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Materials Science and Engineering Program

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2023-24 Materials Science & Engineering UG Program (BS, BSH, MINOR)

Materials Science and Engineering (MSE/MATSCI) essential to the development of modern devices and technologies. All facets of engineering depend critically on the materials utilized for specific applications, including semiconductors for electronic devices, ceramics for energy conversion and storage, and polymers for new biotechnologies.

A core component of MatSci is the investigation of materials processing in order to alter the structure of materials and thereby control their properties. Materials scientists and engineers also utilize a distinctive suite of characterization techniques such as advanced electron microscopes that probe materials structure down to the atomic level. This field combines approaches from Physics, Chemistry, and Biology in a unified discipline in order tackle global problems of technological, engineering, and scientific significance.

Students who are interested in both science and its application to important interdisciplinary problems should consider a career in Materials Science and Engineering. The Undergraduate Program in Materials Science and Engineering provides basic training for those who wish to become materials engineers, and prepares students for careers in a variety of STEM fields by exposing students to broad scientific concepts and applied research and design techniques. Teaching and research topics in MatSci include nanoscale materials, biomaterials and regenerative medicine, energy and environmental materials, photovoltaic and photonic materials, metals and alloys, metamaterials, thin film materials, semiconductor devices, advanced materials characterization techniques, and computer modeling of materials behavior. Materials Science and Engineering undergraduates are encouraged to take at least one year of graduate study in the Stanford Coterminal degree program (see application deadlines at the bottom of this page) to extend their coursework and to obtain training in research. Coterminal degree programs are also recommended for any related undergraduate majors.

Research Experience for Undergraduates

The Materials Science and Engineering Department welcomes undergraduates to participate in our Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program. Students have the opportunity to gain hands-on research experience and work directly with MATSCI faculty and their research groups. Research in our department focuses on several of the Grand Challenges in Engineering, including projects on energy conversion and storage, regenerative medicine and tissue engineering, and nanomaterials synthesis and characterization. Whether you are well into your major or still testing the waters, all engineering students are strongly encouraged to apply to our REU Program.

The department plans to continue its REU Program through a grant from the School of Engineering/Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education in Summer 2024. Application information will be posted to our REU webpage ( around the end of Autumn Quarter. Students are encouraged to reach out to MATSCI faculty to learn about the variety of research projects being conducted in our department. A full list of our faculty can be found at along with their associated research webpages.

Students who wish to receive further information about the programs in Materials Science and Engineering should contact:

 Haoxue Yan, Lecturer, at 

MATSC Program Sheet

MATSC 4-Year

MATSC Flowchart

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 .

Mathematics and Science (39 units combined, minimum)

◦ Math (23 units minimum): Must include

  • MATH 19/20/21 or up to 10 units AP BC credit AND placement into MATH 51/CME 100 via Math Diagnostic, taken prior to first year start
  • CME100/ENGR 154 or MATH 51
  • CME 102/ENGR 155A or MATH 53
  • 1 additional math/statistics course1

◦ Science (16 units minimum)2,3: Must include

  • PHYSICS 41 or 61 + PHYSICS 43 or 81 + CHEM 31A or 31M + one additional course from SoE-approved list -- see Note 3

AP credit is also acceptable and must be approved by the Dean’s office

See “Approved Courses” page of this website for a list of SoE approved Mathematics & Statistics courses; CME 106 or STATS 110 are recommended.

See “Approved Courses” page of this website for a list of SoE approved Science courses. AP credit is also acceptable with SoE Dean’s Office approval.

3 Choice of Physics or Chemistry may affect choice of MatSci Focus Area. See Focus Area listings later in this section

Technology in Society (One course; 3-5 units)

See the “Approved Courses” page of this website for courses that fulfill the TIS requirement.The course chosen must be on the Approved list the year it is taken.

School of Engineering (SoE) Fundamentals

(Two courses minimum: one of the ENGR 50 options and one elective)

One of the following courses:
ENGR 50Introduction to Materials Science – Nanotechnology34
ENGR 50EIntroduction to Materials Science – Energy34
ENGR 50MIntroduction to Materials Science – Biomaterials34
One additional course from the SoE ENGR Fundamentals list on Approved Page of UGHB website (3-5 units); may not be a second ENGR 50.

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 140-150 series represents a stand-alone curriculum, which is recommended for undergraduates. The 180 and 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. MATSCI 142, 143, 144, and 145 are required MSE fundamentals.

MSE Fundamentals (20 units minimum)

All of the following courses:

MATSCI 142Quantum Mechanics of Nanoscale Materials 4
MATSCI 143Materials Structure and Characterization4
MATSCI 1444Thermodynamic Evaluation of Green Energy Technologies44
MATSCI 145Kinetics of Materials Synthesis4
 One additional course: Choose one of the MATSCI 150, 180, or 190 series courses for the MSE Fundamental elective. Students preparing for advanced graduate study or seeking additional depth are encouraged to take more than one MatSci Fundamental elective. Full list provided at 

One course from either Undergraduate Core Courses or Advanced Level Courses:

Undergraduate Core Courses

MATSCI 151  Microstructure and Mechanical Properties4
MATSCI 152Electronic Materials Engineering4
MATSCI 156Solar Cells, Fuel Cells, and Batteries: Materials for the Energy Solution4

Advanced Level Courses:

MATSCI 181Thermodynamics and Phase Equilibria4
MATSCI 182Rate Processes in Materials4
MATSCI 183Defects and Disorder in Materials4
MATSCI 184Structure and Symmetry4
MATSCI 185Quantum Mechanics for Materials Science4
MATSCI 190  Organic and Biological Materials4
MATSCI 198  Mechanical Properties of Materials4
MATSCI 199 Electronic and Optical Properties of Solids4

MSE Depth (15-16 units)

4 of the following courses (at least one course must be WIM) 
MATSCI 160Nanomaterials Laboratory (satisfies WIM requirement)4
MATSCI 161Nanocharacterization Laboratory (satisfies WIM requirement)4
MATSCI 162X-Ray Diffraction Laboratory4
MATSCI 163Mechanical Behavior Laboratory4
MATSCI 164Electronic & Photonic Materials and Devices Lab (satisfies WIM requirement)4
MATSCI 165Nanoscale Materials Physics Computation Laboratory4
MATSCI 166Data Science and Machine Learning Approaches in Materials Engineering3
Note:MATSCI 160 recommended as the first MSE Depth course. Students must choose at least one of MATSCI 160, MATSCI 161, or MATSCI 164 to satisfy the WIM requirement 

Focus Area Options

(Choose one area; 4 courses with a minimum of one MATSCI course 8)

Given the interdisciplinary nature of MATSCI as a field of study, all undergraduates select a focus area to complement their MATSCI Fundamentals and Depth coursework. Each focus area option below includes a short description and lists several recommended courses. These course lists are not exhaustive and only serve as a guide. Students are encouraged to explore the full catalog of relevant STEM courses when designing a focus area option, including the Self-Defined option described below.


CHEM 31A/B or 31M recommended

Students pursuing this focus area will learn more about biocompatible, biomimetic, or even naturally occurring biological materials, along with how they can be engineered or otherwise created.

BIOE 80Introduction to Bioengineering4
BIOE 220Intro to Imaging and Image-based Human Anatomy3
BIOE 231Protein Engineering3
BIOE 260Tissue Engineering4
BIOE 279Computational Biology: Structure and Organization of Biomolecules and Cells3
BIOE 381Orthopaedic Bioengineering3
ENGR 55Foundational Biology for Engineers4
MATSCI 190Organic and Biological Materials3
MATSCI 225Bio-Chips and Medical Imaging3
MATSCI 380Nano-Biotechnology3
MATSCI 381Biomaterials in Regenerative Medicine3
MATSCI 384Materials Advances in Neurotechnology: Materials Meeting the Mind3
MATSCI 385Biomaterials for Drug Delivery 

Chemical Properties of Materials

CHEM 31A/B or 31M recommended

Students pursuing this focus area will learn more about the chemistry involved in the synthesis of materials, as well as the design of the systems and processes necessary to create them.

CHEM 171Physical Chemistry I4
CHEM 173Physical Chemistry II3
CHEMENG 130AMicrokinetics – Molecular Principles of Chemical Kinetics3
CHEMENG 140Micro and Nanoscale Fabrication Engineering3
CHEMENG 150Biochemical Engineering3
CHEMENG 174Environmental Microbiology I3
Electrochemical Water Treatment: Materials and Processes
MATSCI  181Thermodynamics and Phase Equilibria4
MATSCI  182Rate Processes in Materials4
MATSCI 310Statistical Mechanics for Materials & Materials Chemistry4

Computational Materials Science

Physics 41, 43, & 45 recommended

Students pursuing this focus area will learn more about computational methods used to study materials structure-property relationships, and how to make materials predictions.

CME 107Nanoscale Materials Physics Computation Laboratory5
CME 108Intro to Scientific Computing3
ENERGY 160Uncertainty Quantification in Data-Centric Simulations3
MATSCI 165Nanoscale Materials Physics Computation Laboratory4
MATSCI 166Data Science and Machine Learning Approaches in Chemical and Materials Engineering3
MATSCI 331Atom-based Computational Methods for Materials3
ME 123Computational Engineering4
ME 335AFinite Element Analysis3
ME 346BIntro to Molecular Simulations3

Electronics and Photonic Properties of Materials

Physics 41, 43, & 45 recommended

Students pursuing this focus area will learn more about the design and function of electronic and/or photonic devices, as well as the underlying principles of physics relevant to their operation.

EE 101ACircuits I4
EE 102ASignal Processing and Linear Systems I4
EE 116Semiconductor Device Physics3
EE 134Introduction to Photonics4
EE 153Power Electronics3
EE 157Electric Motors for Renewable Energy, Robotics & EV3
EE 212Integrated Circuit Fabrication Processes3
EE 216Principles and Models of Semiconductor Devices3
EE 218Power Semiconductor Devices and Technology3
ENGR 240Intro to Micro and Nano Electromechanical Systems3
ENGR 241Advanced Micro and Nano Fabrication Laboratory3
ME 210Introduction to Mechatronics4
MATSCI 152Electronic Materials Engineering4
MATSCI 199Electronic and Optical Properties of Solids4
MATSCI 317Defects in Semiconductors3
MATSCI 341Quantum Theory of Electronic and Optical Excitations in Materials3
MATSCI 343Organic Semiconductors for Electronics and Photonics3
MATSCI 346Nanophotonics3

Materials for Energy Technology

Either Chemistry or Physics

Students pursuing this focus area will learn more about materials used in modern energy technologies, potentially including solar cells, wind turbines, batteries, and fuel cells, as well as other emerging energy production or storage devices.

CEE 107AUnderstanding Energy5
CHEM 174Electrochemical Measurements Lab3
EE 153Power Electronics4
EE 237Solar Energy Conversion3
EE 293BFundamentals of Energy Processes3
ENERGY 153Carbon Capture and Sequestration4
ENERGY 293Energy Storage and Conversion: Solar Cells, Fuel Cells, Batteries and Supercapacitors3
Electrochemical Energy Storage Systems: Modeling and Estimation
MATSCI 156Solar Cells, Fuel Cells, and Batteries: Materials for the Energy Solution3
MATSCI 302Solar Cells3
MATSCI 303Principles, Materials, and Devices of Batteries3
PHYSICS 240Intro to the Physics of Energy3

Materials Characterization

Either Chemistry or Physics

Students pursuing this focus area will learn more about the tools and techniques used in advanced materials characterization, particularly at the micro- and nanoscale.

APPPHYS 201Electrons and Photons4
BIO 232Advanced Imaging Lab in Biophysics4
BIOE 220Introduction to Imaging and Image-based Human Anatomy3
CHEM 131Instrumental Analysis Principles and Practice5
CHEM 174Electrochemical Measurements Lab3
CHEM 176Spectroscopy Laboratory3
CHEMENG 345Fundamentals and Applications of Spectroscopy3
MATSCI 320Nanocharacterization of Materials3
MATSCI 321Transmission Electron Microscopy3
MATSCI 322Transmission Electron Microscopy Laboratory3
MATSCI 323Thin Film and Interface Microanalysis3
MATSCI 326X-Ray Science and Techniques3

Materials Physics

Physics 61 and 81 recommended, with Physics 45 or 71 as the science electiveStudents pursuing this focus area will gain a deep foundational knowledge of materials physics, with topics focusing on quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, and waves and diffraction, and other advanced topics.

MATSCI 184Structure and Symmetry4
MATSCI 185Quantum Mechanics for Materials Science4
MATSCI 195Waves and Diffraction in Solids4
MATSCI 310Statistical Mechanics for Materials & Materials Chemistry4
MATSCI 341Quantum Theory of Electronic and Optical Excitations in Materials3
APPPHYS 201Electrons and Photons4
APPPHYS 204Quantum Materials4
PHYSICS 71Quantum and Thermal Physics4
PHYSICS 81Electricity and Magnetism Using Special Relativity and Vector Calculus4
PHYSICS 110Advanced Mechanics4
PHYSICS 120Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism I4
PHYSICS 121Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism II4
PHYSICS 130Quantum Mechanics I4
PHYSICS 131Quantum Mechanics II4
PHYSCIS 134Advanced Topics in Quantum Mechanics4
PHYSICS 170Thermodynamics, Kinetic Theory & Statistical Mechanics I4
PHYSICS 171Thermodynamics, Kinetic Theory & Statistical Mechanics II4
PHYSICS 172Solid State Physics3

Mechanical Behavior and Materials Processing

Physics 41, 43, & 45 recommended

Students pursuing this focus area will learn more about the mechanical behavior of materials, including how to characterize them, and how these mechanical properties influence the design of technologies.

AA 240Analysis of Structures3
AA 256Mechanics of Composites3
AA 280Smart Structures3
CHEMENG 140Micro and Nanoscale Fabrication Engineering3
CHEMENG 170XMechanics of Soft Matter: Rheology3
ENGR 240Introduction to Micro and Nano Electromechanical Systems3
ENGR 241Advanced Micro and Nano Fabrication Laboratory3
MATSCI 151Microstructure and Mechanical Properties4
MATSCI 183Defects and Disorder in Materials4
MATSCI 198Mechanical Properties of Materials4
MATSCI 312New Methods in Thin Film Synthesis3
MATSCI 358Fracture and Fatigue of Engineering Materials3
ME 127Design for Additive Manufacturing3
ME 152Material Behaviors and Fairlure Prediction3
ME 303Soft Composites and Soft Robotics4
ME 335AFinite Element Analysis3
ME 340Mecahnics - Elasticity and Inelasticity3
ME 345Fatigue Design and Analysis3
ME 348Experimental Stress Analysis3

Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology

Either Physics or Chemistry

Students pursuing this focus area will learn more about how materials properties change at the nanoscale, including the new and interesting ways in which these changes can be exploited for novel technologies.

ENGR 240Introduction to Micro and Nano Electromechanical Systems3
ENGR 241
Advanced Micro and Nano Fabrication Laboratory
MATSCI 316Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology3
MATSCI 320Nano-characterization of Materials3
MATSCI 346Nanophotonics3
MATSCI 380Nano-Biotechnology3


Self-Defined Focus

Self-Defined Focus

Either Physics or Chemistry

Students may also define their own focus area containing a minimum of 13 units (4 courses) that comprise a cohesive program of study. Many students use this option to create an interdisciplinary focus area that combines parts of the listed focus area options above. Students should also choose this option if including courses not listed in one of the focus area tracks and should include a petition form along with their final program sheet when conferring their degree

8 Choose one of the nine focus area tracks listed above, or choose the self-defined focus area option. Minimum one MATSCI course in the focus area. Each focus area course must be at least 3 units and may not include seminars. For students pursuing the Honor's Program, you may count up to six units of MATSCI 150 towards the focus area, but cannot use these units to replace the MATSCI course minimum

MSE Major Unit Requirement

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 7 units
MSE Fundamentals 20 units
MSE Depth 15 units
Focus Area Options4 13 units

By adding these 55 units to the 39 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 97 units of the 180 you need to graduate. Your advanced placement math and science units from high school may count toward the 39 units of basic math and science, thereby allowing you more electives during your Stanford career.

MATSC Coterm Information

Information and requirements about the Coterminal program in Materials Science and Engineering can be obtained from the department's Coterm page or the Stanford Bulletin. Questions can be directed to our Student Services Officer Joanna Peralta Arenas.

Declaring a Major in Materials Science & Engineering

• Enter your major declaration for Materials Science and Engineering in Axess. Do not choose the Honors option in Axess unless you have already submitted an honors application to the department.
• Send an email to the Director of Undergraduates Studies, Prof. Leora Dresselhaus-Marais or MSE lecturer Dr. Haoxue Yan, to set up an initial MATSCI advising appointment. The purpose of the meeting is to review the basics of getting a BS in MATSCI and to assign a faculty advisor.
• Download and complete the MATSCI Program Sheet from the School of Engineering website. When completing the Program Sheet, include courses you plan to take as well as those you have already taken. Download a copy of your unofficial Stanford transcript from Axess and attach to your Program Sheet.
• Meet with your faculty advisor to review your Program Sheet and transcript; have your advisor sign your Program Sheet to approve it.
• Procedures and forms for requesting transfer credit, AP credits, and program deviations are described in detail on the Petitions page. SoE petitions must be approved by SoE Dean’s Office of Student Affairs; email to or bring into Huang 135.

• Email your completed and signed program sheet and unofficial transcript to our Student Services Officer Joanna Peralta Arenas, The MATSCI Student Services Office will update Axess to reflect your completed major declaration, major advisor assignment, and add you to the MSE undergraduate email listserv.
• Congratulations and Welcome to MATSCI!

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