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New Brunswick Undergraduate Catalog 2022-2024 School of Engineering Programs of Study Materials Science and Engineering Field of Study  

Field of Study

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) has a fascinating history that goes back to 1902 when the School of Ceramics was founded to support the growing ceramics industry in the state. The department provided critical technical support to the U.S. Army during and after World War II, principally in the area of electronic materials. The department expanded into technical engineered ceramics under the leadership of Drs. John Koenig and Malcom G. McLaren in the postwar period. A shift to all types of materials occurred in the 1995-2005 time frame as the department became MSE (officially named in 2007). 

Materials engineers and scientists study the synthesis, processing, and characterization of substances within these general classes of materials: polymers, metals, semiconductors, ceramics, glass, and composites. An understanding of the molecular structure and well-designed processing are the keys to engineering materials with outstanding properties. Novel materials are tailored to meet the needs of targeted applications and become the foundation for all engineering disciplines. Such materials enable many new technologies and are found in various forms in electronics, optics, architecture, transportation, biomedicine, aviation and aerospace, pharmaceuticals, energy generation, environmental engineering, and numerous other industrial systems. Our graduates are in high demand by industry and are employed at excellent salaries by prominent companies. Those going on to graduate school are well prepared and are highly recruited by prestigious graduate schools worldwide. 

Students in the MSE curriculum study the chemical and physical nature of materials at the macro, micro, and nano scales. Early on, students will take courses in crystal chemistry and physics of materials, followed by more focused study of phase equilibria and the measurement of thermal, electrical, and optical properties. The later stages of the curriculum emphasize the intricate but defining relationships between structure, properties, and processing of engineering materials, with emphasis on applications and materials design. In the junior and senior year, undergraduates design their capstone course in preparation for graduate studies or an industrial career in the materials industry in a diverse range of categories that include research, development, marketing, process engineering, and technical sales. 

The MSE program encourages a student to select an area of focus in one of the following areas: biomaterials, nanomaterials, polymers, electronic and optical materials, and energy conversion and storage. This concentration is accomplished via the selection of technical electives in the targeted area and is determined in consultation with a faculty adviser. The MSE faculty is highly regarded in many materials areas, such as biomaterials, photovoltaics, glass, polymers, structural ceramics, composites, nanomaterials, piezoelectric and ferroelectric ceramics, advanced thin-film engineered materials, fiber optics, microelectronics, packaging materials, battery materials, ceramic and metallic surfaces, and materials theory and computational modeling. The department also maintains some of the most advanced materials characterization facilities in the region. 

The undergraduate curriculum leads to a bachelor of science degree in materials science and engineering. The curriculum is designed to allow the student exceptional flexibility in designing a program that fits specific needs, interests, and goals. The curriculum is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

Internship Programs 

Students also may participate in a variety of internship programs ranging from a student technician program to the co-op internship. The co-op internship provides the student with the opportunity to practice and/or apply knowledge and skills in various materials engineering professional environments. This internship is intended to provide a real-world experience to the student's undergraduate studies by integrating prior coursework into a working engineering environment. 

Educational Mission of the Department 
The Mission of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering is to provide qualified students with a relevant education in Materials Science and Engineering preparing them for a productive and rewarding career. While this mission is consistent with the overall mission of the university and the School of Engineering, the department focuses on providing an education that is both learning and practice oriented. With its high faculty-to-student ratio, the department provides unique course options, extensive laboratory experiences, along with research and co-op internships that have adapted to the changing requirement of employers and graduate schools. Through continuous feedback from students, alumni, and employers the department maintains an up-to-date curriculum that emphasizes basic science, engineering, and design. Moreover, the curriculum provides flexibility and diversity in allowing students to select areas of concentration that are in the forefront of technology today.

Educational Objectives

Within the scope of the MSE mission, the objectives of the Materials Science and Engineering program are to produce graduates with an education relevant to current science and engineering and an education that will lead to a productive and rewarding career. Graduates of the program are expected within a few years of graduation to have: used their engineering skills, enhanced through the onset of lifelong learning, to apply innovative solutions to assist in solving critical engineering problems to provide economic, ethical, environmental, and societal value; worked individually or with teams of professionals to provide innovative concepts and technologies that address the scientific or engineering needs of academia, industry, commerce, and society; and demonstrated a track record of professional leadership characterized by scientific or engineering accomplishments and productivity in one or more of the broad industries for which Materials Science and Engineering is the enabling foundation.
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