What Is Materials Science and Engineering (MSE, MatSci)?

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Materials science and engineering (MSE, or MatSci) combines engineering, physics and chemistry, and uses them to solve real-world problems in nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, energy, manufacturing, and other major engineering fields. Materials scientists may work with biotechnology and biomaterials, ceramics, energy, liquid crystals, metals, metamaterials, plasma, polymers, semiconductors, nanotechnology, or composites.

Undergraduates who major in MSE at the University of Maryland tailor their education by choosing a specialization area that covers one or more of these topics.

Materials scientists make the materials that make everything better!

making stuff
Watch "Making Stuff," NOVA's 4-part series in which New York Times columnist David Pogue demonstrates the materials that have shaped history and those that may influence our future. Learn More »

Everything is made of something. Other branches of engineering rely on materials scientists and engineers for the ingredients used to design and manufacture things like safer cars with better gas mileage, faster computers with bigger hard drives, smaller electronics, threat-detecting sensors, alternative energy products, and better medical devices (just to name a few!). MSE is the field that leads these discoveries and development processes. Materials scientists even work in museums, helping to analyze, preserve and restore artifacts and art.

Explore Materials Science and Engineering!

Browse our "What Is MSE?" menu or begin with Biotechnology and Biomaterials »


Learn in person!

If you attend one of our undergraduate Visit Maryland Days or a Materials Science and Engineering Open House, you can learn more about the department and major, tour our facilities, and see materials demos in person! 

(Prospective graduate students, please e-mail msegrad@umd.edu to schedule a visit.)


For more information about materials science and engineering online: