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The Bronze Age. The Stone Age. We wouldn’t have such metallic names for eras like these if materials weren’t so important to our daily lives. Materials Science is a major that explores these materials in-depth. You’ll learn about the structure and properties of materials, and the relationships between them. You’ll learn what controls and affects internal structures, and the processes that can alter them. Why materials act the way they do will be one area of concentration; how materials are processed will be another. You’ll also learn how to produce new materials, and the variety of uses for existing ones.

You’ll study a great deal of physics and chemistry in this major, and you’ll be immersed in a great deal of laboratory work. You’ll learn how to apply mathematics to your studies, and you’ll do a lot of problem solving using your newfound skills. Communications technology, the computer industry, and biotechnology are just a few of the modern fields that require the expertise of materials scientists and engineers.

As a Materials Science major, you’ll become skilled at identifying, characterizing, manufacturing, designing, and processing many materials we use in our everyday life. Cornell University suggests that we are living in the “Materials Age,” so you can be confident that your major will lead to an exciting career.


  • Calculus

  • Engineering Graphics

  • Engineering Mechanics

  • Fracture and Fatigue of Engineering Materials

  • Imperfections in Crystalline Solids

  • Mechanics of Composites

  • Micromechanics

  • Physics

  • Statistics

  • Stress Analysis

  • Transmission Electron Microscopy

  • Waves and Diffraction in Solids


To prepare for a major in Materials Science, try to take a variety of math and science courses. Physics and chemistry courses will be especially helpful, and make sure your math is upper-level, like calculus, trigonometry, and analytic geometry. Don’t forget your English classes—good engineers must also be good communicators.