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Engineering BS Physics to Materials Science Graduate Advice/Thoughts

  1. Aug 3, 2017 #1
    Hello All,

    I am currently a junior in physics and have set sights on Materials Science (Electronic Materials/Nanotechnology) for grad school. My school does not offer MS.Eng as a degree and so the only Materials Science course I can enroll in as the general "Introduction to Materials Science Course" offered for the other engineering majors mainly. I am looking for general advice that you may have such as courses I should take, websites/resources I should look into, etc. Please let me know your thoughts. Not looking for an exact roadmap but rather open to anything. Thanks in advance.

    I will take the following physics and math courses this year and next year:

    Physics: Electronics, Classical Mechanics, Electricity and Magnetism I and II, Thermodynamics/Statistical Mechanics, Quantum Mechanics, Intro to Solid State Physics, Contemporary Physics Lab I. Math: Linear Algebra.

    The rest I will decide based on what research I could end up getting this summer, how my interests evolve after taking some of the above courses, discussions with faculty and industry (seminars etc.).

    Physics Maybe: Optics
    Math Maybe: Numerical Analysis (uses MATLAB), Partial Differential Equations, Intro to Complex Analysis, and a Statistics course for engineers/scientists. Topology.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 8, 2017 #2
    Thanks for the thread! This is an automated courtesy bump. Sorry you aren't generating responses at the moment. Do you have any further information, come to any new conclusions or is it possible to reword the post? The more details the better.
  4. Aug 9, 2017 #3
    I was hoping a recent grad would respond. But since no one has, I'll give you my advice, with the caveat that I haven't been in a classroom for several decades. I got my BS, MS, and PhD in physics, with a concentration in solid-state physics. Most of my physics classmates took their electives in math or EE, but I took most of my electives in materials science and engineering (though, in those days, metallurgy and materials science was a more common dept title). If you are interested in materials, a combo of physics and materials science is a very good path. The courses you've outlined are fine. Since your school doesn't have a specific materials science and engineering dept (if I understand your post correctly), then also consider the following courses in other depts, if offerred at your school:

    (1) Make sure you take basic physical chemistry with a lab in your chem dept. If you have any interest in polymer materials, also take basic organic chem.
    (2) Get into the lab anyway you can (either via coursework or independent research with a prof) and learn hands-on materials characterization techniques; e.g., sample prep, optical microscopy, electron microscopy, X-Ray diffraction, spectroscopy of various flavors....
    (3) In addition to thermodynamics and stat mech in the physics dept, also take thermodynamics in the chem dept.
    (4) Check for materials science related courses in other depts: e.g., mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, chemistry, biology.

    I've ranked ordered the above list with respect to priority in case you don't have time to fit them all in your schedule.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
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