Materials Science


Materials science is the study of the structure, properties and applications of all types of materials including metals, ceramics, glasses and polymers. Currently many exciting scientific developments are in the materials field. Notable advances have been made recently in studies of amorphous metals, the quasicrystalline state, liquid crystals, semiconductors, nanostructured materials, high critical temperature superconductors, biomaterials, high strength polymers, materials processing techniques such as ion implantation and laser melting, and in new categories of engineered materials such as advanced industrial ceramics or composite materials.

Materials science is interdisciplinary, drawing on the basic sciences of chemistry and physics and on more applied subjects such as metallurgy, ceramics and polymer science. Its tools and techniques include electron microscopy, x-ray diffraction, surface analysis using Auger emission spectroscopy, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, etc.

Materials Engineering, Processing and Application, MSE120H1, is designed to appeal to a wide variety of student interests. Other materials science courses are available to students having the prescribed prerequisites and the approval of the Undergraduate Student Counsellor. The specialist program in Materials Science is coordinated jointly by the Departments of Chemistry and Materials Science and Engineering. For further information on the program, consult the undergraduate coordinators for both departments.

Materials Science Programs

Materials Science Specialist (Science Program) - ASSPE2424

Consult Professor Andrew Dicks, Department of Chemistry.

This program draws both on the basic sciences of chemistry and physics, and on the more applied areas such as metallurgy or ceramics. Courses dealing with these latter fields are offered through the Department of Materials Science in the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering. This is an appropriate program for students with career interests in solid-state, polymer, or composite materials industries, or for graduate work in either chemistry or materials science, with an appropriate choice of options. Students may follow the Materials Chemistry path by taking the research course CHM499Y1 or the Materials Science and Engineering path by taking the research courses MSE492H1 and MSE493H1. This program is accredited by the Canadian Society for Chemistry.

Enrolment Requirements:

This is a limited enrolment program. Students must have completed 4.0 credits and meet the requirements listed below to enrol.

Completed courses (with minimum grades)
The following courses with the stated minimum grades are required:

• ( CHM135H1, CHM136H1) (63% in each)/ CHM151Y1 (63%)

Students in this program have the option to request enrolment in the Arts & Science Internship Program (ASIP) stream. Students can apply for the ASIP stream after Year 1 (Year 2 entry) or after Year 2 (Year 3 entry, starting Fall 2024). Full details about ASIP, including student eligibility, selection and enrolment, are available in the ASIP section of the Arts & Science Academic Calendar. Please note that the majority of students enter ASIP in Fall term of Year 2. Space is more limited for Year 3 entry. Students applying for Year 3 entry must have been admitted to the Materials Science Specialist in the Summer after Year 2.

Completion Requirements:

(14.0 credits, including 1.0 credit from 400-level courses)

First Year:

  1. BIO120H1
  2. CHM151Y1 (strongly recommended)/ ( CHM135H1, CHM136H1)
  3. ( MAT135H1, MAT136H1)/ MAT137Y1/​ MAT157Y1
  4. MSE120H1

First or Second Year:

  1. BIO130H1/​ BIO220H1
  2. ( PHY131H1, PHY132H1)/ ( PHY151H1, PHY152H1)

Second Year and Higher Years:

  1. CHM220H1/​ CHM222H1/​ MSE202H1, CHM223H1, ( CHM236H1, CHM237H1)/ CHM238Y1, CHM247H1/​ CHM249H1
  2. MSE219H1, ( MSE218H1/​ MSE318H1), MSE335H1
  3. CHM327H1, CHM338H1, CHM343H1/​ CHM348H1, CHM325H1/​ CHM355H1, CHM434H1/​ CHM455H1, CHM426H1/​ CHM457H1
  4. At least 1.5 credits from the following, of which 0.5 credit must be at the 400-level: MSE302H1, MSE316H1, MSE343H1, CHM446H1/​ CHM456H1, CHM458H1, MSE415H1, MSE430H1, ( MSE432H1/​ MSE443H1), MSE440H1, MSE442H1, MSE451H1, MSE458H1, MSE459H1, MSE461H1
  5. CHM499Y1/​ ( MSE492H1, MSE493H1)

Students in this program have the option to complete the Arts & Science Internship Program (ASIP) stream.


Regarding Materials Science Courses


  1. The MSE courses below are administered by the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, and are subject to the rules and regulations of that Faculty, including those for term dates, examination periods and deferral practices.
  2. The CHM courses listed for the Materials Science program are described in the Chemistry section of this Calendar.
  3. Enrollment in MSE courses is done through your own College Registrar. It is not necessary to petition as the courses listed below have been pre-approved for this Specialist Program.
  4. Deferment of Final Exams is NOT generally granted in the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering.

Materials Science Courses

MSE120H1 - Materials Engineering, Processing and Application

Hours: 38.4L/6.4T/12.8P

This course covers an introduction to the field of materials science and engineering following a design-led approach. Application areas such as stiffness-limited design, fracture-limited design, strength-limited design will be used to guide further investigations into elements of the processing-structure-properties-performance paradigm. Topics covered will include material property charts, computer-aided design and materials selection, crystallographic planes and directions, crystal structures, stiffness, strength, plasticity, yielding, ductility, fracture and fracture toughness, cyclic loading and fatigue, friction and wear, thermal properties of materials, electrical properties, optical properties, materials corrosion, and materials processing.

MSE218H1 - Phase Transformations

Hours: 39L/13T/20P

A key part of MSE is focused on explaining how material systems transform from one condensed phase to another. These phase transformations are a critical aspect of understanding the behaviour of a material. MSE 218 builds on the thermodynamics and phase stability of MSE 202 and runs in parallel to the rates of transformation seen in MSE 217. In MSE 218 we will consider phase transformations in one component, two component, and multicomponent systems. We will look at both diffusional and diffusionless transformations, focusing on the nucleation and growth aspects of each case. Specific examples will include: solidification, precipitation, recrystallization, spinodal, massive, and order-disorder transformations. Both experimental and computational labs will be used to outline specific transformations in more depth.

MSE219H1 - Structure and Characterization of Materials

Hours: 39L/13T/39P

Introduction to two and three-dimensional crystallography and crystal structures of solids. Topics include: Pearson and Hermann-Mauguin symbols, reciprocal space, point group and space group symmetry analysis, stereographic projections. Introduction to tensor analysis of crystalline material properties, and symmetry breakdown by imperfections in crystals. Experimental techniques used to interpret structure and chemistry of solids and their defects will be covered theoretically and in the laboratory including: X-ray diffractometry, optical, electron and scanning probe microscopy, and surface/bulk spectroscopies based on optical, X-ray, electron and ion-beam analysis methods.

MSE316H1 - Mechanical Behaviour of Materials

Hours: 38.4L/12.8T/25.6P

The mechanical behaviour of engineering materials including metals, alloys, ceramics and polymeric materials. The following topics will be discussed: macro- and micro-structural response of materials to external loads; load-displacement and stress-strain relationships, processes and mechanisms of elastic, visco-elastic, plastic and creep deformation, crystallographic aspects of plastic flow, effect of defects on mechanical behaviour, strain hardening theory, strengthening mechanisms and mechanical testing.

MSE335H1 - Materials Physics

Hours: 39L/13T

Application of solid state physics to describe properties of materials. Thermal properties of solids: lattice vibrations (phonons), heat capacity, thermal conductivity. Electrical properties of metals: simple circuits, resistivity of metals (classical and quantum descriptions), Seebeck, Peltier, and Thomson effects. Electrical properties of semiconductors: band structure and occupancy, conductivity, Hall effect, simple devices. Electrical properties of insulators: polarization, capacitance, optical properties, ferroelectric and piezoelectric materials. Magnetic properties: diamagnetism and paramagnetism, ferromagnetic and ferrimagnetic materials, magnetic domains, B-H curves.

MSE343H1 - Biomaterials

Hours: 26L/13P

Provides an overview of the field of biomaterials, introducing fundamental biological and materials design and selection concepts, and is open to CHE students. Key applications of materials for biomedical devices will be covered, along with an introduction to the expected biological responses. The concept of biocompatibility will be introduced along with the essential elements of biology related to an understanding of this criterion for biomaterial selection and implant design. In addition, structure-property relationships in both biological and bio-inspired materials will be highlighted.

MSE351H1 - Design and Sim of Materials Processes

Hours: 36L/12T/24P

An overview of computer modeling approaches to analyze various macro-scale phenomena involved in materials processing, product design, and manufacturing. These approaches will include weighted residual methods, finite element and finite difference methods, computational fluid dynamics, and multiphysics simulations. The students will apply these methods to study heat transfer, fluid flow, stress analysis, structural dynamics, and coupled behavior. Practical experience will be provided on commercial finite element (FE) and computer-aided design (CAD) packages such as ANSYS and SOLIDWORKS.

MSE430H1 - Electronic Materials

Hours: 26L/13T

Materials parameters and electronic properties of semiconductors are discussed as basic factors in the engineering of semiconductor devices. Materials parameters are related to preparation and processing methods, and thus to the electronic properties. The implications of materials parameters and properties on selected simple devices are discussed.

MSE440H1 - Emerging Applications in Biomaterials

Hours: 39L/13T

Currently used biomaterials for formation of surgical implants and dental restorations include selected metals, polymers, ceramics, and composites. The selection and processing of these materials to satisfy biocompatibility and functional requirements for applications in selected areas will be presented. Materials used for forming scaffolds for tissue engineering, and strategies for repair, regeneration and augmentation of degenerated or traumatized tissues will be reviewed with a focus on biocompatibility issues and required functionality for the intended applications.

Prerequisite: MSE343H1 or equivalent

MSE459H1 - Synthesis of Nanostructured Materials

Hours: 39L/26P

Various synthesis techniques to produce nanostructured materials will be introduced. These include methods involving the vapor phase (physical and chemical vapor deposition, organometallic chemical vapor deposition), the liquid phase (rapid solidification, spark erosion), the solid phase, (mechanical attrition, equal channel deformation) as well techniques producing these structures from solution (electrodeposition, electroless processing, precipitation). Secondary processing techniques to produce final products or devices will also be discussed.

MSE461H1 - Engineered Ceramics

Hours: 39L/24T

The unique combinations of physical, electrical, magnetic, and thermomechanical properties exhibited by advanced technical ceramics has led to a wide range of applications including automobile exhaust sensors and fuel cells, high speed cutting tool inserts and ball bearings, thermal barrier coatings for turbine engines, and surgical implants. This course examines the crystal and defect structures which determine the electrical and mass transport behaviours and the effects of microstructure on optical, magnetic, dielectric, and thermomechanical properties. The influence of these structure-property relations on the performance of ceramic materials in specific applications such as sensors, solid oxide fuel cells, magnets, and structural components is explored.

MSE498Y1 - Capstone Project: Design of Materials Processes

Hours: 12.8L/25.6T/12.8P

The students, working in small groups complete a project involving design of a materials processing plant, leading to a design report delivered at the conclusion of the course. The topics covered in the lectures and design process include basic materials processing flowsheet for primary processing and recycling of materials, materials and energy balance of individual units and of overall process flowsheets, use of computer software for flowsheet evaluation, translating process flowsheets to resource and utility requirements, energy analysis, capital/operating cost, basics of equipment sizing, operation scheduling, safety and HAZOP, plant layout, and design for sustainability.

Exclusion: CHM499Y1

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