Materials Science and Engineering

A focus on complex systems creates innovation everywhere: materials and devices that are stronger, smarter, and smaller.

The field of materials science and engineering is changing quickly and Cornell Engineering is leading the way. We use an integrated approach and apply a “break the rules” attitude to help solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering has been pushing the limits of materials science since the day the department was founded fifty years ago and in so doing we defy conventional wisdom and discover new truths. Our engineers have been at the leading edge of developments in the field since the 1960s and remain there today. We were the first to grow a single layer of graphene and determine its structure; we were the first to achieve pressures in the laboratory exceeding those at the center of the Earth; and our research into polymer-clay nanocomposites laid the foundation for a new industry.

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Cornell has evolved along with the field and consistently occupies a place in the U.S. News & WorldReport’s top ten rankings for both undergraduate and graduate education. The long tradition of collaboration across disciplines at Cornell Engineering ensures we exploit the latest breakthroughs in chemistry, physics, and biology as well as emerging techniques from mechanical, chemical, and electrical engineering to create better materials.

Our departmental vision is to foster the individual growth of our talented and creative students so that they may then continue to push the field to ever more useful advances. Our faculty members are pioneers in their fields and phenomenal teachers. Their commitment to effective teaching is evident in the challenging Who Wants to be a Millionaire-style questions in thermodynamics class as well as in the recent redesign of the undergraduate laboratory experience. The senior capstone design course allows students to pursue their entrepreneurial ideas. All students have the chance to compete in the recently established Advanced Materials Enabled Innovation Competition.

Our alumni go on to careers in academia, industry, entrepreneurship, and national laboratories, and they help keep Cornell MSE at the forefront of materials research and education. Our students are exposed to valuable team experiences within world-class research groups. They gain practical experience and knowledge in areas of materials theory, synthesis, and characterization and master experimental design and the interpretation and presentation of results.

We encourage interested students and others to visit and experience for yourself the excitement and enthusiasm so evident in all of our labs and classrooms.