Information for Students
What is Materials Science?
Materials science addresses the challenges of creating and using new materials for the 21st century. Advanced materials play a critical role in the modern economy where they are used in a wide range of applications, from high technology to everyday products. They include metals and alloys, ceramics, semiconductors, polymers and composites. Materials science is the study of these materials, their properties and uses.
Professionals trained in materials science are sought after by Northwest companies ranging from aerospace to biotechnology, microelectronics, nanotechnology, clean energy, defense, and transportation. The materials science and engineering program at WWU teaches students a balanced understanding of fundamental concepts and principles with practical applications and useful skills.
A good source of information about careers in materials science and engineering is available from the Sloan Career Cornerstone Center.
Interdisciplinary Minor Degree in Materials Science
Starting fall 2008, students can enroll in a new Materials Science minor degree program. This new minor is designed to prepare highly trained professionals ready for graduate study or employment in industry. It is intended to complement a traditional science or engineering technology major by teaching fundamental principles of how materials are made, how they behave, how their properties are measured and quantified, and how they are used in practical applications. Courses will be taught by faculty from several departments, providing a broad, interdisciplinary perspective.
The Materials Science minor at Western complements major degree programs such as chemistry, engineering technology, geology, and physics by providing an interdisciplinary perspective preparing graduates to work at the boundaries between disciplines. Students electing the minor begin their studies in a four course sequence teaching fundamental concepts and practical skills in materials preparation and characterization (MSCI 201, 320, 330 and 410). These courses are taught by faculty from several departments and involve a variety of facilities and instrumentation. Topics covered include: chemical, mechanical, electronic, and optical properties; polymers and composites, engineering alloys and ceramics, semiconductors and nanomaterials; and applications of materials in modern contexts such as photovoltaics, fuel cells, microelectronics, and geomaterials.
The minor culminates with a capstone experience involving six credits of intensive research under the guidance of an AMSEC faculty mentor or an internship with a partner company. The research experience or internship is usually performed in the junior or senior year, although for students who become involved in research earlier, it may in some cases be part of a longer term project. Students should consult with the program advisor for assistance in arranging their experience. The capstone practicum is intended to provide opportunities to apply concepts learned in the classroom and laboratory, preparing professionals ready for graduate study or employment in industry.
How do I get started?
To learn how the materials science minor can pair with your major visit our Advising page.
Ready to Apply?
To apply please complete the Materials Science Minor Application.
Kaiser-Borsari Scholarship for Women in Materials Science
The College of Science and Engineering is pleased to offer the Kaiser-Borsari Scholarship for Women in Materials Science. The Kaiser-Borsari Scholarship supports female undergraduates majoring in a science or engineering technology discipline and conducting research in materials science under the direction of an AMSEC faculty member. The typical award is $5,000.
AMSEC Graduate TA positions
AMSEC typically offers two full-time graduate TA positions every year.