The Department of Materials was conceptualized and built under two basic guidelines: to educate graduate students in advanced materials and to introduce them to novel ways of doing research in a collaborative, multidisciplinary environment. Advancing materials technology today—either by creating new materials or improving the properties of existing ones—requires a synthesis of expertise from the classic materials fields of metallurgy, ceramics, and polymer science, and such fundamental disciplines as applied mechanics, chemistry, biology, and solid-state physics. Since no individual has the necessary breadth and depth of knowledge in all these areas, solving advanced materials problems demands the integrated efforts of scientists and engineers with different backgrounds and skills in a research team. The department has effectively transferred the research team concept, which is the operating mode of the high technology industry, into an academic environment.
The department has major research groups working on a wide range of advanced inorganic and organic materials, including advanced structural alloys, ceramics and polymers; high performance composites; thermal barrier coatings and engineered surfaces; organic, inorganic and hybrid semiconductor and photonic material systems; catalysts and porous materials, magnetic, ferroelectric and multiferroic materials; biomaterials and biosurfaces, including biomedically relevant systems; colloids, gels and other complex fluids; lasers, LEDs and optoelectronic devices; packaging systems; microscale engineered systems, including MEMS. The groups are typically multidisciplinary involving faculty, postdoctoral researchers and graduate students working on the synthesis and processing, structural characterization, property evaluation, microstructure-property relationships and mathematical models relating micromechanisms to macroscopic behavior. The department has close collaborations with, and a number of faculty have joint appointments in, the Departments of Mechanical Engineering (mechanics and design), Chemical Engineering (fluids and environmental effects), Electrical and Computer Engineering (electronic devices), Physics, Chemistry and Biochemistry, and the BMSE Program.
Five-Year Bachelor of Science Engineering/Master of Science Materials Program
A program combining a bachelor of science in chemical, electrical, or mechanical engineering with a master of science degree in materials provides an opportunity for outstanding undergraduates to earn both degrees in five years. Additional information about this program is available from the College of Engineering. Interested students should inform the Office of Undergraduate Studies in the College of Engineering of their intention to pursue this program in the beginning of the spring quarter of their sophomore year. Transfer students interested in the combined degree program should contact the undergraduate advising office at the earliest opportunity. In addition to fulfilling undergraduate degree requirements, B.S./M.S. degree candidates must meet Graduate Division degree requirements, including university requirements for residence and units of coursework as described in the section “Graduate Education at UCSB.”