Looking to focus your studies on one of two fast-growing fields of materials science? Choose a concentration for a more specialized curriculum that, in addition to the foundational materials science education, will enhance your marketability in a rapidly-developing niche of the engineering job market.
Optional Academic Concentrations for Undergraduates
Biomaterials is an exciting and rapidly developing field. Engineered materials are increasingly used in medical applications (such as drug delivery, gene therapy, scaffolds for tissue engineering, replacement body parts, and biomedical and surgical devices) while an understanding of structure-property relationships in natural biomaterials may lead to improved interventions for a wide variety of diseases and injuries. Because it is highly interdisciplinary (involving elements of materials science, engineering, biology, chemistry and medicine), biomaterials as a discipline requires a deep understanding of the properties of materials in general, and the interactions of materials with the biological environment in particular.
The biomaterials concentration is designed to provide a broad basis in the fundamentals of materials science and engineering, as well as a particular emphasis on the principles and applications of biomaterials. While the fundamental principles of materials science still apply, a complete understanding of biomaterials and their interactions with biological environments requires a greater degree of specialization than the standard undergraduate curriculum provides. The biomaterials curriculum includes topics such as biomimetic materials, natural biomaterials, host responses to biomaterials, biocompatibility, and applications of biomaterials, particularly in tissue engineering, drug delivery, and medical devices and implants. Our goal is to train students who can apply these principles to the development of novel materials that benefit human health.
To receive commendation for completion of the Biomaterials Concentration, the student must complete Molecules and Cells as a Science and Engineering elective, three electives with a focus on biomaterials, a biomaterials laboratory course and a biomaterials senior design project. Approval of electives must be made by a student’s academic advisor prior to taking the courses, and approval of the senior design project must be pre-approved by the senior design instructor.
An intent to follow the Biomaterials Concentration in Materials Science and Engineering must be made by the student’s 5th semester (1st semester junior year). Students should declare their intent in writing or by e-mail to their department advisors and copy the academic coordinator.
Nanotechnology advances the utilization of materials and devices with extremely small dimensions. Nanotechnology is a visionary field, as micro-and nano-structured devices impact all fields of engineering, including microelectronics (smaller, faster computer chips), mechanical engineering (micromotors and actuators), civil engineering (“smart”, self-healing nanocomposite materials for buildings and bridges), and biomedical engineering (biosensors and tissue engineering).
Materials science is central to nanotechnology because the properties of materials can change dramatically when things are made extremely small. This observation is not simply that we need to measure such properties or develop new processing tools to fabricate nanodevices. Rather, our vision is that the wide (and sometimes unexpected) variety of phenomena associated with nanostructured materials allow us to envision radically new devices and applications that can only be made with nanostructured materials. The nanotechnology concentration encompasses a curriculum designed to train students in the fundamental interdisciplinary principles of materials science, including physics and chemistry, and also to expose students to the forefront of nanomaterials research through elective classes and research laboratories. In recognition of completion of the Nanotechnology Concentration, a student may elect to have his or her academic transcript annotated to indicate a specialty in nanotechnology.
To receive commendation for completion of the Nanotechnology Concentration, the student must complete three electives with a focus on nanotechnology, a nanomaterials laboratory course and a nanotechnology senior design project. Approval of electives must be made by a student’s academic advisor prior to taking the courses, and approval of the senior design project must be pre-approved by the senior design instructor.
Students must declare their intent to satisfy the requirements of the Nanotechnology Concentration in Materials Science and Engineering by their 5th semester (1st semester junior year). Students should declare their intent in writing or by e-mail to their department advisors and copy the academic coordinator.