The Minor in Materials Science & Engineering

Materials Science & Engineering (MSE) is an interdisciplinary field that applies the fundamental knowledge of the physical sciences to create engineering innovations. In general, the term engineering refers to actively designing a system for a given application; MSE enables the design of systems from the atoms up. MSE focuses on the interrelationship between a material's structure (from the subatomic level to the macro scale) and the properties or behaviors that the material exhibits. Materials synthesis and processing techniques enable engineers to control and change the material structure in order to obtain the desired properties. Understanding the structure–properties–processing relationship requires a fundamental knowledge of the underlying chemistry and physics, and it is key to obtaining materials with the desired performance for engineering applications in a wide variety of fields, from computing to medicine to energy.

The minor in MSE builds upon the fundamental insights into material structure and properties gained through required introductory courses in chemistry and materials science. Students then select at least two courses from specialization "pick lists" to gain depth in a particular application area. A free elective provides the opportunity to gain additional depth in the fundamentals or exposure to another application area.

For more information, students should contact the advisor for the Minor in Materials Science & Engineering: Professor Katharine Flores (MEMS).

Some courses have prerequisites. Students will be approved for the minor after discussing appropriate course selection with the advisor for the minor.


Units required: 17

Courses Units
Three required courses 8
Two courses from specialization "pick lists" 6
One free elective 3
Total Units 17

Required Courses*

Chem 111AGeneral Chemistry I3
Chem 151General Chemistry Laboratory I2
or MEMS 205 Mechanics and Materials Science Laboratory
MEMS 3610Materials Science3
or EECE 305 Materials Science
Total Units8

Students majoring in geology, geophysics, geochemistry or environmental earth science may substitute EEPS 352 Earth Materials for the required combination of Chem 111A and Chem 151. In this case, EEPS 352 may not be used to fulfill the specialization pick list or free elective requirements.

Specialization "Pick Lists"

Students should select at least two courses (6 units) from any one of the following categories:

Structural Materials

MEMS 5506Experimental Methods in Solid Mechanics3
MEMS 5507Fatigue and Fracture Analysis3
MEMS 5601Mechanical Behavior of Materials3
MEMS 5605Mechanical Behavior of Composites3
MEMS 5615Metallurgy and Design of Alloys3
MEMS 5616Defects in Materials3

Electronic/Optical Materials

Chem 543Physical Properties of Quantum Nanostructures3
ESE 429Basic Principles of Quantum Optics and Quantum Information3
ESE 436Semiconductor Devices3
ESE 531Nano and Micro Photonics **3
MEMS 463Nanotechnology Concepts and Applications3
MEMS 5617Advanced Study of Solid-State Electronics3
MEMS 5618Electronic Behavior of Materials3
MEMS 5801Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems I3
Physics 472Solid State Physics3

Biomaterials/Soft Materials

BME 479Biofabrication & Medical Devices3
BME 432Physics of Biopolymers3
or BME 532 Physics of Biopolymers and Bioinspired Polymers
BME 523Biomaterials Science3
Chem 452Synthetic Polymer Chemistry3
Chem 462Synthetic Polymer Chemistry Laboratory3
MEMS 5606Soft Nanomaterials3
MEMS 5607Introduction to Polymer Blends and Composites3
MEMS 5608Introduction to Polymer Science and Engineering3
MEMS 5613Biomaterials Processing3
MEMS 5614Polymeric Materials Synthesis and Modification3

Materials for Energy and Environmental Technologies

Chem 426Inorganic Electrochemistry and Photochemistry **3
EECE 504Aerosol Science and Technology3
EECE 505Aquatic Chemistry3
EECE 574Electrochemical Engineering3

Natural Materials

EEPS 336Minerals and Rocks in the Environment3
EEPS 567Planetary Materials3

Offered sporadically.

Free Electives

To complete the minor, students may select one additional course (3 units) from the categories above or from the list of courses below:

Chem 465Solid-State and Materials Chemistry ***3
or Chem 5620 Solid-State and Materials Chemistry
MEMS 4101Manufacturing Processes3
MEMS 5102Materials Selection in Design3
MEMS 5610Quantitative Materials Science & Engineering3
MEMS 5612Atomistic Modeling of Materials3
MEMS 5619Thermodynamics of Materials3
Physics 217Introduction to Quantum Physics3
Physics 318Introduction to Quantum Physics II3
Physics 537Kinetics of Materials3

Chem 465 and Chem 5620 are co-taught and cover the same material. Chem 465 is intended for undergraduates, while Chem 5620 is intended for graduate students. Students with credit for one of these courses may not be allowed to enroll in the other, and only one version of the course can be counted toward the minor.

Students may also fulfill the free elective with 3 credits of MEMS 400 Independent Study for an independent study project on an MSE topic. The project topic and description must be preapproved by the advisor for the minor.

Contact Info