Materials Engineering

Enjoy your adventure.

Be passionate.
Be creative.
Change the world.
Be greater than you imagined in agricultural engineering at Iowa State University.

More opportunities. More possibilities. More potential.

At Iowa State you’ll find all of these things and more. Immerse yourself in a university where top-notch academics and a vibrant student life form the ultimate college adventure. Open your mind. Broaden your horizons. Make memories to last a lifetime. Enjoy your agricultural engineering adventure.
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Materials engineering is an adventure.

It begins here.

Iowa State’s materials engineering program has a wide range of resources and services to help you be creative in your field of study and life. Your adventure will take you places you can’t begin to imagine!

Engineer your future

Many of our graduates have built successful careers not only as engineers, but also as managers, entrepreneurs, sales representatives and consultants.

  • The average starting salary of materials engineering graduates is almost $63,000/year.
  • Co-op and internship salaries for our students average $19/hour.
  • More than 500 companies and agenciesvisit the College of Engineering each year to recruit our students.
  • 94 percent of our materials engineering students have in-profession placement within six months of graduation.

Discover your passion

From high-tech environmentally-friendly materials designed for use in magnetic refrigeration to appropriate materials technology in developing countries, materials matter at Iowa State. Think of all the different materials in biomedical devices, computer chips, cell phone batteries, jet engine parts and even the kitchen sink—these are a few examples of the products that influence the work of a materials engineer. Materials engineers understand the relationship between the properties of a material and its internal structure—from the macro to the atomic level. They create new materials and improve existing ones and help products become cheaper, easier to produce and more durable. The better the materials, the better the end result. Companies could not survive without this expertise!

Be greater than you imagine

Whatever your goals are, your success is important to us! Our programs, labs, hands-on learning and facilities will give you a competitive advantage to address society’s greatest needs. Personal attention: Having strong relationships with professors is key to your success. Everything in our department is kept small to encourage interaction. The student-to-faculty ratio is 12:1. Average class size is 30 students. And the average lab size is 15 to 20 students working in teams of 2 to 3.

Strong research program:

Our faculty work on amazing research projects, and our undergraduate students serve as research assistants, earning money while they work. Some of our research areas include:

  • Biomedical engineering: Chains of polymer molecules can be arranged in various ways and are being used in biomedical applications like on-demand drug delivery.
  • Rare-earth materials: Rare earth and other critical materials are limited and in high demand for electronic devices.
  • Photonic band gap materials: They allow only certain types of light to pass through and enable the “stealth” technology that makes a fighter plane’s surface nearly invisible to radar.
  • Nondestructive evaluation: Diagnostic techniques to detect hidden flaws that undermine the integrity of a structure or material are done at the Center for Nondestructive Evaluation and used by some of the country’s top corporations and government industries.

Areas of study

Students are exposed to all aspects of materials engineering. Choose an area
of specialization to fit your career aspirations!

  • Ceramics: From their beginnings in clay-based pottery, ceramics are now at the very heart of modern technology, playing critical roles in electronics (computers and cell phones), transportation (batteries and cars), environmental technologies (catalytic converters) and defense (armor). You will learn how to design and develop new and improved ceramic materials.
  • Metals: We need metals to make our world work. They make up critical parts in essentially all modern technologies. By studying the structure and properties of metallic alloys, you will learn how to tailor metals for specific applications­­—from light-weight metals for new, fuel-efficient cars to advanced metals for use in high-temperature turbines for airplane engines.
  • Polymers: The medical field uses biodegradable polymers in stitches that
    are absorbed by the body and the automobile industry uses them to replace
    other materials. Most toys, appliances and recreational equipment contain polymers. They are lightweight, relatively easy to produce, energy efficient and recyclable.

Check us out!