Materials Science Major

Discover the secrets of materials

The materials science major covers scientific principles as well as their application to realistic problems. In understanding these principles, students use chemistry and physics to distinguish how properties of materials depend on chemical bonding, atomic and molecular arrangements, crystal structures, and microstructures.

Students apply these principles in the laboratory, using sophisticated research instruments not typically accessible to undergraduate students. Some of the instruments that student learn include:

  • Electron and optical microscopy
  • Spectroscopy
  • Diffraction
  • Atomic force microscopy

Comprehensive Materials Science Major

62 credits/no minor required

This major gives students a broad foundation in all classes of materials, including nano-materials, metals, polymers, and ceramics. The major also emphasizes critical thinking, writing, and all of the communication skills required to be successful in industry today. It offers eight areas of emphasis allowing students to specialize in a particular area of interest within the broader scope of materials science. 

In addition to the emphases listed, students may design their own emphasis (in consultation with an advisor) that incorporates their interests outside materials science, such as art, biology, or kinesiology.

Emphases requirements

Suggested first year curriculum

  • Precalculus or Calculus I
  • General Chemistry I
  • University writing requirement—depends on placement exam score
  • A Materials World: Intro to MS+E
  • University Physics I
  • Calculus II
  • General Chemistry II
  • Explore other interests through two LE Core courses
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