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Bachelor of Science in Materials Science and Engineering

Mission 

The mission of the Materials Science and Engineering Program is to provide students with a strong foundation in materials science and engineering. The program’s curriculum places special emphasis on the fundamental scientific and engineering principles that underlie the knowledge and implementation of materials structure, processing, properties and performance of all classes of materials used in engineering systems. Courses in the program develop students’ knowledge of modern materials science and engineering and teach them to apply this knowledge analytically to create effective, novel solutions to practical problems while developing their communication skills and ability to work collaboratively. The program prepares students for careers in industry or further study in graduate school.

The undergraduate program provides training in solid-state fundamentals and materials engineering. Students desiring to specialize in this field during their undergraduate period may do so by following the curriculum outlined in the Bachelor of Science in Materials Science and Engineering section of the Stanford Bulletin as well as the School of Engineering Undergraduate Handbook. Electives are available so that students with broad interests can combine materials science and engineering with work in another science or engineering department. Students also have the option of completing an undergraduate Honors thesis under the supervision of a Faculty Research Advisor as detailed in the Honors Program page.

Students interested in the minor should see the Materials Science and Engineering Minor section of the Stanford Bulletin.

Learning Outcomes (Undergraduate)

The department expects undergraduate majors in the program to be able to demonstrate the following learning outcomes. These learning outcomes are used in evaluating students and the department’s undergraduate program. Students will be able to:

  1. Utilize the relationships between structure, properties, and processing to engineer materials with desired performance.
  2. Understand the relationship between characterization, synthesis, and prediction in materials design and properties.
  3. Deliver focused and practical materials solutions to satisfy design requirements for critical challenges in sustainability, medicine, technology, or other disciplines.
  4. Methodically design numerical and physical experiments and apply their knowledge from our courses to analyze and interpret data to obtain insights to identified challenges.
  5. Leverage the strong communication skills (written, oral, visual) we teach to effectively engage with a broad range of audiences about their science.
  6. Act as creative independent thinkers who have sufficient confidence in their skills as materials scientists to apply themselves to their chosen field (broad or narrow) as they choose their professional paths.
  7. Have a baseline understanding of the fundamentals to be inspired to continue to acquire and apply new knowledge. 


     

Materials Science and Engineering (MATSCI) program requirements

Completion of the undergraduate program in Materials Science and Engineering leads to the conferral of the Bachelor of Science in Materials Science and Engineering, which provides training for the materials engineer and also preparatory training for graduate work in materials science. Capable undergraduates are encouraged to take at least one year of graduate study to extend their course work through the coterminal degree program, which leads to an MS in Materials Science and Engineering. Coterminal degree programs are encouraged both for undergraduate majors in Materials Science and Engineering and for undergraduate majors in related disciplines.

Courses and requirements

A full list of available courses in MatSci can be found at Stanford’s ExploreCourses website
For the most accurate/up-to-date course requirements, see the relevant section of the Stanford Bulletin
For additional information and sample programs, see the Handbook for Undergraduate Engineering Programs.
If you can't find what you are looking for (especially if deviating) or would like to setup an initial advising meeting, send our advising team an email at mse-ug-advising@lists.stanford.edu.

CoursesUnits
Mathematics 
23 units minimum 
MATH 19+20+21 or up to 10 units AP/IB credit AND placement into MATH 51/CME 100 via Math Diagnostic, taken prior to first-year start9-10
MATH 51: Linear Algebra and Multivariable Calculus or CME 100/ENGR 154: Vector Calculus for Engineers5
MATH 53: Differential Equations with Linear Algebra and Fourier Methods or CME 102/ENGR 155A: Ordinary Differential Equations for Engineers5
One additional math/statistics course; see Basic Requirement 113-5
Science 
16 units minimum 
PHYSICS 41/E: Mechanics or PHYSICS 61: Mechanics and Special Relativity 
PHYSICS 43: Electricity and Magnetism or PHYSICS 81; Electricity and Magnetism Using Special Relativity and Vector Calculus 
CHEM 31A: Chemical Principles I or CHEM 31M/MATSCI 31: Chemical Principles: From Molecules to Solids 
One additional science course; see Basic Requirement 22 
Technology in Society 
3 units minimum 
One course; see Basic Requirement 333-5
Engineering Fundamentals 
7 units minimum 
One of the following courses: 
ENGR 50: Introduction to Materials Science, Nanotechnology Emphasis44
ENGR 50E: Introduction to Materials Science, Energy Emphasis44
ENGR 50M: Introduction to Materials Science, Biomaterials Emphasis44
One additional course from the SoE ENGR Fundamentals list on the Approved Page of the UGHB website; may not be a second ENGR 50.3-5
Materials Science and Engineering Fundamentals5 
20 units minimum 
All of the following courses: 
MATSCI 142: Quantum Mechanics of Nanoscale Materials4
MATSCI 143: Materials Structure and Characterization4
MATSCI 144: Thermodynamic Evaluation of Green Energy Technologies4
MATSCI 145: Kinetics of Materials Synthesis4
One of the following courses: 
Undergraduate Core Courses 
MATSCI 151: Microstructure and Mechanical Properties4
MATSCI 152: Electronic Materials Engineering4
MATSCI 156: Solar Cells, Fuel Cells, and Batteries: Materials for the Energy Solution4
Advanced Level Courses (Graduate Core) 
MATSCI 181: Thermodynamics and Phase Equilibria4
MATSCI 182: Rate Processes in Materials4
MATSCI 183: Defects and Disorder in Materials4
MATSCI 184: Structure and Symmetry4
MATSCI 185: Quantum Mechanics for Materials Science4
MATSCI 190: Organic and Biological Materials4
MATSCI 195: Waves and Diffraction in Solids 
MATSCI 198: Mechanical Properties of Materials4
MATSCI 199: Electronic and Optical Properties of Solids4
Materials Science and Engineering Depth 
15 units minimum 
Four of the following courses (One course must be a WIM)6 
MATSCI 160: Nanomaterials Design (WIM)4
MATSCI 161: Energy Materials Laboratory (WIM)4
MATSCI 162: X-Ray Diffraction Laboratory4
MATSCI 163: Mechanical Behavior Laboratory4
MATSCI 164: Electronic and Photonic Materials and Devices Laboratory (WIM)4
MATSCI 165: Nanoscale Materials Physics Computation Laboratory4
MATSCI 166: Data Science and Machine Learning Approaches in Chemical and Materials Engineering3
Focus Area Options713
Capstone Experience Requirement8  --

1Basic Requirement 1 (23 units minimum): see a list of approved Math Courses
2Basic Requirement 2 (16 units minimum): see a list of approved Science Courses
3Basic Requirement 3 (one course minimum): see a list of approved Technology in Society Courses. Deviations require the appropriate petition form from SoE.
4Students may choose to count a second ENGR 50/50E/50M course (one must be taken as an SoE fundamental requirement) as part of the MatSci fundamental requirements. 
5Substitutions/petitions for MatSci Fundamentals required courses (140 series) and elective course (150, 180, or 190 series) will not be permitted.  
6Students may choose to petition up to one 4-unit lab class from other departments to fulfill the MatSci 160 series depth requirement. Details are discussed on the deviation petitions page.
7Focus Area Options: 13 units from one of the following Focus Area Options below.
8All students would be required to complete a capstone experience in the department and would have the option to choose between two tracks: (1) Course-based track: complete either MatSci 161 (Energy Materials Laboratory) OR MatSci 163 (Mechanical Behavior Laboratory); (2) Research-based track: complete at least two consecutive quarters of independent research (MatSci 150) with the strong recommendation of completing the Honors Program.

Focus Area

The Focus Area will allow you to specialize in a specific subfield of MatSci that is aligned with your personal and professional goals. You should choose one of the areas below, or define your own, that combines a set of advanced coursework into a cohesive program. We provide several examples as suggested pathways, but ultimately we encourage you to choose/define the area that feels best to you. 

The Focus Area requires 4 courses total with a minimum of 13 units*. At least one of these courses must be in MATSCI and none of them can be 1-unit seminars. Students in the Honors Program may count up to six units of MATSCI 150 toward the Focus Area, but cannot use those units to replace the MATSCI course minimum.

*If the Focus Area contains only 12 units, but the combined unit total in the Major (SoE Fundamentals, MSE Fundamentals, MSE Depth, and the Focus Area) is at 56 or more, it will be allowed, and no petition is necessary.

Focus Area Options

Biological Properties of Materials  
CHEM 31A and B or CHEM 31M recommended.  
Students pursuing this focus area will learn more about biocompatible, biomimetic, or even naturally occurring biological materials, along with how they can be engineered or otherwise created.  
MATSCI 190: Organic and Biological Materials  
MATSCI 225: Biochips and Medical Imaging  
MATSCI 380: Nano-Biotechnology  
MATSCI 381: Biomaterials in Regenerative Medicine  
MATSCI 384: Materials Advances in Neurotechnology  
MATSCI 385: Biomaterials for Drug Delivery  
BIOE 80: Introduction to Bioengineering  
BIOE 220: Introduction to Imaging and Image-based Human Anatomy  
BIOE 231Protein Engineering  
BIOE 260: Tissue Engineering  
BIOE 279: Computational Biology: Structure and Organization of Biomolecules and Cells  
BIOE 281: Biomechanics of Movement  
BIOE 282: Introduction to Biomechanics and Mechanobiology  
ENGR 55: Foundational Biology for Engineers  
   
Chemical Properties of Materials  
CHEM 31A and B or CHEM 31M recommended  
Students pursuing this focus area will learn about the thermodynamic principles governing materials, the chemistry involved in the synthesis of materials, as well as the design of the systems and processes necessary to create them.  
MATSCI 181: Thermodynamics and Phase Equilibria  
MATSCI 182: Rate Processes in Materials  
MATSCI 310Statistical Mechanics for Materials & Materials Chemistry  
CHEM 126: Synthesis Laboratory  
CHEM 171: Foundations of Physical Chemistry  
CHEM 173Physical Chemistry II  
CHEM 175: Physical Chemistry III  
CHEMENG 110B: Multi-Component and Multi-Phase Thermodynamics  
CHEMENG 120B: Energy and Mass Transport  
CHEMENG 130A: Microkinetics – Molecular Principles of Chemical Kinetics  
CHEMENG 140/X: Micro and Nanoscale Fabrication Engineering  
CHEMENG 150: Biochemical Engineering  
CHEMENG 174: Environmental Microbiology I  
CHEMENG 175X: Electrochemical Water Treatment: Materials and Processes  
   
Electronic and Photonic Properties of Materials  
PHYSICS 41, 43, and 45 recommended  
Students pursuing this focus area will learn more about the design and function of electronic and/or photonic devices, as well as the underlying principles of physics relevant to their operation.  
MATSCI 152: Electronic Materials Engineering  
MATSCI 199: Electronic and Optical Properties of Solids  
MATSCI 317Defects in Semiconductors  
MATSCI 341: Quantum Theory of Electronic and Optical Excitations in Materials  
MATSCI 343Organic Semiconductors for Electronics and Photonics  
MATSCI 346Nanophotonics  
APPPHYS 201: Electrons and Photons  
APPPHYS 204: Quantum Materials  
APPPHYS 207: Laboratory Electronics  
EE 101A: Circuits I  
EE 102A: Signals and Systems I  
EE 116: Semiconductor Devices for Energy and Electronics  
EE 124Introduction to Neuroelectrical Engineering  
EE 134: Introduction to Photonics  
EE 153Power Electronics  
EE 157Electric Motors for Renewable Energy, Robotics, and Electric Vehicles  
EE 212Integrated Circuit Fabrication Processes  
EE 216Principles and Models of Semiconductor Devices  
EE 218Power Semiconductor Devices and Technology  
EE 222: Applied Quantum Mechanics I  
EE 223: Applied Quantum Mechanics II  
ENGR 240: Introduction to Micro and Nano Electromechanical Systems  
ENGR 241: Advanced Micro and Nano Fabrication Laboratory  
ME 210: Introduction to Mechatronics  
ME 220Introduction to Sensors  
   
Materials for Energy Technology  
Either Physics or Chemistry  
Students pursuing this focus area will learn more about materials used in modern energy technologies, potentially including solar cells, wind turbines, batteries, and fuel cells, as well as other emerging energy production or storage devices.  
MATSCI 156: Solar Cells, Fuel Cells, and Batteries: Materials for the Energy Solution  
MATSCI 302: Solar Cells  
MATSCI 303: Principles, Materials and Devices of Batteries  
CEE 107A: Understand Energy  
CHEM 174: Physical Chemistry Laboratory I  
EE 116: Semiconductor Devices for Energy and Electronics  
EE 153: Power Electronics  
EE 237: Solar Energy Conversion  
EE 293B: Fundamentals of Energy Processes  
ENERGY 102: Fundamentals of Renewable Power  
ENERGY 153: Carbon Capture and Sequestration  
ENERGY 201C/ENERGY 293: Energy Storage and Conversion: Solar Cells, Fuel Cells, and Batteries  
ENERGY 295: Electrochemical Energy Storage Systems: Modeling and Estimation  
PHYSICS 199: The Physics of Energy and Climate Change  
PHYSICS 240: Introduction to the Physics of Energy  
   
Materials Characterization  
Either Physics or Chemistry  
Students pursuing this focus area will learn more about the tools and techniques used in advanced materials characterization, particularly at the micro- and nanoscale.  
MATSCI 236: An Introduction to Quantitative X-ray Microanalysis  
MATSCI 320: Nanocharacterization of Materials  
MATSCI 321: Transmission Electron Microscopy  
MATSCI 322: Transmission Electron Microscopy Laboratory  
MATSCI 323: Thin Film and Interface Microanalysis  
MATSCI 324: Optics of Microscope Design for Materials  
MATSCI 326: X-Ray Science and Techniques  
APPPHYS 201: Electrons and Photons  
BIOE 220: Introduction to Imaging and Image-based Human Anatomy  
BIO 232: Advanced Imaging Lab in Biophysics  
CHEM 131Instrumental Analysis Principles and Practice  
CHEM 174Physical Chemistry Laboratory I  
CHEM 176Spectroscopy Laboratory  
CHEMENG 345: Fundamentals and Applications of Spectroscopy  
   
Mechanical Behavior and Materials Processing  
PHYSICS 41, 43, and 45 recommended  
Students pursuing this focus area will learn more about the mechanical behavior of materials, including how to characterize them, and how these mechanical properties influence the design of technologies.  
MATSCI 151: Microstructure and Mechanical Properties  
MATSCI 183: Defects and Disorder in Materials  
MATSCI 198: Mechanical Properties of Materials  
MATSCI 312: New Methods in Thin Film Synthesis  
MATSCI 358: Fracture and Fatigue of Materials and Thin Film Structures  
AA 240: Analysis of Structures  
AA 256: Mechanics of Composites  
AA 280: Smart Structures  
CHEMENG 140: Micro and Nanoscale Fabrication Engineering  
CHEMENG 170X: Mechanics of Soft Matter: Rheology  
ENGR 240: Introduction to Micro and Nano Electromechanical Systems  
ENGR 241: Advanced Micro and Nano Fabrication Laboratory  
ME 127: Design for Additive Manufacturing  
ME 152Material Behaviors and Failure Prediction  
ME 283: Introduction to Biomechanics and Mechanobiology  
ME 303Soft Composites and Soft Robotics  
ME 335AFinite Element Analysis  
ME 340Mechanics – Elasticity and Inelasticity  
ME 345Fatigue Design and Analysis  
ME 348Experimental Stress Analysis  
   
Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology  
Either Physics or Chemistry  
Students pursuing this focus area will learn more about how materials properties change at the nanoscale, including the new and interesting ways in which these changes can be exploited for novel technologies.  
MATSCI 316: Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology  
MATSCI 320: Nanocharacterization of Materials  
MATSCI 346: Nanophotonics  
MATSCI 380: Nano-Biotechnology  
EE 334: Micro and Nano Optical Device Design  
ENGR 240: Introduction to Micro and Nano Electromechanical Systems  
ENGR 241Advanced Micro and Nano Fabrication Laboratory  
   
Materials Physics  
PHYSICS 41, 43, and 45 recommended  
Students pursuing this focus area will gain a deep foundational knowledge of materials physics, with topics focusing on quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, and waves and diffraction, and other advanced topics.  
MATSCI 184: Structure and Symmetry  
MATSCI 185: Quantum Mechanics for Materials Science  
MATSCI 195Waves and Diffraction in Solids  
APPPHYS 201: Electrons and Photons  
APPPHYS 204: Quantum Materials  
EE 222: Applied Quantum Mechanics I  
EE 223: Applied Quantum Mechanics II  
PHYSICS 70: Foundations of Modern Physics  
PHYSICS 110: Advanced Mechanics  
PHYSICS 120: Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism I  
PHYSICS 121: Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism II  
PHYSICS 130: Quantum Mechanics  
PHYSICS 131: Quantum Mechanics II  
PHYSICS 134: Advanced Topics in Quantum Mechanics  
PHYSICS 170: Thermodynamics, Kinetic Theory, and Statistical Mechanics I  
PHYSICS 171: Thermodynamics, Kinetic Theory, and Statistical Mechanics II  
PHYSICS 172: Solid State Physics  
   
Computational Materials Science  
PHYSICS 41, 43, and 45 recommended  
Students pursuing this focus area will learn more about computational methods used to study materials structure-property relationships and how to make materials predictions.  
MATSCI 165: Nanoscale Materials Physics Computation Laboratory  
MATSCI 166: Data Science and Machine Learning Approaches in Chemical and Materials Engineering  
MATSCI 331: Computational Materials Science at the Atomic Scale  
CHEM 161: Computational Chemistry  
CHEM 263: Machine Learning for Chemical and Dynamical Data  
CME 107Introduction to Machine Learning  
CME 108Introduction to Scientific Computing  
CME 216: Machine Learning for Computational Engineering  
CME 322: Spectral Methods in Computational Physics  
ENERGY 160Uncertainty Quantification in Data-Centric Simulations  
ME 123Computational Engineering  
ME 335AFinite Element Analysis  
ME 346BIntroduction to Molecular Simulations  
PHYSICS 113: Computational Physics  
   
Self-Defined Focus  
Students may also define their own Focus Area containing a minimum of 13 units (4 courses) that comprise a cohesive program of study. Many students use this option to create an interdisciplinary Focus Area that combines parts of the listed Focus Area options above. Students should also choose this option if including courses not listed in one of the Focus Area tracks and must submit a departmental deviation petition form, as described here. The approved petition form should be included with their final program sheet when conferring their degree.  

MSE Major Unit Requirement

Combined units from the following group of courses must total a minimum of 55 units. Units cannot be counted under more than one category.

  • SoE Fundamentals: 7 units
  • MSE Fundamentals: 20 units
  • MSE Depth: 15 units
  • Focus Area Options: 13 units

By adding these 55 units to the 39 required Math and Science units and the minimum of 3 units for the Technology in Society course, your Materials Science undergraduate major program will require a minimum of 97 units of the 180 you need to graduate. Your Advanced Placement Math and Science units from high school may count toward the 39 units of basic math and science, thereby allowing you more electives during your Stanford career.