Professor Vanessa Chan 
Professor and Undergraduate Chair

Ms. Vicky Lee
Undergraduate Program Coordinator LRSM, Room 201
Phone: 215-898-8337


The MSE undergraduate program provides students with a comprehensive overview of materials science where the structure of matter are manipulated to produce valuable properties (mechanical, electrical, optical, etc.). Our curriculum reflects the current interests in the field including nanoscale and meta materials, materials used in energy and the health sciences, and computational materials science. The program builds upon an introductory knowledge of chemistry, physics, and mathematics and starts with MSE 220, “Structural Materials,” a broad overview course with daily demonstrations. Our courses incorporate the fundamentals of materials science with illustrations focusing on applications. You will find a course planning guide for an MSE major and minor below.

Learn more about Materials Science


Concentrations and Specializations

Course Planning Guide for MSE Majors (Entered Fall 2017 and after)

Course Planning Guide for MSE Majors (Entered Fall 2016 and after)

Course Planning Guide for MSE Majors (Entered Fall 2015)

Penn InTouch (for latest course information and syllabi, login required)


Course Planning Guide for MSE Minors

Minor in Nanotechnology


Sample Curriculum

Year 1
Fall Spring

MATH 104
CHEM 101
CHEM 053
PHYS  140/or MEAM 110
TECH Elective

SSH (e.g. writing requirement)

MATH 114
CHEM 102
CHEM 054
PHYS 141
TECH Elective: ENGR 105
Year 2
Fall Spring
MATH 240
MSE 220
MSE 221
TECH Elective
SSH: EAS 203
MATH 241 or ENM251
MSE 215
MSE 250
MSE 260
Year 3
Fall Spring

MSE 330

MSE 360
ENGR Elective
FREE Elective

MSE 393
TECH Elective
FREE Elective
FREE Elective
Year 4
Fall Spring

MSE 460
MSE 495

TECH Elective

MSE 405
MSE 440
MSE 496
ENGR Elective


1. Tech Elective are Engineering, Natural Science, or Mathematics courses.

2. VIPER Program: Students may substitute VIPER 120/121 for EAS 203.

3. M&T joint degree or dual degree with Wharton (or with College) may use up to two (200 level and up) "NON" engineering courses in the non-engineering concentration in the Tech elective category, by petition.

4. MSE 545 & MSE 546 can be Tech electives, by petition.

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Learn more about Materials Science

The stone age, bronze age, iron age and silicon age remind us that the history of our civilization goes hand in hand with materials science. Understanding the behavior of materials has given rise to countless innovations and breakthroughs ranging from stone tools, which led to the discovery of fire in the prehistoric period, to silicon chips and silicon solar cells in our modern era. In a broad sense, materials science involves studying the synthesis, processing, structure, properties and performance of materials. Properties of interest can be mechanical, electrical, magnetic, optical and quantum mechanical. The outcome of such a study can directly impact the society in which we live and work, by benefiting to industries involved in electronics, communications, medicine, transportation, manufacturing, recreation, energy and environment.

While the field of materials science has evolved from materials formed from metals, ceramics, polymers and their various composites, in recent years there has been increasing focus on creating novel nanostructured materials, for instance by taking inspiration from nature. The new fields of nanotechnology and biomaterials are providing materials scientists with an entirely new palette of molecular, organic, biological and inorganic building blocks to design and assemble nano-engineered materials with unique functionalities. The research and academic programs in MSE at Penn Engineering reflect these exciting new developments and our goal is to provide students enrolling in our programs with a broad and multidisciplinary training so that they can be part of this materials revolution and contribute to solve some 21st century challenges.

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