MatSE Student Study Group

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

Materials, like ceramics, metals, polymers, and composites, are critical to the growth and success of many industries and key to most engineering disciplines. Graduates of Materials Science and Engineering are employed, or proceed to graduate studies, in many fields such as energy, medicine, sustainability, electronics, communications, transportation, aerospace, defense, and infrastructure industries.

The mission of the department is to provide students 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 multidisciplinary materials community.

View the objectives and requirements for the MatSE B.S. in the University Bulletin.

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In the junior and senior years, students take specialized and in-depth courses within the department. While some courses are required for all MatSE students, the curriculum does allow for a large amount of flexibility. 

The specialization courses are selected beginning in semester six. There are a total of eight courses and one senior processing laboratory. The Undergraduate Degree program in Materials Science and Engineering has been designed to allow our students to create an education that suits their individual interests and career goals.

Planning your Specialization Courses

A student may select any courses they desire to fulfill the specialization requirement as long as they meet the following criteria:

  1. 4 of the 8 courses must fit into the categories of Synthesis and Processing, Structure and Characterization, or Properties (below).
  2. There must be at least one course in each specialization category
  3. 4 of the 8 courses must be MATSE courses

Specialization categories and associated MatSE courses - detailed descriptions of the courses below can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin

Synthesis and Processing

  • MATSE 411: Processing of Ceramics (Fall)
  • MATSE 422: Thermochemical Processing (Spring)
  • MATSE 425: Processing of Metals (Fall)
  • MATSE 426: Aqueous Processing (Spring)
  • MATSE 441: Polymeric Materials I (Fall)
  • MATSE 447: Rheology and Processing of Polymers (Spring)
  • MATSE 450: Synthesis and Processing of EPM (Fall)
  • MATSE 497B: Polymer Materials II (Spring)

Structure and Characterization

  • MATSE 409: Nuclear Materials (Spring)
  • MATSE 410: Phase Relations in Materials Systems (Spring)
  • MATSE 415: Introduction to Glass Science (Fall)
  • MATSE 421: Electrochemical Materials (Fall)
  • MATSE 427: Microstructure Design of Structural Materials (Spring)
  • MATSE 440:  Nondestructive Evaluation of Flaws (Fall)
  • MATSE 445: Thermodynamics, Microstructure, & Characterization Of Polymers (Spring)
  • MATSE 455: Properties and Characterization of EPM (Spring)


  • MATSE 403:   Biomaterials (Fall)
  • MATSE 404:   Surfaces and the Biological Response to Materials (Spring) 
  • MATSE 412:   Thermal Properties of Materials (Spring)
  • MATSE 417:   Electric and Magnetic Properties (Spring)
  • MATSE 435:   Optical Properties of Materials (Spring)
  • MATSE 446:   Mechanical And Electrical Properties of Polymers and Composites (Fall)
  • MATSE 497A: Nanomedical Applications (Spring)
  • MATSE 497C:  Composite Materials (Spring)

Technical Electives

Technical electives, in general, should be 300 or 400-level engineering or science courses. A student pursuing a minor can use minor courses as technical electives. We will consider a course below the 300 level as long as said course is not introductory. For example, a student could select CHEM 212: ORGANIC CHEMISTRY II, as a technical elective as this course is not at the introductory level and is building depth in a particular area.  You must consult with your advisor and get authorization for ALL technical elective courses to ensure credits will be counted.

Specialization Course Exploration

We recommend that students work with their advisor to craft a course of study unique to the individual. Exploring minors is an excellent way to discover exciting courses. Use the Undergraduate Bulletin to begin the exploration of minors. Realize that you do not necessarily have to declare a minor to take courses offered in that minor. In order to facilitate that discussion with the advisor, we offer the following specialization course ideas to consider as guides (click the links for descriptions and additional information):

Senior Thesis Information and Resources

Thesis Formatting Guidelines


Title Page

  • All type should be single spaced and 14 point Times New Roman font, except title.
  • Title should be bolded, 16 point, Times New Roman font, Upper and Lower case letters
  • Margins should be 1” all around. If you plan to bind your thesis, consider a 1.5” left hand margin.
  • Do not use such designations as “Ph D” or “Dr” on the title page or signatory page 

Signature Page

  • All type should be single spaced and 14 point Times New Roman font.
  • A minimum of two signatures are required on each thesis. If one of the signers has a dual role (e.g., Thesis Supervisor and Honors Adviser), then list both roles under the professional title. Do not list the same person twice.  Do not use such designations as “Ph D” or “Dr.” on the title page or signatory page 


  • Heading 1: ABSTRACT should be in 16 point, CAPITALIZED, centered, and bolded with two spaces afterward
  • One and a half inch spacing
  • Margins should be 1” all around, unless using the left-hand 1.5” for binding.
  • The text should be in Times New Roman Font, 12-point type
  • Paragraphs indented 5 points. 

Table of Contents

  • Page should be single spaced.
  • Heading 1: TABLE OF CONTENTS should be in 16 point, CAPITALIZED, centered, and bolded with three spaces afterward
  • Margins should be 1” all around unless using the left-hand 1.5” for binding.  The text should be in Times New Roman Font, 12-point type
  • Be sure the headings listed in the table of contents match word-for-word the headings in the text. Double check to be sure the page numbers are correct and right justified.
  • The table of contents must appear immediately after the abstract and should not list the abstract or the table of contents. 

List of Figures or Tables

  • Page should be single spaced with a separate page for each.
  • Heading 1: LIST OF FIGURES/TABLES should be in 16 point, CAPITALIZED, centered, and bolded with three spaces afterward
  • Margins should be 1” all around unless using the 1.5” for binding.  The text should be in Times New Roman Font, 12-point type
  • Type used within tables and figures should be preferably 12-point in size, but can be reduced to no smaller than 10 point and must be completely legible due to microfilming. 
  • Figure and number should be bolded; captions should not be bolded, and page numbers should be right justified.  
  • Figures and tables should have a space between them and the text or the next figure/table. 


  • Section Titles - Heading 1: COPPER (Centered 16 point font with 2 spaces afterward)  
  • Headings – Heading 2: Characteristics and Properties (14 point font and bolded with 1 space before and after, left justified)
  • Sub-Headings – Heading 3: Density (12 point font, not bolded, but underlined, left justified, with one space before and no space afterward) 
  • Begin each chapter or main section on a new page. Do the same with each element of the front matter (Abstract, Table of Contents, List of Figure and Tables, and Acknowledgments.), the Reference section, and each Appendix. 
  • Try to avoid typing a heading near the bottom of a page unless there is room for at least two lines of text following the heading. Instead, you should simply leave a little extra space on that page and begin the heading on the next page. If you wish to use a “display” page (a page that shows only the chapter title) at the beginning of chapters or appendices, be sure to do so consistently and to count the display page when numbering the pages. Do not use italics unless being used for foreign words, book and journal titles, and special emphasis. 


  • Should be indented 1.5 inches with consecutive numbering that is right justified within parentheses.
  • There should be an extra space before and after the equation. 
  • Boldface type may also be used on the title page and for headings, as well as in the text, for special symbols or for emphasis.  
  • Color is permissible to use in the document, but keep in mind that the microfilm version will show black-and-white only. 

Page Numbers

  • Excluding the title page and signatory page, every page in the document, including those with tables and figures, must be counted. Use lower case Roman numerals for the front matter and Arabic numbers for the text. The text (or body) of the thesis must begin on page 1. Do not number a page with “a” or “b” or skip numbers; do not embellish page numbers with punctuation (dashes, period, etc); and do not type the word “page” before the page number.
  • Page numbers may be placed in the upper right-hand corner, lower right-hand corner or centered at the top or bottom of the page. Page numbers should be in the same position on all the pages. Page numbers should not be placed on the left side of the page.  

Back Matter

  • Bibliography or References (may be at the end of each chapter or at the end of the thesis)
  • Appendices (may come either before or after the Bibliography or References)
  • Endnotes or notes (if any, may be at the end of each chapter or after the Bibliography or References.) 

Considerations in Engineering and Design

“Students must be prepared for engineering practice through a curriculum culminating in a major design experience based on the knowledge and skills acquired in earlier course work and incorporating engineering and realistic constraints that include most of the following considerations:  economic, environmental, sustainability, manufacturability, ethical, health and safety, social, and political”.

Economic Issues

All aspects of the design of, and with, materials must be sensitive to the economic drivers associated with the use of the materials

  • Cost of materials
  • Cost of the processing
  • Manufacturing ecology
  • Recycling

Be sensitive to hidden costs

  • Energy costs and sustainability
  • Marketability
  • Intellectual property protection
  • Life cycle cost
  • Retooling
  • Local, state, or federal regulations

Environmental Issues

Consider the impact of your work on the local and global environment

  • Origin of raw materials
  • Use of environmentally hazardous components
  • Chemical, thermal, noise, particulate pollution; the solution to pollution IS NOT dilution
  • Disposal of production by-products
  • Substitution of environmentally benign processes and materials
  • Use of industrial by-products as raw materials
  • Energy source:  displaced pollution?
  • Sensitivity to local, state and federal regulations
  • Ethics:  if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t!


What good is the new materials, process, or design if no one wants it, can’t afford to build it, or economic/technical issues render it obsolete quickly?

Ask yourself:

  • Does the material, process, or product service a need?
  • Is that need sufficiently long term to justify expenditure of resources?
  • Is the technology sufficiently mature to ensure its success?
  • Are there issues on the horizon which would alter your approach?


  • Can you manufacture the materials, product, or implement the process within your technical, economic, environmental, and ethical constraints?
  • Can you practice the technology in a profitable manner?
  • Is new enabling technology available, or soon to be available, which may enhance manufacturability or application?
  • Manufacture domestically or off-shore?

Ethical Issues

Scientists and engineers, in the fulfillment of their professional duties, shall:

  • Hold paramount the health, safety, and welfare of the public
  • Perform services only in the area of their competence
  • Issue public statements only in an objective and truthful manner
  • Avoid conflicts of interest and act as faithful agents and trustees for each employer or client
  • Build professional reputation based on the merit of their services, and avoid unfair competition
  • Act to uphold and enhance the honor, integrity, and dignity of their profession
  • Continue professional development throughout their careers, and encourage the same for colleagues under their supervision

Health and Safety

  • Consider your personal health and safety, and that of your colleagues in all of your actions
  • Consider the impact of your work on your local and global environment
  • Consider near term and future implications
  • Expect the same from your colleagues and supervision
  • Do all you can to mitigate risk, and accept your responsibilities in all endeavors regardless of level of risk

Social and Political

  • Important locally and globally
  • The global economy demands scientists and engineers with agility and skills to work effectively in multicultural environments
  • Ethical dilemmas can result; your ethics and mores may differe significantly from others
  • Practice tolerance and sensitivity for the rights and beliefs of others in the performance of your duties
  • Politics can drive technology, and vice a versa (e.g. Star wars, Homeland security, hydrogen fueled cars)

Code of Hammurabi

  • “If a builder builds a house for a man and does not make its construction firm, and the house which he has built collapses and causes death of the owner of the house, that builder shall be put to death.
  • If it causes the death of the son of the owner of the house, they shall put to death the son of that builder.
  • If it causes the death of a slave of the owner of the house, he shall give to the owner of the house a slave of equal value.
  • If it destroys property, he shall restore whatever it destroyed, and because he did not make the house which he built firm and it collapsed, he shall rebuild the house which collapsed from his own property.”