A Message from Department Head Susan Sinnott

Welcome to the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Penn State!

The year started with much excitement. A sprinkler pipe in our beautiful rotunda in the very recently renovated Steidle Building froze and burst during an especially severe cold snap over the holiday break. The resulting flood impacted many offices throughout Steidle although (thankfully!) the laboratories were spared. The University responded exceptionally quickly and repairs have been on-going in the months since then. I am happy to report that all but two spaces that are directly under the rotunda are fully mended and we expect all repairs to be complete by this summer.

Much more positively, we welcomed Drs. Jon-Paul Maria and Shashank Priya to the MatSE faculty in January. Dr. Maria comes to us from North Carolina State University and is an expert in new material discovery, engineering the properties of materials, and developing new advances in materials synthesis and characterization. Dr. Priya, who is the new Associate Vice President for Research at Penn State, comes to us from Virginia Tech and his research is focused on multifunctional materials, energy, and bio-inspired material systems. I am proud to note that both Jon-Paul and Shashank are returning MatSE alumni and bring the total number of tenured or tenure-track faculty in the Department to 32!

The Department continues to benefit from the generous donations of our amazing alumni. These donations have been substantially augmented by the attractive 2-to-1 and 1-to-1 matching program by Penn State for new gifts that is in effect through June 30, 2018. Please find more information at giveto.psu.edu under Publications and Matching Program Materials.

As always, I look forward to hearing from alumni and friends of MatSE at sinnott@mse.psu.edu and (814)863-3117. Do not hesitate to drop me a line to share your story or to let me know when you will be in State College; I will be happy to arrange for you to tour the impressive Millennium Science Complex or the newly renovated Steidle Building.

Happy Spring everyone!




About the Department

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Penn State is an international leader in materials education and research. As a top-ranked program, the department thrives on a rich collaboration between faculty, staff, students, and researchers to promote a well-rounded academic experience and innovative research opportunities. Our department offers ABET accredited degree programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.  

The undergraduate program is customizable by each student—allowing for the blending of interest areas and materials topics. This ultimately allows each student to create their own materials major to fit their individual interests and needs.  

Our Intercollege Graduate Degree Program (IGDP) offers the ability to continue your materials education with either a Masters of Science or Doctoral degree.  Since this is an intercollege program, students have access to the best materials minds at the University, both here in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and from other science and engineering disciplines.

To better serve all areas of the department an External Advisory Board (EAB) was created to advise the department on academic issues, current trends and future directions in engineering. The EAB is comprised of a select group of representatives from industry, government agencies, academia and the profession.

Both faculty and students are engaged in high-level research through our many materials research centers, faculty research groups, Undergraduate Research Fellows program, International Internships in Materials (IIM) and more. This research spans the many sub-disciplines of materials science and engineering and generates more than $10 million in project funding each year. Students also benefit from the department's relationships with various corporate partners and from on-campus visits from materials scientists at the top of their fields for endowed lectures and other special programs.

As a leader in materials, the demand for our graduates is high. Graduates from our department are employed in all sectors of industry and in many national and international laboratories, including such noted companies as:

  • Owens Corning
  • United Technologies
  • Pratt and Whitney
  • Dow Chemical
  • 3M
  • Boeing
  • Cummins Diesel
  • Lockheed-Martin
  • IBM
  • Texas Instruments
  • ArcelorMittal
  • Bayer
  • Motorola
  • Westinghouse
  • Xerox....and many others



The mission of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering is to provide our graduates with a well-rounded engineering education with specific emphasis on materials science and engineering in order to meet the needs of industry, academia, and government; to conduct research at the frontiers of the field; and to provide an integrating and leadership role to the broad multi-disciplinary materials community.


Through its actions MatSE strives for international preeminence in materials science and engineering as indicated by highly-cited scholarly publications, outstanding leadership in the profession, and the education of a diverse group of highly-qualified graduates.