At the heart of materials science and engineering is the understanding and control of the microstructure of solids. Microstructure is used broadly in reference to electronic and atomic structure of solids—and defects within them—at size scales ranging from atomic bond lengths to airplane wings. The structure of solids over this wide range dictates their structural, electrical, biological, and chemical properties. The phenomenological and mechanistic relationships between microstructure and the macroscopic properties of solids are, in essence, what materials science is all about.
Materials engineering builds on the foundation of materials science and is concerned with the design, fabrication, and optimal selection of engineering materials that must simultaneously fulfill dimensional, property, quality control, and economic requirements.
The undergraduate program in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering leads to the B.S. degree in Materials Engineering. Students are introduced to the basic principles of metallurgy and ceramic and polymer science as part of the department’s Materials Engineering major. A joint major field, Chemistry/Materials Science, is
offered to students enrolled in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry (College of Letters and Science).
The department also has a program in electronic materials that provides a broad-based background in materials science, with opportunity to specialize in the study of those materials used for electronic and optoelectronic applications. The program incorporates several courses in electrical and computer engineering in addition to those in the materials science curriculum.
The graduate program allows for specialization in one of the following fields: ceramics and ceramic processing, electronic and optical materials, and structural materials.
The Department of Materials Science and Engineering faculty members, students, and alumni foster a collegial atmosphere to produce (1) highly qualified students through an educational program that cultivates excellence, (2) novel and highly innovative research that advances basic and applied knowledge in materials, and (3) effective interactions with the external community through educational outreach, industrial collaborations, and service activities.
The materials engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.
The Materials Engineering major at UCLA prepares undergraduate students for employment and/or advanced studies within industry, the national laboratories, state and federal agencies, and academia. To meet the needs of these constituencies, the objectives of the undergraduate program are to produce graduates who (1) possess a solid foundation in materials science and engineering, with emphasis on the fundamental scientific and engineering principles that govern the microstructure, properties, processing, and performance of all classes of engineering materials, (2) understand materials processes and the application of general natural science and engineering principles to the analysis and design of materials systems of current and/or future importance to society, (3) have strong skills in independent learning, analysis, and problem solving, with special emphasis on design of engineering materials and processes, communication, and an ability to work in teams, and (4) understand and are aware of the broad issues relevant to materials, including professional and ethical responsibilities, impact of materials engineering on society and environment, contemporary issues, and need for lifelong learning.