UCF will offer a new bachelor’s degree this fall in materials science and engineering to help graduates find jobs in fields as wide ranging as space, defense, electronics, energy and biomedicine.

Materials, obviously, are at the core of all things engineered, and this new undergraduate program will be designed to meet the 21st century needs of the industry.

“Materials play an important role in all disciplines, from electrical engineering, civil engineering mechanical engineering, chemistry, physics and medicine, so having an undergraduate degree will prepare students for many interdisciplinary careers,” says Sudipta Seal, a UCF Pegasus Professor and chair of the MSE department. “And Central Florida industries need materials engineers, so this will also boost the economy.”

MSE students will learn not only through challenging coursework, but alongside mentors in hands-on research projects that offer real-world experience, Seal says.

Examples of projects that materials science and engineering students, faculty and alumni have worked on include:
• a self-warming material to be used inside a blanket to keep newborns warm in remote locations;
• simulated Mars soil to help researchers learn how to sustain life on the red planet;
• nano-engineered structures to help doctors understand and treat cancerous tumors;
• materials that increase the energy output of batteries and solar cells;
• materials that help clean polluted bodies of water; and
• a special coating for cannulas (used in diabetes treatment) that could dramatically improve quality of life for patients.

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of MSE, the new coursework combines engineering, physics and chemistry to design and manufacture materials that all other engineering fields require. With this approach, students will have an overall understanding of applications for all engineered systems.

“From the ages of stone, bronze, iron and to that of semiconductors, the history of civilization has been forged by the noble discovery and sophisticated mastery of materials. The undergraduate Materials Science and Engineering program at UCF will challenge students to earn knowledge and skills to enable new technologies that will shape our future,” says Yongho Sohn, a UCF Pegasus Professor and the Lockheed Martin Professor of Engineering.

Lab courses will be offered for hands-on experiences and students will be able to participate in research through centers such as UCF’s Advanced Materials Processing and Analysis Center, and the Nanoscience and Technology Center. Students will have opportunities for internships with local companies Lockheed, Siemens, Mitsubishi and others, Seal says.

“The BS-MSE program gives talented students an exciting new option for jobs and research opportunities,” says Professor Charles Reilly, associate dean in the College of Engineering and Computer Science.

The MSE program is ranked in the top 50 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report’s Best Graduate Programs 2019. The National Research Council, part of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Science, also ranked UCF among the top MSE programs in the nation.

To register for the program, visit apply.ucf.edu.

– UCF –

Story by Gene Kruckemyer ’73, UCF Today, and Kimberly Lewis