Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science - Materials Science

Undergraduate Major in Materials Science

Materials Science Option Representative

Brent Fultz
btfcaltech.edu

Options Manager

Jennifer N. Blankenship
jennifercaltech.edu

Please visit the Undergraduate Admissions website for downloadable forms, important dates, and complete information about the undergraduate admissions process.

The aim of the Materials Science option is to prepare students for research, professional practice, or advanced study in a rapidly advancing interdisciplinary field. The program builds on the core curriculum to develop analytical competence and use it for individualized research, culminating in a one-year senior thesis. Materials Science students develop professional independence, creativity, leadership, and the capacity for continuing professional and intellectual growth.

The first year of the four-year course of study leading to a Bachelor of Science degree is common for all students of the Institute, although freshman elective subjects are available as an introduction to various aspects of engineering and applied science. At the end of the first year, students who elect the MS option are assigned advisers appropriate for their expressed field of interest. Together with their advisers, they develop programs of study for the next three years. Beyond the Institute-wide requirements of physics, mathematics, and humanities, the MS option requires one year of applied and computational mathematics and a prescribed number of units selected from a wide variety of courses in science and engineering. An undergraduate thesis is an essential part of the academic program.

Any student in the MS option whose grade-point average is less than 1.9 at the end of the academic year in the subjects listed in the option requirements may be refused permission to continue to work in the MS option.

Option Requirements

  1. Fulfillment of extended core requirements in Differential Equations (Ma 2 or equivalent); Probability and Statistics (Ma 3, Ge/ESE 118 or equivalent); Waves (Ph 2a, Ph 12a or equivalent), Quantum Mechanics (Ph 2b, Ph 12b, Ch 21a or equivalent); Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics (Ph 2c, Ph 12c or equivalent);
  2. Demonstration of competency in computer programming or computer science by taking CS 1, or by taking an approved alternative course, or by passing a placement exam administered by the computer science option.
  3. 9 units of laboratory courses taken from the following list: APh 77 bc, Ae/APh 104 bc, CE 180, CS/CNS 171, CS/CNS 174, EE 45, EE/CS 52 ab, EE/CS 53, EE 90, EE 91 ab, MS 122, MS 125, MS 142, ME 72 ab, ME 50ab
  4. 9 units of additional laboratory courses either from the list above or from EAS courses with the word “laboratory” in the title, but excluding those courses for which freshman laboratory credit is allowed.
  5. ACM 104 and ACM 95 ab, or Ma 108 abc, or Ma 109 abc.
  6. E 10 or equivalent; E 11 or equivalent.
  7. APh 17 ab or ChE 63 ab or APh 105 ab.
  8. MS 115 and MS/ME/MedE 116 and MS 90 (or other appropriate laboratory in MS)
  9. At least 45 of additional units from the following list of restricted electives: ACM 104, Ae/AM/CE/ME 102 abc, APh 105 abc, APh 114 abc, APh/EE 130, APh/EE 183, Ch 21 abc, Ch 120 ab, Ch 121 ab, Ch 125 abc, Ch/ChE 147, ChE/Ch 148, CS 11, Ge 114 ab, ME 12 abc, MS 122, MS 125, MS 131, MS 132, MS 133, MS 142, Ph 125 abc. Substitution of courses may be approved at the discretion of the option representative.
  10. Senior thesis MS 78 abc.

Passing grades must be earned in at least 486 units, including those listed in requirements 1–8 above.

Typical Course Schedule for Materials Science

Second Year First term Second term Third term
CS1 Intro. to Computer Programming 9 - -
Ma 2 Differential Equations 9 - -
Ma 3 Intro. to Probability and Statistics - 9 -
MS 90 Materials Science Laboratory - - 9
MS 115 Fundamentals of Materials Science 9 - -
MS 116 Mechanical Behavior of Materials - 9 -
Ph 2abc or
Ph 12abc
Waves, Quantum Mechanics and Statistical Physics 9 9 9
HSS Electives - 9 18
36 36 36
Third Year First term Second term Third term
ACM 104 Applied Linear Algebra 9 - -
ACM 95 ab Intro. Methods of Applied Math. - 12 12
APh 105abc States of Matter 9 9 9
MS 131 Structure and Bonding in Materials 9 - -
MS 132 Diffraction and Structure - 9 -
MS 133 Kinetic Processes in Materials - - 9
HSS Electives 9 9 9
Lab Class 9 - -
Restricted Electives (from 11) - 9 9
45 48 48
Third Year First term Second term Third term
E 10 Technical Seminar Presentation 3 - -
E 11 Written Technical Communication - 3 -
MS 78abc Senior Thesis 9 9 9
HSS Electives 9 9 9
Lab Class 9 - -
Restricted Electives 18 18 18
48 39 36