Focus Areas

The MatSE program provides a diverse set of courses enabling a plan of study designed around the interest of the student. The plan of study includes the core areas of materials science (ceramics, metals, polymers, electronic materials, and biomaterials), as well as emerging interdisciplinary topics (e.g., materials for energy, advanced processing and/or characterization methods, materials theory and computation). The biomaterials area requires a unique set of prerequisites and courses, and so has a distinct curriculum. Students are encouraged to take engineering, science, and business electives of interest to them and of relevance to their career goals.

Highlights of the possible focus areas are:

Advanced Processing and Characterization Methods: Introduces principles for designing and engineering materials structure, properties, and chemistry from atomic to macroscopic scales, This area also teaches fundamental and practical concepts necessary for determining materials structure and chemistry at different length scales. This area utilizes basic knowledge from physics and chemistry.

Biomaterials: The science and engineering of materials for use in biological applications, particularly as related to human health. This area includes concepts in basic and intermediate chemistry and and basic and intermediate biology, with relatively less coverage of physics topics. It includes a subset of the standard junior year courses and requires additional chemistry and biology in the junior year.

Composites: Studies the science and engineering of materials formed by combining multiple materials into a single material. Studies of composites make significant use of properties of materials and mathematical knowledge.

Electronic Materials: Describes the design and engineering of materials primarily for the microelectronics industries. Topics span the ceramics, metals, and polymers areas. Concepts from basic and intermediate physics are used along with basic chemistry.

Ceramics: Studies the science and engineering of ceramic materials, including alloy design, composites, synthesis, and processing methods. Ceramics makes significant use of concepts from both basic physics and basic chemistry.

Metals: Introduces the design and processing of metals and alloys to achieve desired properties. This area primarily uses concepts from basic and intermediate physics with relatively less emphasis on chemical concepts.

Materials for Energy and the Environment: Studies materials for energy production, harvesting, and storage; materials for environmental remediation, water purification, and recycling; and includes discussions on sustainability and life-cycle analysis of the environmental impact of materials. Materials issues related to both renewable and non-renewable energy production are covered. This area utilizes concepts from both physics and chemistry.

Materials Theory and Computation: Introduces computational modeling approaches for materials that span length- and time-scales from the atomic to the macroscopic. This area focuses on computational prediction of material response to different stimuli (mechanical loads, temperature, electronic excitations, etc.) and fundamental material properties.

Polymers: Teaches the methods for molecular design to achieve desired properties in individual polymers, polymer blends, and polymer composites as well as processing methods. This area primarily uses concepts from basic and intermediate chemistry with relatively less emphasis on physics concepts.