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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 competitive monthly stipend typically provided on a 12 month cycle,
  • 100% 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 nearly $90,000 per year.
  • Further information about GRA appointments and benefits.

[Students are responsible for student-related fees. These student-related fees total roughly $65 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

We anticipate 15-25 funded openings for Autumn 2024 in such areas 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

2024 GRA openings


Boian Alexandrov, Professor Ohio State Welding Engineering

Boian Alexandrov

Contact: View Dr. Alexandrov's Bio

  • Professor (Ph.D. Technical Univ. of Sofia); Director, Center for Weldability Evaluation; physical metallurgy of welding; simulation; phase transformation analysis; characterization; evaluation of weldability; service performance of welds in advanced alloys.

4 PhD position, MSE or WE, funding confirmed 

Topic: Computational Optimization of Welding and Additive Manufacturing Processes

Description: A computational design of experiment (CDoE) framework for process-microstructure-property optimization in welding and additive manufacturing (AM) has been developed and validated. This project aims at expanding the CDoE framework to various welding and AM processes. It involves development of process models and process-microstructure-property relationships, and utilizes finite element analysis, thermodynamic and kinetic simulations, computational process optimization, and experimental validation through testing and advanced characterization. The project is conducted within the OSU Center for Weldability Evaluation.

Background: US citizenship required.


photo of Professor Desmond Bourgeios, Ohio State University welding engineering professor

Desmond Bourgeois & Dennis Harwig

Contact: View Dr. Bourgeois' Bio

  • Assistant Professor (Ph.D. Florida A&M 2009); In-situ monitoring for additive manufacturing (AM); developing ultrasonic probes to achieve high probability of detection; development of new methods for Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE).

Contact: View Dr. Harwig's Bio

  • Research Associate Professor (Ph.D. Cranfield University, England); Arc welding; directed energy deposition (DED) additive manufacturing (AM); pressure vessel manufacturing;  shipbuilding; lightweight structural manufacturing processes; welding standards.

1 PhD position, MSE or WE, funding confirmed 

Topic: In-situ Surface and Small Feature Repair Nondestructive Evaluation

Description: Direct Energy Deposition (DED) utilizes fusion welding processes to manufacture or repair components using a bead by a bead, layer by layer concept. Cold spray (CS) DED is an emerging process that applies alloy powder particles, which are deformed and deposited at high velocities to form metallurgical bonds at low temperatures. Power-laser direct energy deposition (PL-DED) employs a focused laser beam to melt powder and deposit highly reliable features. Both DS and PL-DED can be used for repairing aircraft components. To use both DED processes for aircraft operations, the components that are fabricated will be required to undergo a thorough nondestructive evaluation (NDE) procedure. Advanced in-situ NDE methods are necessary to inspect the surface integrity and quality of CS and PL-DED repairs that are micrometer (µm) to millimeter (mm) thick. Currently, traditional NDE methods do not provide the resolution needed to reliably examine these thin repairs due to various issues such as near field noise, low signal to noise ratios from transducer beam spread, or large magnitudes of attenuation caused by the complexity of component’s geometry and material properties. This project will investigate to the best NDE methods that will allow for in-situ monitoring and inspection during manufacturing. Based on the results of investigation (literature review), the project will narrow down solutions to best fit the AM system. Finally, a full-scale working prototype will be built and deployed at a service depot to provide a state-of-the-art NDE procedure that can be used for future aircraft manufacturing and repairs.

Background: U.S. citizen. Physics, mechanical engineering, or electrical engineering background preferred. Majority of the work will be software development and signal analysis for further development of the micro-resolution ultrasonic imaging system.


Dr. Glenn Daehn Ohio State Materials Science and Engineering

Glenn Daehn

Contact: View Dr. Daehn's Bio

3 PhD positions, MSE or WE, funding confirmed 

Description: Graduate students needed to develop multiple research thrusts as part of the NSF-funded HAMMER (Hybrid Autonomous Manufacturing, Moving from Evolution to Revolution) initiative.

NSF's HAMMER ERC is developing a new approach to design and manufacturing, putting product needs first and then finding new manufacturing pathways based on the agility of artisans and reproducibility of machines. HAMMER is the hub for technical, commercial, educational and standard setting for Hybrid Autonomous Manufacturing knowledge creation, deployment and commercial development.


Jinwoo Hwang Department of Materials Science and Engineering Ohio State

Jinwoo Hwang

Contact: View Dr. Hwang's Bio

  • Associate Professor (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2011); atomic-scale scanning transmission electron microscopy materials characterization, fluctuation microscopy, electron nano diffraction, 4D-STEM, advanced computational simulations.

3 PhD positions, MSE or WE, funding confirmed 

Title: Novel electronic, magnetic, and topological materials

Description: Three PhD GRA positions are open in my group. All 3 projects focus on understanding the atomic scale structure and properties of novel materials, including
   (i) Ultra-wide band gap semiconductors for high power devices applications,
   (ii) Magnetic insulator interfaces for novel spintronics, and
   (iii) Topological materials with unique atomic structures.
The students are expected to become experts in electron microscopy by utilizing the state-of-the-art electron microscopy facility at the Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis (CEMAS) at OSU. The students will also work in a highly collaborative environment with the world-leading experts in Electrical Engineering, Physics, and Chemistry departments at OSU and beyond. Learn more about the Jinwoo Hwang Research Group.


Yanzhou Ji Department of Materials Science and Engineering, The Ohio State University

Yanzhou Ji

Contact: View Dr. Ji's Bio

  • Assistant Professor (Ph.D., Penn State University, 2018); microstructure evolution at electrode/electrolyte interfaces of batteries and fuel cells, corrosion and oxidation of advanced alloys, computational modeling, materials design.

1 PhD, MSE, funding confirmed

Title: Phase-field modeling of morphology evolution at anode/electrolyte interfaces of Li-metal-based all-solid-state batteries

Description: This project aims to develop a comprehensive phase-field model to investigate the morphology evolution of anode/electrolyte interfaces of Li-metal-based all-solid-state batteries (LMB SSBs). The model will consider electrochemical reactions, transport of charged species, and mechanical effects at the anode/electrolyte interfaces, realizing the full electro-chemo-mechanical coupling. The model will be applied to a prototypical Li (anode)/Li7La3Zr2O12 (solid electrolyte)/LiCoO2 (cathode) system to investigate how the Li dendrites, solid electrolyte interphases (SEI) and microcracks develop and interact during charge-discharge cycles, providing practical guidance for improving the battery performance via electrolyte engineering.

Background: Experience in programming is preferred; priority will be given to candidates with prior experience in phase-field simulations or with good knowledge of electrochemistry.


Aeriel Leonard, Materials Science and Engineering, Ohio State University

Aeriel Leonard

Contact: View Dr. Leonard's Bio

  • Professor (Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2018); In-situ synchrotron and electron microscopy techniques for mechanical behavior and microstructural evolution; lightweight metals (Al, Mg); alloy adaptation for additive manufacturing; integrated computational materials engineering

1 PhD, MSE, funding confirmed

Title: Understanding Co-Segregration Effects on Recrystallization and Grain Growth Behavior in Highly Textured Mg Alloys

Description: Mg alloys are being studied extensively due to their high strength-to-weight ratio, biocompatibility, and biodegradability. However, unlike other lightweight structural materials Mg alloys form a strong basal texture during processing that limits ductility and room temperature formability. Recent studies have shown that alloying elements such as rare-earth, Ca, Ce, and Zinc can reduce the formation of this texture and hence, increase the ductility of these alloys. However the mechanisms that control this behavior are still unknown. Recrystallization or the nucleation of strain-free grains is used to alter a materials grain behavior enabling changes in properties such as strength and ductility as well as the overall crystallographic texture. In this project students will:

  • Use a combination of in-situ heating and electron microscopy (i.e., scanning, transmission) to understand the mechanisms of nucleation
  • Use a combination of synchrotron diffraction and in-situ heating to understand the mechanisms of overall texture development during recrystallization and grain growth
  • Utilize electron microscopy to understand the co-segregation behavior of alloying elements during thermomechanical processing, recrystallization, and grain growth and it's influence on grain boundary mobility, misorientation, and energy.
  • Correlate the microstructure to changes in ductility

FILLED    1 PhD, MSE, funding confirmed 

Title: Understanding Fatigue Crack Initiation in Highly Textured Magnesium Alloys


Professor Alan Luo

Alan Luo

Contact: View Dr. Luo's Bio

  • Professor (Ph.D., University of Windsor, 1993); Advanced and sustainable manufacturing processes; Lightweight materials; Computational materials science)

2 PhD, MSE, funding confirmed 

Topics: Dr. Luo's research funding involves the following subjects. The three areas are interconnected and his projects span these interests. Students with an interest in these fields should contact Dr. Luo directly to find the project that is the best match for the student.

  • Lightweight materials (Al, Mg, Ti & high-entropy alloys, bio-metals, super-wood, and metal matrix nano-composites).
  • Advanced and sustainable manufacturing processes (casting, forming, additive and multi-material manufacturing).
  • Integrated computational materials engineering (ICME) and lightweight and biomedical applications. Research is funded by federal agencies and industry.


Michael Mills Ohio State Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Michael Mills

Contact: View Dr. Mills' Bio

  • Professor, Chair (Ph.D., Stanford University, 1985); relationships between microstructure and structural properties of materials; characterization; mechanical behavior of metallurgical systems; advanced alloys.

1 PhD, MSE, funding confirmed

Topic: Multimodal design of revolutionary additive-enabled oxide dispersion strengthened superalloys

Description: This project is funded through the NSF DMREF (Designing Materials for Revolutionize and Engineer our Future), and will develop new knowledge and strategies for creating a new class of metallic materials for a wide range of demanding applications in aerospace and power generation. A novel additive-processing route for creating oxide dispersion strengthened (ODS) metallic alloys, recently developed by collaborators at NASA GRC, will be utilized to design superalloys with exceptional high temperature properties. This new additive ODS process enables the synthesis of ODS alloys in a single, additive processing step, thereby bypassing the conventional mechanical alloying process that is time-intensive and inconsistent with scale-up manufacturing. The team also includes collaborators at GE Aerospace and the Air Force Research Laboratory, and seeks to meld the new additive ODS process with superalloy design principles by employing precipitate strengthening in order to enhance strength and oxidation resistance across multiple temperature regimes.

This graduate assistant research position will concentrate on characterization of these new additive ODS alloys using the state-of-the-art facilities at the Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis (CEMAS). This information will help inform a novel microstructure based machine learning (ML) framework to: (a) represent multiscale microstructure in a comprehensive manner, (b) develop property/processing linkages, and (c) accelerate the iterative design of new additive ODS alloys. The additive ODS processing route opens the door to rapid assessment of alloy behavior, enabling for the first time the use of effective ML approaches for alloy-microstructure-property optimization of novel ODS alloys.

Background: Strong interest in materials characterization and analysis.


Roberto Myers, Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Roberto Myers

Contact: View Dr. Myers' Bio

  • Professor (Ph.D., Un of California, Santa Barbara, 2006); thermal spintronics; nanowire photonics;  nanostructure synthesis; UV optoelectronics; magnetic materials; thermo-magneto-transport.

2 PhD, MSE, funding confirmed (one position filled, please contact Dr. Myers for details)

Topic: Epitaxial growth and correlated microscopy of dislocations

Project 1: Molecular beam epitaxy based growth of semiconductors and magnetic oxides for controlling and coupling quantum defects.

Project 2:  Correlated electron microscopy to map defect networks and measure their electronic and optical properties.

Background: MSE, physics, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering


Siddharth Rajan, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Ohio State University

Siddharth Rajan

Contact: web & email

  • Professor; joint appointment in MSE and Electrical and Computer Engineering

 1 MS or PhD, MSE, funding confirmed 

Topic: Semiconductor Materials and Devices

Description: We have ongoing projects on wide bandgap semiconductor growth, device engineering. Research on design, materials growth, engineering of next-generation high-performance devices used in energy-efficient power electronics, high-frequency communication, space applications, and advanced optoelectronics. Contact Dr. Rajan for more information.


Antonio Ramirez

Antonio Ramirez

Contact: web & email

  • Professor; Welding Engineering (Ph.D. Sao Paulo University, 2001); additive manufacturing metallurgy, weldability, printability, materials modeling and characterization, joining of structural materials, study of advanced steels, stainless steels and Ni-based alloys fusion welding, additive manufacturing, solid state joining (friction stir welding).

FILLED   2 PhD, MSE or WE, funding confirmed 

Topic: Dissimilar materials Joining the transportation industry

Description: This project is being developed within our Ma2JIC Center, and it applies a combination of advanced joining processes, fundamental materials science, and modeling to address the joining of advanced metallic alloys, including, Aluminum alloys and advanced high-strength steels.


Yunzhi Wang, Materials Science and Engineering, Ohio State University

Yunzhi Wang

Contact: web & email

  • Professor (Ph.D., Rutgers University, 1995); areas of expertise:
    • Structural materials: high-temperature superalloys (Ni-base and Co-base), light structural materials (Ti-, Al- and Mg-alloys), high entropy alloy (HEAs), bulk metallic glasses
    • Functional materials: superelastic and shape memory alloys (SMAs), ferroelectric and ferromagnetic materials, GUM metals, Invar and Elinvar alloys
    • Materials phenomena: microstructural evolution and nanodomain patterning during phase transformations and plastic deformation in crystalline and amorphous solids; nanodomain engineering in ferroics and ferroic glasses; shear-banding in metallic glasses; grain growth and domain coarsening; segregation, segregation transition and localized phase transformation at extended defects; variant selection and texture evolution.
    • Computational materials science and engineering: mesoscale modeling; computational materials design; phase field method.

1 PhD, MSE, funding confirmed 

Topic: Collaborative Research: Compositionally and Structurally Modulated Ferroelastic Films for Unprecedented Superelastic Properties

Description: Most metals and metallic alloys become permanently deformed even when they are stretched or compressed by a small amount (typically less than 1%). In contrast, a special category of materials known as Shape Memory Alloys (SMAs) can regain their original shape even after undergoing large deformations (up to 10%) once the loads are removed. This unique property of SMAs has led to a broad array of applications ranging from medical implants and robotics to flexible airplane wings and space exploration vehicle tires. However, the mechanical behavior of SMAs is highly non-linear, i.e., their deformation can increase drastically even for small changes in force, which can make them mechanically unstable. In addition, significant amounts of energy are wasted as heat when the SMAs recover their shape after being deformed.

This integrated computational and experimental research project is addressing this pivotal issue by introducing an innovative approach, termed Nanoscale Compositional and/or Structural Modulation (NCSM), to the design and synthesis of the next generation of SMAs. The NCSM concept capitalizes on the strong dependency of the critical stress for stress-induced martensitic transformation (MT) in NiTi SMAs on composition and grain size to eliminate strain avalanches during MT, and thus enable controlled strain release.

The central hypothesis is that nanoscale modulations in chemical composition and microstructure will introduce confinements to the MT process, effectively suppress autocatalysis, and fundamentally change the MT characteristics, leading to NiTi SMAs that are strong, linear superelastic, hysteresis-free, and have ultralow modulus. This hypothesis is being tested by synthesizing NCSM NiTi films with precisely defined nanoscale compositional and grain size modulations using physical vapor deposition and characterizing their mechanical behavior using MEMS-based tensile testing. The design of these NCSM NiTi films is being guided by computational modeling using molecular dynamics and phase field simulations. It is anticipated that this new class of NCSM SMAs can be designed to exhibit a wide array of highly tunable stress-strain behaviors that are desirable for a variety of advanced biomedical, functional, and structural applications. Although the focus of the project is on NiTi SMA, the NCSM alloy design concept applies to a broad class of materials for which structural phase transformations are utilized to tailor the properties.

This is a joint project with ASU and the OSU GRA will be responsible for the modeling efforts of this project.


Wolfgang Windl, Materials Science and Engineering, Ohio State University

Wolfgang Windl

Contact: web & email

  • Professor (Doctor of Science University of Regensburg, Germany, 1995); areas of expertise include computational materials modeling; functional materials; atomistic simulations; density-functional theory; machine learning.

1 PhD, MSE, funding pending

Topic: Modeling lifespan of spacecraft materials under LEO conditions

Description: Join the pioneering SPACE-Mat Center of Excellence team at OSU and be at the forefront of shaping the future of spacecraft materials engineering! As the space frontier expands, materials used in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) spacecraft face unprecedented environmental challenges. Our groundbreaking project focuses on developing predictive physical and data-driven models to accurately forecast the lifespan of spacecraft materials under LEO conditions. Join us in this exciting journey to revolutionize materials engineering for space exploration and ensure your place among the leaders in this dynamic field.

US citizenship required


Wei Zhang, Welding Engineering, Ohio State University

Wei Zhang

Contact: web & email

  • Professor (Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, 2004); areas of expertise:
    • Additive manufacturing of metals (powder bed, blown-powder, binder jetting and sintering)

    • Light-metal and dissimilar-metal joining for transportation (automotive, shipbuilding etc.)

    • Creep-resistance steels and alloys for power generation

    • Inertia and linear friction welding for aerospace engine shafts and blisks

    • Resistance spot welding, projection welding and mash seam welding of sheet metals

    • Modeling of welding and additive manufacturing processes and materials (Abaqus, Simufact, Flow-3D, DEFORM, Thermo-Calc, LS-Dyna, and Sysweld)

    • Fatigue and fracture mechanics testing and analysis of welded cast steels and dissimilar joints

    • Specialized thermal-mechanical-metallurgical testing in Gleeble with high-temperature digital image correlation (DIC) to generate "material cards" or property database for high strength steels

1-2 MS or PhD, MSE or WE, funding confirmed 

Topic: Experimental and numerical study of welding and additive manufacturing

Description: Complex physical processes take place during welding and additive manufacturing which affect the product quality. An example is laser welding of electric traction motor components. If the laser power is too high, defects such as porosity or spattering can occur. On the other hand, if the laser power is too low, the joint will not have a sufficient current carrying capacity or structural strength. Molten pool modeling can provide valuable insights into the highly dynamic laser-material interactions to help optimize laser welding processes for sound joint quality. This research has a focus on developing advanced, high-fidelity simulations for welding and additive manufacturing. It can include the development of high-temperature constitutive models for microstructure evolution and its effect on residual stress and distortion for wire arc additive manufacturing or laser-powder bed fusion. Experiments will include process development, microstructure characterization, and mechanical testing to be performed in collaboration with research partners.



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 and Mark Cooper.




Please contact Mark Cooper (email, 614-292-7280) with any questions you might have.

MSE-WE Faculty

To post a GRA position to this page, please complete this form.