Why Study Materials Science and Engineering?

Because we study EVERYTHING.

Everything is made of something. In Materials Science and Engineering (MSE), we study that something. From aerospace components to biomaterials and from nanoscale technology to 3-D printing, Materials Scientists and Engineers study the structure and properties of all kinds of materials and how we can process those materials to improve their affordability, durability and performance. 

Need a material that is faster? Lighter? Stronger? Ask a materials scientist.

Students who study MSE gain a strong foundation in chemistry and physics and explore the basic classes of materials:  ceramics, polymers and metals. From here topics expand into courses such as Corrosion, Batteries & Fuel Cells, Materials for Electronic, Magnetic & Optical Applications, Aerospace Materials, Nanoscale Science & Technology, Additive Manufacturing, and Thermodynamics & Kinetics of Materials. Throughout our program, students explore hands-on labs, research opportunities and a research & design capstone.

After graduation, MSE students can be found working in industry, academia, and government – practically every field needs a materials scientist. 

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MSE Curriculum Guide.PDF

MSE Curriculum Worksheet

Materials science focuses on the inventive aspects of engineering. Using their knowledge and skills in materials characterization and computational methods, our students will develop creative solutions in the hard, physical sciences.

Ji Ma headshot Ji Ma MSE Professor

Careers in MSE

Naturally interdisciplinary, materials scientists and engineers contribute vital knowledge to a wide array of fields. Graduates with degrees in MSE can be found everywhere from academia and industry to fields beyond engineering such as law, medicine and finance. 

Meet Our Students

Talented and diverse, our undergraduate students are the heart of our program.

Objectives and Student Outcomes

The goal of the BS in Material Science and Engineering is to prepare students for careers in research, development, manufacturing, and other technical positions that demand interdisciplinary training in the context of all materials used by society in their entirety.


Yearly, we have the distinct pleasure of awarding the Belinda and Chip Blankenship Scholarship ($5000). The overall intent of this award is to encourage rising undergraduate students to pursue graduate-level studies in materials science engineering in support of U.S. manufacturing, education, and R&D. Rising 2nd - 4th-year MSE majors who demonstrate a tenacity and curiosity that lends itself to excellence in research will be considered for this award. Meet our 2022 Blankenship Scholar Alex Wang! 

For more information on our scholarships, please contact our undergraduate coordinator.


MSE and UVA Engineering seek to attract and support students from all walks of life. "We seek to build a diverse and equitable community of students from all backgrounds and to provide a home for one and all. The materials discipline itself embraces diversity and requires it in order to succeed." - John Scully, MSE Department Chair


MSE offers many research opportunities for undergraduates. Undergraduate students have the opportunity to work in MSE labs for course credit or for pay. Through the generosity of alum Greg Olsen, it is our aim to fund the work of every MSE student who wishes to work in an MSE lab.

How to Learn More

For further information about the MSE major or any of our undergraduate programs, please contact our Undergraduate Coordinator.

Watch our MSE Major Night Presentation