Bachelor of Science in Materials Science and Engineering

Materials science and engineering is an interdisciplinary field centered on understanding the physical properties of matter and designing materials with specific properties to serve a desired function. Materials scientists study the connections between the synthesis and processing of a material, its underlying structure and its resulting properties. Materials engineers develop materials and manufacturing techniques and integrate these materials into commercial products. 

Program Highlights

  1. Flexibility to engage in one or more of several defined concentration areas, or with guidance of a faculty mentor, create a custom concentration area.
  2. Opportunities to participate in internships with industry partners or research in academic labs.
  3. Integration of laboratory experience with computational simulation.
  4. Preparation for employment as a professional engineer across a range of industries including energy, biomedical, semiconductor, and defense sectors.

The undergraduate major is comprised of 128 credit hours building a strong foundation in chemistry, physics and mathematics to explore the fundamental concepts and techniques critical to the field of materials science and engineering. Students have the flexibility to explore interdisciplinary studies or to focus in greater depth on one or more areas of concentration in the allotted nine hours of technical electives and nine hours of free electives. 

Undergraduate Curriculum Outline and Degree Plan

Curriculum ComponentCredit Hours
Engineering 1st year sequence 27
University core curriculum electives 24
Core MSEN courses 59
Designated (MSEN) technical electives 9
Free electives 9
Total Credit Hours128


Academic Areas of Interest Options

Some students use this flexibility to select an area of concentration. Together with a faculty mentor, students will create individualized degree plans that may center on one or more of the following areas:

Structural materials


Structural Materials are developed with specific mechanical properties (strength, stiffness, toughness, etc.) to withstand different mechanical loads.

Metals combine singular properties of strength, toughness, resistance to fatigue, and chemical compatibility that cause them to be used in a wide range of industries from biomedical (shape memory stents, Low-T superconductors), to aerospace (high-T super alloys), to automotive (light-weight alloys), to oil and gas (corrosion resistant pipelines).

High performance ceramics are used across industry sectors for their high temperature performance and chemical resistance. Ceramicists design ceramic materials and synthesis processes to increase performance metrics (toughness, creep, etc.) and to improve reliability.

Composite materials dominate key application fields where material stiffness, strength, and light weight are at a premium. These applications are found in aerospace and automotive sectors, energy fields (both oil & gas, as well as wind power), electronics, and sporting goods.

Materials Scientists and Engineers focused on structural materials must understand relationships between processing steps and mechanical properties of materials, the role of defects (grain boundaries, point defects), as well as materials processing and characterization techniques.

Recommended MSEN Electives:

  • MSEN 370 Introduction to Computational Materials Science and Engineering
  • MSEN 405 Materials Design Studio
  • MSEN 415 Defects in Solids
  • MSEN 420 Polymer Science
  • MSEN 426 Polymer Laboratories
  • MSEN 430 Nanoscience and Nanomaterials
  • MSEN 440 Materials Electrochemistry and Corrosion

Recommended Specialty Electives:

  • CVEN 221 or MEEN 221 Statics
  • CVEN 305 Mechanics of Materials
  • STAT 211/212 Principles of Statistics I/II
  • MEEN 455 Engineering with Plastics
  • MEEN 458 Processing and Characterization of Polymers

Relevant Minors/Certificates:

  • Aerospace Minor
  • Biomedical Engineering Minor
  • Design and Simulation of Mechanical Systems Minor
  • Petroleum Engineering Minor
  • Polymer Specialty Certificate
  • Statistics Minor

Polymeric materials


Materials scientists work closely with chemical and process engineers to convert chemical precursors into engineering plastics to be used in a wide range of industries (consumer products, aerospace, packaging, biomedical, etc.). Polymers synthesis and engineering is a major field in manufacturing spanning the range from fundamental chemistry (designing and discovering synthesis routes for new polymers) to process engineering (developing techniques to modify physical properties of plastics to some meet some desired criteria) to manufacturing (developing approaches to make polymers on large scales cost-effectively). Polymer scientists and engineers are continuously developing new materials with desired properties, and more efficient manufacturing processes to produce these materials.

Recommended MSEN Electives:

  • MSEN 420 Polymer Science
  • MSEN 426 Polymer Laboratories
  • MSEN 430 Nanoscience and Nanomaterials
  • MSEN 440 Materials Electrochemistry and Corrosion

Recommended Specialty Electives:

  • CHEM 227/228 Organic Chemistry
  • MEEN 455 Engineering with Plastics
  • MEEN 458 Processing and Characterization of Polymers
  • CHEM 466 Polymer Chemistry

Relevant Minors/Certificates:

  • Polymer Specialty Certificate
  • Chemistry Minor

Electronic Materials and Semiconductors


Semiconductor processing underlies mobile computing, autonomous vehicles, internet of things (IoT), and many other revolutionary technologies changing the face of today’s society. Potential careers in the semiconductor industry include deposition and characterization of semiconductor devices, development of tools to accomplish these tasks, as well as packaging and integration of semiconductor materials into electronic components and devices. Texas is one of the premier regions for semiconductor processing, especially in the Austin and Dallas regions, including NXP semiconductors (Austin), Texas Instruments (Dallas), Cypress Semiconductor (Austin), Samsung (Austin), Maxim (Dallas, San Antonio).

Recommended MSEN Electives:

  • MSEN 370 Introduction to Computational Materials Science and Engineering
  • MSEN 415 Defects in Solids
  • MSEN 430 Nanoscience and Nanomaterials
  • MSEN 440 Materials Electrochemistry and Corrosion

Recommended Specialty Electives:

  • CSCE 121 Introduction to Program Design and Concepts
  • STAT 211/212 Principles of Statistics I/II
  • ECEN 214 Electrical Circuit Theory
  • ECEN 248 Introduction to Digital Systems Design
  • ECEN 314 Signals and Systems
  • ECEN 325 Electronics
  • ECEN 370 Electronic Properties of Materials
  • CHEN 450 Microfabrication and Microfluidics Technology

Relevant Minors/Certificates:

  • Statistics Minor
  • Electrical Engineering Minor
  • Computer Science Minor

Materials Characterization and Failure Analysis


Materials failure can lead to catastrophic accidents, including costly loss of equipment, or in extreme cases human casualties. Failure analysis experts combine knowledge of failure mechanisms (fatigue, corrosion, creep) and analytical skills necessary to decipher failure mechanisms and design fault-tolerant materials and systems. Failure analysis engineers are employed in major engineering companies in nearly all sectors (oil & gas, aerospace, defense, semiconductors, etc.), as well as in specialty service companies that are focused on failure analysis.

More broadly, materials characterization consists of detailed inspection of a material and its properties. This area focuses on specialized knowledge of analytical techniques (microscopy, spectroscopy, diffraction, and structural and functional properties measurements), as well as an understanding of how to interpret and work with the large data sets that can arise from these measurements.

Recommended MSEN Electives:

  • MSEN 415 Defects in Solids
  • MSEN 440 Materials Electrochemistry and Corrosion
  • MSEN 420 Polymer Science
  • MSEN 458 Fundamentals of Ceramics

Recommended Specialty Electives:

  • STAT 211/212 Principles of Statistics I/II
  • SENG 310 Industrial Hygiene Engineering
  • SENG 312 System Safety Engineering or SENG 321 Industrial Safety Engineering
  • MEEN 455 Engineering with Plastics

Relevant Minors/Certificates:

  • Statistics Minor
  • Polymer Technologies Certificate
  • Safety Engineering Certificate

Corrosion Science and Engineering


Corrosion is the progressive degradation of materials through interactions with their environments. In turn, corrosion affects the integrity of materials from which infrastructures are engineered.

Corrosion scientists are instrumental in developing methods and technologies in characterizing and assessing materials performance in extreme and corrosive environments to meet technological and scientific challenges in applications critical for society.

Engineers in the field design practical tools for the development of prevention and control of materials degradation and improvement of reliability. There is an ever increasing demand and national need for strategic sectors such as infrastructure renewal, energy (extraction, conversion, and transportation), utilities (in particular water), transportation, production and manufacturing.

Recommended MSEN Electives:

  • MSEN 440 Materials Electrochemistry and Corrosion
  • MSEN 444 Corrosion and Electrochemistry Lab
  • MSEN 446 Corrosion Prevention and Control Methods

Recommended Specialty Electives:

  • STAT 211/212 Principles of Statistics I/II
  • MEEN 455 Engineering with Plastics
  • CHEN/SENG 430 Risk Analysis in Safety Engineering

Relevant Minors/Certificates:

  • Statistics Minor
  • Safety Engineering Certificate

The practicing materials scientist or engineer has a working knowledge of different processing, characterization, and modelling and simulation techniques, which allow them to solve fundamental materials challenges, enabling the development of new devices and technologies. Materials scientists and engineers play crucial roles in nearly all industry sectors including energy, defense, biomedical, semiconductors, transportation, infrastructure, and personal care products.