About MSE

Established in 1962, the U.Va. Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE), addresses societal needs by providing cutting-edge research solutions and educating the leaders of tomorrow — in the classroom, in the lab and beyond.

  • Letter from the Chair

    Greetings from UVA DMSE!

    I hope you are all in good health and high spirits. I can’t deny that the fall semester looks and feels different. We face unprecedented—and unifying—challenges.

    The momentum gained in the past several years has carried our department through these tough times. Two of our rising stars, Liheng Cai and Kyusang Lee, earned NSF CAREER Awards. Two others, Prasanna Balachandran and Jon Ihlefeld, earned DARPA Young Faculty Awards. Altogether, we have welcomed 12 new faculty since 2016, including several joint hires.

    We pulled together in response to the COVID-19 crisis. I am extremely proud of the department’s staff, students and faculty for their dedication to safety and careful attention to social distancing. We restarted graduate research operations in June and are more than delighted to report that there have been no infections transmitted in our labs. This is a wonderful accomplishment considering we support a complex, vibrant research community that reaches across five departments, including our own.

    The Nanoscale Materials Characterization Facility has developed innovative microscope training approaches that comply with social distancing. Lab staff combined pre-recorded tutorials with live, hands-on Zoom sessions to ensure our students and partners can conduct experiments confidently and productively.  

    Our new B.S. degree program in materials science and engineering gives us a fresh burst of energy. We have begun recruiting our inaugural class of students for spring 2021. Special thanks to James Fitz-Gerald, professor of materials science and engineering and director of undergraduate programs, and Claire Culver, undergraduate student coordinator, as well as the many dedicated faculty who championed and realized this long-sought goal.

    Program approval from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia continues the evolution of UVA Engineering’s undergraduate materials science and engineering curriculum. The new program builds on the minor introduced in 1995 and a concentration within the engineering science major introduced in 2008. The B.S. degree program will preserve and expand on the diversity of students who matriculated in the engineering science program. As many as 25-50% of the students from year to year come to us from under-served backgrounds. This is an accomplishment we cherish and strive to replicate.

    The Black Lives Matter movement reminds us how far we have to go, prompting deeper introspection and broader engagement. As members of UVA Engineering, we hold excellence through diversity as a core value. We have expanded our department’s diversity, equity and inclusion committee to put that value into action. The committee has established its mission and addresses issues through defined subcommittees.

    Thanks to David Green, associate professor of materials science and engineering and chemical engineering, we are deepening our engagement with historically Black colleges and universities, including one seeking to establish an MSE program! We look forward to great things from our diversity committee, including its critically important student and staff members.

    Our recent graduates and students continue to serve as our ambassadors. I am pleased to share highlights of their published research, fellowships and honors. Additionally, our inaugural class of Olsen Ph.D. fellows started in our graduate program thanks to a generous gift from Greg Olsen (Ph.D., 1971). We look forward to more great news to share in the months ahead.

    I remain deeply humbled by the resiliency and resolve of everyone in our department, and I am immensely grateful to our extended family of students, research partners and alumni for their support. Please join me in recognizing their many accomplishments to create and disseminate knowledge and prepare engineering leaders to solve global challenges.


    John R. Scully


  • Fast Facts
    • Consistently ranks in the top 30 of MSE departments nationally
    • Received $9 M in research funding for Fiscal Year 2019, enabling student-centered research across the spectrum of materials for structural and electronic functions
    • Is home to 4 major research centers of excellence.
    • Awards 3-4 MS and 10-15 PhD degrees annually in Materials Science and Engineering plus Engineering Physics
    • Is led by 25 nationally renowned professors, including 4 endowed chair-holders, one member of the National Academy of Engineering, and recipients of 35 fellow-of-technical-society awards.
    • Supports about 85 graduate students each year, involved in research, journal publication, and international technical conferences
    • Operates sophisticated laboratory instrumentation and computer modeling facilities in two attached state-of-the-art buildings, Wilsdorf Hall and the Materials Science Building
  • Degrees Offered

    Highly collaborative in nature, the department offers several degrees:

    Undergraduate Minor in Materials Science and Engineering

    Bachelor in Science in Materials Science Engineering (BS-MSE)

    Bachelor of Science in Engineering Science (BS-ES)

    Master of Materials Science and Engineering (ME) in Materials Science and Engineering

    Master of Science in Materials Science and Engineering (MS-MSE)

    Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering The department also offers a minor in materials science, available to all University undergraduate students and concentration in materials science within the engineering science program.

  • Read Our Newsletters

    Winter 2021 E-Newsletter:  Strength in Community

    Fall 2020 E-Newsletter: Ramping Up and Moving Ahead

    Spring 2020 E-Newsletter:  Answering the Call in Times of Crisis

    Fall 2019 Newsletter:  Formula for the Future

    Fall 2018 Newsletter:  No Boundaries

    Fall 2017 Newsletter:  Leadership & Impact

  • Contact Info

    Contact Information


    Wilsdorf Hall 395 McCormick Road
    P.O. BOX 400745
    Charlottesville, VA 22904

    Phone: (434) 982 - 5641
    Fax: (434) 982 - 5660


  • Parking

    The department has two visitor parking spots near Scott Stadium in the T-4 parking lot. Reservations can be made through the MSE office.

    This printable map has directions and the walking route to the building from our visitor parking spots.


    Additional parking is available nearby in metered lots and through P&T.