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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 12 month cycles,
  • 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 nearly $60,000 per year.
  • Further information about GRA appointments and benefits. Includes a basic description of benefits as well as a Benefit Overview Booklet for download.

[Students are responsible for 15% of health insurance premiums as well as student-related fees. These fees total roughly $110 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

Provides number of openings, graduate program (MSE or WE), funding status, position description, and contact info for primary investigator(s).


Vicky Doan-Nguyen

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-643-3465 | Office: 100 CEMAS

  • Assistant Professor (Ph.D., Materials Science and Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, 2015); Electrochemical energy storage Battery components; Sustainability; Advanced electron microscopy and X-ray scattering characterization techniques; Synthesis, characterization, and functional testing of novel materials for electrochemical energy storage applications and heterogeneous catalysis

1 PhD, MSE, funding confirmed--"Synthesis and in-situ characterization of novel functional materials". Please contact Dr. Doan-Nguyen for details on this project. [more about Dr. Doan-Nguyen's research]

Perena Gouma

Contact: web & email | Office: 284 Watts Hall

  • Professor, Orton Chair

1 PhD and 1 MS, MSE--Please contact Dr. Gouma for details on the project. 

Background: materials science and engineering is required; team players are appreciated. 

Jinwoo Hwang

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-643-3459 | Office: 111 CEMAS

  • Assistant Professor (Ph.D., Un of Wisconsin, 2011); Structure-property relationship in functional materials (oxide interfaces, semiconductors, solar cells); structure and deformation of disordered materials.

1 PhD, MSE, funding confirmed--"Predictive Modeling of Polymer-Derived Ceramics: Discovering Methods for the Design and Fabrication of Complex Disordered Solids"

Synthesis, TEM characterization, and structural modeling of amorphous based electronic materials. 

Xun Liu

Contact: email | Dr. Liu will join the Welding Engineering faculty in Spring 2018 [more]

  • Assistant Professor (Ph.D., University of Michigan); Advanced Manufacturing Processing, Solid State Joining of Dissimilar Materials, Forming, and Casting.

2 MS or PhD, MSE or WE, funding confirmed--Advanced solid state joining process for dissimilar materials

Development and in situ thermo-mechanical analysis of innovative process for joining dissimilar materials (different metals, metal to composite as well as advanced functional polymers), study of mechanical behavior of dissimilar materials joints, in situ microstructure analysis as well as multimaterial structure design for 4D printing. 

Background: Students with background in one or more of the following areas are highly encouraged to apply: mechanical design, hands on manufacturing experience, material characterization (sample preparation, OM or SEM), mechanics, and mechatronic control system design. Software skills like Matlab, ABAQUS or FLUENT are appreciated. 

Yunzhi Wang

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-292-0682 | Office: 484 Watts Hall

Professor (Ph.D., Rutgers University, 1995); Phase transformation, plastic deformation, and microstructure – property relationship in structural (Ni-base superalloys and light alloys (Ti, Al, Mg), bulk metallic glass, etc.) and functional (shape memory alloys, ferroelectrics and ferromagnetics) materials.

  • 1-2 PhD positions, funding confirmed--two projects are available:
  • "Development of High Performance of Ni-Base Alloys for Thick Section Gas Turbine Wheels using an Integrated Computational Materials Engineering Approach"
    The drive to increase combined cycle turbine efficiency from approximately 62% to 65% for the next-generation advanced cycle requires the development of a new, high performance heavy duty gas turbine wheel material capable of operating at 1200°F and above. The processing requirements for these large components, combined with elevated temperature and stress property requirements, present a unique set of challenges requiring a new approach to alloy design that will be addressed on this program. This three-year program will utilize the technical concept of controlled co-precipitation which demonstrated recently in the successful collaboration between the Ohio State University and GE Global Research, who will provide critical alloy processing, characterization, and mechanical testing contributions to the program. Two rounds of additional alloy and process assessment, combined with property evaluation and model development, will yield a final alloy that will enable processability of next generation turbines. In concert with this innovative alloy development strategy, a validated set of property models for this new class of alloys will also have been developed. 
    Background: physics, mechanics and/or materials science. Some background in computer programing and applied math are desired. 
  • "Transformation and Deformation Mechanisms in High-Temperatures Shape Memory Alloys with Nano-precipitates"
    The focus of this program is on an emerging class of high temperature shape memory alloys (HTSMAs) that are exciting candidates for actuators and adaptive components in a wide range of energy and transportation applications. At present there is only a rudimentary understanding of the important microstructure-property relationships in these materials. The goals of this effort therefore are to (1) develop a fundamental understanding of the inherent microstructure-property behavior of high temperature shape memory alloys, including the interaction of precipitates with plasticity and martensite, and (2) develop computational models that capture these structure-property relationships and provide novel insights into the important transformation and plasticity mechanisms that govern their behavior. 
    Background: physics, mechanics and/or materials science. Some background in computer programing and applied math are desired. 

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 143 Fontana Lab.