Interested in Materials Science?

Materials Scientists and Engineers are involved in every aspect of technology, ranging from the design of materials appropriate for use in integrated circuits and biological applications, through to those materials needed for energy generation (both conventional energy sources and green sources), and for building bridges, roads, and buildings.

Upon graduation, our students are prepared for a number of different careers paths. Many go on to graduate studies at prestigious universities. Others head directly into the workforce hired as engineers in Silicon Valley (e. g. Agilent and Applied Materials), engineers in the biotechnology sector (e.g. Genentech), and engineers in the Aerospace field (e.g. Boeing).

Materials Scientists and Engineers enjoy some of the highest starting salaries of any undergraduate engineering program. The Career Center has details on what past graduates have done with their MSE degrees.

The department currently has 132 students majoring in Materials Science and Engineering, 53 of which are joint majors with the BioE, EECS, ME, NE and ChemE departments.


  • Know the fundamental science and engineering principles relevant to materials
  • Understand the relationship between nano/microstructure, characterization, properties and processing and design of materials
  • Have the experimental and computational skills for a professional career or graduate study in materials
  • Possess a knowledge of the significance of research, the value of continued learning and environmental/social issues surrounding materials
  • Be able to communicate effectively, to work in teams and to assume positions as leaders.


Faculty to Student Ratio

Joint Majors
Joint Majors (%)

MSE Major Curriculum


The following shows a year-by-year evolution of the major curriculum. For another visualization of the curriculum please see the Curriculum Map.

Freshman Year
Spring (units)
  Chemistry 1A &1AL or Chemistry 4A 5
  Chemistry 1B or Chemistry 4B 4
  Mathematics 1A – Calculus 4
  Mathematics 1B – Calculus 4
  MSE 45/L – Properties of Materials/Laboratory * 3+1
  Physics 7A – Physics for Scientists and Engineers 4
  Reading and Composition Course from List A 4
  Humanities/Social Science Course 1 * 3-4
  Freshman Seminar or E 92 (Optional) 1 1
  Total 16-18 15-17


* Students have the choice to take MSE 45/L in either the Fall or Spring semester of their first year. While core concepts are fully covered each semester, examples and contextualization in Fall editions focuses on metals, ceramics, and functional/electronic properties and in Spring editions on polymers and soft-materials.

Sophomore Year
Junior Year
Senior Year

1. The Humanities/Social Science (H/SS) requirement includes two approved reading and composition courses and four additional approved courses, with which a number of specific conditions must be satisfied. Reading and Composition “A” and “B” must be completed by no later than the end of the sophomore year. The remaining courses may be taken at any time during the program. See for complete details and a list of approved courses.

2. MSE 120 series course.

3. An upper division Engineering technical elective (course number greater than or equal to 100) is chosen in consultation with the student’s faculty adviser. Technical electives cannot include: any course taken on a P/NP basis; courses numbered 24, 39, 84;  BioE 100; ChemE 185; CS C79, 195, H195; Des Inv 90, 190; Engin 125, 130, 157AC; IEOR 95, 172, 185, 186, 190 series, 191, 192, 195; ME 191AC, 190K, 191K. Students may receive up to three units of technical elective credit for work on a research project in MSE H194 (Honors Undergraduate Research). Other letter-graded research courses may be approved by petition.

* A minimum of 120 units is required for graduation.

**For the 2016-2017 academic year MSE undergraduate students can substitute E117 with an upper division math course, except for Math 151, 152. 153, 160 and 191 and above. The course cannot be used to fulfill any other major course requirement.

Data C100 will require all prerequisites to be completed prior to enrollment.

Contact Us

Department offices are located in 210 Hearst Memorial Mining Building, in the Northeast corner of campus.


Department of Materials Science and Engineering
210 Hearst Memorial Mining Building
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-1760

Phone: (510) 642-3801
Fax: (510) 643-5792