Administrative Unit: Materials Science and Engineering
College/School: College of Engineering
Admitting Plans: M.S., Ph.D.
Degrees Offered: M.S., Ph.D.
Minors and Certificates: Doctoral Minor

Meeting many of the most critical challenges facing modern society requires advances in the materials that underpin new technologies. Examples include providing carbon-free and renewable energy, clean water, advanced medical treatments and devices, and sustainable materials manufacturing. New materials are also required for continued economic growth in areas as diverse as aerospace, computing, and sensors.

Materials scientists and engineers at UW–Madison work toward solutions to these problems via research in a wide variety of areas.  Research areas include ceramics, computational material science; composites; corrosion; electrical, optical, magnetic materials; growth and synthesis; joining; materials for energy; metals; materials characterization and microscopy; nanomaterials; phase transformations; photonics; polymers and biomaterials; materials for nuclear energy; quantum computing; self-assembly; semiconductors; structural materials and mechanical properties; surfaces and interfaces; sustainability; thin films; and wear.

More broadly, the field of materials science and engineering is in the middle of a revolution in how we design and deploy new materials. The old way is by trial and error, which involves laboratory testing of hundreds or thousands of candidate materials, which is costly and can take decades to develop a new materials and deploy it in practical technologies. The emerging new method leverages advances in computational materials science; materials databases, data science, and machine learning; and high throughput materials synthesis and characterization to achieve true design of materials.The goal is to develop and deploy new materials much more quickly and much lower cost than ever before. Materials design is a major theme of materials research on campus, organized around the areas of materials design via atomically controlled thin film systems, modular design of nanomaterials, and integrated experimental and computational materials engineering. Materials design and these themes cut across the research and application areas list above.

Materials research extends across campus, well beyond the boundaries of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, so graduate students in materials can pursue research with a large number of affiliate faculty.  Faculty emphasize the cross-cutting, interdisciplinary nature of materials research, which is also reflected by the diverse undergraduate backgrounds of the student body, many of whom do not have undergraduate degrees in materials.

Materials research benefits from major campus facilities, including the Materials Science Center, the Wisconsin Microscopy and Characterization Center, Wisconsin Center for Applied Microelectronics, and the Soft Materials Laboratory.  Research is supported by major centers, including the National Science Foundation Materials Research Science and Engineering Center and the Grainger Institute for Engineering.

Materials graduates from Wisconsin find long-term success in careers in private industry, national laboratories, and academia in the US and around the world.

Faculty: Professors: Babcock, Eom, Evans, Gopalan, Kou, Lagally, Lakes, Morgan, Perepezko, Robertson, Stone, Szlufarska, Voyles; Associate Professors: Arnold, Wang; Assistant Professors: Kawasaki.

Affiliate Faculty: Abbott, Allen, Andrew, Ashton, Beebe, Booske, Botez, Cai, Chesler, Coppersmith, Cramer, Crone, Drugan, Eriksson, Eriten, Goldsmith, Gong, Gunasekaran, Hamers, Hitchon, Jiang, Jin, Kats, Keely, Klingenberg, Knevic, Kuech, Kulcinski, Li, Lynn, Ma, Masters, Mawst, McDermott, Murphy, Negrut, Ogle, Onellion, Osswald, Palecek, Pfefferkorn, Ploeg, Reed, Root, Rowlands, Rzchowski, Sarmadi, Shohet, Sridharan, Thelen, Turng, van der Weide, Vanderby, Weibel, Wendt, Williams, Winokur, Xu, Yu