MSE Major

Why study MATERIALS SCIENCE & 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. 

Currently Enrolled?

Scroll down to "Worksheets and Handouts" below to find materials to help with academic planning.

"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.