MSE Major


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. 

Are you currently enrolled?

Click here for MSE Curriculum Guide (for web).pdf

"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. "

MSE Professor Ji Ma

Our Alumni

Rachel McNamara and Justin Kim rejoined UVA MSE to earn their Ph.D. degrees. Rachel McNamara is a member of  Assistant Professor Ji Ma's additive manufacturing research group and Justin Kim is continuing his research in the Center for Electrochemical Science and Engineering.

  • Crestienne DeChaine Bio Photo on The Lawn

    Crestienne Dechaine

    From the first moment I sat down in Introduction to Materials Science, I was hooked. I have always loved chemistry, but the MSE field bridges chemistry and engineering in a way that I had never envisioned. I was drawn to the hands-on applications of MSE, how it is closely linked to research and also how fundamentally applicable it is. With an MSE major, there are boundless opportunities to help make a change in the world.

  • Justin Kim Bio Photo in Lab

    Justin Kim

    The more I learned about MSE, the more I realized that it is the foundation of all engineering. Without material advances, it would be very difficult to discover breakthroughs in other engineering fields. As a big proponent of volunteering, I knew that pursuing MSE would be the avenue to serve others in engineering. Through MSE, I have found a field of study which would make myself happier while making the world a better place.

  • Rachel McNamara Bio Photo in Darden Court

    Rachel McNamara

    I knew I would continue to pursue MSE because I was never bored in the introductory class. The MSE B.S. program has allowed me to focus my time and energy in a subject that excites me. Once I connected MSE to sustainability, I felt that I had found my calling. I have always wanted to leave the world a better place than I found it, and I feel that MSE is the means through which I can enact meaningful change.

  • 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. 

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  • Curriculum

    The BS in Materials Science and Engineering requires 127 credits. The curriculum for the degree program will meet both the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) baccalaureate requirements and position the program for future ABET accreditation.

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  • Meet Our Students

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

    Hear what some of our students have to say
  • 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.

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  • Scholarships


    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.

  • Diversity

    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

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  • Research

    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. MSE faculty and staff help undergraduate students with lab placement and encourage their individual research.  

    Tour OUR LABS.

    Learn more about undergraduate reserach
  • How to Learn More

    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.

    Read the news article about our BS in MSE degree!