Cutting edge degrees

With last year’s UW System approval of the engineering degree, UW-Eau Claire now offers two distinct degrees through the materials science and engineering program. As described by Dr. McEllistrem in a recent thought leader piece, UW-Eau Claire is the ideal campus to develop the skills and experience you need to become an “Engineer of 2020,” develop the “hard” and “soft” skills that employers (local and national) say that their employees need, and develop the broad perspective that underpins good design and good engineers.

Both majors build on a foundation of math, chemistry, and physics to understand how materials are structured at the atomic or molecular level and how that structure affects the properties that we observe. How can we control the structure and properties through processing of each material to optimize performance for each application?


declared majors in the program


average starting salary


external research awards to MSE faculty since 2013

Materials Science answers the why

Why does changing the structure, or the organization of the atoms within the material, change the properties we observe, such as mechanical strength, optical or electronic behavior, or temperature stability?

Materials Science and Engineering answers the how

How can we optimize the performance of specific materials by using processing to control structure to manipulate the properties? Can we design new materials for new applications from sporting goods to medical devices or biomaterials and from nanocomposites to new materials for batteries and new energy sources?

Key points about the majors

  • Both degrees have a four-year plan.
  • The process for accrediting the materials science and engineering major is under way through the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) and is expected to be finalized by summer 2020. Accreditation is frequently retroactive for previous graduating classes.
  • The materials science major is a more flexible, science-focused major.

Both majors offer:

  • the strong foundation in providing students with both the technical and non-technical or “soft” skills employers are looking for in graduates today.
  • the technical expertise of the faculty to create cutting-edge curriculum to prepare graduates for materials science careers.
  • the advantage of small class sizes.
  • direct and independent use by undergraduates of the state-of-the-art scientific instrumentation through the Materials Science and Engineering Center.
  • ample access to research opportunities with the materials science faculty and internship opportunities with local industry.

Select the links in the top right selector to take a more in-depth look at the two degrees.

Marc McEllistrom

Engineer your future here

Dr. Marc McEllistrem makes the case for the materials science and engineering program at UW-Eau Claire as the best four-year option in the area.

Why UWEC? Lots of reasons
Lenard on center instrument

Materials Science + Engineering major

UW-Eau Claire offers the only comprehensive liberal arts engineering degree in the area, and it packs a serious punch. Our graduates have years of training in advanced instrumentation not common to undergraduate programs.

Become an engineer here
Materials Science student

Understand materials in our world

Our materials science major provides the materials science foundation with flexibility to add an emphasis within the major.

Understand materials

Possible job titles for materials science majors

  • Materials engineer
  • Process engineer
  • Quality assurance
  • Research and development
  • Design and manufacturing
  • Technical journalism
  • Forensic science
  • Technical sales and marketing
  • Production management

Graduate students enrolled at:

  • Oxford University, Cambridge, UK
  • Washington State University
  • University of Michigan
  • Northwestern University
  • University of Mass, Amherst
  • Purdue University
  • University of Oregon
  • University of Iowa
  • UW-Milwaukee

Employers of our grads:

  • 3M Corporation, Maplewood, MN
  • Phillips Medisize, Menominie, WI
  • Cardinal Glass, Menomonie, WI
  • Polymer Technology Company, Menomonie, WI
  • Kohler Company, Sheboygan, WI
  • Fiberstar Bio, Eau Claire, WI
  • Preco, Inc., Somerset WI
  • Interfacial Consultants, Prescott, WI
  • Andersen Corporation,
  • Pharmaceutical Product Development Inc., Madison, WI
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