# Amount of math in materials science/engineering?

1. Nov 13, 2009

### emyt

Hi, I was just looking over the "course calendar" for a materials science/engineering program at the University of Toronto (http://www.artsandscience.utoronto.ca/ofr/calendar/prg_mse.htm [Broken]). I find it strange that there is only ONE required math course throughout all 4 years. I know that there is some physics involved with materials science, so how much math is generally "required" in this field? will there be algebra? the expectations only seem to be a course in calculus, but I'm pretty sure that I'll need more than that. thanks

Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
2. Nov 13, 2009

### Legion81

It might be different in Toronto, but at Cal Poly you have to take Calculus, Multivariable Calculus, and possibly Differential Equations. You normally have to complete college algebra before you can start the calculus series.

3. Nov 13, 2009

### emyt

thanks. to clarify, by algebra, I meant linear algebra.. et c. I don't know "college algebra" is supposed to be but linear algebra is usually taken after or concurrently with calculus

4. Nov 16, 2009

### Goalie33

Hello,
I am a materials science/engineering major (along with a double major in physics) at a major research university in the US. For MSE I had to take calc I, calc II, calc III (sometimes called multivariable), diff. eq., linear algebra and a stat class.

You need differential equations for things like solid state diffusion (you need it for all of physics really); you need calc III for stuff like thermo and magnetic properties; you need lin. alg. for analyzing crystal lattices as well as quantum mechanics which materials scientists DO NEED TO BE PROFICIENT WITH. And you need the others in order to learn the above subjects, they're the base.

I would encourage you to take as much math as possible; I would also encourage you to double major or minor in physics or chem. Every time I tell a mat sci prof my major, they say something to the effect of "I wish I had done something like that." Materials science is getting evermore fundamental. And physics or chemistry will give you an advantage.

I hope this helped (and was not overwhelming).

5. Nov 16, 2009

### emyt

thanks, it was precisely the information I was looking for. I'm taking spivak-style calculus courses and a more theoretical linear algebra course right now. I really like it, but is it necessary? should I look at the more computational side of math rather than the proof/theoretical side of math? I've heard some people say "if you need calculus for physics, spivak isn't your book" - I'm thinking if this applies.