Major in Material Engineering - An Overview

New materials have been among the greatest accomplishment of every age and they have been central to the growth, prosperity, security, and quality of life of mankind since the beginning of history. It is always new materials that open the door to new technologies. Materials engineering continues to be at the forefront.

Material engineering is an interdisciplinary field applying the properties of matter in various areas of science and technology. Materials engineering influences the lives of people each time they buy or use a new device, machine, or structure. Materials engineering is all around us. From buildings to transportation to the electronic devices we use every day, the materials involved have been designed or chosen carefully for the task.

Materials engineers design, develop and evaluate materials and their usage. They bring valuable expertise in materials to just about every industry, often working closely with other engineers, to make a real difference to our world.

Materials engineers today are making significant impacts in three areas:
  • Sustainability and the environment:

    Materials engineers are at the forefront of developing clean strategies for processing materials.

  • Health and Quality of Life:

    Materials engineers are an integral part of the new bioengineering fields where biomaterials are playing a very significant role in improving the quality of life for thousands of patients. New developments are being made daily in this active field with the push towards creating better ways of integrating synthetic materials with natural ones.

  • The economy:

    Materials engineering has always been crucial to the economic success of any country.
Materials Engineers are involved in the entire life cycle of materials from the raw materials, production, to materials synthesis and processing, component design and development, manufacturing, use, recycling and reclamation. Material engineers develop new materials and ways to use them. They are interested in the interrelationships between a material’s structure and properties.

Major areas of Materials Engineering include: sustainable materials: ceramics, plastics and metals; properties of engineering materials; process control and improvement; management and presentation skills; technical investigation and research skills; social and environmental aspects of materials.

Materials engineers are on the cutting edge of technology in virtually every field. It is a flourishing field. All you need is right preparation and guidance right from high school. We at have prepared a section on guidance required to choose majors from high school, college prep to take up career as a Materials Engineer. Take a look at all our articles on Materials Engineering Major prep guide.

Job Outlook:

Materials engineers are likely to play a significant role in finding more energy-efficient, and less polluting and waste-generating, products and processes. This particular aspect of the role may further increase promotion prospects within many organizations Materials engineering is so broad that positions are available across many manufacturing and industrial sectors.


The median annual wage for materials engineers is approximately was $85,150. Wages in real times may vary depending on the type of the company, your skills, your position in the organization and various other factors.

Employment Opportunities

Materials engineering is a small, focused discipline compared to other engineering disciplines. However materials engineers have a much larger impact. The reason for this is the diverse industries they work in and the fact that materials are so intimately associated with our experiences.

Materials engineers bring their expertise to almost every industry around the world, from mining and manufacturing to aerospace, advanced electronics and healthcare.  Their work impacts the economy, the environment, our health and quality of life, our standard of living, transportation and safety. Materials engineering graduates find careers in a wide-variety of fields. Some fields are: Biomaterials, Biomedical, Ceramic engineering, Electronic, Optical & Magnetic Materials, Energy, Manufacturing, Materials science/engineering, Metals and alloys, Molecular engineering, and Nanotechnology.

Job Roles

Materials Engineering major can work as:
  • Materials Scientists: Most manufacturing companies are involved with more than one material Materials Engineering graduates with their broad knowledge of the whole range of materials, will always be in demand.

  • Failure Analysts and Forensic Scientists: Materials Engineers can work as Forensic Scientists and Failure Analyst. They are involved in finding the answer- How do structures fail? Is it poor materials choice, poor engineering or other external factors?

  • Polymer Scientists & Technologists: Materials Engineers help reduce our ever growing pollution problems by developing and modifying new polymers which may replace non-biodegradable materials and plastics currently in use.

  • Extractive Metallurgists: Material Engineers work with gold, silver and other precious metals. They are a part of transforming our natural resources, making them more purer and therefore more valuable.

  • Physical Metallurgists: Materials Engineers determine how and what metals to mix together. They measure the mechanical and physical properties of the resultant alloy and relate this back to the microstructure.

  • Ceramists: Look out the window – much of what you see is ceramic. The window is ceramic, as well as bricks, concrete, tiles and toilet bowls. All of these require a ceramist to design and manufacture the material to perform its required function.

  • Composite Technologists: Composites are the materials of the future: cars, sporting goods, aircraft, bridges and buildings will all be lighter, stiffer, stronger and tougher through the use of composites. Composite technologists develop better fibers, better matrices, and better production methods, all in order to obtain a composite with unique properties that cannot be obtained by metals, polymers or ceramics.
Employment opportunities and prospects have been very healthy in this field of Engineering. You can be part of this most growing career if you prepare and plan well ahead right from high school. Explore all about Materials Engineering Major Guide.
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