Scope and Objectives
At the heart of materials science and engineering is the understanding and control of the microstructure of solids. Microstructure is used broadly in reference to electronic and atomic structure of solids — and defects within them — at size scales ranging from atomic bond lengths to airplane wings. The structure of solids over this wide range dictates their structural, electrical, biological, and chemical properties. The phenomenological and mechanistic relationships between microstructure and the macroscopic properties of solids are, in essence, what materials science is all about.
Materials engineering builds on the foundation of materials science and is concerned with the design, fabrication, and optimal selection of engineering materials that must simultaneously fulfill dimensional, property, quality control, and economic requirements.
The undergraduate program in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering leads to the BS degree in Materials Engineering. Students are introduced to the basic principles of metallurgy and ceramic and polymer science as part of the Materials Engineering major. A joint major field, Chemistry/Materials Science, is offered to students enrolled in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry (College of Letters and Science).
The department also has a program in electronic materials that provides a broad-based background in materials science, with opportunity to specialize in the study of those materials used for electronic and optoelectronic applications. The program incorporates several courses in electrical engineering in addition to those in the Materials Science curriculum.
The graduate program allows for specialization in one of the following fields: ceramics and ceramic processing, electronic and optical materials, and structural materials.