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Columbia University Course/Program Name
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BS Materials Science

 Course Level
Bachelors / UG
Full Time

4 Years
 Start month

 Tuition fee

218016 USD
218016 USD

Application fee

International 85 USD
National 85 USD
Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)7
TOEFL-IBT (min)100
TOEFL-PBT (min)600
SAT (avg)1520
ACT (avg)34

World University Ranking

About this course

The objectives of the undergraduate program in the Materials Science Program of the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics are as follows:

  1. Professional employment in industry, including materials production, automotive, aerospace, microelectronics, information storage, medical devices, energy production, storage and conversion, and in engineering consulting firms;


  2. Graduate studies in materials science and engineering or related fields;

The undergraduate curriculum is designed to provide the basis for developing, improving, and understanding materials and processes for application in engineered systems. It draws from physics, chemistry and other disciplines to provide a coherent background for immediate application in engineering or for subsequent advanced study. The emphasis is on fundamentals relating atomic-to-microscopic-scale phenomena to materials properties and processing, including design and control of industrially important materials processes. Core courses and electives combine rigor with flexibility and provide opportunities for focusing on such areas as nanomaterials, materials for green energy, materials for infrastructure and manufacturing, materials for health and biotechnology, and materials for next generation electronics.

The unifying theme of understanding and interrelating materials synthesis, processing, structure, and properties forms the basis of our program and is evident in the undergraduate curriculum and in faculty research activities. These activities include work on polycrystalline silicon for flat panel displays; high-temperature superconductors for power transmission and sensors; semiconductors for lasers and solar cell applications, magnetic heterostructures for information storage and novel computation architectures; electronic ceramics for batteries, gas sensors and fuel cells; electrodeposition and corrosion of metals; and the analysis and design of high-temperature reactors and first principles calculations.  Through involvement with our research groups, students gain valuable hands-on experience and are often engaged in joint projects with industrial and government laboratories.

Students are strongly encouraged to take courses in the order specified in the course tables in the 2015-2016 SEAS Bulletin; implications of deviations should be discussed with a departmental adviser before registration. The first two years provide a strong grounding in the physical and chemical sciences, materials fundamentals, and mathematics. This background is used to provide a unique physical approach to the study of materials. The last two years of the undergraduate program provide substantial exposure to modern materials science and include courses in processing, structure and properties of materials that extend the work of the first two years. Graduates of the program are equipped for employment in the large industrial sector that includes materials production, automotive, aerospace, microelectronics, information storage, medical devices, and energy production, storage and conversion. Graduates are prepared for graduate study in materials science and engineering and related fields.

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Eligibility Criteria

Columbia University committee looks at a variety of factors to help us inform our decision on a candidate including:

  • The student’s curriculum and grades - we hope to see that a student is challenging herself or himself with a rigorous course load
  • The context of a particular candidate, including family circumstances, secondary school, community, interests and access to resources
  • The quality of a student’s involvement in activities beyond the classroom
  • The character and personality of a candidate, and the impact she or he will make on our diverse, residential campus
  • The candidate’s fit for the distinctive Columbia experience, which includes the Core Curriculum; a both traditionally collegiate and unmistakably urban campus life; and an Ivy League school where curious thinkers come to grow
  • Recommendations - which provide evidence of intellectual curiosity and promise, classroom and school and community participation, and overall potential for the candidate to make an impact at Columbia, in the classroom and beyond

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Course Modules

Required Materials Science Courses

Students are required to take 15 Materials Science courses for a total of 43 points. The required courses are:

MSAE E3010: Introduction to materials science I

MSAE E3011: Introduction to materials science II

MSAE E3012: Laboratory in materials science I

MSAE E3013: Laboratory in materials science II

MSAE E4100:

MSAE E4102: Synthesis and processing of materials     

MSAE E3111:
 Thermodynamics, kinetic theory & statistical mechanics

MSAE E4200: Theory of crystalline materials

MSAE E4201:
 Materials thermodynamics and phase diagrams

MSAE E4250:
 Ceramics and composites

MSAE E3156: Design project

MSAE E4206: Electronic and magnetic properties of solids     

MSAE E3157: Design project    

MSAE E4202: Kinetics of transformations in materials

MSAE E4215: Mechanical behavior of structural materials

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Technical Elective Requirements

Students are required to take six technical electives (18 points) from the list given below, which offers significant flexibility in allowing students to tailor their degree program to their interests.

  1. All 3000-level or higher courses in the Materials Science program of the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics, except those MSAE courses which are required.
  2. All 3000-level or higher courses in Applied Physics or Applied Math Programs of the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics
  3. All 3000-level or higher courses in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, Department of Chemical Engineering, Department of Computer Science, Earth and Environmental Engineering program, Department of Electrical Engineering, Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, and Department of Mechanical Engineering, except for courses that require graduate standing.
  4. Courses in the Department of Chemistry listed in the Focus Areas below.

Focus Areas
 for technical electives are listed below. Students may choose from any one area if they so choose. They are not required to do so.


APPH E3100y: Introduction to quantum mechanics

APPH E4100x: Quantum physics of matter

CHEM G4168x: Materials Chemistry I

CHEM G4071x: Inorganic chemistry

MSAE E4090y: Nanotechnology

ELEN E4944x: Principles of device microfabrication

ELEN E4193x: Modern display technology

MECE E4212x or y: Microelectromechanical systems

BMEN E4550y: Micro- and nano-structures in cellular engineering


APPH E3100y: Introduction to quantum mechanics

APPH E4100x: Quantum physics of matter

ELEN E3106x: Solid state devices-materials

ELEN E4301y: Intro to semiconductor devices

ELEN E4944x: Principles of device microfabrication


CHEM G4071x: Inorganic chemistry

APPH E4130: Physics of Solar Energy

CHEE E4050x: Industrial and environmental electrochemistry

EAEE E3103x: Energy, minerals, materials systems

EAEE E4550x: Catalysis for Emissions Control

EAEE E4004x: Physical processing and recovery of solids

EAEE E4190x: Photovoltaic systems engineering and sustainability

EAIA E4200y: Alternative energy resources

MECE E4210x: Energy Infrastructure Planning

MECE E4211y: Energy: sources and conversion


MECE E3610y: Materials and processes in manufacturing

ENME E3114y: Experimental mechanics of materials

ENME E4115y: Micromechanics of composite materials

CHEE E4530x: Corrosion of metals

ENME E4113x: Advanced mechanics of solids

ENME E4114y: Mechanics of fracture and fatigue

CIEE E3255y: Environmental control and pollution reduction systems

CIEE E3260y: Engineering for developing communities

CIEN E4226y: Advanced design of steel structures


APPH E4300y: Physics of the human body

CHEM C3443x-C3444y: Organic chemistry

CHEM G4168: Materials Chemistry I

CHEE E4530: Corrosion of metals

BMEN E4300: Solid biomechanics

BMEN E4301x: Structure, mechanics, and adaptation of bone

BMEN E4450y: Dental and craniofacial tissue engineering

BMEN E4501x: Tissue engineering, I: biomaterials and scaffold design

BMEN E4550x: Micro- and nano-structures in cellular engineering

* BMEN E4210y: Thermodynamics of biological systems accepted as substitute for MSAE E3111 in this track

** Note that BIOL C2005x: Introductory biology I and BIOL C2006y: Introductory biology II are pre-requisites for a number courses in this track.

Materials Chemistry/Soft Materials

CHEM C3443x-C3444y: Organic chemistry

CHEN E4201: Applications of electrochemistry

CHEN E4640: Polymer surfaces and interfaces

CHEN E4620: Intro polymers / soft materials

CHEE E4252: Intro surface & colloid chemistry

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How to Apply

Please review the application instructions below carefully before beginning an application. Candidates must apply through the Common Application or the Coalition Application. Applicants must submit only one complete application and Columbia does not preference one application over the other.

Please also be sure to review What Does Columbia Look For in a Candidate?

The following are required components of a complete first-year application for Fall 2017:

  • The Coalition Application or The Common Application, which both include questions specific to Columbia. The applications include:
    • Autobiographical information
    • $85 application fee or fee waiver request
    • Lists and descriptions of a student’s achievements, activities, employment and summer activities
    • Personal essay
    • Columbia-specific questions
  • Secondary School Report
    • An official high school transcript from all high schools attended
    • One high school counselor’s recommendation and school profile
    • The completed Mid-Year Report
  • Required Standardized Testing
    • SAT or the ACT
    • The appropriate SAT code is 2116 and the appropriate ACT code is 2717
    • English proficiency examination score (if necessary)
  • Two Teacher Recommendations
    • These recommendations must come from teachers who taught you in academic disciplines
    • For engineering applicants, one must come from a math or science teacher

Additional components of the application which may make it complete:

  • Supplementary materials
  • Optional interview with an alumnus/a

Please note that Columbia reserves the right to evaluate an application and render a final decision even if all pieces of the application have not been received.

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