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 include manufacturing, materials, research, packaging, process development, and quality management.

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  • Our materials science and engineering program is ranked #2 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • 78% of students reported having an internship or co-op during their degree program.
  • 96% of students reported securing their first choice destination upon graduation.
  • The average starting salary for a materials science and engineering graduate is $77,272 with a median signing bonus of $8,000.

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Your path to Grainger Engineering starts with connecting your passion and interests with the opportunities available in one of our 15 top-ranked major programs. Explore your options and gather the information you need to take the next step and apply.

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Innovation that's the power of I

What You'll Study

The materials science and engineering (MatSE) curriculum provides an understanding of the underlying principles of synthesis and processing of materials and of the interrelationships between structure, properties, and processing. MatSE students learn how to create advanced materials and systems required for flexible electronic displays and photonics that will change communications technologies, site specific drug delivery, self-healing materials, and enable the transition to a hydrogen-based economy, and more efficient photovoltaics and nuclear systems for energy production.

MatSE students also use chemistry, physics, and engineering to make new materials with unique properties to solve problems in energy, medicine, space exploration, transportation, and environmental remediation. As a student you take classes in electronic properties of matter, synthesis of materials, and atomic scale simulation. During the fourth year, it is recommended to incorporate an internship, co-op or research project during summers or during academic semesters.

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Minor in Computer Science

The CS Minor is offered for students seeking significant knowledge of digital computing without the more complete treatment of a major in computer science. This minor may be taken by any student except majors in the Computer Science degree programs and in Computer Engineering.

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Post-Graduation Success

The MatSE curriculum emphasizes understanding, designing, and producing materials with properties tailored for specific applications and the processes used. This prepares students for a successful career after graduation, whether they seek employment in industry, pursue an advanced degree, or use their knowledge gained for other pursuits. About sixty-one percent of our Materials Science & Engineering graduates continue their education in graduate school, and about thirty-five percent take positions in industry.

Graduates with MatSE degrees find jobs across a broad range of industrial sectors that rely on materials innovation including aerospace, automotive, biomedical, chemical, electronics, energy, nanotechnology, computational modeling, consulting, patent law and telecommunication. The average salary between 2019-20 for Materials Science & Engineering grads was reported as $77,272 with a median signing bonus of $8,000.

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employed or continuing education

employed after graduation

attending graduate school

average starting annual income

Sample employer destinations: Texas Instruments, The Clorox Company, Ebco View All

Sample grad school destinations: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Northwestern University, Stanford University View All

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Do you have questions about courses, research, careers, student organizations...? Ask Us Anything! Professors will be available to answer questions about your future in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

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MatSE students working on polymer lab

Your future starts here.

Applying to The Grainger College of Engineering opens the door to your future as a successful engineer. Get started by scheduling a visit, requesting information, or submitting your application.