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Material Sciences

Materials science focuses on the use of physical and chemical properties to develop new products and improve existing materials. Read on to learn more about training opportunities and employment prospects in this field.

Inside Materials Science

Materials scientists study the properties of common substances - like glass, metal or rubber - and formulate innovative methods for manipulating these materials in order to create new products. A new type of plastic with better resistance to heat could be an example of a materials science development. Many scientists in this field work in teams that include biologists, chemists and engineers. Some materials scientists specialize in a particular substance, like semiconductors or ceramics.

Education Information

Degree programs in materials science are available at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many employers of material scientists prefer job applicants who hold a master's or doctoral degree (www.bls.gov). Materials science programs often provide students with interdisciplinary knowledge of physics, chemistry, engineering and biology. Core course topics may include materials processing techniques, electron microscopy, thermodynamics and nanotechnology. Some materials scientists hold advanced degrees in chemistry or physics.

Degree Options

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