In materials engineering, a scientific approach is taken to improving the performance of materials in real world situations by examining the relationships between their structure, properties, and processing. This is schematically shown below, and this concept can be applied to a wide variety of materials, including metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites.
Some examples of the engineered materials that have become common in modern society include:
- semiconductors that allow smaller and faster electronics
- nanomaterials used in "self-cleaning" surfaces like ceramic stovetops
- high strength steels for more fuel efficient and safer cars
- biomaterials that can be inserted under the skin, like pacemakers or artificial joints
- ultra light weight aluminum alloys in airliners
- plastics, in everything from pop bottles to laptops
Materials Engineering at the U of A
A BSc degree in Materials Engineering from the University of Alberta provides excellent preparation for a career in industry or for graduate studies leading to an MSc or PhD degree. Our BSc graduates find employment in the materials production and processing industries, in the manufacturing industries, in the chemical, petroleum, and petrochemical industries, in the transportation industries, and in the engineering service industries.
Only a small number of Canadian universities offer Materials Engineering or Metallurgical Engineering degree programs. In fact, the U of A provides the only such program between Vancouver and central Ontario. We have been offering this program for almost 40 years, and our solid reputation with industry keeps our graduates in demand across Canada and around the world. As an undergraduate student you will benefit from ongoing interaction with practicing engineers throughout your degree program. For example we have an active Industrial Advisory Council that provides guest lecturers and field trips, as well as advice and assistance with scholarships, summer employment, and Co-op work terms.