Materials Engineering

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The materials field has experienced explosive growth within the past decade. The development of new materials for the aerospace industry has led to many advances in the space program and in the performance of modern jet engines. Advances in computer technology are a direct result of this development and of the introduction of new and improved materials. The rapid changes occurring in the area of superconductors and composite materials applications will place materials development at the very forefront of progress for the twenty-first century. The success of future ventures in this field will depend upon the ability of materials engineers to provide materials with precisely engineered properties for improved devices and systems. This is the challenge of Materials Engineering.

The curriculum in Materials Engineering covers basic engineering sciences and the fundamentals of physics, chemistry, and mathematics, and the application of these courses to the understanding of the manufacturing, design, and use of materials.

In the program, the students utilize equipment for the complete examination, characterization, and evaluation of materials. They gain an understanding of the distinct characteristics of metals, polymers, and ceramics; how their structure can be altered by different treatments and manufacturing processes to produce desired properties; and how they can be designed to meet specific needs. This intensive study of both engineering and science is the foundation upon which the students may build, after graduation, to apply themselves to direct research, develop improved materials, control processes, design plants, provide product promotion, or manage various operations in the materials industry.

After the first year of study, the Materials Engineering curriculum becomes unique, and it is difficult to transfer into the program after the start of the sophomore year. Students are introduced to fundamental engineering courses in fluid mechanics, heat transfer, electrical networks, and mechanics as well as introductory courses in metallic, polymeric, and ceramic materials. Computer applications in materials problems are stressed throughout this time. Broad-based courses in the fundamental understanding of the structure-properties relations in materials are covered in the third and fourth years. At the start of the senior year a number of option courses are available in metals, polymers, and ceramics, and the student may tailor his/her program to fit a career objec-tive. Exciting research is being done at the graduate level in all aspects of materials science and engineering. A requirement for any graduate degree is satisfactory completion of a thesis or dissertation describing results of the student’s research work.

Research areas of interest include metal/alloys, ceramics, polymers, and composite materials. A wide range of topics is being addressed, including surface/interface effects in polymer-metal adhesion; novel synthesis and processing methods such as combustion synthesis, plasma polymerization, rapid infrared heating for bonding sensors on components etc.; unique characterization methods such as the SEM-MTS systems for insitu observation of deformation; and low angle scattering of x-rays. Research is being conducted at the cutting edge of science and technology in the areas of high temperature intermetallics, solidification, molecular modeling, polymer, metal and ceramic matrix composites. The department is equipped with excellent modern research facilities such as surface analysis laboratory (including ESCA, FTIR, FT Raman, etc.) a very high temperature vacuum hot press, MTS test facilities, Philips CM20 electron microscope, several X-ray diffraction systems, etc.

Curriculum Sheets

Notes on the Curriculum Sheet

The Curriculum Sheet above is for students on a standard schedule and may need to be modified for students on irregular schedules.

The college numbers of the courses shown are not given except for 36 PD 120.

All other courses for which an area name is specified must be taken from the College of Engineering and Applied Science which has a college number of 20. The exception is 36 PD 120, whose college number is already given as 36.

BoK courses may be taken from any college of the University. 

All other elective courses must be approved by the student's departmental advisor.


You are strongly encouraged to meet with your academic adviser if you currently have any curricular deficiencies or have any other reason to follow a modified program. Failure to follow an approved program may lead to Academic Probation, delay of graduation, or other more serious problems. 

Substitute Course Work for Required Course Work during a Study Semester

In general, a student may not take a course from another UC college during a study semester as a substitute for a required course in his or her curriculum. However, if there is an unusual reason to do so, a student may request to take a substitute course. Submit a request to the Committee on Academic Standards using the form Petition to use A Substitute Course.

A student may not register for the substitute course until after receiving approval of his or her petition. Failure to petition for approval may result in no credit for the course toward the student's degree requirements and the course may have to be repeated.

Substitute Course Work for Required Course Work during a Co-op Semester

Students are allowed to take up to six credits during a co-op semester if the class does not interfere with the co-op assignment. Approval must be secured from the Department advisor, the Professional Practice advisor, and the Chairman of the Committee on Academic Standards before registration is permitted. If a student needs to make up a class or wishes to take a class during the normal hours of a co-op assignment, then a petition must be submitted along with a letter from the employer stating that the employer is aware that the student needs to take the course, the company has a flextime policy for all employees (not just the student involved), and that the student can make up the hours in order to work a minimum of 40 hours per week. Submit a request to the Committee on Academic Standards using the form Petition to use A Substitute Course.