Materials Science and Engineering

Materials Science and Engineering (MatSE) is an interdisciplinary field that integrates chemistry, physics, and engineering. A fundamental understanding in this field will enable you to tailor the structure, properties, and performance of existing materials, and develop and synthesize new materials with unique properties. Finding the right material is important for applications spanning major technological and societal challenges, such as renewable energy generation and storage, development of advanced microelectronics, environmental remediation, space exploration, or sustainable transportation.

MatSE students develop expertise that ranges across five major classes of materials: metals, ceramics, electronic materials, polymers, and biomaterials. They can directly apply their knowledge through undergraduate research opportunities in one of the department’s primary research areas: nanoscale science and technology, materials for energy and environment, materials for medicine, and materials for extreme environments. MatSE graduates are very well prepared to pursue academic careers or to transition directly into industry.

Average Starting Salary (Bachelor’s Degree)    UIUC – $68,225   NACE – $64,400

Sample Careers

  • Materials Engineer (Lyondell Chemical)
  • Manufacturing Engineer (Federal Mogul)
  • Materials Research Engineer (Naval Research Laboratory)
  • Packaging Engineer (Kraft Foods)
  • Process Engineer (Intel)
  • Quality Engineer (ExxonMobil)
  • Scientist (The Clorox Company)

Sample Courses

  • Phases and Phase Relations (MSE 201)
    — Understand and control the structure of materials from atomic to macroscopic scale
  • Electronic Properties of Materials (MSE 304)
    — Understand how quantum mechanics is used to describe materials for cheap and fast computer chips and electronic devices for our society such as energy-saving light-emitting diodes or solar cells.
  • Introduction to Research (MSE 396)
    — Gain experience solving cutting-edge research problems
  • Synthesis of Materials (MSE 403)
    — Develop principles underlying the synthesis, processing, and fabrication of new materials
  • Thermal and Mechanical Behavior of Materials (MSE 406)
    — Learn how to engineering mechanical properties of materials, predict, control, and understand materials fracture and failure in various environments.
  • Atomic Scale Simulation (MSE 485)
    — Learn how to use powerful, modern supercomputers to efficiently search for new materials that are needed to provide clean energy, to prevent climate change, and to tackle dangerous diseases.

We’ve collected stories below from some women alumni and students in MatSE. Read them to learn how these engineers apply their Illinois Engineering education in their community and around the world.

Beth Keser

Betty Coulman

Beverly Huss

Jessica TerBush

Suzanne Nagel