DMSE is home to the world’s premier program focused on materials science and engineering—the study of matter and how it is made. Our faculty, staff, and students undertake interdisciplinary materials projects that draw on fundamental sciences in pursuit of beneficial engineering solutions. From novel manufacturing methods to high-capacity batteries, their work has resulted in powerful discoveries and innovations that positively influence virtually every corner of society. 

  • DMSE has been ranked the No. 1 materials science and engineering program by U.S. News and World Report and QS for 2023.
  • DMSE has the most patents, licenses, and startups per faculty member of all MIT departments. Meet our faculty.
  • DMSE is responsible for breathtaking innovation in energy and the environment, health and medicine, manufacturing and more. Learn about our impact on society and the world.

What is Materials Science and Engineering?

Materials science and engineering combines multiple disciplines—engineering, chemistry, and physics—to explore the properties and behavior of materials and design and develop new, improved materials.

Why do Materials Matter?

Materials make up the world around us—the concrete in our buildings and infrastructure, the silicon in the microchips that power our computers, the fiber optic cables that connect those computers and weave together the world’s communications.
By understanding manipulating materials, scientists and engineers can develop new materials with enhanced properties and develop novel solutions to societal problems. Here are five important areas in which materials have an impact:

Computing and Data Science

Advances in materials have led to the miniaturization of electronics, improved energy efficiency, and the development of wearable technologies, contributing to enhanced communication, information access, and connectivity. And materials science and data science can work together to enable data-driven decision-making and predictive modeling, making it faster and easier to discover new materials.

Energy and the Environment

New materials are crucial for efficient solar cells, lightweight and durable wind turbine blades, high-capacity batteries for energy storage, and catalysts for clean energy production. These materials help reduce reliance on fossil fuels and mitigate climate change. And environmentally friendly materials, such as biodegradable plastics and eco-friendly packaging, offer alternatives to reduce plastic waste and pollution.

Health and Medicine

Materials like titanium alloys, stainless steel, and biodegradable polymers are used in joint replacements, dental implants, and cardiovascular stents, providing patients with improved mobility and a better quality of life. New materials can also enable controlled delivery systems; tissue engineering, or growing tissues and organs; and more efficient diagnostic tools.


Materials influence many aspects of manufacturing. Materials with specific properties can open new possibilities in the design and development of new products, for example. They also impact manufacturing processes—manufacturers can, for example, modify processes to suit specific materials, improving productivity and reducing waste.

Transportation and Infrastructure

Lightweight and strong materials help improve fuel efficiency in vehicles, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and combating climate change. Materials with superior strength and durability enhance the lifespan of infrastructure, reducing maintenance costs and ensuring safe and reliable transportation systems.

What Jobs Do Materials Scientists and Engineers Get?

Manufacture novel materials for use in consumer goods. Develop algorithms to understand materials properties at a chemical processing plant. Develop new metal alloys at an aerospace company.

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