Why Study Materials Science?


What is Materials Science?

Materials science is a vital pillar of modern society and is behind the scenes of almost every industrial sector, such as manufacturing, electro­nics, and energy. Materials scientists aim at developing new materials with extraordinary properties, like ultra-strong, ultralight, super-re­sistive to heat, superconductive, biomimetic, environmentally friendly, etc. If you think about human history, we name our eras after materials, such as the stone age, the bronze age, and the iron age. New materials will conti­nue to shape history and provide better lives to people.

Undergraduate Experience

At Rice University, our undergraduate curriculums provide students with the requisite skills and educational background to contribute to the solution of many materials and nanoengineering problems. At Rice, we offer two undergraduate degree programs in materials science and nanoengineering:

The MSNE department nurtures a lively undergraduate student community that provides support and involvement across class-year, research group and laboratory. Even in the context of Rice Engineering’s high percentage of undergraduates in research, the MSNE culture includes undergrads readily by blending undergrad and grad student activities and encouraging collaboration. 

Learn more about our two undergraduate degree programs.

Get Involved in Undergraduate Activities

Our MSNE students enjoy rich extracurricular experiences on Rice's campus and beyond:

  • The products resulting from MSNE 407/408 projects may be taken to external technical and/or business competitions.
  • Many undergrad research projects can be found by directly contacting research groups on campus, and are eligible for either stipend or additional credits in MSNE 490.
  • Internships in academic/research institutes or industry outside campus are eligible for additional credits in MSNE 490.
  • There are opportunities to engage in engineering design projects, especially extracurricular "club" projects such as rocketry, electric vehicles, prosthetics for youth, robotics, etc., including competitions.
  • The ENGI classes such as 120, 128, 200, 210, etc. involve teams of students working on projects.
  • Undergraduate Lab provides resources for student-initiated projects that can compete in the annual Engineering Design Showcase.


After graduation, our students land jobs for major companies and move on to top institutions of higher education. They work in a cross-disciplinary field that enables them to become leaders in the most challenging areas of technology in transportation, energy, the environment, defense and electronics.


By the Numbers

  • 59% of MSNE graduates are employed in industry
  • 32% are attending graduate school
  • 4% are working in government

Top Employers of MSNE Alumni

  • Amazon
  • Intel
  • Baker Hughes
  • Shell
  • Capital One
  • Proctor & Gamble
  • Microsoft
  • Google
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Applied Materials
  • CGG
  • McKinsey & Company
  • Cameron
  • Aramco Services
  • Schlumberger

You’ll also find Rice MSNE alumni at these start-ups:

  • Enpower
  • Syzygy Plasmonics
  • CSS Nanotech, Inc.
  • Gethr