Skip to content Skip to navigation

Department Overview

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering is concerned with the structures and properties of nanoscale components.

Our faculty and students research the infinitesimally small to achieve breakthroughs of global significance, working at the atomic and molecular levels to create the microscopic devices and systems essential for cutting-edge solar energy production, energy storage, information technology and medicine.

With its roots in metallurgy, materials science and engineering is a venerable scientific discipline, expanding in recent decades to encompass polymers, ceramics, glass, composite materials and biomaterials. Virtually all sophisticated products — computers, aircraft, biomedical devices — require materials manufactured to precise specifications. Increasingly, these specifications are determined at the molecular level. The evolution of advanced products can be hobbled by the limitations of the available materials.

Our mission is to break through these limitations to provide the materials needed for unimpeded progress in a wide range of technologies. We are advancing the creation of new materials, from determining optimal base constituents to devising manufacturing processes. Our only limits are the essential properties of the elements and their compounds, and the laws of thermodynamics.

As we strive to develop new technologies, we also endeavor to improve the efficiencies of existing systems. We work collaboratively with researchers in other fields, including chemical engineering, applied physics, electrical engineering and medicine. Our department supports 15 areas of research, from computational materials science to organic polymer materials, from materials for energy and environmental applications to thin-film deposition.  

The department offers BS, MS and PhD degrees in Materials Science and Engineering; undergraduates are encouraged to extend their course work through the coterminal degree.