Interested in learning more about DMSE in your first year? There are many opportunities for first-year students to learn about materials science and engineering, known at MIT as Course 3, participate in research, join community activities, and meet faculty and students.

SUMS Events

The Society of Undergraduate Materials Scientists, or SUMS, hosts social and informational events for first-year students throughout the year. To receive updates on upcoming events, email the DMSE Undergraduate Office at

First-Year UROP

Want to get started doing research in materials science in your first year? DMSE welcomes first-year students in its Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, known as UROP, including those without prior experience in the field. For more information on available opportunities, email the DMSE Undergraduate Office at

DMSE Breakerspace

The Breakerspace is a laboratory for the characterization of materials—that is, the probing and measuring of materials’ properties and structure. Opening this summer on the Infinite Corridor, the Breakerspace will be open to all undergraduates at MIT, giving them access to state-of-the-art equipment to answer questions they are interested in. What does a leaf look like magnified 50,000 times, for example, or a piece of cotton?

Wulff Lecture

Held twice a year, the Wulff Lecture is a general-audience lecture that aims to encourage MIT undergraduates to learn more about materials science and engineering. Speakers come from industry or academia and highlight how materials science and engineering is changing the world by addressing challenges of recycling, energy, manufacturing, water needs, and more. The lecture series honors the late MIT Professor John Wulff, a skilled teacher who inaugurated the popular first-year subject 3.091 (Introduction to Solid-State Chemistry).

Independent Activities Period (IAP)

Keep an eye out for DMSE courses offered during IAP, typically including welding, blacksmithing, and metalcasting. These activities are popular and often fill up quickly, so if you would like get on a list for advance notice, email the DMSE Undergraduate Office at

Materials Science and Engineering FPOP

Sign up for DMSE’s First Year Pre-orientation Program, commonly known as FPOP, and spend five days with current Course 3 students learning about materials science and engineering, meeting our professors, touring materials science startups, and exploring the Boston area.

Subjects for First-Year Students

3.001 (Science and Engineering of Materials)

Provides a broad introduction to topics in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering’s core subjects. Classes emphasize hands-on activities and conceptual and visual examples of materials phenomena and materials engineering, interspersed with guest speakers from inside and outside academia to show career paths.

3.002 (Materials for Energy and Sustainability)

Materials play a central role in the ongoing global transformation toward more sustainable means of harvesting, storing, and conserving energy, through better batteries, fuel cells, hydrogen electrolyzers, photovoltaics, and the like. Methods for producing materials such as cement, steel, ammonia, and ethylene, which rank among today’s largest industrial emitters of greenhouse gases, are being re-invented. Much of this work is taking place at MIT and surrounding cleantech startups. This class discusses the underlying science of selected new technologies, the challenges that must be overcome, and the magnitude of their potential impact. Visits to the startups behind each case study and meetings with the scientists and engineers creating these technologies are included.

A popular first-year class, 3.091 is a General Institute Requirement. It provides an introduction to the fundamental principles and concepts of solid-state chemistry, the study of the properties and behavior of materials in the solid state. The class aims to develop a foundational understanding of the structure, bonding, and properties of solids, including crystals, ceramics, and metals. It covers topics such as crystal structures, crystallography, crystal defects, phase diagrams, thermodynamics, and electrical and magnetic properties of solids.

To get a preview of the class, check out videos from prior years.

Want to get a head start on your DMSE degree or minor? If you’ve taken the chemistry GIR, and have taken or will concurrently take 18.03, you may want to consider taking 3.020 in the spring of your first year. 3.020 is a core requirement for all three DMSE degrees (3, 3-A, 3-C), as well as for both minors.