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Materials Science and Engineering

Department Overview

302 Roberts

Materials science and engineering is an interdisciplinary field that addresses the structure, processing, and property relationships in materials for engineering applications. Basic principles of chemistry and physics are applied to provide an understanding of the structure of materials and the manner in which the structure determines the properties. Scientific processing methods are then applied to yield the necessary properties, which then can be integrated with, and designed to accommodate the needs of, modern technology.

Advances in materials enable technological progress in many fields. Historically, this connection between materials and technology has been so intimate that major periods in civilization have been named after the dominant material used in that era (e.g., Bronze Age, Iron Age). In the past few decades, at the core of the progress in such diverse fields as transportation, communication, electronics, energy and environment are significant advances in materials. Materials science and engineering is a broad and growing discipline.

Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Washington has recently experienced rapid expansion into new research areas, including polymers, hybrids, biomaterials, biomimetics, nanomaterials, photonic and magnetic materials. These areas have applications in current and emerging industries, and complement existing strength in ceramics, metals, electronic materials, and composites.

Undergraduate Program

Adviser
302A Roberts, Box 352120
(206) 543-2600
mse@uw.edu

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering offers the following programs of study:

  • The Bachelor of Science in Materials Science and Engineering degree
  • The Bachelor of Science in Materials Science and Engineering degree with an option in nanoscience and molecular engineering
  • A minor in materials science and engineering

Bachelor of Science in Materials Science and Engineering

Suggested First- and Second-Year College Courses: MATH 124, MATH 125, MATH 126; PHYS 121, PHYS 122, PHYS 123; CHEM 142 (or CHEM 144), CHEM 152 (or CHEM 154); English composition; CSE 142 or AMATH 301; MSE 170.

Department Admission Requirements

Applicants are considered in three groups - Direct Freshman Admission, Early Admission, and Upper-Division Admission. Admission is competitive. Completion of minimum requirements described below does not guarantee admission. All applicants have the right to appeal the department's admission decision. Application information is available from the department adviser.

Nanoscience and Molecular Engineering Option (NME): Admission to the NME option for MSE majors is by self-selection and normally occurs upon completion of NME 220, all MSE prerequisites, and formal admission to the MSE Department. A small number of students may be admitted into the NME option upon application to the department. Admission is based on the student's academic record, including grades in NME 220 and any MSE courses already taken and on prior experience/work in the field of nanoscience and/or molecular engineering. Students applying for the NME option should indicate that interest in the Materials Science and Engineering application and discuss their interests and background in the essay.

Direct Freshman Admission

  1. Open to freshman students formally admitted to the UW
  2. High school GPA of 3.70 or higher; SAT (or equivalent) scores of 1300 or higher
  3. Indication on the application that Materials Science and Engineering is the first choice for the major

Early Admission

  1. Course requirements: MATH 124, MATH 125, MATH 126; 10 credits of physical science at the level of PHYS 121, PHYS 122, PHYS 123, or CHEM 142 (or CHEM 144), CHEM 152 (or CHEM 154), or above; 5 credits of English composition. All courses must be completed prior to the July 1 application deadline. (HCDE 231 and M E 123 must be taken no later than the academic year of admission.)
  2. Applicants must be currently enrolled at the UW and must have completed a minimum of 15 credits taken in residence at the UW. Applications are accepted for autumn quarter only. Application deadline is July 1.
  3. Grade requirements: Minimum 2.0 grade in each course required for admission and minimum 2.50 cumulative GPA for all courses required for admission
Upper-Division Admission
  1. Course requirements: MATH 124, MATH 125, MATH 126, MATH 307; PHYS 121, PHYS 122; CHEM 142 (or CHEM 144), CHEM 152 (or CHEM 154); CSE 142 or AMATH 301; MSE 170; 5 credits of English composition
  2. 64 credits completed by application deadline. Applications are accepted for autumn quarter (July 1 deadline) and spring quarter (February 1 deadline).
  3. Grade requirements: Minimum 2.0 grade in each course required for admission and minimum 2.50 cumulative GPA for all courses required for admission.

Students may also declare into the Materials Science and Engineering degree program through the College of Engineering Advanced Admission program (see the College of Engineering section for Advanced Admission entrance and continuation requirements).

Graduation Requirements

Minimum 180 credits to include:

General Education Requirements (91-96 credits)

  1. Written and Oral Communications: 12 credits, to include one 5-credit English composition course from the University list; HCDE 231; HCDE 333 (or department-approved alternative)
  2. Visual, Literary, & Performing Arts (VLPA), and Individuals & Societies (I&S) (24 credits): A minimum of 10 credits is required in each area.
  3. Natural World (55-60 credits):
    1. Mathematics (24-25 credits): MATH 124, MATH 125, MATH 126, MATH 307, MATH 308 (or MATH 318); one from MATH 309, MATH 324, IND E 315, or STAT 390
    2. Science (31-35 credits): CHEM 142 (or CHEM 144), CHEM 152 (or CHEM 154); PHYS 121, PHYS 122, PHYS 123; two additional natural science courses from the department's approved list
Major Requirements (89 credits)
  1. Engineering Fundamentals (24 credits): CSE 142 or AMATH 301, MSE 170, A A 210, CEE 220; two of the following: E E 215, M E 123, A A 260 or CHEM E 325, IND E 250, CHEM E 220
  2. Materials Science and Engineering Core (49 credits): MSE 310, MSE 311, MSE 312, MSE 313, MSE 321, MSE 322, MSE 331, MSE 333, MSE 342, MSE 351, MSE 352, MSE 362, MSE 431, MSE 442, MSE 491, MSE 492, MSE 499
  3. Technical Electives (16 credits): See department advising office for list of acceptable courses.
  4. Grade Requirement: Minimum 2.00 departmental cumulative GPA

Major Requirements for Nanoscience and Molecular Engineering Option (93 credits)

  1. Engineering Fundamentals (24 credits): CSE 142 or AMATH 301, MSE 170, A A 210, CEE 220; two of the following: E E 215, M E 123, A A 260 or CHEM E 325, IND E 250, CHEM E 220
  2. Materials Sciences and Engineering Core (49 credits): MSE 310, MSE 311, MSE 312, MSE 313, MSE 321, MSE 322, MSE 331, MSE 333, MSE 342, MSE 351, MSE 352, MSE 362, MSE 431, MSE 442, MSE 491, MSE 492, MSE 499. The senior project (MSE 499) must be in an NME area.
  3. Nanoscience and Molecular Engineering Courses (20 credits): NME 220, NME 221, NME 321, NME 421; additional approved nanoscience and molecular engineering electives to reach 20 credits. See adviser for list of approved electives.
  4. Grade Requirements: Minimum 2.00 departmental cumulative GPA

Minor

Minor Requirements: 30 credits as follows: MSE 170, MSE 321, MSE 322, MSE 331, MSE 333, MSE 342, MSE 351, MSE 352, MSE 362. A minimum grade of 2.0 is required for each course.

The following courses serve as prerequisites for the departmental courses in the minor: MATH 124, MATH 125, MATH 126, MATH 307, and MATH 308 or MATH 318; CHEM 142 (or CHEM 144) or CHEM 145, CHEM 152 (or CHEM 154) or CHEM 155; PHYS 121, PHYS 122, PHYS 123; MSE 170; English composition. Students should take these courses before beginning the minor program.

Student Outcomes and Opportunities

  • Learning Objectives and Expected Outcomes:

    Undergraduate students are offered both broad core and in-depth courses. The broad core provides the needed background and understanding of all types of engineering materials, including metals, ceramics, polymers, electronic materials, and composites. The curriculum provides an opportunity to use basic knowledge in science and engineering fundamentals to synthesize and design materials for engineering applications. The undergraduate curriculum emphasizes hands-on experience, oral and written communication, and teamwork, and encourages participation in research. Graduates with a degree in materials science and engineering find employment in a broad range of industries including aerospace, biomedical, electronic manufacturing, materials processing, and transportation.

    The Bachelor of Science in Materials Science and Engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, 111 Market Place, Suite 1050, Baltimore, MD 21202-4012, telephone: (410) 347-7700, and the department has adopted the following student outcomes:

    1. An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science and engineering
    2. An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data
    3. An ability to design a system, component or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability and sustainability
    4. An ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams
    5. An ability to identify, formulate and solve engineering problems
    6. An understanding of professional and ethical responsibilities
    7. An ability to communicate effectively
    8. The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental and societal context
    9. A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning
    10. Knowledge of contemporary issues
    11. An ability to use the techniques, skills and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice
    12. An ability to apply advanced science (such as chemistry and physics) and engineering principles to ceramics, metals, polymers and composite materials systems
    13. An integrated understanding of the scientific and engineering principles underlying the four major elements of the field: structure, properties, processing and performance related to material systems
    14. An ability to apply and integrate knowledge from each of the four major elements of the field to solve materials selection and design problems
    15. An ability to utilize experimental, statistical and computational methods consistent with the goals of the program
    16. Experience in laboratory work and in research and/or design problem solving
    17. Preparation, as appropriate to the student and the area of interest, to enter graduate degree programs.
  • Instructional and Research Facilities: Facilities include equipment for electron and optical microscopy, x-ray diffraction, high-temperature heat treatment and mechanical testing, specialized processing equipment, including hot and cold isostatic presses, nitrogen reaction furnaces, and automated TGA, DTA analysis systems. Equipment for analyses of particle size, surface areas, and pore size is also available. Students have liberal access to University computing facilities.
  • Honors Options Available: With College Honors (Completion of Honors Core Curriculum and Departmental Honors); With Honors (Completion of Departmental Honors requirements in the major). See adviser for requirements.
  • Research, Internships, and Service Learning: Materials Science and Engineering students interested in paid internship experiences should contact the Engineering Co-op and Internship Program, 301 Loew Hall, Box 352180, (206) 543-8711, coop@engr.washington.edu.
  • Department Scholarships: In addition to need-based aid provided through the University's Office of Student Financial Aid, companies and individuals with interest in developing materials science and engineering students have provided scholarships for students admitted to the program. Specific information and application forms are available from the academic counselor in 302 Roberts.
  • Student Organizations/Associations: Keramos (materials honor society); American Ceramic Society (ACerS); ASM/TMS (the joint student chapter of ASM International and TMS); Society for the Advancement of Materials and Process Engineering (SAMPE).

Of Special Note:

Combined BS/MS Degree Program

The goal of the combined BS/MS program in Materials Science and Engineering is to provide a more direct route to the master's degree for well-qualified undergraduate students who wish for more in-depth graduate-level work in preparation for work in industry or for a PhD program. The combined program creates a more efficient and continuous academic experience that leads directly to the Master of Science degree. Students earn both the BS and MS degrees in five years. This program is available to students after they are admitted to the department. Information is available below.

Graduate Program

Graduate Program Coordinator
302 Roberts, Box 352120
(206) 543-2600
mse@uw.edu

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering offers programs of study leading to the Master of Science in Materials Science and Engineering (MSMSE) and the Doctor of Philosophy in either Materials Science and Engineering or Materials Science and Engineering/Nanotechnology.

In addition, the degree of Master of Science (without designation) is offered through the College of Engineering. This degree is intended to accommodate students with undergraduate majors outside physical science or engineering who desire a special graduate program to encompass a broad range of materials science studies.

The primary goals of the master's and doctoral programs are to prepare students for industrial employment and research/development careers and to generate new knowledge. The specific objectives are as follows:

  • Deepen knowledge and capabilities broadly and in a chosen specialty area: A student's knowledge, attained through coursework and scholarly investigation of literature relevant to thesis project, should be commensurate with that of leading researchers in the field.
  • Master and develop state-of-the-art research techniques appropriate to specialty: Analytical, computational, and experimental tools are learned via instruction by adviser(s) and peers in conjunction with maintaining currency with literature.
  • Contribute new knowledge of lasting value to the field by creative and independent research: A student's thesis research must demonstrate originality and high quality, as judged by faculty committee.
  • Broaden candidate's knowledge of field and societal issues: Through coursework, department and group seminars, and attendance at professional meetings, a student learns to appreciate context of specialty within materials science and engineering and gain ability to apply knowledge and methods to a spectrum of engineering and scientific challenges.
  • Learn to work effectively with colleagues and contribute to professional community: Attained by cooperation in team research projects, presentation of research and professional meetings.

Combined Bachelor of Science/Master of Science

Admission Requirements

Students may apply to enter the combined BS/MS program any time after they are accepted into the MSE department as an undergraduate major. Requirements for application include:

  1. Overall minimum GPA of 3.20 in the last 90 credits before application
  2. At least 15 credits of MSE courses completed with a minimum GPA of 3.40
  3. Statement of interest and goals for the MS degree
  4. Interview with admissions committee

Students accepted into the combined BS/MS program by the department apply to the Graduate School in December of their senior year. These students normally enroll in the materials science option for the MS degree.

Degree Requirements

216 credits.

Requirements are the same as for the current BS and MS programs. However, up to 7 credits of 400- or 500-level courses taken as an undergraduate over and above the BS requirement may be counted towards the MS degree. These credits transfer to the graduate program when the student enters as a graduate student, subject to approval of the MSE Graduate Program Committee. The Graduate School waives the restrictions on transfer credits for this purpose.

Students admitted into the BS/MS program combine their BS senior project requirement (MSE 499) with the MS thesis requirement (MSE 700) and begin research starting summer or autumn quarter of their senior year. The student receives 4 credits of MSE 499 for the undergraduate portion of the research program, then registers for 9 or more credits of MSE 700 for the thesis. Written and oral reports are required to complete the MSE 499 credits, to be submitted before the end of the senior year. The thesis is required for completion of the MS degree.

Master of Science in Materials Science and Engineering

Admission Requirements

The applicant must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.00 in the last 90 graded quarter hours or the last 60 graded semester hours. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) results are also required for the general test.

Students with backgrounds in engineering and the physical sciences are admitted into the MSMSE program. After admission, students with a minimum of three years' industrial experience in an engineering position may apply for the engineering materials (practice-oriented, non-thesis) option.

Specific program pre-requisites, which may be satisfied after entry into the program, are as follows:

  1. Knowledge of fundamentals of Materials Science and Engineering equivalent to MSE 170
  2. Knowledge of crystallography equivalent to MSE 331
  3. Background in materials properties equivalent to MSE 362 and MSE 351
  4. Knowledge of kinetics equivalent to MSE 322
  5. Understanding of thermodynamics equivalent to the level of MSE 421

Degree Requirements

36 credits, as follows:

  1. At least 27 credits must be for coursework, including 3 credits of MSE 520 seminar (see below). Of these 27 credits, 18 must be in courses numbered in the 500 series (these 18 may include the 3 seminar credits). Numerical grades from approved 400 level and all 500 level courses must be received for at least 18 quarter credits of coursework taken at the University of Washington. A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 is required for a graduate degree at the University. Required courses may not be taken on a S/NS grading option. The S/NS grading option in other courses must have the approval of the student's faculty adviser.
  2. Thesis Option
    1. Three required core courses (9 credits): MSE 510 (3), MSE 525 (3), MSE 541 (3)
    2. Three optional core courses
    3. 3 credits of seminar (MSE 520)
    4. 9 credits of thesis work (MSE 700)
    5. 6 credits of electives (400- or 500-level physical science or engineering courses) to meet the 36-credit requirement
  3. Non-Thesis Option
    1. Three required core courses (9 credits): MSE 510 (3), MSE 525 (3), MSE 541 (3)
    2. Four practice-oriented materials or related engineering courses, 12 credits minimum, chosen to complement the student's program
    3. Materials Engineering Project, MSE 598, 4 credits. This is taken during the last quarter of the master's program
    4. Electives to meet the 36 credit requirement.
    5. Of the above credits, all must be at the 400 or 500 level, with a minimum of 18 at the 500 level, and other Graduate School requirements must be met. Numerical grades are also required for at least 18 credits of 400- or 500-level coursework.

Doctor of Philosophy

Admission Requirements

The applicant must have a minimum GPA of 3.00 in the last 90 graded quarter hours or the last 60 graded semester hours. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) results are also required for the general test.

In general, entering graduate students with only the BS degree are required to enroll as MS students.

Prerequisite:

  1. Knowledge of fundamentals of materials science and engineering equivalent to MSE 170
  2. Knowledge of crystallography equivalent to MSE 331
  3. Background in materials properties equivalent to MSE 362 and MSE 351
  4. Knowledge of kinetics equivalent to MSE 322

The department also requires that all entering graduate students have an understanding of thermodynamics equivalent to the level of MSE 421. If the student does not have two undergraduate thermodynamics courses upon entry to the graduate program, then MSE 421 is required for the PhD degree.

Students interested in materials science and engineering with the nanotechnology option must make formal application to the UW's Center for Nanotechnology after being admitted to the MSE graduate program.

Degree Requirements

90 credits as follows:

  1. 30 credits from MSMSE degree or equivalent
  2. Three required core courses (9 credits): MSE 510 (3), MSE 525 (3), MSE 541 (3)
  3. 6 credits of seminar (MSE 520)
  4. 9 credits of elective MSE courses
  5. 36 credits of MSE 800
  6. Qualifying examination
  7. General examination
  8. Portfolio review
  9. Dissertation
  10. Final examination

Advising and Progress to Degree

The graduate coursework is designed to provide a higher level expertise than a BS in both core topics and specialty areas chosen by the student. This is accomplished by requiring all students to take three required core courses (MSE 510, MSE 525, and MSE 541) and a series of elective courses. Students are also required to enroll for the department seminar series.

Graduate students are advised by their Supervisory/Thesis Committee chair, members of the Supervisory/Thesis Committee, and the academic counselor, each with a specific advising role. The department also maintains a Graduate Student Handbook, given to each graduate student upon entry. Graduate students work closely with their committee chairs. Through this interaction, students develop a professional identity including learning how to do research, defining research problems, research supervision, data analysis and synthesis, presentation and participation in professional meetings, writing papers and reports, writing research proposals, information and advice regarding career options and help with placement.

Financial Support

Graduate students are eligible for a variety of competitive financial awards while they pursue their MSE degrees. Awards include teaching and research assistantships and a broad spectrum of internal and external fellowships. Almost all graduate students receive some financial support. Further details are on the departmental website and in the Graduate Student Handbook.

Engineering Materials Option for the Master of Science

The Engineering Materials option for an MS in Materials Science and Engineering is a non-thesis program designed for students with substantive industrial experience who want a master's degree to further their career goals or to meet work requirements. Students selecting this degree option should be practicing materials engineers with a bachelor of science degree. This program contains practice-oriented courses in addition to the usual graduate core courses. In place of a research-oriented thesis, students carry out a complete analysis and develop recommended solutions to an engineering materials problem. This project is industrially oriented, undertaken at an industrial site and supervised by an experienced engineer in industry and an MSE faculty member. Written and oral final project reports are required. The engineering materials option is designed to be completed in one year (four quarters) for on-campus students; it is also available for part-time students through the Education at a Distance for Growth and Excellence (EDGE) program.