How do I Become a Materials Science Engineer?

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  • Written By: N. Kalu
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 24 March 2018
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To become a materials science engineer, it is necessary to study materials science for a significant period of time, usually by taking undergraduate and graduate courses in the subject. Materials science is an all-encompassing discipline concerning the structure and properties of different materials such as metals, semiconductors, and bio-matter. The material science engineer studies how external stimuli affect different materials. A key part of the materials science engineer career is to modify materials for optimal performance for manufacturing and industrial applications.

Gaining the appropriate knowledge and having the right educational background should be extremely important to anyone who would like to become a materials science engineer. Typically, these engineers already have an advanced background in chemistry, physics, and higher level mathematics such as calculus before beginning an undergraduate program. In university, those who major in materials science will take courses which study the properties of organic and inorganic materials, the logistics of thermodynamics, forensics, and differential equations. By the final year of university, you can expect to complete an independent project in materials science. It does not have to be groundbreaking, but it will have to demonstrate your knowledge of the scope of the materials science field and the implications of your research for your particular area of study.

Although it may seem out of place, you will also have to learn how to write for scientific journals during your undergraduate years. Technical writing is one of the most useful skills for those who aspire become a materials science engineer. Writing research articles for scientific journals requires a firm understanding of specialized syntax, vocabulary, and citation notation.

After obtaining your bachelor's degree in materials science, you will, for all intents and purposes, become a materials science engineer who is available for hire by companies in a number of different industries including the energy, oil, and high tech industries. Despite this advantage, you may want to consider getting a more advanced degree in the subject before entering the workforce. Having a master's degree in materials science will make you eligible for higher paying managerial jobs in a company's research and development division.

Graduate study in materials science builds upon what you learned during your undergraduate years. The vast majority of master's programs in materials science allow students to set their own program of study, focusing on the topics which interest them the most. These topics can range anywhere from finding defects in current semiconductor material to discovering a more cost effective way to manufacture metals used to construct airplanes.


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