Materials at Northwestern University


The mission of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering is to provide a well-rounded education in materials science and engineering to meet the needs of industry, academia and government; to give definition to the expanding discipline; to conduct frontier research; and to provide leadership in the cross-disciplinary materials community. The role of our undergraduate program is defined by the objectives and outcomes listed below.


The objectives of our undergraduate program are stated as attributes that program graduates are expected to possess. These attributes can be divided into two categories of educational objectives, based on the needs of our student and employer constituencies: analysis/knowledge and synthesis/evaluation.

Analysis/Knowledge needs:
These include the ability to quantitatively model key mechanisms in materials science (for example, nucleation/ growth rates, coarsening, etc.) using a knowledge of the mathematical dependencies of key variables and driving forces and familiarity with modern tools (experimental and computational) that enable the application of scientific methods to problem solving.

Synthesis/ Evaluation needs:
These include the ability to apply a systems perspective to address problems of realistic complexity and the application of design skills to integrate theory and experiment for design of materials and processes in a team setting.

Outcomes (ABET a-k in parentheses)

1. (a) Knowledge of sound fundamentals of dynamic multilevel microstructure.
2. (a) The ability to apply mathematics and science to engineering problems.
3. (a) The ability to perform mechanistic modeling.
4. (k) Knowledge of computational materials science.
5. (k) Knowledge of basic and advanced instrumentation for the characterization of structure and properties.
6. (k) Knowledge of basic and advanced processing practice.
7. (e) The ability to identify and formulate complex problems.
8. (c) An understanding of how user needs define materials performance requirements
9.  (h) An understanding of the global/societal context of engineering problems.
10. (f) Knowledge of professional ethics issues.
11. (i,j) Knowledge of the dynamic nature of all structure, including materials and the systems and environments they serve, requiring knowledge of contemporary issues and the need for lifelong learning.
12. (b1, b2) The ability to perform theoretical, conceptual and computational design approaches.
13. (b1, b2) The ability to perform experimental optimization employing statistical design of experiments techniques.
14. (c) The ability to apply the theoretical and experimental design techniques to both materials and processes.
15. (d) The ability to function effectively in cross-functional teamwork, both within the materials discipline and from a multidisciplinary perspective.
16. (g1,g2) The ability to communicate effectively in written, spoken and graphical form.


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