Frequently Asked Questions

I am interested in science and/or engineering but I’m not sure what subject I want to pursue.

Material science and engineering is foundational to many fields including chemistry, physics and engineering programs. Hence, an undergraduate degree in material science permits one to move into a broad range of careers and disciplines. Material science and engineering can be viewed as the “liberal arts” of science and engineering as it trains one to have a broad appreciation of material science and engineering in society coupled with the quantitative rigor of STEM education. We welcome students with interests in ALL branches of science and engineering. Our highly interdisciplinary core curriculum is uniquely designed to fit the diverse background of our students.

What kinds of courses will I take?

The curriculum consists of the traditional and classical core foundations of materials science subjects but taught from the perspective of statistics, interpretation of databases and data mining methods. Beyond these core foundations, new distinctive courses in materials science that cover materials informatics, advanced computing methods and machine learning, robotics for materials engineering and an integrated “atoms to device” experimental development laboratory are offered.  

What career opportunities are there for MDI graduates?

Our graduates will leave the University at Buffalo prepared to work in a wide range of technologies, including microelectronics, aerospace, biotechnology, energy, data analytics and software sectors of the economy. The interdisciplinary training for students will prepare students for a wide array of professional opportunities including careers in research, teaching, business entrepreneurship and public policy.

What degrees are offered in MDI?

MDI presently offers BS, MS and PhD degrees. Funding opportunities for graduate students are competitive and prospective applicants are encouraged to follow through with the application process first. Qualified PhD students may be supported financially depending upon the advisor and through other competitive mechanisms.

Can you give examples of how a material science and engineering BS from MDI will teach me skills that can be leveraged into other STEM fields?

Biology and Medicine:  MDI will teach you how to apply the principles governing the relationship between structure and function in biological systems to a wide array of topics at the nexus of life sciences and materials science, including design of new biomaterials, bio-imaging, biochemistry and biophysics.

Chemistry: MDI will teach you the link between materials chemistry and materials properties, as well as ways to manipulate chemistry to design new materials guided by techniques such as combinatorial chemistry.

Computer Science: MDI will train you in the application of machine learning and data mining methods for materials discovery and design.

Geology: MDI will teach you how to use the fundamentals of geochemistry and geophysics to design and discover new materials based on their behavior under extreme conditions of pressure and temperature associated with geological systems.

Mathematics: MDI will focus on the application of statistics and data science methods to solve problems in materials science and engineering.

Physics: MDI will teach you how fundamental physical properties of materials link to electronic and molecular structure as well as ways to harness the principles of solid state physics for materials discovery using high throughput computational methods and advanced structural probes of materials behavior.

Why material science and engineering @ MDI?

MDI’s unique program of exploring the exciting world of materials, from “atoms to applications” through the lens of data science, broadens the horizon of opportunities for our students that is not easily available anywhere else.

I am already thinking about graduate school. What opportunities does MDI have to help me with this?

MDI offers undergraduate students with opportunities for research, industrial internships and intramural programs that broaden their experience to other career options. Our department also has the only joint accelerated BS Chemistry / MS MDI program in the nation, which allows students to complete an undergraduate and graduate degree in less than five years.

What is required for admission to the material science and engineering program?

All applicants must complete an online application. For detailed admission requirements, please visit

I still have questions. Who can I contact?

Please do not hesitate to contact Prof. Krishna Rajan, Erich Bloch Chair of the Department of Materials Design and Innovation at