a person examines a computer monitor inside a lab

Career Paths

hands are seen grabbing a material using tweezersWith materials required for virtually all engineered products, professionals with training in materials science and engineering are employed across all industrial sectors. They work in every size company, from large corporations in aerospace, energy, medicine, and microelectronics to a multitude of tiny startups. Job responsibilities include materials selection and qualification, materials processing, failure analysis, research and design of new materials, and product development.

Many materials science and engineering students continue for advanced degrees and work in national, industrial, and academic research labs developing the technologies of tomorrow, such as sunlight-harvesting nanopillars or porous scaffolds for tissue regeneration.

Cornell’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering also attracts students interested in business, law, and medicine, as it provides a strong technical background covering a broad sweep of both science and engineering.

Meet Some of Our Alumni

Our alumni include materials scientists and engineers, chemists, physicists, and mechanical engineers working in just about every industry. They are CEOs of large corporations and founders of successful startups. They are professors and deans, and they work in offices, national laboratories, and industrial manufacturing facilities.

Browse the alumni spotlight page to see the variety of careers our graduates hold, and check out the Distinguished Alumni Award winners to view some of MSE’s most notable alumni.

Rachel Dorin

Rachel Dorin
“The group I was part of in [Cornell's] Wiesner Lab felt like a family - a family that was committed to collaborate to solve big problems that no one has been able to solve before,” says Rachel Dorin, founder and CEO of Terapore Technologies, a nanomaterials company that engineers filters for the pharmaceutical industry. Read more about Rachel Dorin.

Greg Galvin

Greg Galvin
Greg Galvin is is founder and CEO of Rheonix, an Ithaca-based company producing fully automated, same-day PCR testing machines for SARS-CoV-2. Inspired by his Cornell education, he says "The university is fostering a lot more entrepreneurial activity than just the number of startups that use Cornell technology. Whether it’s Cornell intellectual property or a Cornell alum, it’s still a Cornell creation.” Read more about Greg Galvin.

Peter Green

Peter Green
After graduating from Cornell, Peter F. Green became the deputy laboratory director for science and technology and the chief research officer for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. “Dr. Green is everything that our department aspires for our students and alumni to be,” said Lara Estroff, MSE chair and professor. “He’s a world-class researcher, a leader, an educator and someone who is using his talents to help others reach their full potential as scientists and engineers.” Read more about Peter Green.

Materials Science and Engineering by the Numbers

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Number of materials science engineering undergraduate students at Cornell
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Median starting salary of a materials science and engineering graduate with a B.S. degree.
U.S. News & World Report national ranking of the Cornell materials science and engineering undergraduate program
Daksh Arora

I analyze aircraft metallic and composite material structures through computational methods and mechanical testing. I am grateful that Cornell prepared me well for solving crucial technical problems in industry.

— Daksh Arora '19, stress engineer at Honda Aircraft