Bachelor in Materials Science and Engineering

"We take something as familiar as concrete and explain how it behaves all the way down to its atoms."

MSE Professor Jerry Floro

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.

Materials elective courses will build upon the core content, allowing students to develop concentration areas of interest. The program culminates with a rigorous 4th year experience, which incorporates both a capstone experience and the development of a senior thesis. The focus of the core curriculum (core) is to provide students with a solid foundation in materials science and engineering, representing the fundamental pillars of the discipline, reinforced throughout the curriculum including materials elective courses. The core will introduce students to the major classes of materials (metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites) along with associated properties (mechanical, thermal, electronic, magnetic, and optical). The core will also provide rich experiential learning experiences with emphasis on characterization, processing, properties, documentation, and the analysis and presentation of key results. 

Opportunities for training in best practices, problem solving, communication, and teamwork are designed into the program through materials elective courses, which include corrosion, fuel cells, and batteries (a world-leading research strength in the Materials Science and Engineering department at UVA), nanosciences, processing, computational materials science, and additive manufacturing.  The program culminates with a rigorous 4th year experience, which incorporates both a capstone experience and the development of a senior thesis.  The experience allows students to draw upon the knowledge and skills learned from many MSE and non-MSE courses leading up to the final senior semester. The 4th year design course sequence (ENGR 4010, 4020) covers a wide range of materials and processes which require application of the fundamental principles of materials science (MSE 2090, MSE 3050, MSE 3060, MSE 3070), structure-property relationships (MSE 2101, MSE 3101, MSE 3080, MSE 3670), experimental and computer methods of analysis (MSE4270), and processing and fabrication (MSE 2200, MSE 3200, MSE 4210, MSE 4320).  The major will continue to be forward-looking, preparing students for the rapidly evolving needs of our technological society. For example, it is known that there will be an increasing need for engineers who are knowledgeable in topics related to materials which serve in extreme environments (especially related to defense and energy production), quantum materials (which could open up completely new opportunities in computational science), and soft-materials (for biomedical applications).

Program Requirements

(new courses are denoted with an asterisk)*
General Requirements - 46 credit hours

Engineering undergraduates must complete a general education curriculum consisting of courses in natural science (chemistry and physics), applied science (computer programming), applied mathematics, and various courses in engineering science, as well as social science and humanities courses:

  1. APMA 1110    Single Variable Calculus (4 cr)
  2. APMA 2120    Multivariate Calculus  (4 cr)
  3. APMA 2130    Ordinary Differential Equations (4 cr)
  4. APMA 3110    Statistics and Probability (3 cr)
  5. CHEM 1610    Intro Chemistry for Engineers I (3 cr)
  6. CHEM 1611    Intro Chemistry Lab (1 cr)
  7. PHYS 1425     General Physics I (3 cr)
  8. PHYS 1429     General Physics I Workshop (1 cr)
  9. PHYS 2415     General Physics II (3 cr)
  10. PHYS 2419     General Physics II Workshop (1 cr)
  11. ENGR 1624    Intro to Engineering (4 cr)
  12. CS 1110          Intro to Programming (3 cr)
  13. STS 1500        Engineering, Technology, Society (3 cr)
  14. STS 2/3000     STS Elective (3 cr)
  15. STS 4500        STS and Engineering Practice (3 cr)
  16. STS 4600        The Engineer, Ethics and Profession  (3 cr)

Core Curriculum - 45 credit hours

Required Courses – 30 credit hours

  1. MSE 2090 Introduction to Materials Science and Engineering (3 cr)
  2. MSE 2101 Materials Science Investigations: Properties, Laboratory (3 cr)*
  3. MSE 3101 Materials Characterization Lecture and Lab (3 cr)
  4. MSE 3050 Thermodynamics and Phase Equilibria of Materials (3 cr)
  5. MSE 3060 Crystal Structures and Defects (3 cr)
  6. MSE 3670 Electronic, Magnetic, and Optical Properties of Materials (3 cr)
  7. MSE 3070 Kinetics and Phase Transformations in Materials (3 cr)*
  8. MSE 4320 Origins of Mechanical Behavior (3 cr)
  9. ENGR 4010 Interdisciplinary Engineering Design I (3 cr)
  10. ENGR 4020 Interdisciplinary Engineering Design II (3 cr)

MSE Electives – 15 credit hours

In addition to the ten (10) required courses, students will also be required to complete five (5) electives from the following courses:

  • MSE 2200 Introduction to Additive Manufacturing and 3-D Printing (3 cr)
  • MSE 2500 Science of Cooking (3 cr)
  • MSE 3080 Corrosion, Batteries and Fuel Cells (3 cr)
  • MSE/MAE 3610 Aerospace Materials (3 cr)
  • MSE 4055 Nanoscience (3 cr)
  • MSE 4200 Additive Manufacturing of Metals (3 cr)*
  • MSE 4210 Advanced Materials Processing (3 cr)
  • MSE 4270 Atomistic Simulations (3 cr)
  • MSE 4592 Special Topics (3 cr)

Humanities and Social Science Electives (HSS) – 9 credit hours

  1. HSS 1 (3 cr)
  2. HSS 2 (3 cr)
  3. HSS 3 (3 cr)

HHS electives - 9 credits from chosen list in A122 Thornton Hall

Math / Science Electives – 6 credit hours 

  1. Math / Science Elective 1 (3 cr)
  2. Math / Science Elective 2 (3 cr)

For the first elective, students may choose from PHYS 2620, CHEM 1620, BIOL 2100, BIOL 2200 or any APMA course over 2000 (APMA 3080 Linear Algebra recommended). For the second elective, students may chose CHEM 3410 or 3610 (Pchem) or any 3000 or higher APMA course (APMA 3140 Partial Differential Equations recommended).

Engineering Elective Courses – 6 credit hours

  1. Engineering Elective 1 (3 cr)
  2. Engineering Elective 2 (3 cr)

Students may choose from any 2000-level or above engineering courses with the following exceptions: no course in APMA, STS, or ENGR may be used as engineering electives; no course that counts as a Science Elective may be used as an engineering elective; and no course that fulfills the Engineering Business Minor may be used as an engineering elective.

Technical Elective Courses – 6 credit hours

Technical Elective 1 (3 cr)

Technical Elective 2 (3 cr)

Students may choose any 2000 or higher math, science or engineering courses, unless courses for non-science majors, duplicates required MSE course work, or duplicates another previously taken course. Only up to 2 research-for-credit courses permitted. 

Unrestricted Electives – 9 credit hours

Unrestricted 1 (3 cr)

Unrestricted 2 (3 cr)

Unrestricted 3 (3 cr)

Students may choose from any graded course in the University except mathematics courses below MATH 1310; courses that substantially duplicate any others offered for the degree, including PHYS 2010, PHYS 2020, CS 1010, CS 1020; any introductory programming course. APMA 1090 counts as a three credit unrestricted elective for students.

4th Year Capstone and Thesis:

To provide an opportunity for students to synthesize and apply information gained, all 4th year (senior) engineering undergraduates participate in a Capstone thesis project. Working with faculty members from MSE and Engineering and Society (E&S); students produce a thesis prospectus in the fall, followed by a complete technical thesis in the spring. 

The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. THE UNDERGRADUATE RECORD AND GRADUATE RECORD of the current academic year represents the official repository for academic program requirements.