Jun 22, 2024  
Undergraduate Record 2023-2024 
Undergraduate Record 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED RECORD]

Materials Science and Engineering

Return to: School of Engineering and Applied Science: Degree 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.

A minor in Material Science and Engineering is available to all undergraduate students. 

BS in Materials Science & Engineering Curriculum

Third Semester Credits: 17

Fourth Semester Credits: 15

Fifth Semester Credits: 18

Sixth Semester Credits: 15

Seventh Semester Credits: 15

Eighth Semester Credits: 15

Program Notes

* Note that MSE 2090 is offered fall and spring and many students will have taken it during 1st year; students who have taken 2090 should take 3050.                                                     

(1) HHS electives - 9 credits from chosen list in A122 Thornton Hall                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

(2) Math/Science Electives - For the first one, choose from PHYS 2620, CHEM 1420, BIOL 2100, BIOL 2200, MSE 2090, or any APMA course over 2000 (APMA 3080 Linear Algebra recommended). For the second one CHEM 3410 or 3610 (Pchem) or any 3000 or higher APMA course (APMA 3140 Partial Differential Equations recommended).

(3) Technical Electives - Any 2000 or higher math, science or engineering courses, unless courses for non-science majors, duplicates required MSE course work, or duplicates another previously taken course. Only up to 2 research-for-credit courses permitted - if one has been used as an MSE elective, then only one research for credit may count as a tech elective..  ECE  3103 Solid State Devices (note pre-req ECE 2630) is recommended for students interested in EMOPS; CHEM 2410 Orgo 1 plus 2311 1cr Lab, CHEM 2420 Orgo 2 plus 2321 1cr lab, ChE Polymers 4449 (note pre-req CHE 3321 Transport, which also has pre-reqs), and BME 4414 Intro to Biomaterials (note pre-reqs: BME 2014 Cell/Molecular Bio and BME 2220 Biomechanics) recommended for students interested in soft materials; MAE/CE 2310 Statics & MAE/CE 2320 Strength of Materials recommended for students interested in structural materials.

(4) MSE Electives - choose 5 - from MSE 2200 Introduction to Additive Manufacturing and 3-D Printing, MSE 2500 Science of Cooking,  MSE 3080 Corrosion, Batteries, and Fuel Cells, MSE/MAE 3610 Aerospace Materials (note pre-requisites of MAE/CE 2310 and 2320), MSE 4200 Additive Manufacturing of Metals, MSE 4055 Nanoscience, MSE 4210 Advanced Materials Processing, MSE 4270 Atomistic Simulations or MSE 4592 Special Topics. One research for credit course may count.                                                                                                                                                          

(5) Engineering Electives - Chosen from any 2000-level or higher engineering course, with the following exceptions: no course in APMA, STS, or ENGR may be used as engineering electives; no course that counts as a Science Elective may be used as an engineering elective; and no course that fulfills the Engineering Business Minor may be used as an engineering elective.   

(6) Unrestricted Electives - Chosen from any graded course in the University except mathematics courses below MATH 1310; courses that substantially duplicate any others offered for the degree, including PHYS 2010, PHYS 2020, CS 1010, CS 1020; any introductory programming course. APMA 1090 counts as a three credit unrestricted elective for students.            

Materials Science and Engineering 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, https://engineering.virginia.edu/departments/materials-science-and-engineering.