AMSEC Minor

Apply for the Minor

Applications for the Materials Science minor are accepted at any time. It is suggested that students have completed a majority of the prerequisite courses prior to making application.

Please reach out if you have any questions.

 

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Course Planning

The Materials Science minor consists of four core courses, two research courses, and one elective selected under advisement.

Students wishing to complete the Materials Science minor should review the course sequence below to plan their schedules.

MSCI 201 (co-listed with ENGR 170) is offered fall and winter quarters, so get started with this course in your sophomore year. All other MSCI courses are offered once per year, so plan accordingly.

  Fall Winter Spring
MSCI 201 X X  
MSCI 321, 322, & 323 X    
MSCI 340   X  
MSCI 410     X
  • Note:  Students take MSCI 321, 322, and/or 323 based on their declared major -- these are one-credit courses that supplement students' foundation in Chemistry, Polymers & Composites, and Physics. See the chart below to learn which courses you should take.
  MSCI 321 MSCI 322 MSCI 323
Chemistry   X X
Engineering X   X
Geology X X X
Mathematics X X X
Physics X X  

Minor Requirements

Please refer to the Catalog for further information.

Please check course descriptions to determine the sequence in which you should fulfill the prerequisite courses.

  • MATH 125 Calculus and Analytical Geometry (5) or MATH 135 Honors Calculus II (5)
  • PHYS 161 Physics with Calculus I with Lab (5)
  • PHYS 162 Physics with Calculus II with Lab (5)
  • PHYS 163 Physics with Calculus III with Lab (5)
  • CHEM 161 or 175 General Chemistry I (5)
  • CHEM 162 or 176 General Chemistry II (5)
  • CHEM 163 (4) or CHEM 225 (5) General Chemistry III

MSCI 201: Introduction to Materials Science and Engineering (4)

Prerequisite: CHEM 161 or CHEM 175; (MATH 124 and PHYS 161, or concurrent) or (MATH 157 and PHYS 114, or concurrent)

Description: The relationship between the properties, structure and processes of engineering materials is discussed. Emphasis on the fundamentals of selecting materials based on engineering design criteria. Also offered as ENGR 170.

MSCI 321: Materials Science I: Materials Chemistry (1)

Prerequisite: CHEM 163 or CHEM 225; MSCI 201 or ENGR 170; PHYS 162 or concurrent; or instructor permission
• Required for these majors: ENGINEERING, PCE, MATH, PHYSICS, and GEOLOGY (Chemistry majors do not need this course.)
Description: This course is part of an interdisciplinary sequence designed to cover the fundamental concepts of materials science. Basic concepts behind the chemistry of organic and inorganic compounds, chemical bonding and structure, electron delocalization, properties of common functional groups and ligands, and structure-property relationships will be covered in this overview course.

MSCI 322: Materials Science I: Polymers & Composites (1)

Prerequisite: CHEM 163 or CHEM 225; MSCI 201 or ENGR 170; PHYS 162 or concurrent; or instructor permission
• Required for these majors: CHEMISTRY, ENGINEERING, MATH, PHYSICS, and GEOLOGY (PCE majors do not need this course.)
Description: This course is part of an interdisciplinary sequence designed to cover the fundamental concepts of materials science. Common synthetic routes for polymerization, common polymers and polymer classifications, mechanical properties of polymers and the relationship to polymer processing, classes of composite materials based on the composition and geometry of dispersed and continuous phases, properties and applications will be covered in this overview course.

MSCI 323: Materials Science I: Materials Physics (1)

Prerequisite: CHEM 163 or CHEM 225; MSCI 201 or ENGR 170; PHYS 162 or concurrent; or instructor permission
• Required for these majors: CHEMISTRY, ENGINEERING, PCE, MATH, and GEOLOGY (Physics majors do not need this course.)
Description: This course is part of an interdisciplinary sequence designed to cover the fundamental concepts required for further study of materials science. Basic principles of quantum mechanics including wave-particle duality and the probabilistic nature of matter, the Schrödinger equation and probability calculations, the quantum mechanical solutions for a particle in a box, a simple harmonic oscillator, and an electron in a hydrogen atom, basic classical and quantum statistical mechanical distributions, and basic physical principles of covalent bond formation will be covered in this overview course.

MSCI 340: Introduction to Materials Science II (3)

Prerequisite: MATH 125 or MATH 135 or MATH 138; PHYS 163; Depending upon advising, two or three
courses from:  MSCI 321, MSCI 322, and MSCI 323; or instructor permission.
DESCRIPTON: Part of a multi-course interdisciplinary sequence designed to cover the fundamental concepts of materials science. Electronic, magnetic, thermal and optical properties of materials are emphasized in this second overview course.

MSCI 410: Characterization of Materials (4)

Prerequisite: MSCI 340 or instructor permission
Description: The third course in a three course interdisciplinary sequence designed to cover the fundamental concepts of materials science. Theory and operating principals of external and internal characterization of materials such as: electron microscopy, x-ray chemical microanalysis, optical microscopy, thermal, magnetic and structural analysis, polymer processing and analysis, thin film preparation and characterization, and x-ray diffraction. Laboratory experience and projects are emphasized.

MSCI 491: Independent Research or Internship in Materials Science 1 (3)

Prerequisite: MSCI 340 or instructor permission
*400 Level research in your major may substitute for MSCI 491
Description: Undergraduate research in materials science or an undergraduate internship in materials science in industry under supervision.

MSCI 492: Independent Research or Internship in Materials Science 2 (3)

Prerequisite: MSCI 340 or instructor permission
*400 Level research in your major may substitute for MSCI 492
Description: Continued undergraduate research in materials science or an undergraduate internship in materials science in industry under supervision.

Materials Science Elective (4)

Prerequisite: As specified in elective course description and program permission. Download the pre-approved elective course list.

One elective course from the list below is required to complete the minor. Other courses may be approved as electives. Contact the program office for more information.

CHEM 308 Introduction to Polymer Chemistry (3)

Prereq: CHEM 121 or 125, 251, PCE 371. Types of polymers, methods of polymerization, and preparation of important commercial thermoplastic and thermosetting plastics. Addition and condensation polymers are prepared in the laboratory.

CHEM 425K Bioanalytical Instrumentation (3)

Prereq: CHEM 333 or instructor permission

CHEM 425R Surface Chemistry (3)

Prereq: CHEM 461 and permission of instructor and any additional prerequisites as listed. The analysis of biomolecules, substances of significant biological interest, and substances in biological matrices using advanced instrumental methods.

CHEM 425V Chemistry of Renewable Energy (3)

Prereq: A passing grade (C- or better) in each of the following courses: CHEM 163 and PHYS 163; and a passing grade in one of the following courses: MSCI 340, PCE 371, CHEM 351, or PHYS 335. The role of chemistry in energy production, distribution, storage and usage, with a focus on chemical, photochemical, and electrochemical transformations. Applications to existing and emerging energy technologies.

CHEM 426 Chemistry of Macromolecules (3)

Prereq: CHEM 343. This course will cover basic macromolecule and polymer structure and processing techniques. Emphasis will be placed on modern synthetic methods for producing and characterizing these materials. The design, synthesis and use of polymers in specialty applications will also be discussed.

GEOL 306 Mineralogy (4)

Prereq: GEOL 211 or GEOL 211A; CHEM 121; CHEM 122 or higher or concurrent. Introduction to crystal chemistry and crystallography. Origin, occurrence and classification of common minerals; physical and chemical properties of minerals used in identification. Basic petrographic microscopy techniques and identification of common rock-forming minerals in thin-section.  (Note: GEOL 211 prereq is waived for MSCI minors)

GEOL 352 Introduction to Geophysics (4)

Prereq: GEOL 211 or 211A; PHYS 121 and PHYS 122, or PHYS 161 and PHYS 162. Basic elements of geomagnetism, seismology, gravity and heat flow with reference to the internal structure of the earth.  (Note: GEOL 211 prereq is NOT waived for MSCI minors)

GEOL 454 Magnetic Fabrics and Geological Processes (4)

Prereq: GEOL 352. Theory and laboratory measurement of magnetic anisotropy in rocks, sediments, and minerals. Emphasis on the use of magnetic anistrophy techniques to understand various geological processes including deformation, sediment transport, and magma flow and emplacement. Laboratory project and writing project included.

GEOL 461 Analytical Geochemistry (2)

Prereq: GEOL 306, CHEM 123 or higher. Introduction to analysis of rocks, soil and water. Methods include atomic absorption spectrophotometry, ion chromatography, gas chromatography and quadrapole mass spectrometry as well as gravimetric, volumetric and colorimetric analysis.

MSCI 420 - Scanning Electron Microscopy (3)

Prereq: CHEM 163 or CHEM 176; MATH 125 or MATH 135 or MATH 138; PHYS 163; or instructor permission.

This course will explore fundamental concepts of scanning electron microscopy, including microscope functions and specimen- electron interactions. Students will apply these concepts to regular hands-on use of electron microscopes, including completion of a student-defined project using higher-end capabilities of Western’s microscopy facilities.

PCE 371 Introduction to Plastics Materials and Processes (5)

Prereq: ENGR 104; ENGR 170 recommended. Polymer science and analysis of basic plastics materials; experience in product design, tooling, and processing of thermoplastic.

PCE 372 Reinforced Plastics/Composites (5)

Prereq: PCE 371. Polymer and reinforcement systems; material testing; mold design and development; laboratory involvement in reinforced plastics production processes.

PHYS 475 Physics of Solids and Materials 1 (3)

Prereq: PHYS 255 or permission of instructor. Structure and properties of materials including crystallography, symmetry, bonding-related properties, electronic structure, phase diagrams, surfaces, semiconductors, metals.

PHYS 476 Physics of Solids and Materials 2 (3)

Prereq: PHYS 475. Application and investigation of materials including amorphous, liquid crystal, magnetic, porous and novel materials, lasers, photo detectors, optical fibers, microscopy, spectroscopy.

Advising Guides by Major

BS Chemistry
  Fall Winter Spring
Year 1 CHEM 161*
MATH 124
CHEM 162*
MATH 125*
CHEM 163*
MATH 224
Year 2 CHEM 351
CHEM 333
PHYS 161*
CHEM 352
CHEM 354
PHYS 162*
CHEM 353
CHEM 355
PHYS 163*
Year 3 CHEM 461
MATH 204
MSCI 201**
CHEM 462
CHEM 441
(MSCI 201**)
CHEM 375
CHEM 463
Year 4 CHEM 434
CHEM 436
MSCI 322
MSCI 323
CHEM 464
MSCI 340
MSCI 491
CHEM 465
MSCI 410
MSCI 492
Elective
BA Chemistry
  Fall Winter Spring
Year 1 CHEM 161*
MATH 124
CHEM 162*
MATH 125
CHEM 163*
MATH 224
Year 2 CHEM 333
CHEM 351
PHYS 161*
CHEM 352
CHEM 354
PHYS 162*
CHEM 353
CHEM 355
PHYS 163*
Year 3 CHEM 434
CHEM 436
CHEM 461
MSCI 201**
CHEM 462
CHEM 441
(MSCI 201**)
CHEM 375
CHEM 463
Year 4 MSCI 322
MSCI 323

Elective
MSCI 340
MSCI 491
MSCI 410
MSCI 492
Biochemistry
  Fall Winter Spring
Year 1 CHEM 161*
MATH 124
CHEM 162*
MATH 125*
BIOL 204
CHEM 163*
MATH 224
Year 2 BIOL 205
CHEM 351
PHYS 161*
CHEM 333
CHEM 352
PHYS 162*
CHEM 353
CHEM 354
PHYS 163*
Year 3 BIOL 321 or 323
CHEM 471
MSCI 201**
BIOL 321 or 323
CHEM 472
(MSCI 201**)
BIOL 324
CHEM 473
Year 4 CHEM 466
CHEM 474
MSCI 322
MSCI 323
CHEM 467
MSCI 340
MSCI 491
CHEM 468
MSCI 410
MSCI 492
Elective

* Materials Science minor course prerequisite
** MSCI 201 is offered every quarter and should be taken as soon as the prerequisite courses are completed

Refer to the Chemistry Department’s planning documents for further information about the majors, and work with your major advisor to ensure that you fulfill GUR distributions.

Plastics/Composite Engineering
  Fall Winter Spring
Year 1 CHEM 161*
ENGR 197C
MATH 124
CHEM 162*
ENGR 104
MATH 125*
PHYS 161*
CHEM 163*
ENGR 197D
PHYS 162
GUR
Year 2 ENGR 170(1)
ENGR 214
PHYS 163*
GUR
CSCI 140 or 141
ENGR 225
MATH 345
GUR
MFGE 261
PCE 371(2)
GURs
Year 3 CHEM 251
MFGE 231
MFGE 341
GUR
MFGE 342
PCE 372
GURs
CHEM 308
MFGE 362
PCE 331
GUR
Year 4 MSCI 321(3)
MSCI 323
(3)
PCE 471
PCE 472
PCE 491
Elective

MSCI 340 (3)
MFGE 322
PCE 431
PCE 492(4a)
Elective^

EE 351
MSCI 410(3)
PCE 461
PCE 493(4a)
Elective^
Manufacturing Engineering
  Fall Winter Spring
Year 1 CHEM 161*
ENGR 197C
MATH 124
PHYS 161*
ENGR 197D
MATH 125*
PHYS 162*
GUR
MATH 124
PHYS 163*
GUR
Year 2 ENGR 214
MATH 204
PHYS 163*
ENGR 170(1)
GUR
CHEM 162*
ENGR 225
MATH 331
MATH 345
CHEM 163*
MFGE 231
MFGE 261
MFGE 350
Year 3 EE 351
MFGE 332
PCE 371(2)
GUR
MFGE 333
MFGE 340
MFGE 341
MFGE 362
EE 352
MFGE 342
MFGE 381
PCE 372
Year 4 MFGE 463
MFGE 465
MFGE 491
MSCI 322
MSCI 323
MFGE 434**
MFGE 453**
MFGE 492(4b)
MSCI 340
MFGE 493(4b)
MSCI 410

OPS 460
Elective^
GUR

Materials Science courses are shown in bold
*Materials Science minor course prerequisite
**Manufacturing Engineering students are required to take either MFGE 434 or 453, not both.
^Take major electives these quarters.
(1)ENGR 170 fulfills the Materials Science minor MSCI 201 requirement.
(2)PCE 371 fulfills the Materials Science minor elective requirement.
(3)MSCI 321,323, 340 & 410are approved PCE major electives.
(4a)PCE 492 & 493 fulfills the Materials Science minor MSCI 491 & 492 requirement if researchis materials focused. Contact AMSEC for approval.
(4b)MFGE492 & 493 fulfills the Materials Science minor MSCI 491 & 492 requirement if researchis materials focused. Contact AMSEC for approval.

Refer to the Engineering & Design Department's planning documents for further information about majors, and work with your major advisor to ensure that you fulfill GUR distributions.

BS Geology
  Fall Winter Spring
Year 1 CHEM 161*
MATH 124
GURs
CHEM 162*
GEOL 211
MATH 125*
CHEM 163*
GEOL 212
GURs
Year 2 PHYS 161*
GEOL 213
GURs
PHYS 162*
GEOL 306(1)
MSCI 201*
PHYS 163*
GEOL 310
MATH(2)
Year 3 GEOL 314 or 316
GEOL 352
GUR
GEOL 318
GEOL 406
GEOL(2)
GUR
Year 4 GEOL 415
GEOL(3)
MSCI 322
MSCI 323

Elective^
MSCI 340
MSCI 491

Elective^
GUR

GEOL 409
GEOL 410
MSCI 410
MSCI 492

Materials Science courses are shown in bold
*Materials Science minor course prerequisite.
^Take major electives these quarters.
(1)GEOL 306 is a Materials Science minor elective.
(2)Major requirement see catalog for courses list.
(3)Major requirement one course from GEOL 407, 452, 473.

MSCI 201 is offered every quarter and should be taken as soon as the prerequisite courses are completed.

Refer to the Geology Department's planning documents for further information about the Geology major.

BS Physics
  Fall Winter Spring
Year 1 PHYS 161*
MATH 124
GURs
PHYS 162*
CSCI 140 or 141
MATH 125*
GURs
PHYS 190**
PHYS 163*
MATH 224
GURs
Year 2 CHEM 161*
MATH 204
PHYS 220
CHEM 162*
MATH 331
PHYS 224
PHYS 326
CHEM 163*
MATH 304
PHYS 225
PHYS 322
Year 3 PHYS 363
PHYS 365
PHYS or ASTR
MSCI 201*
PHYS 368
PHYS 361(1)
PHYS 475(2)
Elective^
(MSCI 201*)
PHYS 339
PHYS 369
Elective^
Year 4 PHYS 335
PHYS 455
MSCI 322
MSCI 323
PHYS 419
PHYS 456
MSCI 340
MSCI 491
PHYS 486
MSCI 410
MSCI 492

Materials Science courses are shown in bold
*Materials Science minor course prerequisite.
**Optional See Physics Dept.
^Take major electives these quarters.
(1)PHYS 391 can be taken either winter or spring quarter during year 3.
(2)PHYS 475fulfills the Materials Science minor elective requirement.

The Physics Department will allow you to postpone PHYS 161 until winter quarter in order to complete the prerequisite for Math 124. Note that this will result in taking PHYS 162 & 163 concurrently during year 1.

MSCI 201 is offered every fall and winter quarters and should be taken as soon as the prerequisite courses are completed.

Refer to the Physics Department’s planning documents for further information about the Physics major.

Student Learning Outcomes

Learning outcomes are statements that describe significant and essential learning that have been achieved and can be reliably demonstrated at the end of a course. Materials Science courses offered by AMSEC have established these learning outcomes:

  • Ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering to solve problems related to materials science and engineering.
  • Ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data using statistical, computational, or mathematical methods.
  • Ability to collaborate effectively on multidisciplinary teams.
  • Ability to communicate effectively in written and oral formats.
  • Broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering and scientific solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context.