Department Forms and Procedures

Materials Engineering by the Year

Year 1 


Building support networks, seeing connections, considering the engineer's role in society, design, materials engineering career insights

What to Expect

Expect to be a little overwhelmed, if only for the fact that you will be dealing with a lot of change. Your courses will feel fast and furious. Outside of participating in classes, plan to invest 35-40 hours per week in your learning.

The basic humanities, math, science and technology that you will be learning are absolutely critical. It will sometimes be hard to see how these are all connected to engineering, so we have designed a MATE lab sequence (110 (1) /120 (1) /130 (1)) to tie these together as much as possible. In this lab sequence you’ll work in teams to design and build something that helps society live more sustainably in partnership with a local client.

We have also designed this experience to create a strong, healthy tie between you and your greatest defense against academic hardship: your peers. Studies show that supporting relationships like these are critical to your success.

This year you can expect to take about 5 MATE classes, most of which will include a lab or project. 


Year 2 - Acquiring the Fundamentals 


Materials science, systems thinking, engineering vocabulary and knowledge, design, laboratory practice

What to Expect

This is a year where you’ll be strengthening your ability to critically think through a problem. You will also be building your ability to contribute on a design team by developing your knowledge and vocabulary around engineering fundamentals.

In the lab, you will apply your mathematics knowledge to measurement. You will also begin using equipment for materials analysis and data collection.


Year 3 - Combining the Fundamentals through Practice 


Learning materials science and applying it. Design and process improvement. 

What to Expect

Here is where you really dig in. This year is run in a project-based format, where you learn the science and engineering in the context of working on projects. You’ll be working in teams, but the work requires a great deal of self-initiated learning. 

This is the year in which you are challenged to fully embrace your responsibility to begin putting science and engineering together. If there are gaps in your understanding, it is up to you to identify these gaps and pursue their closure. The faculty act as coaches to help you through this process.

At the end of this year, if you have developed yourself to your fullest, you will feel a great sense of accomplishment.

Materials Engineering Year 4 - Honing Professional Engineering Skills


Independent design and professionalism

What to Expect

Your big task this year is to complete your senior project while both deepening and broadening yourself through electives. You have the opportunity to choose from a number of courses. The senior project builds on all the mastery you have developed over the past three years, including the ability to self-direct your learning. You will have a faculty advisor to guide you through this process.

As the culmination of all your learning, you will design a senior project poster, write a professional report, and present your project research at the annual Materials Engineering Technical Conference.



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Contact Us


Materials Engineering Department
1 Grand Avenue
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407

Location: 41A-229

Phone: (805) 756-2568


Hours: M-F 8am-5pm

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