Jun 19, 2024  
Undergraduate Record 2016-2017 
Undergraduate Record 2016-2017 [ARCHIVED RECORD]

Materials Science and Engineering

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs

Return to: School of Engineering and Applied Science: Departments/Programs  

Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) is a field that couples basic and applied studies in physics, chemistry and mechanics on the atomistic and nanometer scales with macroscopic materials’ properties. Materials science is frequently an important enabler for many other scientific and engineering disciplines. For instance, advances in performance for future subsonic and hypersonic aircraft require new materials with greater durability at high temperatures and high strength-to-weight ratios. Advances in communication equipment with the introduction of fiber optic cables are brought about through the utilization of ceramic fibers which minimize attenuation of light signals and transmit much more information than is possible with electrically conducting wires. Advances in materials science and engineering enable the development of new technologies across most engineering disciplines.

MSE offers a selection of undergraduate courses with the objective of providing students with a fundamental background in the structure, properties, processing, and performance of materials. This background is essential to engineers or scientists in understanding the selection of materials for various applications.

The MSE Department offers two opportunities for undergraduates to develop their understanding of materials science. A minor in Materials Science and Engineering is available to all undergraduate students. For students desiring a stronger and more extensive foundation in materials science, an 11-course MSE concentration in Engineering Science is available.

MSE Minor

The purpose of the MSE minor is to provide students a foundation for understanding how the processing, properties and structure of materials affect the science, design, and application of materials in the engineering discipline of their major field of study.


A minimum of five MSE courses constitutes an MSE minor.


MSE is a research-intensive discipline. Undergraduate students are encouraged to become involved in research through i) an independent study research project, MSE 4960, ii) senior thesis projects, iii) and financially supported undergraduate research internships during the academic year or summer. MSE faculty members serve as advisors to your research projects. For more information, consult the MSE department website, www.virginia.edu/ms.

MSE Concentration in Engineering Science

The MSE concentration in the Engineering Science degree program consists of eight required MSE courses, six credits of MSE electives and six credits of advanced MSE project. Students must also select an approved SEAS technical minor or a minor in a natural science or mathematics. MSE is a research- intensive discipline and ES/MSE students are encouraged to become involved in ongoing research projects within the department.

MSE/ES Curriculum (128)

Second Semester Credits: 17

Third Semester Credits: 17

Fourth Semester Credits: 16

Advanced Math/ CS elective (See footnote 4 below) Credits: 3

Science Elective II w/Lab/Workshop (See footnote 6 below) Credits: 4

HSS Elective (See footnote 2 below) Credits: 3

Fifth Semester Credits: 15

Secondary Minor Elective (See footnote 3 below) Credits: 3

Secondary Minor Elective (See footnote 3 below) Credits: 3

Unrestricted Elective Credits: 3

Sixth Semester Credits: 18

Secondary Minor Elective (See footnote 3 below) Credits: 3

Technical Elective Credits: 3 

MSE 4210 - Materials Processing Credits: 3  

STS 2xxx/3xxx Elective Credits: 3

Seventh Semester Credits: 15

Secondary Minor Elective (See footnote 3 below) Credits: 3

Unrestricted Elective (See footnote 7 below) Credits: 3

MSE xxxx-MSE Elective (See footnote 9 below) Credits:3

Eighth Semester Credits: 15

Secondary Minor Elective (See footnote 3 below) Credits: 3

MSE xxxx-MSE Elective (See footnote 9 below) Credits: 3

Unrestricted Elective (See footnote 7 below) Credits: 3


(1) Science elective I: Chosen from ECE 2066; BIOL 2010, 2020; MSE 2090; CHEM 1620; PHYS 2620.
(2) HSS electives are chosen from the approved list available in A122 Thornton Hall.
(3) Secondary minor electives must be chosen so as to earn an approved technical minor in SEAS, mathematics, or a natural science. Once secondary minor requirements are satisfied, any 2xxx or higher technical SEAS, mathematics, or natural science course is acceptable.
(4) Advanced math/CS elective: 3xxx-level or higher mathematics courses in SEAS or CLAS; or one 2xxx-level or higher course in computer science.
(5) MSE 3101 Materials Science Investigations partially fulfills the laboratory requirements of the ES major.
(6) Science Elective II: Either CHEM 1620 with lab or PHYS 2620 with workshop is required.
(7) Unrestricted electives may be chosen from any graded course in the University except mathematics courses below MATH 1310, including STAT 1110 and STAT 1120, and courses that substantially duplicate others used for the student’s degree.
(8) Advanced Project is a graded research, independent study, or design course. Individual or group projects are possible. 4xxx level Engineering in Context (EIC) courses may substitute, but interested students should note that ENGR 3020 is a prerequisite for EIC.
(9) MSE electives are chosen from any MSE lecture-based courses, CHE 4449 (Polymers), ECE 3130 (Solid State Devices) or BME 4414 (Biomaterials).

For more information on the Materials Science and Engineering Option in Engineering Science, consult the MSE department website www.virginia.edu/ms.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs