positions, each of which has a narrow research focus. Therefore, you may find that the area of research you will be working in is not an exact match with your interests.

When you have found an advisor, inform the department Human Resources Officer in 176 Watts Hall and Mark Cooper in 5027 Smith Labs.