Materials Science and Engineering is widely recognized as one of the most promising technical fields of the 21st century.

Materials scientists and engineers specialize in the characterization, development, processing, and use of metallic, ceramic, polymeric, and electronic materials that are employed in all fields of technology. To meet the needs of our modern technological society, they are developing important new materials. These include ultra-high-purity semiconductors for solid-state electronic devices; high-strength alloys for use at the extreme temperatures encountered in jet and rocket engines; strong, light alloys and composites for aerospace applications; specialized glasses and ceramics with high thermal, mechanical and chemical stability; and a host of polymeric materials: some with unique functional characteristics and others which replace metal, glass, wood and natural fibers in dozens of applications.

The future role of materials scientists and engineers promises to be even more important in addressing the current societal challenges such as energy shortage, clean energy, environment and sustainability, health care, transportation, national infrastructure and defense. Materials scientists and engineers are rising to this challenge through innovative approaches involving computational and data-driven design, development of novel materials, advanced characterization, and novel processing. They are also actively engaged in reducing the impact of modern society on our environment. They are at the forefront of recycling technologies and more energy-efficient ways of processing materials. 

A tremendous range of career opportunities exist for Materials Science and Engineering graduates who are employed in research, development, and manufacturing. They support the creation of new materials and processes or the improvement of old ones with the aim of tailoring properties to applications. Often the work involves cooperating with mechanical, chemical, aeronautical, automotive and other types of engineers in selecting appropriate materials in the design of various devices, evaluating the performance of materials in service, and determining the causes and cures for in-service failures. We also prepare our graduates for all kinds of supervisory, research, teaching, and management activities. 

The undergraduate major and minor programs in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan have been carefully designed to prepare students for all the activities described above, as well as for supervisory, research, teaching, and management responsibilities. Thanks to its flexibility, students have an opportunity to tailor their program of study to their own interests or continue their academic work to acquire a master’s or doctoral degree. 

Department Administration

Department Chair
Elizabeth Holm
Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Chair, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, College of Engineering
3062B HH Dow Building

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