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Student Examines Material
Find answers to common questions about undergraduate research and resources to match the opportunity that's right for you.

What is Materials Science and Engineering?
Materials science explores the relationship between processing (how a material is made and modified), structure (how a material is organized from atomic to macroscopic length scales), and properties (how a material responds to stress, electrical field, temperature gradients, etc.). Materials engineering is an applied field that seeks to design materials with some desired physical properties to serve a particular engineering function.

How can I be competitive for ETAM?
We review applicants holistically. Admitted students are involved in activities, demonstrated academic success on a challenging course load and are passionate about materials. When writing your essay, we recommend having a focused narrative of your interests within MSEN and potential career path. If you choose to write about a challenging circumstance then tell us how you overcame it.

Is the degree more science or engineering oriented?
Engineering and science go hand-in-hand. A successful engineer will have an understanding of science, but a materials engineer will gain a thorough understanding of science, from foundational concepts to intricate details.

How flexible is the MSEN degree plan? Can I pursue a minor or certificate without too much difficulty?
As a smaller department, we have a strict lab course sequence; however, students have the freedom to choose six course electives (3 technical and 3 specialty) to gain knowledge in areas applicable to their interested career paths. The flexibility to choose electives allows students to add a minor or certificate to their degree plan.

For example, an MSEN student may consider pursuing a Business Minor, which three of the courses would apply towards the specialty electives requirements in the degree plan. Thirty percent (30%) of our students are either pursuing a minor or certificate.

How does the academic areas of interest (specialization) system work? 
Students are not required to have a specific-track or focus in the major. The Department offers five (5) academic areas of interest to enable students to explore different paths in Corrosion Science & Engineering, Electronic Materials, Materials Characterization & Failure Analysis, Soft Materials, and Structural Materials. Students have the option to select an area of concentration or combine knowledge from multiple subject matters. 

Is research required? Is the major research focused?
No, research is not required for the major. As a research-focused institution, TAMU offers students opportunities to conduct research in a multitude of studies. MSEN research is available to students interested in research-focused careers.

Are professors accessible?
Student to faculty ratio is 3:1. Additionally, students are paired with faculty mentors to discuss academic or career advice/questions.

Departmental rankings for undergrads?
As our program is new, we have not been established with UG rankings; however, U.S. News and World Report ranks our Graduate program 23, nationally, and 14 amongst public institutions.  

What entrepreneurship opportunities does MSEN offer?
Our Department encourages participation in entrepreneurship opportunities such as Aggies Invent, AggiE Challenge, TAMUhack’s Hackathon, Startup Aggieland, NSF I-Corps Site Program, and Engineering Inc., etc. Students are also able to gain knowledge in the classroom through entrepreneurship courses as well as earn a Concept, Creation, and Commercialization (C3) Certificate.

Undergraduates have the opportunity to work with faculty who have spin-off companies. MSEN has had five student initiated small businesses in 5 years, i.e. Adallo Inc., Heuristech, Incendium Technologies, Thermal Expansion Solutions Inc., and Trifusion Devices.

Do I need a graduate degree to secure a job in the MSEN field?
Companies have different requirements and we encourage you to do your homework learning about their available positions. Nationwide, the majority of MSEN majors pursue employment in industry directly out of their undergraduate degree.  However, students looking to pursue a research-heavy profession particularly focused on developing brand-new materials and determining why they behave the way they do, may require an advanced graduate degree (MS or PhD).

What is the average salary for someone with a Bachelor's degree in MSEN?
According to the 2019 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a Materials Engineer’s average annual salary is $93,360. Per PayScale, an entry-level materials engineer’s starting average salary is $65,806. 

Does MSEN have ABET accreditation?
As a new program, the bachelor’s degree program in materials science and engineering will be evaluated for accreditation by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET following the graduation of the first cohort of students (2021). 

What industries can you work in?
Materials scientists and engineers play crucial roles in nearly all industry sectors including energy, defense, biomedical, semiconductors, transportation, infrastructure, manufacturing, and personal care products. 

What kind of job can I expect to land with a Bachelor's degree in MSEN?
Refer to the question above regarding industries hiring materials engineers. Information on available careers is provided in the academic areas of interests.

What companies hire you?
Our Department like other Engineering departments has close ties to many industries and our faculty do their best to help students secure employment. MSEN faculty have connections to Boeing, Dow Chemical, Corrosion Industry, NASA, Polymer Industry, Samsung, National Laboratories (LANL, Oakridge, PNNL), etc. 

How easy is it to get internships?
Internship opportunities are available to students who are proactive. Our students have had internships at BAE Systems, CFAN, Marathon Oil, Samsung, SageGlass, Xertech Specialties, LLC., Aerospace Corporation, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Texas Department of Transportation – Materials Lab, etc.

What do Materials Scientists and Engineers do?
In industry, materials scientists and engineers work with natural or synthetic materials and, most often, with combinations of materials, to improve existing products or to develop novel products. For instance, at Intel, the developer of the processing chip used in most PCs, materials scientists optimize the materials used in chip packaging, balancing differing coefficients of thermal expansion, head dissipation, brittleness and compliancy, and cost for optimum performance and economic feasibility.

Other materials scientists are on the forefront of the revolution in biotechnology, developing materials for the components of artificial joints, heart valves, and other replacement body parts. Smart materials show a tremendous potential in medical and dental applications, such as compressible stents that reform to their intended shape upon contact with body heat once inserted into an artery, ceramic cement for bone repair, or shape-memory alloys to correct misplaced teeth or spine curvature. (Smart materials have one or more properties that can be dramatically altered, such as multiviscosity oil, with a viscosity that varies with temperature.)

Related research involves developing smaller and more reliable components, such as ferromagnetic activators acting as tiny machines in military and other applications. In aerospace engineering, materials scientists are developing airframe and fuselage materials with high strength-to-weight ratios, as well as developing smart materials into integrated sensors and actuators for reconfigurable wings and other adaptive structures.