Bachelor of Science in Materials Science & Engineering

Program Details

A flexible degree program. Our department offers a BS degree in Materials Science and Engineering. The degree program covers the breadth of the materials field, but it also encourages students to design their own specializations by using emphasis areas. Emphasis areas include nanomaterials, computational materials science, biomaterials, structural materials, energy materials, polymers, and optical, magnetic, and electronic materials. There is even an undesignated emphasis for those of you with broad interests! Emphasis area curricula take advantage of the expertise of faculty both inside and outside the department.

  • World class faculty. The Department of Materials Science and Engineering faculty includes four members of the National Academy of Engineering, the nation’s most prestigious and selective engineering body. The faculty have award winning programs in both research and education.
  • Hands-on experience. Hands-on coursework and research are important parts of the Materials Science and Engineering undergraduate program. You’ll often participate in research in faculty members’ research labs during the school year or summer, or spend a semester of summer working at a company through co-op and internship programs. Student participating in these programs have worked with the Kohler, Grede Foundry, Trek Bicycle, Oshkosh Truck, Motorola, Caterpillar, Intel and many other corporations and organizations.
  • Outstanding professional preparation. Graduates from Materials Science and Engineering go on to be leaders in industry, academia and government – essentially in every place where new materials are developed and applied. Other graduates have used their technical background transition into developing their own companies or into careers in technical management, business and law.
  • Supportive learning environment. All of the Materials Science and Engineering courses in the required curriculum are taught by faculty. Our classes typically include approximately 20 students and are taught in our building. Group study space for students is available in the building 24 x 7. The close-knit atmosphere of our department provides you, our students, with the attention and support you need to make your college days rewarding and your career a success.
  • Hard work, yet fun. Course loads are typically 15-17 hours per semester, and faculty expect students to work on courses 45-50 hours/week outside of class. But life as a UW Materials Science and Engineering student is much more than classes and homework. Students run organizations that host guest speakers from industry, organize plant tours and sponsor department-wide picnics and other social activities. MS&E students also have access to sailing, ballroom dancing, experimental vehicle design and building, and just hanging out at the Memorial Union Terrace.

The Bachelor of Science in Materials Science and Engineering degree program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, Learn more on our Accreditation page.

Degree Information

The MS&E undergraduate curriculum is designed to help you build strong foundations in mathematics and science in your freshman and sophomore years. The classes you take in your sophomore and junior years constitute the curricular core. These courses develop a strong grounding in the fundamentals of the materials science and engineering discipline integrated with hands-on experience in key laboratory techniques for the materials field. The core curriculum builds upon the science foundation established in the earlier years and applies it to materials-specific problems. You can specialize in a specific sub-field of materials or continue to build broad-based expertise in material through the selection of five technical electives in your junior and senior years. You’ll put your new knowledge to the test in a year-long culminating design project in the senior year.

View all of the degree requirements for the Materials Science and Engineering, B.S. and a four year course plan in The Guide.

Materials science and engineering students must complete a set of disciplinary core courses that equals 40 credits. By taking the MS&E core courses, you’ll learn about the properties of polymers, ceramics and other materials both in the classroom and laboratory, and you’ll have the opportunity to complete a capstone project of your choice.

As a materials science and engineering student, you will be required to have a solid underpinning of mathematics and science, including 16 credits of calculus and analytical geometry and related mathematics, as well as statistics, physics and chemistry.

Additionally, undergraduates have the opportunity to choose a science elective from the departments of chemistry, geology, physics, biology or zoology.

View a suggested four year plan in The Guide.

Semester I, Fall. 16-18 cr.
Math 221 Calculus I, 5 cr.
Introduction to Engineering Elective, Choose from COE list.
Chemistry 109, or 103 and 104, General Chemistry, 4-5 cr.
EPD 155 (Comm A), 2 cr.
Liberal studies elective, 3 cr.

Semester II, Spring. 16-18 cr.
Math 222 Calculus II, 5 cr., prerequisite is Math 221.
Physics 201, 207 or 247, 5 cr., prerequisite is Math 221.
Science Elective. Choose from list.
Liberal studies elective, 3 cr.

Semester III, Fall. 16 cr.
Math 234 Multivariate Calculus, 3 cr., prerequisite is Math 222.
Physics 202, 208 or 248. Physics II, 5 cr., prerequisite Physics I.
MSE 351, Intro MSE, 3 cr., prerequisite is Chemistry 109 or 103.
MSE 360, Intro Lab, 1 cr., prerequisite is MSE 351 concurrently.
MSE 330, Thermodynamics, 4 cr., prerequisites are Chemistry 109 or 103 and Math 222.

Semester IV, Spring. 15 cr.
Math 319 Techniques in Ordinary Differential Equations, 3 cr., prerequisite is Math 222.
Stat 324, 3 cr., prerequisite is Math 222.
MSE 352, Transformations of Solids, 3 cr., prerequisite is MSE 351.
MSE 361, Lab 2, 2 cr., prerequisites are MSE 352, concurrently, and MSE 360.
Liberal studies elective, 4 cr.

Semester V, Fall. 14-17 cr.
Chem 343 or 341, Organic Chemistry, 3 cr., prerequisite is General Chemistry.
MSE 451, Ceramics, 3 cr., prerequisite is MSE 352.
MSE 362, Lab 3, 2 cr., prerequisite is MSE 361.
MSE 332, Macroprocessing, 3 cr., prerequisite is MSE 330.
Free elective if credits are needed, 3 cr.
Liberal studies elective, 3 cr.

Semester VI, Spring. 15-16 cr.
Engineering Foundations Elective, 3-4 cr. Choose from list.
MSE 421, Polymer Materials, 3 cr., prerequisite is Organic Chemistry.
MSE 331, Transport, 3 cr., prerequisite is MSE 330.
MSE 333, Microprocessing, 3 cr., prerequisite is MSE 332.
Liberal studies elective, 3 cr.

Semester VII, Fall. 16 cr.
Emphasis areas, 3 cr., Technical Emphasis Elective.
MSE 441, Deformation, 3 cr., prerequisite is MSE 352.
MSE 456, EOM Properties, 3 cr., prerequisites are Physics II, MSE 352.
MSE Emphasis Elective, 3 cr., Prerequisite is MSE Core.
MSE 470, Capstone Project I, 1 cr.
Engineering and Society Elective, 3 cr.

Semester VIII. Spring 15-17 cr.
Free elective if credits are needed, 2 cr.
Technical Emphasis Elective, 3 cr.
Technical Emphasis Elective, 3 cr.
MSE Emphasis Elective, 3 cr., Prerequisite is MSE Core.
MSE 471, Capstone Project II, 3 cr.
EPD 397, Technical Writing, 3 cr.

MSE Undergraduate Curriculum

Materials Science and Engineering is one of the most rapidly growing and enabling areas in science and engineering. Discover the many MS&E undergraduate opportunities on this campus.

The MS&E Undergraduate Curriculum is designed to maintain a rigorous core that covers the breadth and depth of the field while also allowing maximum flexibility for students to specialize in an area of materials science. This allows each student to work with their faculty advisor to design their own curriculum to suit their interests while promoting creative enterprise and science citizenship.


MS&E Capstone Projects

Materials Science

The MS&E Capstone Projects are the culminating academic and intellectual experience for our students in their final year of undergraduate study. They require students to integrate the knowledge and skills they have gained throughout the curriculum to solve problems creatively. The projects are also a sustained, year-long exercise in true engineering practice, from project planning through execution to delivery of results.

MS&E students work on a projects in materials design, selection, and application. The two capstone project courses (MSE 470 and 471) develop skills problem identification, experimental design, data acquisition and analysis, and presentation of results, with an emphasis on creativity and application of fundamental engineering principles.

Clients play a key role in defining, supporting, and guiding capstone projects.

Students work in teams to apply their knowledge to solve a directed, client-based materials science and engineering design project. They will work closely together with their client in development and execution a statement of work, use of research laboratory facilities, and conducting design of experiments culminating with a project report and presentation of research results to the client.

We tailor the capstone project teams to the engineering needs of our clients, including creating interdisciplinary engineering teams involving MS&E students and students from other departments across the College of Engineering to meet client needs.


Get involved with the MS&E Capstone Projects!