student in materials lab

When you earn a Bachelor of Science in Materials Science & Engineering from UWM, you’ll join a relatively new academic field that is changing the world in innumerable ways. Modern materials scientists develop and test composite and simple materials that, for example, extract pollutants from water, hold the ability to self-heal, last longer, or are manufactured in a way that reduces the amount of by-products sent to landfills.

In our tight-knit classrooms, labs and through internships and co-ops, you’ll blend knowledge in chemistry, physics and engineering as you investigate the relationship between the structure of materials at the atomic or molecular level and their macroscopic properties.

You’ll graduate ready to apply your knowledge to in fields such as aerospace, architecture, biomedicine, computers and electronics, construction, metal manufacturing, transportation and recreation.

Program Type

Major, Minor

Program Format

On Campus
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Career Outlook

In 2020, the median annual wage for materials engineers was $95,640.*

The Milwaukee region has one of the highest employment levels nationwide for materials engineering.* Milwaukee also has one of the largest concentrations of foundries in the United States; our Foundry Education Program is a source of well-trained engineers for this industry.

*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What to Expect

Increased speed to graduation

Our new and redesigned curriculum makes it easier and faster for you to complete your degree. You’ll also find greater flexibility in the electives available to customize your experience. 

What makes our program stand out

Materials engineering is based on mathematics, physics and chemistry. You will learn about the nature of substances that might be used for a particular purpose and the chemical and physical processes that are involved in their production. Materials engineers become experts at understanding and using the relations between processing, structure, properties and the performance of materials.

You can tailor your electives to focus on specific areas such as: 

  • Advanced materials characterization
  • Biomaterials
  • Materials for energy application
  • Materials processing
  • Metal casting
  • Specific courses in ceramics, polymers, composites, and electronic materials

Interested in a Career in the Foundry Profession? Scholarships Available!

Our Foundry Education Foundation (FEF) Program helps ensure great talent enters the profession and offers students—starting as soon as their freshmen year—annual, renewable scholarships and industry connections. More than 50% of students in this program receive scholarships ranging from $500-$2,000 each year. 

Graduates have consistently and readily found jobs with companies including General Motors, Tesla, Kohler, Signicast, and Waupaca Foundry.

FEF really is a one-of-a-kind organization. I can say from being a member in many professional societies that none are as proactive in getting students meaningful experience, industry connections, scholarships and ultimately great jobs as FEF


Emily (FEF scholarship recipient; now at Kohler Co.)Alumna, Materials Science and Engineering

Additional scholarship resources for careers in the foundry industry:

Honors

You will be eligible for these honors in the major during your studies and upon completing your degree.

Students at UWM have many opportunities to earn honors recognition.

UWM’s College of Engineering & Applied Science program provides many opportunities to pair classroom learning with hands-on experiences outside the classroom. The college’s location in Wisconsin’s largest city, with a broad network of industry partnerships, gives you easy access to well-paid internships and co-ops, as well as other important opportunities to enhance your resume. 

Did you know? 

  • 93 percent of UWM engineering and computer science students complete paid, work-related experiences including internships, co-ops and research opportunities 
  • 91 percent land a job or commit to graduate school before graduation. 

SOURCE: UWM First Destination Survey, December 2019  

Internships & Co-ops

Our students have had many hands-on opportunities to develop their skills and to determine what type of career experience they would like after graduation, while often earning a significant paycheck over summer breaks and even during the academic year.

Here are some of the businesses where our materials science & engineering students have had internships, co-ops or careers:

  • Charter Steel
  • Clarios
  • GE Healthcare
  • General Motors
  • Honda of America
  • Johnson Controls
  • Kohler Co.
  • Lucas-Milhaupt
  • MetalTek
  • Metallurgical Associates
  • Modine Manufacturing
  • Nucor Steel
  • Rockwell Automation
  • SACO AEI Polymers
  • Signacast
  • Sikorsky (Lockheed Martin)
Capstones/Senior Design Projects

In your senior year, you’ll team up with other students to complete a Capstone Project, during which you’ll use what you’ve learned in class to complete an experience similar to an employer request. Past students have created membranes for filtration of pharmaceuticals from drinking water using metal-organic framework materials, energy-saving heat treating processes for steel alloys, high-capacity lithium-ion battery materials and more.

Student Organizations

American Foundry Society

Provides academic, hands-on and career opportunities to students interested in metallurgy and the metal casting industry.

Materials Advantage

For any student interested in Materials Science and Engineering; nearly all activities are open to all students regardless of membership status.

For full descriptions and contact information of all engineering and materials engineering related student organizations and clubs, click here.

Resource Rooms & Teaching Labs

Research Labs

Advanced Analysis Facility

This facility houses and maintains research instrumentation, which provides full capability for materials and chemical analysis.

Foundry and Solidification Lab

This small-scale foundry provides students with hands-on training in cutting-edge foundry processing techniques and research.

UWM Center for Composite Materials

The center links the materials processing industry and UWM’s students and faculty in research efforts.

Resource Rooms

UWM students have a wealth of additional resources available to them within the College of Engineering & Applied Science. From computer labs and tutoring resources to teaching labs and spaces to create or collaborate. Details here.

Research Opportunities

We’re a top tier R1 research university and our students have the opportunity to work with faculty engaged in leading-edge research in areas such as:

  • Polymer solar cells
  • Materials for advanced drug delivery
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Structural analysis of aerospace materials
  • Materials for energy storage
  • Application of nanomaterials in construction
  • Self-healing metals and advanced metal-matrix composites.

Undergraduates also have the opportunity to get paid to do research with UWM’s SURF (Support for Undergraduate Research Fellows) Program which fosters a win-win situation for both faculty and students.

Both graduates and undergraduates have the opportunity to participate in the annual Student Research Poster Competition to see who can best represent their research visually on a poster and verbally by describing it to judges.

Product Realization Course

This optional course is co-taught by an engineering professor and an art professor. Interdisciplinary teams of student engineers, artists and designers present ideas professionally, deliver presentations and take an idea from concept to design to prototype.   

Student Startup Challenge

Directed by the Lubar Entrepreneurship Center, the UWM Student Startup Challenge is an optional, co-curricular program that fosters our students’ innovative and entrepreneurial ideas. You can work alone or as part of a team as you gain the skills that come from entrepreneurial experience.

 

We’re Here to Help

We have a dedicated Career Services Department at the College of Engineering & Applied Science who works exclusively with our students to prepare them for a career after graduation.

What You’ll Do

Because everything we use is made of some material or combination of materials, materials science engineers are central to the development and design of new products. Your work might focus on:

  • Developing new materials for applications in energy, healthcare, automotive, aerospace, and others
  • Failure analysis
  • Fundamental research including computational materials and laboratory-based work
  • Primary production processes and subsequent manufacturing such as metal casting, polymer processing, advanced coatings
  • Quality control
  • Business development and intellectual property
Graduates of this program have been hired by these companies:
  • Charter Steel
  • Clarios
  • GE Healthcare
  • General Motors
  • Honda of America
  • Johnson Controls
  • Kohler Co.
  • Lucas-Milhaupt
  • MetalTek
  • Metallurgical Associates
  • Modine Manufacturing
  • Nucor Steel
  • Rockwell Automation
  • SACO AEI Polymers
  • Signacast
  • Sikorsky (Lockheed Martin)

Student Stories

Ameralys outside Harley-Davidson

My internship at Harley-Davidson’s Product Development Center has been amazing. Never before would I have believed that before even beginning my sophomore year of college I would have landed my first real engineering job.


Ameralys (Paid internship and career launch at Harley-Davidson)BS, Materials Science

Advising

Current, Tina
  • Senior Advisor, Undergraduate Advising
  • Students with last names beginning I-O
  • Prospective Transfer Student Liaison
Kaempfer, Sharon
  • Senior Advisor, Undergraduate Advising
  • Students with last names beginning A-H
Klumpp, Jennie
  • Senior Advisor, Undergraduate Advising
  • Students with last names beginning P-Z
  • Prospective Student Liaison

Tutoring

Steven Anderson
  • Retention Coordinator, Tutoring
  • Tutoring & Mentoring Center Coordinator
  • Freshmen Orientation Instructor

Faculty

Nidal Abu Zahra
  • Associate Professor, Materials Science & Engineering
  • Department Chair, Materials Science & Engineering
Ben Church
  • Associate Professor, Materials Science & Engineering Department
  • Director, Advanced Analysis Facility
Hugo Lopez
  • Professor, Materials Science and Engineering
faculty member xiaoli ma
  • Assistant Professor, Materials Science and Engineering
Junjie Niu
  • Associate Professor, Materials Science and Engineering
Pradeep Rohatgi
  • Distinguished Professor, Materials Science and Engineering Department
  • Distinguished Professor, Biomedical Engineering
  • Distinguished Professor, Mechanical Engineering
  • Director, Center for Advanced Manufacture of Materials
Deverajan Venugopalan
  • Associate Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs
Accreditation

The Materials Science & Engineering Program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET

Contact
Materials Science & Engineering

Contact Info: ceas-materials@uwm.edu

Street Address
College of Engineering & Applied Science
3200 North Cramer Street
Milwaukee, WI 53211

Mailing Address
College of Engineering & Applied Science
P.O. Box 784
Milwaukee, WI 53201-0784