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,

Educational accreditation is a type of quality assurance process under which services and operations of educational institutions or programs are evaluated by an external body to determine if applicable standards are met. If standards are met, accredited status is granted by the agency. In most countries in the world, the function of educational accreditation is conducted by a government organization, such as a ministry of education. In the United States, however, a quality assurance process exists that is independent of government and performed by private membership associations.

ABET is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization that accredits college and university programs in the disciplines of applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology. ABET accreditation, which is voluntary and achieved through a peer review process, provides assurance that a college or university program meets the quality standards established by the profession for which the program prepares its students. Founded, in 1932 as the Engineers’ Council for Professional Development (ECPD), an engineering professional body dedicated to the education, accreditation, regulation, and professional development of the engineering professionals and students in the United States, ABET has been providing accreditation services for technical education programs for 80 years.

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.



More information about accreditation

Earning a degree is a significant achievement and an important investment in the future. Since so much of one’s future success depends on one’s educational foundation, the quality of the education one receives makes a big difference.

Earning a degree from an ABET-accredited program:

  • Verifies that the quality of the educational experience one has received meets the standards of the profession.
  • Increases and enhances employment opportunities.

ABET accreditation can be of great value to a student because:

  • It is often required for eligibility for federal student loans, grants, and scholarships.
  • Many forms of professional licensure, registration, and certification require graduation from ABET-accredited programs as a minimum qualification.
  • Many employers, including the federal government, require graduation from ABET-accredited programs to be eligible for employment in certain fields.
  • Multinational corporations are increasingly listing graduation from an ABET-accredited program as a job requirement for positions in offshore locations.

Definition (ABET): Program educational objectives are broad statements that describe what graduates are expected to attain within a few (three to five) years after graduation. Program educational objectives are based on the needs of the program’s constituencies. Our constituencies include our alumni, the employers who hire those who enter the workforce, and the faculty with whom those who pursue advanced degrees do graduate work, among others.

MS&E’s Program Educational Objectives are:


Objective 1: Skills and Tools. Graduates will be applying the tools and skills acquired during their undergraduate experience either in post-graduate educational programs or as employees in materials-related industries.


Objective 2: Early Career Growth. Graduates will have experienced professional growth in their chosen post-baccalaureate pursuits, for example, through acquisition of advanced degrees or advancement in employment rank.


Objective 3: Professional Citizenship. Graduates will have demonstrated awareness of contemporary issues in technology and society and ethical responsibility.


Objective 4: Life-Long Learning: Graduates will have demonstrated a continuing commitment to learning.

Outcome A:
Students shall be able to apply knowledge of mathematics, chemistry, physics, and materials science and engineering principles to materials and materials systems [corresponds with ABET 3a and Materials program criteria].

Outcome B:
Students shall be able to design and conduct experiments to study the microstructure, properties, processing and performance of materials and to analyze and interpret the experimental results [corresponds with ABET 3b and Materials program criteria].

Outcome C:
Students shall be able to design materials and processes to produce them to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability and/or sustainability [corresponds with ABET 3c].

Outcome D:
Students shall be able to work in multi-disciplinary teams and provide leadership on materials related problems that arise in multi-disciplinary work [corresponds with ABET 3d and Materials program criteria].

Outcome E:
Students shall be able to identify materials-related problems and formulate plans to solve such problems [corresponds with ABET 3e Materials program criteria].

Outcome F:
Students shall have an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility [corresponds with ABET 3f].

Outcome G:
Students shall be able to communicate materials concepts effectively through written reports, oral presentations, and discussion [corresponds with ABET 3g and Materials program criteria].

Outcome H:
Students shall have the broad education necessary to understand the impact of materials science and engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context [corresponds with ABET 3h Materials program criteria].

Outcome I:
Students shall have the materials science and engineering foundation needed to succeed in materials science and engineering graduate programs, to pursue other forms of continuing education in materials science and engineering, and to engage in life-long learning of materials science and engineering [corresponds with ABET 3i and Materials program criteria].

Outcome J:
Students shall have an awareness of contemporary and cultural issues [corresponds with 3j].

Outcome K:
Students shall be able to use the techniques, skills, and modern materials science and engineering tools necessary to practice materials science and engineering as a professional [corresponds with ABET 3k and Materials program criteria].

Enrollment, Fall 2017

191 undergraduate students

110 graduate students


Degrees conferred, 2016-2017

Bachelor’s: 32

Master’s: 13

PhDs: 22

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!