Materials Science and Engineering (MSE)

The discipline of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) is one of the youngest disciplines that emerged recently. As a relatively new branch of engineering, materials science is an interdisciplinary field that applies principles from chemistry, physics and engineering to the study and design of new or custom materials. Materials scientists dive deep into the structures, properties and performance of products made from metals, ceramics, polymers and other natural or synthetic components. They might develop new varieties of paints and other coatings, design implantable biomedical devices or improve fuel cells. As specialists in their field, materials scientists are increasingly important in the design and manufacturing of emerging technologies and often work on joint projects in space science, energy systems, biotechnology and geosciences.

MSE encompasses all natural and man-made materials – their extraction, synthesis, processing, properties, characterization, and development for technological applications. Advanced engineering activities that depend upon optimized materials include the medical device and healthcare industries, the energy industries, electronics and photonics, transportation, advanced batteries and fuel cells, and nanotechnology. Students in materials science and engineering develop a fundamental understanding of materials at the nano, micro and macro scales, leading to specialization in such topics as: biomaterials; chemical and electrochemical materials science and engineering; computational materials science and engineering;  electronic, magnetic and optical materials; and structural materials. As in the past, today’s materials advancements enable new technological breakthroughs across all engineering disciplines.

The MSE program provides five standard focus areas:

  • Biomaterials: A relatively new focus area teaching the science and engineering of materials for use in biological applications, particularly in the human body.
  • Ceramics: Studies the science and engineering of ceramic materials, including alloy design, composites, synthesis, and processing methods.
  • Electronic Materials: Describes the design and engineering of materials primarily for the microelectronics industries. Topics span the ceramics, metals, and polymers areas.
  • Metals: Introduces the design and processing of metals and alloys to achieve desired properties.
  • Polymers: Teaches the methods for molecular design to achieve desired properties in polymer molecules and polymer blends as well as processing methods.