Materials Engineering

2022 Materials Engineering Degree Guide

Material Engineers create, develop, and test materials to create different products: everything from waterproof coats, to four-lane bridges, to golf clubs. As a Materials Engineering major you will learn how to develop high-tech materials or improve already existing products. Some of the materials you will commonly work with include metal, ceramics and glass, plastic, natural and synthetic items. Nothing is too challenging for a material engineer major. If the right material cannot be found, the next step is to create one to handle the job.

Some courses you may be required to take could include: chemistry, physics, advanced mathematics, thermodynamics, kinetics of materials, material engineering design, materials science, and electronic properties of materials. Materials engineers may specialize in a specific material, such as: ceramic, composite, metallurgic, plastics, or semiconductor processing.

Materials Engineering Degrees Decreasing

#154 Most Popular Major
3.4k Degrees Awarded
-2.0% Increase in Graduates

Materials Engineering was the 154th most popular major in the 2020-2021 school year. Colleges in the United States reported awarding 3,415 degrees in this year alone. This 70 less than the prior year, a decrease of 2.0%.

Our 2023 Best Materials Engineering Schools ranking analyzes 86 of these schools to determine the best overall colleges for materials engineering students. Explore this or one of our many other custom materials engineering rankings further below.

Best Materials Engineering Schools by Degree

Requirements for Getting a Degree in Materials Engineering

Engineering students love to solve problems and learn how things work. As a materials engineering major, you will use critical thinking and creativity in order to determine how materials can be used in different conditions.

You will be working with numbers and solving equations, but you will also have to articulate your findings to your peers and your professors. Learn to hone your communication skills through writing reports and participating in group presentations. You will need to be very clear when explaining a concept to someone who is not familiar with engineering.

Most colleges will require a summer or semester long internship in order to graduate. Other programs will require you to participate in a co-op program.

Materials Engineering Degree Program Entry Requirements

New students will need to have completed high school or a GED program and each school will have their own minimum GPA and SAT/ACT test requirements. Once you obtain your degree, additional materials engineering certifications required to pursue a career in this field.

Types of Materials Engineering Degrees

There are many different materials engineering degree levels. You can spend many years getting as high as a in materials engineering to something that takes less time like a . The time it takes to complete a materials engineering degree varies depending on the program.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to materials engineering, with approximately 45.7% of workers getting one. Find out other typical degree levels for materials engineering workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 50.4%
Master’s Degree 26.1%
Doctoral Degree 8.4%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate 3.6%
Post-Doctoral Training 3.5%

About 93.1% of workers in careers related to materials engineering obtain at least bachelor's degrees. See the chart below for the most common degree level workers in materials engineering have received.


This of course varies depending on which materials engineering career you choose.

Materials Engineering Careers

Average Number of Jobs
$65k Average Starting Salary
9% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

Solid Growth Projected for Materials Engineering Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your materials engineering degree? Materials Engineering careers are expected to grow 8.5% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to materials engineering.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Cost Estimators 240,800 10.5%
Architectural and Engineering Managers 190,000 5.5%
Engineering Professors 54,600 14.7%
Materials Engineers 27,500 1.9%

How Much Money Do Materials Engineering Grads Make?

Recently graduated materials engineering students earned an average of $65,007 in 2019-2020. Earnings can range from as low as $37,586 to as high as $86,960. As you might expect, salaries for materials engineering graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


High Paying Careers for Materials Engineering Majors

Salaries for materials engineering graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top highest paying careers materials engineering grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Architectural and Engineering Managers $148,970
Engineering Professors $113,680
Materials Engineers $96,930
Cost Estimators $69,710

Getting Your Materials Engineering Degree

With over 258 different materials engineering degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased materials engineering school rankings to help you with this.

One of 40 majors within the Engineering area of study, Materials Engineering has other similar majors worth exploring.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Mechanical Engineering 46,178
Electrical Engineering 28,844
Civil Engineering 21,388
Computer Engineering 17,987
Chemical Engineering 12,917

View All Materials Engineering Related Majors >


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