A Message from Department Head Susan Sinnott

Welcome to the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Penn State!

We moved into the newly renovated Steidle Building in June of 2016 and the entire department is celebrating our wonderful new space! We have had rapid growth in the department's undergraduate program — it has grown more than 150% since 2007 — and this played a significant role in the design of the renovated building. To accommodate this growth, the majority of the building's first floor was designed exclusively for undergraduate students and includes seven laboratories where students can use cutting-edge equipment for sample processing and preparation for analysis, an advanced materials processing lab, furnace lab, metallography and undergraduate research lab, as well as dedicated space for analysis, including optical and scanning electron microscopes, thermal analysis, x-ray diffraction, atomic force microscopy and rheology. The building also includes three student lounges, a genius bar, gathering spaces and a 48-seat computer lab, many of which have white board walls that encourage and facilitate group study. All of these spaces enhance the quality of MatSE lab courses, undergraduate research facilities, as well as individual and group study experiences.

Steidle Building also includes three floors of faculty, staff and student offices and state-of-the-art laboratories devoted to computational research, material processing, and characterization, in addition to outstanding spaces for meetings, group work, and informal interactions. These amazing new facilities, coupled with the space departmental faculty and students occupy in the Millennium Science Building, ensures that all MatSE faculty, graduate and undergrad students have the resources they need to work at the forefront of their respective disciplines.

I want to thank Dr. Gary Messing, Distinguished Professor of Ceramics, for his leadership of the planning and implementation of the renovation project. I also gratefully acknowledge the donors, whose generous support through the naming of spaces in Steidle Building enabled us to provide our undergraduate laboratories with the remarkable equipment mentioned above. If you are interested in finding out more information about naming a space in Steidle Building do not hesitate to contact me at sinnott@matse.psu.edu or 814-863-3117. I invite you to visit Steidle Building the next time you are in State College and see this amazing new space for yourself!


About the Department

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Penn State is an international leader in materials education and research. As a top-ranked program, the department thrives on a rich collaboration between faculty, staff, students, and researchers to promote a well-rounded academic experience and innovative research opportunities. Our department offers ABET accredited degree programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.  

The undergraduate program is customizable by each student—allowing for the blending of interest areas and materials topics. This ultimately allows each student to create their own materials major to fit their individual interests and needs.  

Our Intercollege Graduate Degree Program (IGDP) offers the ability to continue your materials education with either a Masters of Science or Doctoral degree.  Since this is an intercollege program, students have access to the best materials minds at the University, both here in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and from other science and engineering disciplines.

To better serve all areas of the department an External Advisory Board (EAB) was created to advise the department on academic issues, current trends and future directions in engineering. The EAB is comprised of a select group of representatives from industry, government agencies, academia and the profession.

Both faculty and students are engaged in high-level research through our many materials research centers, faculty research groups, Undergraduate Research Fellows program, International Internships in Materials (IIM) and more. This research spans the many sub-disciplines of materials science and engineering and generates more than $10 million in project funding each year. Students also benefit from the department's relationships with various corporate partners and from on-campus visits from materials scientists at the top of their fields for endowed lectures and other special programs.

As a leader in materials, the demand for our graduates is high. Graduates from our department are employed in all sectors of industry and in many national and international laboratories, including such noted companies as:

  • Owens Corning
  • United Technologies
  • Pratt and Whitney
  • Dow Chemical
  • 3M
  • Boeing
  • Cummins Diesel
  • Lockheed-Martin
  • IBM
  • Texas Instruments
  • ArcelorMittal
  • Bayer
  • Motorola
  • Westinghouse
  • Xerox....and many others



The mission of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering is to provide our graduates with a well-rounded engineering education with specific emphasis on materials science and engineering in order to meet the needs of industry, academia, and government; to conduct research at the frontiers of the field; and to provide an integrating and leadership role to the broad multi-disciplinary materials community.


Through its actions MatSE strives for international preeminence in materials science and engineering as indicated by highly-cited scholarly publications, outstanding leadership in the profession, and the education of a diverse group of highly-qualified graduates.