About MSE

Materials science is a specific field of science and engineering focused on the structures and properties of different materials, both natural and man-made. It includes all classes of materials, including ceramics, metals and alloys, and polymers and composites. The field also encompasses emerging areas such as nanotechnology, semi-conductors, and biomaterials.

The MSE Department at Iowa State was founded in 1975 by the merger of the previously existing Departments of Ceramic Engineering and Metallurgy. Our department encompasses programs in the practical and theoretical aspects of materials, their utilization, and their electronic, physical, mechanical, and chemical properties in relation to their structure.

We award a Bachelor’s degree in Materials Engineering and a Master of Science, Master of Engineering, and PhD degrees in Materials Science and Engineering.

MSE Facts

  • MSE is one of eight degree-granting departments in the College of Engineering.
  • Our faculty members are widely recognized as leaders in their field, with national and international acclaim\
  • MSE faculty have been awarded nearly 40% of the patents in the College of Engineering over the past seven years.
  • Mat E interns and co-op students earn $2,000-$3,500 monthly.
  • Over 90% of our students have in-profession placement within six months of graduation.
  • The average annual starting salary for our recent Materials Engineering B.S. graduates is $60,000.
  • Student to faculty ratio in the MSE Department is 14:1.
  • Approximately 40% of our undergraduate students work as research assistants during their experience at ISU, earning money while they work with experts in the field.
  • Class sizes are small.
  • You can get a BS and MS degree in five years through our concurrent degree program.


Hoover Hall – learn more about MSE’s home

Computer labs


Information and resources for MSE employment and careers.