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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

Earth and Mineral Sciences

46-01-021 Change. Add Entrance Requirements. Changes indicated by underlining.

Effective Date: Spring Semester 2018

Materials Science and Engineering

University Park, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (MATSE)

PROFESSOR GARY L. MESSING, Head, Department of Materials Science and Engineering
PROFESSOR R. ALLEN KIMEL, Associate Head of Undergraduate Studies, Materials Science and Engineering

Materials, like ceramics, metals, polymers, and composites, are critical to the growth and success of many industries and key to most engineering disciplines. Graduates of Materials Science and Engineering are employed, or proceed to graduate studies, in many fields such as energy, medicine, sustainability, electronics, communications, transportation, aerospace, defense, and infrastructure industries.

The mission of the department is to provide students with a well-rounded engineering education, with specific emphasis on materials science and engineering in order to meet the needs of industry, academia, and government; to conduct research at the frontiers of the field; and to provide an integrating and leadership role to the broad multidisciplinary materials community.

The integration of knowledge and skills acquired during the course of study in the Materials Science and Engineering program provides graduates with the following student outcomes:

      a) Graduates will be able to apply knowledge of mathematics and advanced science and engineering principles to materials systems.

      b) Graduates will be able to design and conduct experiments and to analyze and interpret data.

      c) Graduates will be able to design a process, a microstructure, or a component to satisfy system needs.

      d) Graduates will be able to function on multi-disciplinary teams.

      e) Graduates will be able to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems.

      f) Graduates will understand professional and ethical responsibility.

      g) Graduates will be able to communicate effectively, both in writing and in speech.

      h) Graduates will possess the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context.

      i) Graduates will recognize the need for, and be able to engage in, lifelong learning.

      j) Graduates will have a knowledge of contemporary issues.

      k) Graduates will be able to use the experimental, analytical, statistical, and computational tools for engineering practice in the materials discipline.

      l) Graduates will be able to apply the fundamental principles underlying and connecting the structure, processing, properties, and performance of materials systems.

The educational objectives of the undergraduate program are embedded into our mission statement. We will provide and maintain a curriculum that will prepare our recent graduates to accomplish the following Program Educational Objectives:

  1. Our graduates provide science and engineering leadership in international industrial, governmental, and academic settings, while serving both their profession and the public.
  2. Our graduates are innovators in a wide variety of technical fields including, but not limited to, materials, energy, electronics, medicine, communications, transportation, and recreation.
  3. Our graduates excel in careers relating to the entire life cycle of materials, from synthesis and processing, through design and development, to manufacturing, performance, reclamation, and recycling.
  4. Our graduates engage in lifelong learning activities which enhance their careers and provide flexibility to respond to changing professional and societal needs.

We achieve these objectives by providing a rigorous but flexible curriculum that allows the student to design their degree in materials science and engineering to achieve their specific academic and professional career interests.

In addition to the cutting edge curriculum, we provide many opportunities to strengthen the student's undergraduate studies through research experiences. For example, over 60% of the undergraduates are members of a research group and participate in the extensive materials research programs at Penn State. Further, we provide opportunities for International Internships in Materials, where our students go abroad to perform research at one of the many internationally recognized partner universities in Europe and Asia.

The B.S. degree in Materials Science and Engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, Inc., 111 Market Place, Suite 1050, Baltimore, MD 21202-4012, telephone: 410.347.7700 or

Entrance to Major Requirements: In order to be eligible for entrance to the Materials Science and Engineering major, a student must have: 1) Attained at least a 2.00 cumulative grade-point average. 2) Completed CHEM 110 GN(3), CHEM 111 GN(1), CHEM 112 GN(3), CHEM 113 GN(1), MATH 140 GQ(4), MATH 141 GQ(4), MATH 220(2) and PHYS 211(4); earned a grade of C or better in each of these courses; and earned a combined grade point average of at least 2.50 in these courses. (Note: If courses are repeated, only the higher grade will be used in this calculation.)

For the B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering, a minimum of 131 credits is required. This baccalaureate program in Materials Science and Engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, Inc.,

Scheduling Recommendation by Semester Standing given like (Sem: 1-2)

(24 of these 45 credits are included in the REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR)
(See description of General Education in front of Bulletin. Note: The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) does not permit the use of skills courses to satisfy the Arts category of General Education.)


(Included in GENERAL EDUCATION course selection)


(This includes 24 credits of General Education courses: 9 credits of GN courses; 6 credits of GQ courses; 9 credits of GWS courses.)

CHEM 110 GN(3), CHEM 111 GN(1), CHEM 113 GN(1), CHEM 202 GN(3), CMPSC 200 GQ(3), EMSC 100 GWS(3)[71], MATH 140G GQ(4), MATH 141G GQ(4), MATH 220 GQ(2), MATH 231(2), MATH 251(4), MATSE 112 GN(3), PHYS 211 GN(4), PHYS 212 GN(4), IE 424(3) (Sem: 1-4)
MATSE 201(3)[1], MATSE 202(3)[1], MATSE 413 GN(3) (Sem: 3-4)
ENGL 202C GWS(3), MATSE 400(3)[1], MATSE 401(3)[1], MATSE 402(3)[1], MATSE 419(3), MATSE 430(3)[1], MATSE 436(3), MATSE 460(1), MATSE 462(1), MATSE 492(3)[1] (Sem: 5-6)

ENGL 15 GWS(3) or ENGL 30 GWS(3) (Sem: 1-4)
Select 3 or 6 credits from Synthesis and Processing: MATSE 411(3), MATSE 422(3), MATSE 425(3), MATSE 441(3), MATSE 448(3), MATSE 450(3) (Sem: 6-8)
Select 3 or 6 credits from Structure and Characterization: MATSE 410(3), MATSE 415(3), MATSE 421(3), MATSE 444(3), MATSE 445(3), MATSE 455(3) (Sem: 6-8)
Select 3 or 6 credits from Properties: MATSE 412(3), MATSE 417(3), MATSE 435(3), MATSE 446(3), MATSE 447(3) (Sem: 6-8)
Select 1 credit from Processing Laboratory: MATSE 463(1), MATSE 468(1), MATSE 472(1), MATSE 474(1) (Sem: 7)
Select 3 credits from Senior Capstone Experience: MATSE 493(3) or MATSE 494W(3) (Sem: 7-8)

Select 12 credits of approved Science or Engineering Elective courses in consultation with advisor (Sem: 6-8)

[1] A student enrolled in this major must receive a grade of C or better, as specified in Senate Policy 82-44.
[71] The following substitutions are allowed for students attending campuses where the indicated course is not offered: CAS 100 GWS or ENGL 202C GWS can be substituted for EMSC 100 GWS.

Last Revised by the Department: Fall Semester 2017

Blue Sheet Item #: 46-01-021

Review Date: 8/22/2017

UCA Revision #1: 8/9/06
UCA Revision #2: 7/30/07



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