Undergraduate Admissions

What is Materials Science and Engineering?

Materials Science and Engineering is an interdisciplinary field of study. Students build a fundamental understanding of materials by taking courses in chemistry, physics, and engineering. In this program, you'll learn how to tailor the structure, properties, and performance of existing materials. You will also develop and synthesize new materials with unique properties. Finding the right material is important for both major technological and societal challenges. Examples include: renewable energy generation and storage, development of advanced microelectronics, environmental remediation, space exploration, and sustainable transportation. Our program can take you to the forefront of technology. If you want to make things smaller, faster, stronger, and smarter, this major might be for you.

Career Options

  • Manufacturing
  • Materials
  • Research
  • Packaging
  • Process development
  • Quality management

Post-Graduation Success1

  • 88% employed or continuing education
  • 55% employed after graduation
  • 33% attending graduate school
  • $63,282 average starting annual income

Sample employers of MatSE graduates 

Sample grad school destinations

Graduation & Retention2

  • 3.9 years to degree
  • 94% freshman retention rate
  • 69% four-year graduation rate
  • 85% six-year graduation rate

Annual Program Costs

Illinois Resident

  • Tuition: $17,348
  • Fees: $4,008
  • Expenses3: $15,952
  • Total: $37,308


  • Tuition: $34,798
  • Fees: $4,008
  • Expenses3: $16,292
  • Total: $55,098


  • Tuition: $40,146
  • Fees: $4,008
  • Expenses3:$ 16,292
  • Total: $60,446


Content from Admissions

1 Post-graduate data was collected through the Illini Success initiative, which primarily relies on self-reported survey data sources. Statistics are aggregated from the past three academic years, including the 2014-2015, 2015-2016, 2016-2017, and 2017-2018 graduating classes. Please note that total compensation may be greater than annual salary as other forms of compensation (e.g., signing bonus, commission, benefits) are not included. For more information on Illini Success data and methods, please visit the Illini Success website.

2 Data may not yet be available for newly created programs. Years-to-degree data is only available for programs from which you can earn a degree. Retention and graduation rates are only available for programs that you can apply directly into. Retention rates reflect retention to the university, not necessarily retention within the major.

3 Expenses are estimated and include books, supplies, housing, and other living expenses. The exact amount you’ll pay depends on where you decide to live, the meal plan you choose, and your overall lifestyle. Learn more about costs.

Your Future

As a MatSE graduate, you will be in demand with industry leading companies, small start-ups and government agencies that rely on current and improved materials technology. Our alumni fill the employee rosters of companies such as 3M, Accenture, Alcatel-Lucent, Boeing, Caterpillar, Ford Motor Company, ExxonMobil, GE Aviation, General Mills, IBM, Intel, Kimberly Clark, and Texas Instruments, to name a few. MatSE careers & placement statistics

MatSE undergraduates frequently work as undergraduate research assistants in professors’ labs, so it’s not surprising that around 40% of MatSE graduates will go to graduate school after they finish their B.S. degree, most for their Ph.D. but some for an M.S. or even a J.D. or M.D. 

Combined degree program


The people within the MatSE Department are what makes it so extraordinary. At Illinois you’re always going to find brilliant and hardworking engineering students, but MatSE people have something special.”

Mackenzie Kurth

MatSE Undergraduate Student

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Kimberly Anderson
MatSE Undergraduate Programs Office
201 MSEB
1304 W. Green St.
Urbana, IL 61801

(217) 333-1441



Ashley Phillips Smith
MatSE Graduate Programs Office
201 MSEB
1304 W. Green St.
Urbana, IL 61801

(217) 300-6668