Since the beginning of civilization, technological progress has always relied on the materials that people were able to acquire from nature or through trade or by innovation. Wood, stone, metals (e.g. bronze, iron, aluminum), cements, plastics, semiconductors, liquid crystals, nanomaterials and quantum dots all have unique properties that enable — but also limit — what humans can make and do.
The construction of safe dwellings, the conveniences of rapid travel, the efficiency of telecommunications, the calculating and archiving power of computers, the life-prolonging gift of surgical implants and the dazzling performances of athletes all require dependable materials.
Future technological progress of any kind will always be driven by the available materials. Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) students learn about the structure of materials, how materials are made, the properties that the materials have, and how to identify the properties needed for a new application.
For a glimpse of the exciting research and focus area expertise, meet our Materials Science and Engineering Faculty.
The Materials Science and Engineering program at UC Merced is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.
- Materials Science and Engineering, B.S.
- Materials Science and Engineering, Nanotechnology Emphasis, B.S.
- Materials Science and Engineering, Minor (coming in the 2022-23 Catalog; available starting in 2021-2022)
- Sample Program Map
The McCloskey Lab at UC Merced is a cardio vascular tissue engineering lab. This video shows polymeric materials with unusual properties that can be used in wearable electronics: think about seeing a text message on your arm!
Understanding the properties of materials can enable the unexpected. In this case Prof. Viney demonstrates how one can put a needle through a balloon without popping it IF one understands the mechanical properties of the balloon!
This video was made by some of the Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) students to highlight their experiences in the MSE department.
- Materials inspired by nature
- 3-D printing
- Materials for wearable electronics
- Fabrication and characterization of biomaterials
- Biology of host response
- Cell-material interactions
- Artificial skin (tissue) growth
Quantifying biomechanical factors that shape cellular function
- Nanostructured materials
- Theory of understanding materials at the atomic scale
Visit our MBSE graduate website for more research areas
An Aerospace Materials Researcher develops new materials and tests materials for applications in jet engines, rockets, aircraft structural components, satellites and space vehicles. Such materials need to perform reliably under stress and in extreme environments. The MSE Department frequently places interns with NASA.
A nanotechnology engineer seeks to learn new things that can change the face of health, science, technology, and the environment on a molecular level. They test for pollutants, create powders to enrich our foods and medicines, and study the smallest fragments of DNA. They can even manipulate cells, proteins, and other chemicals from within the body.
Polymer scientists use chemical polymers to build useful and unique materials such as Kevlar, Teflon, biodegradables, fiberglass, polyester and nylon among countless others. While some scientists work on designing and creating new polymer materials, many polymer scientists continue adjusting previous designs such as making Kevlar armor more lightweight and durable.
Process Engineers are responsible for designing, implementing, controlling and optimizing industrial processes, especially continuous ones within the chemical, petrochemical, agriculture, mineral processing, food, pharmaceutical, and biotechnological industries.
A Manufacturing Engineer designs and operates the manufacturing systems for a product. They choose the best technologies and processes to manufacture it, plan and design the factory that will produce the product, and manage the running, maintenance, and continuous improvement of the manufacturing process. They may also be responsible for inventory control, quality management, quality control, material flow, cost analysis, procurement and supply chain management.
A biomaterials expert combines knowledge in the fields of materials science and biology to fabricate and characterize biomaterials in order to reestablish function or assist healing of damaged organs or tissues for people. Biomaterials experts play a crucial role in developing, for example, medical implants, biosensors, and tissue regeneration.
Research, design, develop, or test electronic components and systems for commercial, industrial, military, or scientific use employing knowledge of electronic theory and materials properties. Design electronic circuits and components for use in fields such as telecommunications, aerospace guidance and propulsion control, acoustics, or instruments and controls.
Visit our Career Services website