University of California, Riverside

Materials Science and Engineering

MS&E Program Overview


Education in Materials Science and Engineering

Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) is concerned with the study of the structure, properties and applications of materials. The foundations of materials science and engineering are the basic sciences of physics, chemistry, and mathematics. An engineer working with the great variety of materials responses at the electrical, optical, magnetic, mechanical, and chemical levels must have a solid scientific foundation and breadth of basic knowledge from the physical sciences and engineering.

Many applications today require broad-based materials knowledge. A materials engineer may specialize in a specific class of materials (magnetic materials, nanostructured materials, polymers, biological materials, etc.) or a specific area of materials science (electrical properties, mechanical properties, materials processing, materials testing, etc.), but should possess a broad background in materials science and engineering. Increased emphasis on cost, weight, and size reduction, while still improving product performance, creates challenges for monolithic materials, and opportunities for composites, nanostructures and other new materials. Miniaturization of components frequently is limited by the interactions of dissimilar materials at a microscopic and nanometer scale. A materials engineer must be able to optimize the overall performance of complex systems involving several materials. [back to top]

Materials Science and Engineering at the University of California - Riverside

In 2007, the Bourns College of Engineering (BCOE) established a new program and started to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in Materials Science and Engineering. The MSE program at UCR aims to provide fundamental knowledge for understanding of materials with the objective of predicting, modifying, and tailoring the properties of materials to achieve enhanced performance of the materials and devices based on these materials. This degree program is administered by the Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) Committee in Charge, which consists of Professor Alexander A. Balandin (Department of Electrical Engineering), Professor Cengiz Ozkan (Department of Mechanical Engineering), Professor Nosang Myung (Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering), Professor Mart Molle (Department of Computer Science and Engineering) and Professor Valentine Vullev (Department of Bioengineering). The committee is chaired by Professor Balandin.

The Committee in Charge, which consists of the representatives of each department in the Bourns College of Engineering, has the responsibility for approval and management of the Materials Science and Engineering courses. The teaching faculty for this interdepartmental program is drawn from the College of Engineering. The courses included in the MSE major curriculum have either MSE subject abbreviation or the department subject abbreviation, e.g., ME, CEE, EE, etc. Each department of the College of Engineering offers a focus area within the MSE program through a set of technical electives (TE), which emphasize a certain aspect of materials science and engineering.

During the first two years the students take general education courses (mathematics; physics; chemistry; breadth requirements) and the lower-division courses offered by the participating departments. A dedicated MSE course offered during the freshman year (MSE 1: Fundamentals of Materials Science and Engineering), introduces the students to the basics of the materials science and engineering. During the third year, the students take the materials core courses. The core courses are offered jointly by all departments. [back to top]
B.S. degree major requirements
Suggested course plan

Materials Science and Engineering as an Interdisciplinary Field

The MSE program at the Bourns College of Engineering is truly interdisciplinary, cutting across departmental and collegiate lines. The faculty members from various departments and with different backgrounds participate in the program. BCOE has a substantial number of faculty members who carry out experimental, theoretical and computational research in materials science and engineering. The MSE program is synergetic with the campus interdisciplinary nanotechnology efforts and investments. The MSE program at UCR is very different from the existing materials programs in other UC campuses and nearby universities. It is the only undergraduate program that involves all departments of the College of Engineering. The program structure implemented at UCR emphasizes the interdisciplinary nature of the field and encourages interdepartmental cooperation.

The students enrolled in the MSE program benefit from the unique research facilities existing and currently under development at UCR. These facilities include the materials synthesis and characterization resources available in the Department of Bioengineering, Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Department of Electrical Engineering and the Department of Mechanical Engineering. The Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) and the Central Facility for Advanced Microscopy and Microanalysis (CFAMM) offer additional instrumentation, which can be used in the student training. Modern materials science and engineering involves a substantial computational component, i.e., computational materials science. The MSE students benefit from the computational resources available in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Department of Electrical Engineering, and the campus-wide computational facilities.  [back to top]

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

College Information

Bourns College of Engineering
313 Materials Science & Engineering Building

Tel: (951) 827-3383
Fax: (951) 827-3188x

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