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Materials Science grad school questions

  1. Jul 9, 2013 #1
    I am a rising junior physics major and math minor at a small liberal arts school. I'm interested in possibly pursuing materials science for grad school (hoping to complete a PhD). However, I haven't yet taken intro-level chemistry.

    Originally I was planning to complete the intro sequence in my senior year, but I've heard that it'd be better for me to also take some orgo, analytical chemistry, etc. to provide a more solid foundation for materials science. On the other hand, I've also read on various graduate school websites for Materials science that due to its interdisciplinary nature, students with both physics and chem backgrounds are accepted.

    How much chemistry should I aim to take to get a solid foundation for materials science grad school, should I chose to pursue it? One of the main reasons I'm reluctant to take intro chem this year is because of scheduling conflicts. I'd have to take it at a different school or drop General Relativity, which I've heard would be useful for applied physics grad school - another area I'm looking into.

    I've also read on some program websites that some incoming MS grad students are required to take remedial courses in materials science if they haven't taken them in undergrad. Would finishing only the first year of chemistry increase the amount of remedial courses I'd have to take?

    Finally, could anyone explain the subtle difference between "materials science" and "materials engineering," if there is any?

    Thanks in advance for reading and answering!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 10, 2013 #2


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    I am surprised that general relativity is viewed as being useful for applied physics grad school. Sure, there may be a few uses (I have heard that high order corrections for GPS require GR ...), but I would think that intro chemistry should be required for any kind of pure/applied scientist and engineer before one worries about senior level electives. It is certainly beneficial. I am not a material scientist, so will not pretend to know any more than this.

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