Why Study Materials Science at the UW

A Revolutionary and Interdisciplinary Field

The world is in the middle of a materials revolution. Materials science and engineering has transformed every aspect of modern living. Advances in engineered materials are crucial to the continued vitality of countless industries. Our department is at the heart of this revolution.

Advances in materials have preceded almost every major technological leap since the beginning of civilization.

Materials science and engineering is an interdisciplinary field. We explore the scientific fundamentals of materials, their design and their processing for real world applications. We apply the basic principles of chemistry and physics to understand the structure and properties of materials. We design processes to manipulate materials to meet the needs of modern technology.

Advances in materials have preceded almost every major technological leap since the beginning of civilization. Examples of our current research include:


  • Developing biomaterials for tissue engineering
  • Ceramics for energy applications
  • Composites and metals for aerospace
  • Computational techniques for materials development
  • Eco-materials for green technologies
  • Genetically engineered molecules and semiconductors for electronics
  • Magnetic materials for information storage/processing, biomedicine and energy conversion
  • Polymers for telecommunications and solar energy


A focus on nanotechnology drives many of our current research efforts and we are a core partner in several collaborative research centers.


Preparing our students for the wide variety of jobs that await them is our highest priority. Our graduates find employment in the aerospace, automotive, biomedical, chemical, construction, electronics, energy and telecommunication industries. We are proud to lay the foundations for successful careers in many sectors of the economy, from academia to industry.

An Accredited, Successful Department

We offer an ABET-accredited Bachelor of Science (BS) program. The department has graduated the highest number of undergraduate students per faculty member among materials-related peer departments nationwide. We offer undergraduate students a highly personal and experience-driven learning environment. Unique aspects of our program include the following:


  • active student professional organizations
  • several scholarships
  • a diverse student body
  • small class size
  • hands-on, team-based learning
  • undergraduate research projects
  • a combined BS/MS program for well-qualified undergraduate students


We plan to upgrade our undergraduate learning labs to help prepare the next generation of materials scientists and engineers for career opportunities in the 21st century.

Student Demographics

  • 114 bachelor’s degrees awarded from 2005 to 2008
  • 89 undergraduates enrolled in 2008
    20% women, 7% international students, 2% underrepresented minorities


Our undergraduate students won a variety of awards and scholarships between 2005 and 2008, including several NSF undergraduate research fellowships, UWEB scholarships, UW Mary Gates Scholars, Washington Promise scholarships, SAMPE scholarships, a NASA Space Grant, a National Defense Medal and regular first-place finishes in national bridge- and wing-building and ceramic mug-drop competitions.

Contact Us

MSE Advising

Undergrad Academic Adviser
Sandra Maddox
302A Roberts Hall
(206) 616-6581

Graduate Academic Adviser
302 Roberts Hall
(206) 543-2740