Skip over navigation

Program in Materials Science and Engineering


Craig B. Arnold

Executive Committee

Craig B. Arnold, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Robert H. Austin, Physics

Jay B. Benziger, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Andrew B. Bocarsly, Chemistry

Bruce E. Koel, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Alejandro W. Rodriguez, Electrical Engineering

Winston O. Soboyejo, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

James C. Sturm, Electrical Engineering

Sits with Committee

Nan Yao, Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials

The certificate Program in Materials Science and Engineering is offered by the Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials (PRISM) and its eight affiliated departments. The program emphasizes the multidisciplinary nature of the study of materials and the engineering application of their properties. The program is designed primarily for students in science and engineering departments who are considering careers in materials, although students from other disciplines may join with appropriate background. Participants in the program will take courses in their own department together with a group of materials courses chosen from a selected list offered by the participating departments. Satisfactory completion of the program is recognized by the award of a certificate in materials science and engineering upon graduation.

Admission to the Program

Admission to the program normally occurs during the sophomore or junior years. Students are expected to have satisfactorily completed a freshman year program that would permit them to enter one of the participating departments. Departments that are currently participating in the certificate program are: chemical and biological engineering, chemistry, civil and environmental engineering, electrical engineering, geosciences, mechanical and aerospace engineering, molecular biology, and physics, although students from other departments can be admitted into the program. Application for admission can be obtained from the undergraduate coordinator. Upon acceptance into the program, the director of undergraduate studies assists students in planning a program of study and research that emphasizes the multidisciplinary nature of the materials arena.

Program of Study

Participants in the program will satisfy the degree requirements for their department as well as the course and independent work requirements for the program. A coherent course of study will be developed in conjunction with the program adviser and the departmental representative and will include materials courses outside the student's department. The program will be designed to expand the student's knowledge of topics essential for the understanding of materials beyond that normally encountered in a single department. In some cases, courses meeting the program requirements will also satisfy the regular requirements of the student's department. Specific program requirements are listed below.

Program Requirements

All program students must:

1. Take one year of general physics (PHY 103, 104, or 105, 106), one term of general chemistry with a laboratory (CHM 201, 202, or 207), one year of mathematics, and a course in thermodynamics, such as CBE 246, ELE 342, MAE 221, CHM 306, or PHY 301. In addition, a course in quantum mechanics is recommended.

2. Take one core course in materials (selected from the following options: MSE 301, CEE 364, and MSE 324) and a course in experimental methods: MSE 302 or CHM 371.

3. Take three additional approved courses at or above the 300 level in at least two different areas from the program list.

4. Write a two-semester senior thesis on a materials topic approved by the program committee.

To remain a member of the program in good standing, and to be awarded the program certificate upon graduation, students must achieve a minimum grade average of B- in program courses. Program courses may not be taken on a pass/D/fail basis.


MSE 301 Materials Science and Engineering   Spring

An introduction to the structure and properties of important current and future materials, including metals, semiconductors, and polymers from an atomic and molecular perspective. Emphasis will be placed on the phase behavior and processing of materials, and on how structures in these materials impact their macroscopic physical, electrical, and thermal properties. Three lectures. L. Loo

MSE 302 Laboratory Techniques in Materials Science and Engineering   Fall STL

Laboratory techniques and structure property relationships in materials. The course includes lectures on the fundamentals and modern applications of materials science, from electrical and mechanical properties to electron microscopy, nanotechnology, polymers, and biomaterials. Corresponding laboratory sessions introduce students to techniques for modification of structure, properties, and function at different length scales. Critical practice in scientific writing, oral presentation, and literature analysis will be featured. Prerequisite: 301 or equivalent. Two 90-minute lectures, one laboratory. J. Sturm, C. Arnold, S. Vyawahare

MSE 324 Structure and Properties of Materials (see MAE 324)

MSE 407 Communicating Science and Technology in the Modern World  

One of the most important skills science and engineering professionals can develop in their career is the ability to communicate their research. This course, aimed at science and engineering students, is not intended to be a journalism course or a teacher education course but rather seeks to familiarize students with concepts and methods to effectively communicate technical content to a wide array of audiences. Practical science communication and educational theories will be examined. Students learn from hands-on methods focusing on interactions with the public, guest lecturers, assigned readings, discussion, and project development. C. Arnold, D. Steinberg

MSE 440 Advanced Mineralogy (see GEO 440)

MSE 455 Mid-Infrared Technologies for Health and the Environment (see ELE 455)