Department of Materials Science & Engineering

Mission: To create, transfer and preserve knowledge through impactful research, dynamic teaching and the effective training of our future colleagues in materials science and welding engineering.


A historical picture from Fontana labs of three men working with engineering equipment.
Widely regarded as the father of modern corrosion engineering, Mars Fontana (left) was named chair of the Department of Metallurgical Engineering in 1948.

The Department of Metallurgical Engineering and the Department of Ceramic Engineering merged in 1988, following century-long histories of each, in response to changing educational and industry trends. The welding engineering program joined the department in 2010 to leverage the synergy between disciplines.

The undergraduate and graduate programs have consistently ranked in the top 20 and are currently ranked 14th among public and private universities and seventh among public institutions.

The department boasts over 4,500 living alumni, making it one of the largest producers of materials science and engineering graduates in the country.

In Spring 2018, the materials science and engineering program admitted over 80 students and the welding engineering program admitted over 60 students—the largest incoming classes in the history of both programs.

Research expenditures have grown to nearly $21 million annually, with the areas of metallic materials, corrosion, materials characterization, joining/welding and computational materials science faring particularly well with funders.

Two PhD students are among only 47 nationwide chosen to receive prestigious DOE research awards and national lab residency.

Michael Mills (headshot)

“Co-location of the departments of biomedical engineering and materials science and engineering allows for the development of strong, lasting collaborations, leading to new technical thrusts in which the two departments combine their best faculty to generate winning proposals to the federal government.

Phase one of the Biomedical and Materials Engineering Complex will expand materials research into biomaterials and biomedical applications by providing state-of-the-art materials science and engineering facilities in close proximity to cancer, cardiopulmonary and other core facilities in biomedical engineering. It will also provide new teaching labs and an instructional ‘high bay’ area that will change the way we teach the materials science and welding engineering programs.

We will differentiate our programs from our peers by maintaining our strong reputation in metallurgy, welding, ceramic engineering, corrosion, characterization and computational materials science, and apply these areas of expertise toward medical applications.

I know of no other department with this capacity to build such a strong materials-medicine linkage.”

Department Chair Michael Mills

To learn more about the Department of Materials Science & Engineering, visit their website.