texture image of carbon materials

Materials Science & Engineering Certificate

Materials scientists and engineers discover, design and apply new materials to meet the grand challenges of our time

Harvesting solar and thermal energy economically, enabling improved batteries and quantum computing, developing improved medical treatments all require new materials with specific properties. 

Use Clean Room Facilities

female student in clean room garb handling materials amidst orange glowDuke Engineering undergraduate Melissa Levy in the Shared Materials Instrument Facility clean room, where the lighting is orange so as not to affect photosensitive materials under study

Earn Duke's Certificate in Materials Science & Engineering to learn the scientific and engineering principles related to the fundamental structures, properties and technological applications of materials. Expert faculty teach from multiple disciplines, such as the Departments of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, and Physics. In addition, through a course selected from History, Public Policy or Economics, learn about the role of technology in science, public policy and the economy . 

Upper-level undergraduate students enrolled in both the Pratt School of Engineering and the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences are eligible to complete this certificate. Each student is assigned an academic advisor affiliated with the program. A student's academic transcript will note successful completion of the certificate.

Additional opportunities:

  • Earn academic credit through independent research with affiliated faculty
  • Participate in activities of the student chapter of the Materials Research Society
  • Attend the Materials Science Seminar Series by visiting faculty and researchers

Certificate Requirements

Successful completion of seven (7) courses from the following categories will lead to a Certificate in Materials Science & Engineering:

  • Two (2) required centerpiece courses
  • Four (4) elective courses (one must be outside the student's major department)
  • One (1) humanities/social science course 

Course Details

Centerpiece Courses (select two)

  • ME 221 Structure and Properties of Solids
    (Note: This is a required course for ME, offered Fall and Spring semesters. For BME, Chemistry or Physics majors, possible alternates are BME 221, Chem 548, or Phys 516 respectively.)
  • At least one course from:
    • ME 412 (Chem 512) Modern Materials (Offered Fall)
    • ME 490 Statistical Thermodynamics of Materials (New course, offered Spring)

Electives (select four)

Students pursuing this certificate will satisfy all prerequisites for each course selected for the certificate program. One elective must be outside the student's major department.[see notes]

  • EGR 201 Mechanics of Solids (required for ME, CEE and BME)
  • ME 321 Mechanical Analysis for design (required ME course)
  • ME 490 Materials of Science Fiction
  • ME 4xx Fundamentals of Polymer Science (new course on soft matter/polymers)
  • ME 511 Computational Materials Science
  • ME 510 Diffraction of Spectrometry of Materials
  • ME 555 Polymer Science
  • ME 555 Polymer Physics
  • ME 516 Thin-Film Photovoltaics
  • ME 490/ME 555 Molecular Modeling of Soft Matter
  • ME 490/ECE 490 Hands-On Materials Fabrication and Characterization
  • ME 490/555 How to Reverse Engineer Anything
  • ME 491 Independent Project (must be materials-related; requires detailed semester plan and prior approval)
  • Chem 210 Modern Application of Chemical Principles; pre-requisite 101 or 110
  • Chem 301 OR Chem 310 Introduction to Physical Chemistry; pre-requisite 210
  • Chem 548 Solid-State and Materials Chemistry
  • Phys 264 Modern Physics
  • Phys 363/ECE 311 Thermal Physics; pre-requisite Phys 264
  • Phys 464 Quantum Mechanics I; pre-requisite Phys 264
  • Phys 516 Quantum Materials: Introduction to Solid State Physics
  • CEE 302 Soil Mechanics
  • CEE 422 Concrete and Composite Structures
  • CEE 423 Metallic Structures
  • BME 302 Fundamentals of Biomaterials & Biomechanics
  • BME 590 Advanced Biomaterials; pre-requisite BME 302
  • BME 524 Nanomedicine
  • ECE 230 Semiconductor Devices
  • ECE 341 Solar Cells
  • ECE 511 Nanoscale Technology
  • ECE 521 Quantum Mechanics
  • ECE 524 Solid State Physics
  • ECE 545 Nanophotonics


  • Two of the technical courses can be required courses in the home department
  • Courses in areas related to Materials Science, such as Physics, Chemistry, Environmental Science and Energy, are also permissible subject to approval by the certificate coordinator. New courses may also be created
  • For students who wish to pursue 4+1:BSE+Masters in Materials Science and Engineering, enrolling in the Materials Science Seminar course is needed to fulfill the master's degree requirements. Please consult with the 4+1 Program and the University Program in Materials Science & Engineering

Humanities/Social Science (select one)

One course in one of the following areas:

  • History (if applicable to the role of technology and science)
  • Public Policy (if applicable to the use and impact of technology)
  • Economics

Courses must be approved by the certificate coordinator. Other course options will be considered on an individual basis with consideration given to their relevance to the field.

Example recommendations:

  • Hist 106 Science and the Modern World
  • Econ 112FS Globalization/Corporate Citizenship
  • PubPol 199FS Science Law and Policy

Certificate Contact

Olivier DelaireOlivier Delaire

Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science