Materials at Cornell University

The Cornell Department of Materials Science and Engineering was officially formed in 1964. In the early years, the Department’s research programs were driven by the study of metals for national space, energy, and defense programs. By the 1970s, the research focus expanded to include polymers,ceramics, and semiconductors – research areas that have long served as the backbone of Materials Science. It was during that decade that the Department began garnering broad national and international exposure in the scientific community. Several faculty members became members of the National Academy of Engineering and the department chair at that time was named a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Building on this early recognition, Cornell MS&E has continued to grow and diversify over the intervening 30 years. The Department is consistently recognized as a world-class research institution. We remain heavily engaged in core Materials Science disciplines but have also taken a leadership role in ushering along a dramatic transformation in the field. Economic competitiveness and sustainability – key issues in the global marketplace – arguably require a greater emphasis on advanced materials than ever before. The traditional boundaries between the study of core Materials Science research areas are eroding as Energy Production and Storage, Electronics and Photonics, Bioinspired Materials and Systems, Green Technologies, and other emerging disciplines require more of an integrated, or systems, approach. This new landscape offers tremendous opportunities and challenges and Cornell MS&E is extremely well positioned to remain at the forefront of this materials revolution.

Perennially ranked in the top ten in U.S. News and World Report rankings, the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Cornell (MS&E) is a global leader in educating new generations of materials scientists. Our undergraduate program, with a flexible and adaptable curriculum and topical focus on technology and materials integration is widely regarded as an archetype for materials programs throughout the world.

“Everything is made of something” and Cornell MS&E graduates go on to work in every engineering discipline in every sector. Our graduates routinely pursue careers in such distinguished companies as Intel, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, 3M, Lockheed-Martin, Corning, and many others. The rigorous nature of the Cornell MS&E undergraduate program uniquely prepares our students for prestigious graduate programs both in the U.S. and abroad. And, because of its highly interdisciplinary nature, many students choose MS&E as a path into technically-oriented careers in law, medicine, or business.

There are a variety of ways to structure your Cornell MS&E degree – a conventional major in MS&E, a double major such as MS&E and mechanical engineering, or an MS&E major with a minor in another engineering discipline or physical science. Whatever your interest, we invite you to explore and learn more about Cornell’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering and our undergraduate program.

Sources: and

Leave a Comment