MSE at Maryland

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Materials Science and Engineering is a multidisciplinary field focused on generating fundamental and practical knowledge and expertise for understanding and manipulating the structure and the performance of materials. Many major advances in science and technology (e.g. space exploration, renewable energy generation, optic-fiber networking, organ-replacement surgery) have been predicated on advances in underlying materials systems. Breakthroughs in materials science will continue to bring benefits to society – the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) at the University of Maryland, through its education and research programs, will continue to provide leadership and innovation for advancing the discipline.

Quality Education

The UMD Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) provides educational programs at the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. levels. Students in our undergraduate program receive a strong engineering education and become able to design and engineer materials and materials systems in industry, research institutions and government agencies. Our undergraduate program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET (http://www.abet.org). Our graduate programs in Materials Science and Engineering are research-focused and encompass advanced education in the entire spectrum of the field of materials, preparing graduates to address the challenges of next-generation materials technologies and take leadership position in the field.

Cutting-Edge Research

All our faculty members engage in research at the frontier of the field  – providing materials with advanced properties, developing the scientific instruments of tomorrow, and discovering the physics and chemistry principles that govern materials behavior. Our faculty has a strong presence in the Maryland NanoCenter and the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute, and active collaborations with national government laboratories such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, the DOE National Laboratories, the National Institutes of Health, and the Army, Air Force and Navy Research Laboratories.

Facts & Figures

  • Founded in 1950
  • More than $13.5 million in research expenditures in 2018
  • 18 tenure-track faculty
  • Leadership in the Maryland Nanocenter
  • Leadership in the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute
  • Growing undergraduate program
  • Administrator of the Minor for Undergraduates in Nanoscale Science & Technology
  • Enrollment: 130 (Fall 2018)
  • Female students: 25% (2018)
  • Degrees awarded: 38 (Spring 2018)
  • Enrollment: 75 (Fall 2018)
  • Female students: 27 % (Spring 2018)
  • Degrees awarded: 21 (Spring 2018)
Clark School Facts & Figures

Meet the Chair

Ji-Cheng "JC" Zhao

Professor Ji-Cheng "JC" Zhao joined the UMD Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) as its new Chair on July 1, 2019. Dr. Zhao came to UMD from The Ohio State University (OSU) where he has served as professor and associate chair of research in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering for over 10 years. Prior to his tenure at OSU, Zhao was a materials scientist and project leader at GE Global Research in Schenectady, New York. From 2014 - 2017, he took a leave from OSU to serve as a program director at the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), returning to OSU in fall, 2017.

Currently a Fellow of the American Society of Materials International (ASM) and of the Materials Research Society (MRS), Zhao's research focuses are on high-throughput materials science methodologies, determination of phase diagrams and other materials properties, computational thermodynamics, and design of advanced alloys and coatings.

In addition to many materials innovations, Zhao pioneered the development of a diffusion-multiple approach and co-developed several associated materials property microscopy tools for accelerated materials discovery and development. The invention of ultrafast laser materials property microscopy by the Zhao-Cahill team was recognized as one of eight finalists for the 2018 Berthold Leibinger Innovationspreis - the highest remunerated prizes dedicated to laser technology innovations.

Zhao holds 48 issued U.S. patents and was the 2001 winner of the prestigious Hull Award from GE Global Research with a citation “for his leadership skills in advancing innovative, state-of-the-art development methodologies that aim to decrease cycle time for materials discovery while increasing robustness of the work. He was also recognized for his expertise and leadership regarding the critical nature of coatings and high temperature materials, and for his enormous energy and perseverance in solving real business challenges.”

Most recently, Dr. Zhao elected to serve on the Board of Trustees of ASM International for the 2019-2022 term.  


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