Undergraduate Curriculum

Students watch a professor lecturing in a panoramic photo of an MSE classroom

Bachelor of Science
in Materials Science and Engineering

(122/124 units minimum)

Fall Semester

Spring Semester

Freshman Year
CHEM 151 General Chemistry I 4 ENGL 102 First-Year Composition 3
ENGL 101 First-Year Composition 3 MATH 129 Calculus II 3
ENGR 102 Introd to Engineering
MSE 110 Solid State Chemistry 4
MATH 124 Calculus I w/apps or
MATH 125 Calculus I
5/3 PHYS 141 Introductory Mechanics 4
Tier 1 INDV* 3 Tier I TRAD 3
Total 18/16 Total 17
Sophomore Year
MATH 223 Vector Calculus 4 MATH 254 Introduction to Ordinary Differential Equations 3
PHYS 241 Introductory Electricity and Magnetism 4 MSE 365 Structure and Properties of Materials 4
MSE 222 Introduction to MSE I 3 MSE 223L Materials Processing Lab 2
MSE 345 Thermodynamics
4 MSE 223R Introduction to MSE II 3
    Tier I INDV* 3
Total 15 Total 15
Junior Year
MSE Tech Elective** 3 MSE 360L Materials Lab 1
MATH Elective*** 3 MSE Tech Elective** 3
MSE 350 Numerical Methods in Materials Science & Engineering 3 MSE 480 Experimental Methods for Microstructural Analysis 3
ECE 207 Elements of Electrical Engineering 3 MSE 415 Transport Phenomena/Kinetics
Tier I TRAD 3 Advanced Basic Science Elective 3
Total 15 Total 14
Senior Year
ENGR/MSE 498A Senior Capstone
3 ENGR/MSE 498B Senior Capstone
MSE Tech Elective** 3 MSE Tech Elective** 3
Tech Elective** 3 Tech Elective** 3
Tech Elective** 3 Tech Elective** 3
Tier II INDV 3 Tier II Arts/Humanities 3
Total 15 Total 15

*One course focusing on a non-Western culture or on race, gender, class or ethnicity is required.
**Electives should be chosen with the 42 upper division unit requirement in mind (300 & 400 level courses).
***Students are required to take a course such as statistics, linear algebra, or advanced calculus. A statistics course, such as SIE 305, is highly recommended.

Uniqueness of the MSE Curriculum

The discipline of materials science and engineering is grounded in the unifying principles that enable understanding and control of the processing and fabrication of materials, of their structure and properties and ultimately of their performance during utilization. MSE is an inherent interdisciplinary field, coupling fundamental scientific principles of knowledge-based fields – mathematics, chemistry, physics and biology – with the application-based principles of engineering.

The education and training of a materials engineer requires a curriculum with solid foundations in (a) mathematics, chemistry and physics; (b) the fundamentals of materials science and engineering (green courses above); (c) a broad range of electives courses in the MSE discipline and related technical disciplines (blue courses above) to provide students with the flexibility to develop a broad knowledge of the MSE field or to develop a specialized knowledge in a subfield; and (d) deeper knowledge or broadening of knowledge in the fundamental sciences (purple courses above).

Technical Electives

The MSE curriculum includes an unusually large number of MSE technical electives (12 units) and other technical electives (12 units). The latter comprise courses from other technical disciplines or from MSE courses or a combination of both. This enables students to adapt their course of study to their career objectives in terms of breadth or depth. Students seeking to emphasize a specific area of materials science and engineering may elect to develop a sequence of recommended courses with their adviser.

Workforce Readiness

The department has developed an undergraduate curriculum to produce workforce-ready engineers. The objective is to provide a learning environment with laboratories that enables students to develop some form of materials literacy and gain intuition in materials sciences through experiential learning. An example of such a laboratory is MSE 223L: Materials Processing, a flagship course in our curriculum. This effort received a planning grant from the National Science Foundation for its initiation.

Other courses that prepare our undergraduates for the workforce include:

  • MSE 223L: Materials Processing Laboratory
  • MSE 360L: Materials Laboratory
  • MSE 480: Experimental Methods for Microstructural Analysis
  • MSE 488: Scanning Electron Microscopy
  • MSE 489: Transmission Electron Microscopy of Materials
  • MSE 414: Casting Laboratory
  • ENGR 498/MSE 498: Senior Capstone

The MSE curriculum also includes additional options for experiential learning in the form of independent study (project-oriented or laboratory experience) with a chosen faculty member (up to 6 credits can be used toward degree requirement as MSE elective credits).

University of Arizona College of Engineering