Program Objectives & Outcomes

The MS&E curriculum is designed to meet the following objectives (expected accomplishments and competencies of graduates two to three years into their careers) and outcomes (skills and knowledge students have at the time of graduation). Through an internal quality improvement program, certified by ABET, the MS&E curriculum is constantly being refined and updated to ensure that these objectives and outcomes are achieved. Students are encouraged to comment on these goals and the roles that individual courses play in fulfilling them.


MS&E Educational Objectives*

Materials Science and Engineering at Cornell University is committed to educational excellence and seeks to graduate materials engineers who, collectively, within 3-5 years of graduation demonstrate…

  1.  Preparation for success: 
    • Are enrolled in graduate Ph.D. programs at top-tier research institutions excelling as leaders within their respective groups; or
    • are advancing toward leadership position in technology based industries; or
    • have successfully transitioned into influential positions in other professional careers.
  2. Core competence in materials: Have advanced fundamental understanding of materials behavior, or conceived, designed, and realized useful products and technology platforms within realistic engineering constraints, as demonstrated by, for example,
    • development of new materials,
    • improvement of existing materials,
    • development of new materials processing, or
    • development of new analytical tools.
  3.  Breadth: Are valued in their careers not only for their understanding of materials, but equally for
    • their analytical and creative abilities fostered by a broad engineering and liberal education,
    • their ability to work effectively in multidisciplinary teams to solve complex problems, and
    • their ability to deal with business and non-technical aspects of engineering.
  4. Professionalism:
    • Have embraced professional and ethical attitudes in their work
    • are effective communicators,
    • are aware of the needs and challenges of a diverse workplace,
    • have become engaged in their broader professional and social communities, and
    • continue to be engaged in life-long learning.

*Approved by the MSE Faculty and Advisory Board on November 9, 2016.

Student Outcomes 

  • An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science and engineering to materials issues
  • An ability to design and conduct experiments and critically analyze and interpret data
  • An ability to design a process and/or material system to achieve specific requirements within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability
  • An ability to work effectively in multidisciplinary teams, be conversant in languages of other fields, and provide leadership to such teams
  • An ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
  • An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
  • An ability to communicate effectively
  • The broad education necessary to understand  the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context
  • A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in, lifelong learning
  • A knowledge of contemporary issues in engineering and society
  • An ability to use modern techniques, skills, and engineering tools appropriate to materials research and engineering
  • An integrated understanding of structure, properties, processing and performance of materials systems.

Undergraduate Research

Participation in laboratory research is an important component of the undergraduate experience in Cornell MSE. It provides students with a unique opportunity to put what is learned in the classroom into practice in a lab environment. Among the many benefits of this program are:

  • Valuable teamwork experience in a world class research group.
  • Practical hands-on knowledge in areas that range from experimental design and project management to interpretation and presentation of results.
  • Opportunities to work with state of the art lab equipment and technology.
  • Authoring research publications.