Materials Science and Engineering Program

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2015-16 Materials Science & Engineering UG Program (BS, MIN)

  • UG Director: Paul McIntyre,
  • Student Services: Kevin Gribble, 111A Durand,
  • Department Chair: Robert Sinclair

Materials Science and Engineering (MSE/MATSCI) essential to the practice of engineering and technology as all facets of engineering depend critically on the materials utilized for specific applications, ranging from semiconductors for computer chips to polymers for new electronic devices. One important goal of this work involves the development of processes for altering the structure of materials and thereby controlling their properties. This field brings together, in a unified discipline, developments in Physics, Chemistry and Biology that can be, and in fact are, applied to modern materials of technological, engineering, and scientific significance. Materials scientists and engineers utilize a distinctive suite of characterization techniques such as advanced electron microscopes that probe materials structure down to the atomic level. Moreover, our faculty is becoming increasingly involved with nano-technology, energy-related materials and bio-chemical processing.

Students who are interested in both science and its application to important technological problems should consider a career in Materials Science and Engineering. The Undergraduate Program n Materials Science and Engineering provides basic training for those who wish to become materials engineers, and it provides a foundation for more advanced work in the field. Such advanced study enables students to respond effectively to technological change. Able undergraduate Materials Science and Engineering students are encouraged to take at least one year of graduate study in the Stanford Coterminal degree program (see Chapter 7, Other Degree Programs) to extend their coursework and to obtain training in research. Conterminal degree programs are also recommended for any related undergraduate majors. Current research strengths of the department include nano-scale materials, bio-materials, energy and environmental materials, transmission electron microscopy, microelectronic materials science, structure and properties of thin film materials, semiconductors, magnetic materials, photovoltaic and photonic materials, metamaterials, mechanics and mechanical properties of solids, synthesis and applications of nanostructured materials, and computer modeling of materials behavior and processing of metals and alloys.

Major Requirements for MSE UGs

On the School of Engineering (SoE) side, mathematics is required through MATH 51 and 52, (or CME 100/ENGR154 and CME 104/ENGR155B); AND MATH 53 (or CME 102/ENGR155A). Science consists of a full year of either physics or chemistry, with a quarter of study in the other subject. One Technology in Society (TIS) course, and three engineering fundamental courses, with one of the ENGR 50 options required, wrap up the SoE requirements.

On the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE depth) side, the core curriculum is made up of the MATSCI 150 series of lecture courses that are designed primarily for undergraduate students, and the MATSCI 190 series that represents more advanced courses. Four of the core courses, MATSCI 153, 154, 155 and 157, are required out of the six for the MSE Fundamentals. The curriculum also provides much needed research exposure to the students through the MATSCI 160 series of laboratory courses, of which four are required for the MSE Depth. Students will also choose one Focus Area Option for more in-depth study from ten option groups of courses.

Please note that undergraduates may complete a major in Materials Science and Engineering using the requirements in any one handbook that is published while they are undergraduates.

Research Experience for Undergraduates

It is possible for students to participate in current research projects with the department faculty and their research groups. The department plans to continue its summer research program through a grant from the School of Engineering/Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education (VPUE) in the 2014-2015 year. Information about individual programs may be obtained from the MSE department home page. Arrangements may also be made by direct consultation with the relevant professor.
Students who wish to receive further information about the programs in Materials Science and Engineering should contact Prof Sinclair or Kevin Gribble.

Program Requirements

School of Engineering (SoE) Requirements
This set of requirements is monitored by the SoE and is required for all engineering majors. Petitions to transfer credit, deviate from the requirements, or approve appropriate AP credit must be made to the SoE Dean’s Office of Student Affairs in 135 Huang (details Petitions page).

Mathematics and Science (40 units combined, minimum)
◦ Math (20 units minimum): Must include

  • CME100/ENGR 154 or MATH 51
  • CME 104/ENGR 155B or MATH 52
  • CME 102/ENGR 155A or MATH 53
  • 1 additional course (see Approved Courses page for list of approved Mathematics and Statistics courses)

◦ Science (20 units minimum): Must include a

  • Full year of either physics or chemistry
  • At least one quarter of study in the other subject. AP credit is also acceptable and must be approved by the Dean’s office (see “Approved Courses” page of this website for courses that fulfill the science requirement)

Technology in Society (One course; 3-5 units)
See the “Approved Courses” page of this website for courses that fulfill the TIS requirement.

Engineering (SoE) Fundamentals (Three courses minimum)

  • ENGR 50 or 50E or 50M. Introduction to Materials Science
  • Two electives from the list of SoE Fundamentals courses on Approved Courses page (may not use a second E 50 course as an elective)

Departmental Requirements: MSE Fundamentals, Depth, & Focus Area Options

These requirements are specified and monitored by the department of Materials Science and Engineering. Petitions for exceptions must be made to the department. The MATSCI 150 series represents a stand-alone curriculum, which is recommended for undergraduates. The 190 series courses are advanced level courses, which may be substituted for the equivalent 150 series courses or can be taken as follow-on courses.


All of the following courses:

  • MATSCI 153 Nanostructure and Characterization (required) 4 units
  • MATSCI 154 Thermodynamic Evaluation of Green Energy Technologies^ (required) 4 units
  • MATSCI 155 Nanomaterials Synthesis (required) 4 units
  • MATSCI 157 Quantum Mechanics of Nanoscale Materials (required) 4 units

Two of the following courses:

  • Undergraduate Core Courses
    • ENGR 50/50E/50M Introduction to Materials Science ^^ 4 units
    • MATSCI 151 Microstructure and Mechanical Properties 4 units
    • MATSCI 152 Electronic Materials Engineering 4 units
    • MATSCI 156 Solar Cells, Fuel Cells, and Batteries: Materials for the Energy Solution 4 units
  • Advanced Level Courses:
    • MATSCI 190 Organic and Biological Materials 4 units
    • MATSCI 192 Materials Chemistry 4 units
    • MATSCI 193 Atomic Arrangements in Solids 4 units
    • MATSCI 194 Thermodynamics and Phase Equilibria 4 units
    • MATSCI 195 Waves and Diffraction in Solids 4 units
    • MATSCI 196 Imperfections in Crystalline Solids 4 units
    • MATSCI 197 Rate Processes in Materials 4 units
    • MATSCI 198 Mechanical Properties of Materials 4 units
    • MATSCI 199 Electronic and Optical Properties of Solids 4 units

^ ENGR 30 can be substituted for MATSCI 154, but cannot be used for both the SoE fundamentals and MSE fundamentals requirements. No petition is required for this substitution as long as a student’s overall units (including SoE Fundamentals and all MSE requirements) total 60 or more units

^^ Students may choose to count a second ENGR 50/50E/50M course (one must be taken as a SoE fundamental requirement) as part of the MSE fundamental requirements.


One of the following courses:

  • MATSCI 161 Nanocharacterization Laboratory (satisfies WIM requirement) 4 units
  • MATSCI 164 Electronic & Photonic Materials and Devices Lab (satisfies WIM req’t) 4 units

Three of the following courses:

  • MATSCI 160 Nanomaterials Laboratory 4 units
  • MATSCI 162 X-Ray Diffraction Laboratory 4 units
  • MATSCI 163 Mechanical Behavior Laboratory 4 units
  • MATSCI 165 Nanoscale Materials Physics Computation Laboratory 4 units



  • BIOE 220 Imaging Anatomy 3 units
  • BIOE 281 Biomechanics of Movement 3 units
  • BIOE 284A/B Cardiovascular Bioengineering 3-6 units
  • BIOE 333 Interfacial Phenomena and Bionanotechnology 3 units
  • BIOE 381 Orthopaedic Bioengineering 3 units
  • MATSCI 190 Organic and Biological Materials 4 units
  • MATSCI 380 Nano-Biotechnology 3 units
  • MATSCI 381 Biomaterials in Regenerative Medicine 3 units
  • MATSCI 382 Bio-Chips, Imaging, and Nanomedicine 3 units

Chemical Engineering

  • CHEM 171 Physical Chemistry 3 units
  • CHEMENG 130 Separation Processes 3 units
  • CHEMENG 140 Microelectronics Processing Technology 3 units
  • CHEMENG 150 Biochemical Engineering 3 units
  • CHEMENG 160 Polymer Science and Engineering 3 units


  • CHEM 151 Inorganic Chemistry I, 3 units
  • CHEM 153 Inorganic Chemistry II, 3 units
  • CHEM 171 Physical Chemistry I, 3 units
  • CHEM 173 Physical Chemistry II, 3 units
  • CHEM 175 Physical Chemistry III, 3 units
  • CHEM 181 Biochemistry I, 3 units
  • CHEM 183 Biochemistry II, 3 units
  • CHEM 185 Biochemistry III, 3 units

Electronic & Photonics

  • EE 101A Circuits I, 4 units
  • EE 101B Circuits II, 4 units
  • EE 102A Signal Processing and Linear Systems I, 4 units
  • EE 102B Signal Processing and Linear Systems II, 4 units
  • EE 116 Semiconductor Device Physics 3 units
  • EE 134 Introduction to Photonics 4 units
  • EE 136 Introduction to Nanophotonics and Nanostructures 3 units
  • EE 141 Engineering Electromagnetics 4 units
  • MATSCI 343 Organic Semiconductors for Electronics and Photonics 3 units

Energy Technology

  • EE 293B Fundamentals of Energy Processes 3 units
  • MATSCI 156 Solar Cells, Fuel Cells, and Batteries: Materials for the Energy Solution 3 units
  • MATSCI 302 Solar Cells 3 units
  • MATSCI 303 Principles, Materials, and Devices of Batteries 3 units
  • ME 260 Fuel Cell Science Technology 3 units

Materials Characterization Techniques

  • MATSCI 320 Nanocharacterization of Materials 3 units
  • MATSCI 321 Transmission Electron Microscopy 3 units
  • MATSCI 322 Transmission Electron Microscopy Lab 3 units
  • MATSCI 323 Thin Film and Interface Microanalysis 3 units
  • MATSCI 326 X-Ray Science and Techniques 3 units

Mechanical Behavior & Design

  • AA 240A Analysis of Structures, 3 units
  • AA 240B Analysis of Structures, 3 units
  • AA 256 Mechanics of Composites 3 units
  • MATSCI 198 Mechanical Properties of Materials 4 units
  • MATSCI 358 Fracture and Fatigue of Engineering Materials 3 units
  • ME 80 OR CEE 101A Mechanics of Materials 4 units
  • ME 203 Design and Manufacturing 4 units
  • ME 294 Medical Device Design 3 units


  • BIOE 333 Interfacial Phenomena and Bionanotechnology 3 units
  • EE 136 Introduction to Nanophotonics and Nanostructures 3 units
  • ENGR 240 Introduction to Micro and Nano Electromechanical Systems 3 units
  • MATSCI 316 Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology 3 units
  • MATSCI 320 Nano-characterization of Materials 3 units
  • MATSCI 346 Nanophotonics 3 units
  • MATSCI 347 Introduction to Magnetism and Magnetic Nanosctructures 3 units
  • MATSCI 380 Nano-Biotechnology 3 units


  • PHYSICS 70 Foundations of Modern Physics 4 units
  • PHYSICS 110 Intermediate Mechanics 4 units
  • PHYSICS 120 Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism I 4 units
  • PHYSICS 121 Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism II 4 units
  • PHYSICS 130 Quantum Mechanics I 4 units
  • PHYSICS 131 Quantum Mechanics II 4 units
  • PHYSCIS 134 Advanced Topics in Quantum Mechanics 4 units
  • PHYSICS 170 Thermodynamics, Kinetic Theory & Statistical Mechanics I 4 units
  • PHYSICS 171 Thermodynamics, Kinetic Theory & Statistical Mechanics II 4 units
  • PHYSICS 172 Solid State Physics 3 units

Self-Defined Area (10 units minimum)

  • Student may petition for approval of a self-defined option containing a minimum of 10 units that comprise a cohesive program of study.

^^^ If the focus area option contains only 9 units, but the combined unit total is at 60 or more, it will be allowed and no petition is necessary


Combined units from the following group of courses must total a minimum of 60 units. Units cannot be counted under more than one category.
SoE Fundamentals 10-14 units
MSE Fundamentals 24 units
MSE Depth 16 units
Focus Area Options^^^ 10 units

By adding these 60 units to the 40 required math and science units and the minimum of 3 units for the Technology in Society course, your Materials Science undergraduate major program will require a minimum of 103 units of the 180 you need to graduate. Your advanced placement math and science units from high school may count toward the 40 units of basic math and science, thereby allowing you more electives during your Stanford career.

Declaring a Major in Materials Science & Engineering

  • Enter your major declaration for Materials Science & Engineering in Axess (see Note 1)
  • Notify the department of your major declaration by sending an email to You may submit your advisor preference at this time. An advisor will be assigned to you if you have no preference.
  • Download and complete the MSE Program Sheet from the Program Sheet page of this website. When completing the Program Sheet, include courses you plan to take as well as those you have already taken. Print your unofficial Stanford transcript from Axess and attach to your Program Sheet.
  • Meet with your major advisor to review the Program Sheet; have your advisor sign your Program Sheet to indicate your program plan is approved. (see Note 2)
  • Procedures for requesting transfer/AP credits and program deviations are described in detail on the Petitions page of this website. The relevant forms may be downloaded from the same page. SoE petitions must be approved by SoE Dean’s Office of Student Affairs in Huang 135.
  • Return completed Program Sheet to Jungmee Kim in Durand Building 111A.


1-Stanford requires the declaration of a major by the end of sophomore year. The department will accept later declarations from students who change majors.

2-If your program proposal changes during the course of your program, submit revisions after consulting with your advisor. Initial Program Sheet should be submitted during the same quarter of your major declaration or no later than the first quarter of your junior year. A final version is due one quarter prior to the graduating term. Student athletes must complete a Program Sheet at the time of major declaration for verification of NCAA-related major courses as required by Stanford.

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