The aim of the Materials Science option is to prepare students for research, professional practice, or advanced study in a rapidly advancing interdisciplinary field. The program builds on the core curriculum to develop analytical competence and use it for individualized research, culminating in a one-year senior thesis. Materials Science students 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 MS option are assigned advisers appropriate for their expressed field of interest. 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 MS option requires one year of applied and computational mathematics and a prescribed number of units selected from a wide variety of courses in science and engineering. An undergraduate thesis is an essential part of the academic program.