Before you enroll in an online materials engineering program, you need to consider various factors to know if it is the best option.
First, you must understand the campus visitation requirements for each program. Some schools offering an online materials engineering program might ask you to attend an on-campus orientation. Others ask that you attend an on-campus intensive at a regular interval, like once per semester, or once per year. Still, others may ask that you present your capstone project on-campus. Be sure to keep these requirements in mind as you select a program.
Second, while these online programs can be attractive for those with time limitations, they may not be the best option for everyone. For instance, students who do not perform well without support from professors or their peers inside or outside the classroom in group study sessions.
Finally, while there's ample flexibility in an online program in how you structure your learning, it also requires discipline and planning to keep up with coursework and assignments.
Arizona State University’s Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering offers an online master of science program in materials science and engineering. The online format provides flexibility for working professionals.
To apply, applicants must have a bachelor's or master's degree in physical science or engineering from a regionally accredited institution, a grade point average of 3.0, a completed graduate admission application along with the application fee, official transcripts, a personal statement, three letters of recommendation, a current resume, and proof of English language proficiency for applicants whose native language is not English.
This online program prepares students for careers in various areas, including materials science, manufacturing, public sector research and development, and education. The curriculum explores courses such as concepts in materials science; phase transformations, kinetics, and diffusion in solids; advanced materials characterization; electron microscopy; and quantum mechanics: atoms and solids.
Made up of 32 credits, the coursework teaches students about nanomaterials and their energy, security, and sustainability applications. With a dual focus on chemistry and physics, students learn how to improve the properties and performance of materials, which benefits many industries.
At the end of the program, graduates can pursue opportunities in government, tech companies, universities, and research laboratories.
The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) offers an online master of science in engineering in materials science. The prime focus of the program is on the microstructure of solids.
Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution, a GPA of 3.0, a statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, GRE scores (waivers available), and proof of English proficiency (for non-native applicants).
The 36-credit program teaches students how to test, design, and fabricate engineering materials. Some of the courses included in the curriculum are physics of materials; principles of electronic materials processing; science of electronic materials; materials science of thin films; deposition technologies and their applications; fracture of structural materials; advanced composite materials; organic polymer electronic materials; computer simulations of materials; and analytical fracture mechanics.
Some of the techniques students delve into during the program are solidifying homogeneous and composite materials, testing, shaping, and microstructural control.
Columbia University offers an online master of science in materials science and engineering, where students design and produce tech-enabled materials to better understand their properties and structures.
Applicants to the program must have a bachelor's degree in engineering, math, science, or a related field from an accredited institution, a minimum grade point average of 3.0, and GRE scores, among other requirements. Application requirements include three recommendation letters, a current resume, a personal-professional statement, and transcripts. Applicants who have not earned their degree from an institution where the instructional language was English will be required to submit TOEFL or IELTS test scores.
The 30-credit program provides coursework in areas such as crystallography; theory of crystalline materials: phonons; materials thermodynamics and phase diagrams; kinetics of transformations in materials; electronic & magnetic properties of solids; and mechanical behavior of structural materials. Students learn about the relationships between different materials and how they are processed and synthesized. Additionally, they understand UHV sputtering, plasma etching, and recrystallization techniques.
Upon successfully completing the program, graduates can pursue roles such as chemists, physicists, electrical engineers, chemical engineers, mechanical engineers, and scientists.
Purdue University offers an online master of science in engineering with a concentration in materials engineering, which is consistently ranked among the top ten programs of its kind by the U.S. News and World Report.
Admission requirements for this degree include an undergraduate degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program or a program of equivalent quality and standards, a minimum GPA of 3.0, a completed graduate school application form, a statement of purpose, official transcripts, letters of recommendation, an updated resume, and TOEFL scores for international students.
The 30-credit program covers the following topics: an introduction to biomaterials; materials engineering fundamentals; lean manufacturing; microstructural characterization techniques; mechanical properties and behaviors of polymers; and processing structure and properties of steel and aluminum.
Through the program, students develop a solid foundation in materials engineering to pursue advanced studies in the field. They learn biomaterial science principles and analysis of particulate processing operations on a macroscopic and microscopic level. They understand the difference between mass and lean production and become well equipped to construct a value stream analysis for a manufacturing facility.
The program opens up many exciting career opportunities in materials engineering for graduating students.
North Carolina State University offers an online master’s in materials science and engineering (MMSE), where students become experts in materials' structure, modification, and properties.
Applicants to this program must have a bachelor’s degree in materials science and engineering or a related field from an accredited university, a minimum overall undergraduate grade point average of 3.0, three letters of recommendation, transcripts, a statement of purpose, and TOEFL scores for non-native English speakers.
Students in the 30-credit program delve into courses on modern concepts in materials science; nuclear materials; the processing of metallic materials; thermodynamics of materials; materials science of nanoelectronics; and advanced topics in materials science and engineering.
The program teaches students about the properties and selection of materials, improved processing methods, solidification concepts, and properties of composite materials. Graduates of the program can expect to work in materials engineering in a wide range of roles such as ceramic engineer, materials engineer, functional materials engineer, structural materials engineer, and materials development engineer, to name a few.
USC's Viterbi School of Engineering offers a fully online master of science in materials engineering. The online program consists of the same faculty as the on-campus program and students who incline characterization and processing of materials may find the program most valuable.
Admission requirements include the following: an undergraduate degree in engineering, math, or hard science from a regionally-accredited institute, a satisfactory cumulative undergraduate grade point average, official transcripts, a current resume, a personal statement, three letters of recommendation, and TOEFL or IELTS scores for international students whose first language is not English.
The 28-credit program helps students get a headstart in a successful career in materials engineering. Some of the courses included in the curriculum are mechanical behavior of engineering materials; principles of electrochemical engineering; engineering analysis; materials selection; and fatigue and fracture. The coursework focuses on the properties of materials, the mechanical behavior related to the microstructure of materials, and basic strengthening mechanisms.
After completing the program, students can apply for roles in numerous fields including pharmaceuticals, commerce, minerals and environment, oil and gas, and consultancy.
The University of Virginia offers an online master of materials science and engineering (MMSE) degree that is conducted regularly, so students get to study together in an online classroom. For those who miss a lecture, recordings are available for later viewing.
Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree in engineering or related fields from an accredited university, a minimum grade point average of 3.0, three letters of recommendation, and official transcripts. GRE scores are optional.
The 30-credit program provides students with a thorough understanding of engineering materials. Students study courses in the defects and microstructure in materials; the structure and properties of materials; the characterization of materials; magnetism and magnetic materials; and nanomaterials. The program helps students understand the structure of crystalline and non-crystalline engineering materials; the physical, mechanical, and chemical properties of engineering materials; and the magnetism of materials.
Graduates of the program can look forward to career opportunities in public health agencies, environmental agencies, pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, and more.
The University of Central Florida offers an online master’s in material science and engineering program that is nationally recognized by the U.S. News & World Report among the best online graduate engineering programs. Students in this program will learn about discovering fresh uses for existing materials, developing new materials, and creating more efficient processes and machines to speed up development. Their research and studies may include subjects like biomaterials, material stability and degradation, nanomaterials, and much more.
Admission requirements to the program include a bachelor’s degree in materials science and engineering or closely related discipline, one official transcript from each college or university attended, a statement of educational, research, and professional career objectives, and a current resume.
The program comprises 30 credits and includes courses such as metallurgical thermodynamics; materials kinetics; polymer science and engineering; colloids and interface engineering; and intermediate structure and properties of materials, among others. Out of the 30 credits, 15 credits are for required courses, 9 credits for electives, and 6 credits for either a thesis or non-thesis option.
Graduates can take up roles such as manufacturing engineers, materials consultants, materials production researchers, metallurgical engineers, and product or process development scientists.
Katayun Barmak, PhD - Columbia University
Dr. Katayun Barmak is the director of the materials science and engineering program and a professor of applied physics, applied mathematics, materials science, and engineering at Columbia University. Her areas of interest include thermodynamics and kinetics of solid-state reactions, grain structure, and phase transformations.
Before joining Columbia University, Dr. Barmak worked at Carnegie Mellon University. She is a member of professional organizations such as the Materials Research Society, the Minerals, Metals, Materials Society, and the American Physical Society. She has published her research work in acclaimed journals such as the Journal of Applied Physics and the Journal of Alloys and Compounds.
Dr. Barmak has received many honors such as the Edward and Carole Kim Faculty Involvement Award and the Alfred Noble Robinson Award. She completed her doctorate in materials science and master of science in metallurgy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She also holds a master of arts and bachelor of arts in materials science from the University of Cambridge.
Paulo Branicio, PhD - University of Southern California
Dr. Paulo Branicio is an assistant chemical engineering and materials science professor at the University of Southern California in the Viterbi School of Engineering. He teaches classes on materials behavior and processing and the thermodynamics of materials.
Presently, his research interests include materials under extreme conditions, phase change materials, polymers, high-strength ceramics, and cement. His work has been published in top journals including the Journal of Applied Physics, the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, and the Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids.
Dr. Branicio has won several laurels such as the IHPC Independent Investigatorship Award and the Best Poster Award. He earned his doctorate, master's, and bachelor's—all in physics—from the Federal University of Sao Carlos, in Brazil.
Suneel Kodambaka, PhD - University of California, Los Angeles
Dr. Suneel Kodambaka is a materials science and engineering professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He teaches or has taught courses on the principles of nanoscience and nanotechnology, the science of engineering materials, an introduction to materials characterization, and the materials science of semiconductors.
Currently, his research focuses on energy storage, the science of synthesis of advanced materials, and their applications in the areas of aerospace and optoelectronics industries. Dr. Kodambaka's research has been featured in prominent journals, such as Nano Letters and Applied Physics Letters.
Dr. Kodambaka has received several awards, including the Ivan Racheff Award for outstanding graduate research and the Ross J. Martin Award for his outstanding doctoral thesis. He holds his doctorate in materials science and engineering from the University of Illinois, his master of science in mechanical engineering from Southern Illinois University, and his bachelor of technology in metallurgical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology.
This guide profiles 15 outstanding members of faculty in three universities with outstanding materials engineering programs.