The DMSE faculty have research interests in diverse areas, spanning the entire materials cycle from mining and refining of raw materials, to production and utilization of finished materials, and finally to disposal and recycling. A wide range of educational, professional, and geographic backgrounds is represented. Our faculty have degrees from around the country and the world and have work experience in industry, the military, and national labs. Of the Materials Science and Engineering faculty, seven are members of the National Academy of Engineering, seventeen are fellows in professional societies, and two are MacArthur Foundation Fellows. In recent years, six junior faculty have received national Outstanding Young Investigator Awards.

Joint appointments are held with the Departments of Biological Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Nuclear Engineering, as well as the Engineering Systems Division. MIT's entrepreneurial spirit is flourishing in DMSE; many high-tech start-up companies have grown out of the aid, advice, and expertise of our faculty.

Robert H. Richards, the first department head, appears in The Technologists, a 2012 novel by Matthew Pearl.