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College of Engineering

Materials Engineering


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Matthew Beck, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies

Materials Engineering

College of Engineering

Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering

157 F. Paul Anderson Tower

Lexington, KY 40506-0046

Program website

(859) 257-0039

  • BS

Nearly all technological progress requires the ability to engineer materials to meet specific needs. Materials engineers study the relationships between the underlying structure, processing, properties and performance of materials and employ this insight to formulate new or improved materials for use across a variety of industries. The modern materials engineering discipline encompasses metals, ceramics, polymers and composites, electronic materials and biomaterials. Materials characterization – the use of state-of-the-art instruments to determine material composition and structure – plays a key role in materials engineering practice.


Shape Your Future

Materials Engineering students at UK experience an environment where faculty are readily accessible both inside and outside the classroom, and have the chance to grow personally and professionally through hands-on research projects, industrial
cooperative education and service opportunities. You’ll study a wide range of subjects, including mathematics, chemistry and physics, as well as core engineering topics related to the central classes of materials (metals, ceramics, polymers and electronic materials), their characterization, processing and implementation in engineering design. Electives address specialized topics in materials engineering and include courses on biomaterials, composites, corrosion, energy storage, materials manufacturing and nanomaterials technology. Materials engineering majors can elect to pursue a minor in biomedical engineering focused on biomaterials, as well as certificates in nanoengineering and power and energy.

Industries Looking for You 

  • Metals processing and ceramics
  • Electronic materials and plastics
  • Biomaterials, implants and prosthetics
  • Automotive
  • Aerospace
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
“Materials engineering is a lot about integrating fundamental science and engineering, and I absolutely fell in love with it.”

Mujan Seif

2017 Materials Engineering Graduate, Materials Engineering Ph.D. Student

Admission Requirements

Fall 2023 first-time freshmen: Automatic admission to the College of Engineering will be based on meeting the below requirements. However, if you cannot take or choose not to submit ACT or SAT scores with your admission application, a holistic review will be used to determine your admission to the engineering program.

Students may directly enroll as pre-engineering students; however, there are minimum admission requirements. Minimum freshman entry requirements are an ACT Math score of 25 or higher (or a SAT Math score of 590 or higher) and a 3.0 or higher unweighted high school GPA. Additionally, students must also meet the minimum Kentucky statewide academic readiness requirements for reading and writing. If you do not meet the initial admission requirements, please contact for information about alternative routes to admission to the College of Engineering.

Admission requirements for transfer students can be accessed here.

First-Year Engineering Program

The smartest, most talented engineers around the world are devoting themselves to tackling immense global challenges. As a First-Year Engineering (FYE) student, you get to join them!

In 2008, the National Academy of Engineering identified 14 “Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st Century”—opportunities to greatly increase humanity’s sustainability, health, security and joy of living. Themes include making solar energy economical, enhancing virtual reality, reverse-engineering the brain, securing cyberspace, providing access to clean water and more.

These ambitious goals demand engineers roll up their sleeves and get to work, which is why we put them front and center during your first year as an engineering student. We have designed the FYE program to inspire you. We want you to discover your passion. We want you to explore where you might make your unique contribution. We want you to get your hands dirty and make stuff that might, one day, lead to a breakthrough.

Why wait until you’re taking upper-level classes to figure out what interests you? Through real engineering classes taught by top faculty and exposure to engineering’s greatest challenges, the FYE program gets you into the game from day one.

Degree Requirements

The following curriculum meets the requirements for a B.S. in Materials Engineering, provided the student satisfies the graduation requirements of the College of Engineering.


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Many of our students pursue undergraduate research, working side-by-side with faculty and graduate students on experimental and computational problems. Students can earn academic credit for their efforts, as well as an hourly wage or summer stipend. By working in the hands-on environment of materials engineering research, students have an opportunity to apply their classroom knowledge solving real-world problems. Many of our students undertake co-op placements or summer internships to gain valuable experience in industries that employ materials engineers. The Engineering Career and Co-op Center provides students valuable assistance in developing job, co-op and internship search skills, facilitates placement for education abroad programs and research opportunities and helps with career network development so you can secure a rewarding career in your chosen field of study.

In-State Tuition

Thanks to special agreements through the Academic Common Market, residents from the following states may enroll in the University of Kentucky Materials Engineering program and qualify for in-state tuition rates: 

  • Delaware
  • West Virginia

These agreements are subject to change without notice. For the most up-to-date information on the Academic Common Market, click here

Student Involvement

Active professional and honorary student organizations are an integral part of the educational experience in the College of Engineering. The Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering is home to the student chapter of Material Advantage, as well as the Alpha Sigma Mu honorary. Members of Material Advantage gather for regular meetings featuring speakers from industry and academia, participate in field trips, networking and community service opportunities and attend regional and national professional conferences. In addition, many of our undergraduates participate in student organizations that include members of all majors.

Enhancing Your Time at UK

There are countless ways to “see blue.” on campus, but the best way to maximize your journey at the University of Kentucky is by engaging in an Education Abroad opportunity.

This will allow you to gain a global perspective and enhance future employability. As you take the first step towards investing in your future, we encourage you to take advantage of all the opportunities UK has to offer. Take a look at some of the options UK Education Abroad & Exchanges office suggests to complement your major! #SeeBlueAbroad

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Career Prospects in Materials Engineering

Materials engineers are responsible for the selection, preparation and implementation of existing materials and for the development of new and improved materials – they work at the forefront of rapidly changing technical areas, where the application of novel, precisely engineered materials is crucial for technological advancement. Materials engineers are critical to all areas of engineering endeavor and the College of Engineering at UK has a very high rate of placement for its Materials Engineering graduates. Our alumni work in a wide range of materialsrelated industries, including metals and metals processing; ceramics and electronic materials; biomaterials, implants and medical devices; automotive, aerospace, construction and telecommunications; military and security applications; and sports and recreational products.

Imagine Your Future

Materials Engineers

Materials engineers develop, process, and test materials used to create a wide range of products.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics | Click the link for more info.

Median Salary


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Work Environment

Materials engineers generally work in offices where they have access to computers and design equipment. Others work in factories or research and development laboratories. Materials engineers typically work full time and may work overtime hours when necessary.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Matthew Beck, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies

Materials Engineering

College of Engineering

Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering

157 F. Paul Anderson Tower

Lexington, KY 40506-0046

(859) 257-0039