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B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering

Everything is made of materials -- automobiles, bridges, computer chips, milk bottles and human bones, to name just a small sample. Advances in materials are the key events that drive technological progress. Materials scientists and engineers make it their business to produce these advances. Hang gliding, windsurfing, skateboarding and rollerblading were not possible fifty years ago. The ideas may have been there, but the materials that would have made these activities possible were not. Hang gliding depends on fabric that is both very strong and very light, and it also depends on spars that are very stiff and very light as well as being strong. Materials science has produced these materials.

Students who have studied materials science and engineering seek employment in an extremely broad range of industry. They select materials, they design materials and products, and they analyze failures so that they do not occur again. As an example of the latter, a group of Lehigh students, with their professor, was the only university team to work with NASA on unraveling the causes of the Columbia disaster.

All engineering programs have a lot in common and all materials science and engineering programs have a lot in common. So what makes Lehigh an especially good place to study materials? Here are just three of many reasons:

  1. The program at Lehigh is an excellent balance between theoretical understanding and practical experience. There is an unusually high component of hands-on work in our program. Students study in labs in a way that develops practical skills as well as illustrates the fundamentals of the field.
  2. We make sure that our students develop excellent communication skills. Students are asked to make technical presentations at many times throughout their studies. Employers tell us that, because of this, Lehigh students are better equipped than most to contribute fully in the workplace right from the start.
  3. There is a rich interaction between students and professors. Lehigh is big enough to be a world class university but small enough that students get to know professors and interact with them on a friendly basis.

Lehigh University has one of the most advanced collections of electron microscopes in the world. Among these instruments are one scanning electron microscope and one transmission electron microscope that are dedicated solely for use by undergraduates. This means that for class work and for projects, undergraduates have essentially unlimited access to these advanced (and expensive) instruments that are at the heart of the understanding of materials properties.