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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. 

Duke's NanoTech Cleanroom

female student in clean room garb handling materials amidst orange glow
A Duke engineering undergraduate works in the cleanroom of Duke's NSF-funded Shared Materials Instrumentation Facility (SMiF), where special lighting protects photosensitive materials.


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 Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, and Physics.

Through a course selected from History, Public Policy or Economics, students 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 Duke's Trinity College of Arts & Sciences are eligible to complete this certificate.

Important Features

  • Each student is assigned an academic advisor
  • Your academic transcript will note the successful completion of this certificate
  • 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 will lead to a Certificate in Materials Science & Engineering:

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


Centerpiece Courses

2 Courses

  • ME 221 Structure and Properties of Solids (Spring and Fall)
    • Required course for Mechanical Engineering majors
    • Alternates:
      • BME majors — BME 221
      • Chem majors — Chem 548
      • Physics majors — Phys 516
  • One (1) course from among:
    • ME 412 (Chem 512) Modern Materials (Fall)
    • ME 490 Statistical Thermodynamics of Materials (Spring)

Select four (4) courses

  • EGR 201 Mechanics of Solids
    • Required for ME, CEE and BME majors
  • ME 321 Mechanical Analysis for design
    • Required for ME majors
  • ME 490 Materials of Science Fiction
  • ME 4XX Fundamentals of Polymer Science
    • Note: New course—see DukeHub for details
  • 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
    • Note: Must be materials-related; requires a detailed plan and prior approval
  • Chem 210 Modern Application of Chemical Principles
    • Pre-requisite: Chem 101 or 110
  • Chem 301 or Chem 310 Introduction to Physical Chemistry
    • Pre-requisite: Chem 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 elective courses can be required courses in the student's 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
  • For Duke undergraduate students who wish to pursue the 4+1:BSE+Masters in Materials Science and Engineering, enrolling in the Materials Science Seminar course is needed to fulfill master's degree requirements. Please consult with the 4+1 Program and the University Program in Materials Science & Engineering.
Humanities/Social Science Course

One (1) course in one (1) topic area

  • Historyapplicable to the role of technology and science
  • Public Policyapplicable to the use and impact of technology
  • Economics


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


  • 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


Olivier Delaire

Olivier Delaire

Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science