Undergraduate Study in Materials Science

Undergraduate Option Rep

Brent Fultz
btfSymbolatcaltech.edu

Options Manager

Jennifer Blankenship
jenniferSymbolatcaltech.edu

Undergraduates wishing to obtain a degree reflecting study in materials science may do so through the Engineering and Applied Sciences option and selection of the materials science concentration. The aim of the EAS option is to prepare students for research and professional practice in an era of rapidly advancing interdisciplinary technology. The program builds on the core curriculum to combine individual depth of experience and competence in a particular chosen engineering specialty, and a strong background in the basic and engineering sciences, with laboratory and design, culminating in a capstone design experience. It strives to develop professional independence, creativity, leadership, and the capacity for continuing professional and intellectual growth.

The first year of the four-year course of study leading to a Bachelor of Science degree is common for all students of the Institute, although freshman elective subjects are available as an introduction to various aspects of engineering and applied science. At the end of the first year, students who elect the EAS option are assigned advisers as close to their expressed field of interest as possible, and together with their advisers they develop programs of study for the next three years. Beyond the Institute-wide requirements of physics, mathematics, and humanities, the EAS option requires one year of applied and computational mathematics and a prescribed number of units selected from a wide variety of engineering and applied science courses. Engineering design (synthesis), as distinct from analysis, is considered an essential part of every engineer’s capability. Advisers will expect students to select a sufficient number of courses that place emphasis on design.

Any student in the EAS option whose grade-point average is less than 1.9 at the end of the academic year in the subjects listed in the option requirements may be refused permission to continue to work in the EAS option.

Option Requirements

Students who have elected the EAS option must either choose one of the approved areas of concentration (see item 6 a below), or by the end of the third term of the sophomore year submit a written proposed customized course of study and obtain approval for it from the EAS option oversight committee (see item 6 b below).

The course of study must include each of the following elements:

  1. Fulfillment  of core requirements in differential equations (Ma2 or equivalent); Probability  and Statistics (Ma3, ACM/ESE118 or equivalent); Waves (Ph2a, Ph12a or equivalent), Quantum Mechanics (Ph2b, Ph12b, Ch21a or equivalent); Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics (Ph2c, Ph12c, ChE63,  ME18, Ch21c or equivalent)
  2. Demonstration of computer  programming competency  by taking CS 1, or by taking an approved alternative course, or by passing a placement exam administered by the computer  science option by first term of sophomore  year.
  3. a. 27 units of advanced EAS courses with the prefixes Ae, ACM, AM, APh, BE, CE, CNS,  CS, CDS, EE, ESE, MS, or ME;
    and
    b. 27 additional units of either advanced EAS courses or advanced science courses offered by the biology, CCE,  GPS, or PMA divisions.
  4. a. 9 units of laboratory  courses taken from the following list: APh 77 bc, Ae/APh 104 bc, CE 95, CE 180, CS/CNS 171,
    173, and 174, EE 45, EE/CS 52, 53, 54, EE 90, EE 91 ab, ESE 159, MS 90, MS 125, ME 72 ab, ME 90 bc, ME 96;
    and
    b. 9 units of additional laboratory  courses either from the list in 3 a or from EAS courses with the word “laboratory” in the title, but excluding those courses for which freshman laboratory  credit is allowed.
  5. ACM 95 abc or Ma 108 abc or Ma 109 abc. None  of these course sequences may be taken pass/fail.
  6. E 10 or equivalent; E 11 or equivalent.
  7. Courses used to satisfy requirements 1–5 above must also satisfy a depth requirement, which must be met by either:
    a. the concentration requirements listed below for one of the following disciplines: computation and neural systems, and materials science,
    b. a customized schedule of requirements that is similarly rigorous to 6 a, has both breadth  and depth, and that includes a senior thesis or capstone design project, such as, but not restricted  to, EE 80 abc, CS 80 abc, ME 90 abc, or two terms chosen from EE 91 ab and EE/CS 53. To select this alternative, the student must submit a written proposal to, and obtain the approval of, the EAS option oversight committee. This approval must be obtained by the end of the third term of the sophomore year. (Note: Students who meet the depth requirement by satisfying one of the five concentration requirements listed in 6 a will have both the EAS option and the name of the concentration listed on their transcript, while students who satisfy the depth requirement using 6 b will have only the EAS option listed on their transcript.)
  8. At least 117 units of EAS courses not including those used to satisfy requirements 3, 4, and 5 above. Concentrations marked with a dagger (†) in the list below include sufficient EAS courses to automatically  satisfy this requirement; concentrations marked with an asterisk (*), and also the customized schedule given in 6 b, do not do so, in which case students will have to
    select sufficient additional EAS courses to bring the total to 117 units. Courses in ChE count toward this requirement.
  9. All concentrations and the customized schedule of requirements described in 6 b shall include a major design experience.
  10. Passing grades must be earned in at least 486 units, including those listed in requirements 1–8 above.

Discipline Concentration Requirements
(to satisfy requirements 6a and 8 above)

Materials Science†

APh 17 ab or ChE 63 ab or ME 18 ab; MS 115 a; MS 115 b or MS/ME162; MS 90; and three terms of MS 78 (senior thesis, which includes a major design experience). In addition, the student shall complete 45 units from the following list of restricted electives: ME 35 abc, APh 105 abc, APh 114 abc, APh/EE 130, APh/EE 183, Ch 120 ab, Ch 121 ab, Ch 125 abc, Ch/ChE 147, ChE/Ch 148, CS 11, Ge 114 ab, MS 105, MS/APh 120, 122, MS 125, 131, 133, 142, Ph 125 abc. Substitution of courses may be approved at the discretion of the concentration representative, provided they meet the overall EAS requirements.

Typical Course Schedule

Second Year First Term Second Term Third Term
HSS electives 9 9 9
Electives 36 36 36
Total Units 45 45 45
Third Year First Term Second Term Third Term
ACM 95 abc or Ma 108 abc or Ma 109 abc 12 12 12
HSS electives 9 9 9
Electives 24 24 24
Total Units 45 45 45
Fourth Year First Term Second Term Third Term
E 10 Technical Seminar Presentations - 3 -
HSS electives 9 9 9
Electives 33 33 33
Total Units 42 45 42

Typical Course Schedule by Concentration

Variation of the course schedule from these examples should be made in consultation with the student’s academic adviser and must satisfy the discipline concentration requirements listed above.

  First Term Second Term Third Term
Second Year APh 17 a
MS 115 a
APh 17 b
MS 115 b
Restricted
elective or MS 90
Third Year ACM 95 a
Restricted elective
ACM 95 b
Restricted elective
ACM 95 c
Restricted elective or MS 90
Fourth Year MS 78 a
MS 131
MS/APh 120
MS 78 b
E 10
MS 78 c
MS 133
Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science