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Bachelor of Science in Materials Science and Engineering


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 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 are expected to demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Apply the knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering to assess and synthesize scientific evidence, concepts, theories, and experimental data relating to the natural or physical world.
  2. Extend students’ knowledge of the natural or physical world beyond that obtained from secondary education by refining their powers of scientific observation, the essential process by which data is gained for subsequent analysis.
  3. Design and conduct experiments, as well as understand and utilize the scientific method in formulating hypotheses and designing experiments to test hypotheses.
  4. Function on multidisciplinary teams while communicating effectively.
  5. Identify, formulate, and solve engineering issues by applying conceptual thinking to solve certain problems, bypassing calculations or rote learning and relying on the fundamental meaning behind laws of nature.
  6. Understand professional and ethical responsibility.
  7. Understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context.
  8. Demonstrate a working knowledge of contemporary issues.
  9. Recognize the need for, and engage in, lifelong learning.
  10. Apply the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.
  11. Transition from engineering concepts and theory to real engineering applications and understanding the distinction between scientific evidence and theory, inductive and deductive reasoning, and understanding the role of each in scientific inquiry.

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 explore courses 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.

Courses Units
20 units minimum; see Basic Requirement 11  
Select one of the following:  

MATH 51: Linear Algebra and Differential Calculus of Several Variables


CME 100/ENGR 154: Vector Calculus for Engineers

Select one of the following:  

MATH 52: Integral Calculus of Several Variables


CME 104/ENGR 155B: Linear Algebra and Partial Differential Equations for Engineers

Select one of the following:  

MATH 53: Ordinary Differential Equations with Linear Algebra


CME 102/ENGR 155A: Ordinary Differential Equations for Engineers

One additional course 5
20 units minimum; see Basic Requirement 22 20
Must include a full year of physics or chemistry, with one quarter of study in the other subject.  
Technology in Society  
One course; see Basic Requirement 33 3-5
Engineering Fundamentals  
Two courses minimum: one of the ENGR 50 options and one elective  
Select one of the following:  

ENGR 50: Introduction to Materials Science, Nanotechnology Emphasis4


ENGR 50E: Introduction to Materials Science, Energy Emphasis4


ENGR 50M: Introduction to Materials Science, Biomaterials Emphasis4

One additional course from the SoE ENGR Fundamentals list on Approved Page of the UGHB website (pg 46) 3-5
Materials Science and Engineering Depth  
Materials Science Fundamentals:  

MATSCI 142: Quantum Mechanics of Nanoscale Materials


MATSCI 143: Materials Structure and Characterization


MATSCI 144: Thermodynamic Evaluation of Green Energy Technologies5


MATSCI 145: Kinetics of Materials Synthesis

Two of the following courses: 8

ENGR 50/50E/50M: Introduction to Materials Science***


MATSCI 151: Microstructure and Mechanical Properties


MATSCI 152: Electronic Materials Engineering


MATSCI 156: Solar Cells, Fuel Cells, and Batteries: Materials for the Energy Solution


MATSCI 158: Soft Matter

Advanced Level Courses  

MATSCI 190: Organic and Biological Materials


MATSCI 192: Materials Chemistry


MATSCI 193: Atomic Arrangements in Solids


MATSCI 194: Thermodynamics and Phase Equilibria


MATSCI 195: Waves and Diffraction in Solids


MATSCI 196: Defects in Crystalline Solids


MATSCI 197: Rate Processes in Materials


MATSCI 198: Mechanical Properties of Materials


MATSCI 199: Electronic and Optical Properties of Solids

MSE Depth 16
Four of the following courses:  

MATSCI 160: Nanomaterials Laboratory


MATSCI 161: Nanocharacterization Laboratory (WIM)


MATSCI 162: X-Ray Diffraction Laboratory


MATSCI 163: Mechanical Behavior Laboratory


MATSCI 164: Electronic and Photonic Materials and Devices Laboratory (WIM)


MATSCI 165: Nanoscale Materials Physics Computation Laboratory

Focus Area Options6 13

1Basic Requirement 1 (20 units minimum): see a list of approved Math Courses.

2Basic Requirement 2 (20 units minimum): see a list of approved Science Courses.

3Basic Requirement 3 (one course minimum): see a list of approved Technology in Society Courses.

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 MSE fundamental requirements.

5ENGR 30 Engineering Thermodynamics (if taken 2016-17 or before) can be substituted for MATSCI 144 as long as the total MATSCI program units total 60 or more. If ENGR 30 is substituted for MATSCI 144, MSE Fundamentals may contain only 23 units.

6Focus Area Options: 13 units from one of the following Focus Area Options below.

Focus Area Options (Choose one area; 4 courses with a minimum of 13 units*)

*If the focus area option contains only 12 units, but the combined unit total in major (SoE Fundamentals, MSE Fundamentals, MSE Depth, MSE Focus Area) is at 60 or more, it will be allowed and no petition is necessary.

Bioengineering (13 units minimum)

BIOE 80: Introduction to Bioengineering

BIOE 220: Introduction to Imaging and Image-based Human Anatomy

BIOE 260: Tissue Engineering

BIOE 281: Biomechanics of Movement

MATSCI 158: Soft Matter

MATSCI 190: Organic and Biological Materials

MATSCI 380: Nano-Biotechnology

MATSCI 381: Biomaterials in Regenerative Medicine

MATSCI 382: Bio-chips, Imaging and Nanomedicine

Chemical Engineering (13 units minimum)

CHEM 171: Physical Chemistry I

CHEMENG 130: Separation Processes

CHEMENG 140: Micro and Nanoscale Fabrication Engineering

CHEMENG 150: Biochemical Engineering

MATSCI 158: Soft Matter

Chemistry (13 units minimum)

CHEM 151: Inorganic Chemistry I

CHEM 153: Inorganic Chemistry II

CHEM 171: Physical Chemistry I

CHEM 173: Physical Chemistry II

CHEM 175: Physical Chemistry III

CHEM 181: Biochemistry I

CHEM 183: Biochemistry II

CHEM 185: Biochemistry III

Electronics & Photonics (13 units minimum)

EE 101A: Circuits I

EE 101B: Circuits II

EE 102A: Signal Processing and Linear Systems I

EE 102B: Signal Processing and Linear Systems II

EE 116: Semiconductor Device Physics

EE 134: Introduction to Photonics

EE 142: Engineering Electromagnetics (Formerly EE 141)

EE 155: Green Electronics

ME 210: Introduction to Mechatronics

MATSCI 343: Organic Semiconductors for Electronics and Photonics


MATSCI 346: Nanophotonics

Energy Technology (13 units minimum)

EE 155: Green Electronics

CEE 107A: Understanding Energy

EE 293B: Fundamentals of Energy Processes

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

ME 260: Fuel Cell Science and Technology

ME 262: Physics of Wind Energy

Materials Characterization Techniques (13 units minimum)

MATSCI 320: Nanocharacterization of Materials

MATSCI 321: Transmission Electron Microscopy

MATSCI 322: Transmission Electron Microscopy Laboratory

MATSCI 323: Thin Film and Interface Microanalysis

MATSCI 326: X-Ray Science and Techniques

CHEMENG 345: Fundamentals and Applications of Spectroscopy

BIO 232: Advanced Imaging Lab in Biophysics

PHOTON 201: Electrons and Photons

Mechanical Behavior & Design (13 units minimum)

AA 240A: Analysis of Structures

AA 240B: Analysis of Structures

AA 256: Mechanics of Composites

MATSCI 198: Mechanical Properties of Materials

MATSCI 241: Mechanical Behavior of Nanomaterials

MATSCI 358: Fracture and Fatigue of Materials and Thin Film Structures

ME 80: Mechanics of Materials

ME 203: Design and Manufacturing

Nanoscience (13 units minimum)

ENGR 240: Introduction to Micro and Nano Electromechanical Systems

MATSCI 241: Mechanical Behavior of Nanomaterials

MATSCI 316: Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology

MATSCI 320: Nanocharacterization of Materials

MATSCI 346: Nanophotonics

MATSCI 347: Introduction to Magnetism and Magnetic Nanostructures

MATSCI 380: Nano-Biotechnology

Physics (13 units minimum)

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

Self-Defined Option (12 units minimum)

Students may petition for approval of a self-defined option containing a minimum of 12 units (4 courses) that compromise a cohesive program of study.

MSE Major Unit Requirement:

Combined Units from the following group of courses must total a minimum of 60 units. Units cannot be counted under more than one category.

SoE Fundamentals: 7-9 units

MSE Fundamentals: 24 units

MSE Depth: 16 units

Focus Area Options: 13 units

By adding these 60 units to the 40 required math and science units and TIS course, your Materials Science undergraduate major program will require a minimum of 103 units of the 180 you need to graduate. Your advanced placement (AP) math and science units from high school may count toward the 40 units of basic math and science, thereby allowing you more electives during your Stanford career.

Honors Program


The Materials Science and Engineering honors program offers an opportunity for undergraduate Materials Science and Engineering majors with a GPA of 3.5 or higher to pursue independent research at an advanced level, supported by a faculty advisor and graduate student mentors. The main requirements are as follows:

  1. Application to the honors program (must be pre-approved by faculty advisor)
  2. Enrollment in MATSCI 150 and participation in an independent research project over three sequential full quarters
  3. Completion of a faculty-approved thesis
  4. Participation in either the yearly Materials Science and Engineering Research Symposium OR an alternate, approved public oral/poster presentation

Since this requires three full quarters of research in addition to a final written thesis and presentation following completion of the work, students must apply to the program no less than four quarters prior to their planned graduation date. Materials Science and Engineering majors pursuing a typical four-year graduation timeline should meet with student services no later than the Winter quarter of their junior year to receive information on the application process.

All requirements for the honors program are in addition to the normal undergraduate program requirements.

To apply to the MATSCI Honors Program:

  • Have an overall GPA of 3.5 or higher (as calculated on the unofficial transcript) prior to application.
  • Seek out a faculty research advisor and agree on a proposed research topic. If Research Advisor is not a member of the MSE faculty or not a member of the School of Engineering Academic Council, students must have a second advisor who fulfills these requirements.
  • Compose a brief (less than 1 page) summary of the proposed research, including a proposed title, and submit along with an unofficial transcript and signed application/faculty endorsement.
  • Submit application to MATSCI Student Services (Durand 113) at least four quarters prior to planned graduation.

To complete the MATSCI Honors Program:

  • Overall GPA of 3.5 or higher (as calculated on the unofficial transcript) at graduation
  • Complete at least three quarters of research with a minimum of 9 units of MATSCI 150 for a letter grade (students may petition out of unit requirement with faculty advisor approval). All quarters must focus on the same topic. Maintain the same faculty advisor throughout, if possible.
  • Present either a poster or oral presentation of thesis work in the Materials Science and Engineering Research Symposium held during Spring Quarter or, at the faculty advisor’s discretion, in a comparable public event.
  • Submit final drafts of an Honors Thesis to two faculty readers (one must be your research advisor, and one must be an MSE faculty member/SoE Academic Council member) at least one quarter prior to graduation. Both must approve the thesis by completing a Signature Page and returning it to student services.
  • Submit to MATSCI student services one copy of the honors thesis in electronic form at the same time as the final hard copy. Submit one copy of the thesis, with the signature page indicating approval of both readers, to the School of Engineering’s Office of Student Affairs in 135 Huang.