About the Department
One of the largest, leading materials programs in the country, the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at The Ohio State University aims to transform how materials are synthesized, developed, processed, characterized and joined. We translate this innovation into educational experiences that expose students to state-of-the-art experimental and computational techniques, delivering the required preparation and skills to be leaders in the materials industry and academia.
The department’s facilities span five campus buildings with over $30 million of advanced equipment to synthesize materials for biological, corrosive, electronic, energy and structural applications; to characterize their structure, properties and performance; and to join them using welding, frictional and other innovative methods.
Our mission is to create, transfer, and preserve knowledge through impactful research, dynamic teaching, and the effective training of our future colleagues in materials science and welding engineering. We believe that learning, discovery, and innovation are fostered through the interaction of persons from a diverse background and are dedicated to creating an environment that welcomes and values all.
We aim to be a top 10 U.S. materials department in which we leverage our comprehensive expertise to:
- enable and amplify the academic, technological, and societal impact of our research and development
- produce undergraduates who are strong ambassadors for the department by demonstrating the technical fluency necessary to excel in professional environments and engage in lifelong learning
- increase diversity in the graduate student body, in part through cooperative recruitment, support, and retention activities with Ohio State (WSE, AGEP) and national resources (such as NSF AGEP supplements)
- foster a collaborative, diverse, and inclusive learning environment that supports the creation and dissemination of knowledge to the broader (global) community
The department offers ABET-accredited BS degrees and also MS and PhD degrees in materials science and engineering (MSE) and welding engineering (WE). A MS in welding engineering is also offered in a distance learning format. The BS/MS program offers an accelerated path to complete the combined requirements for BS and MS degrees, and an Integrated Business & Engineering Honors Program offers the potential to combine a BS in MSE or WE with a minor in business. All undergraduate students participate in a senior capstone experience in which student teams tackle open-ended engineering problems that involve materials synthesis, characterization, joining and performance/property evaluation.
Our undergraduate and graduate programs, including an online master’s program in welding engineering, are consistently ranked in the top 25 nationally by U.S. News and World Report. Undergraduate students enjoy a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1, dedicated full-time academic advisors, and opportunities to participate in research, summer internships, co-ops, global education opportunities, and professional societies and meetings. The graduate student experience includes state-of-the art experimental and computational research facilities, interdisciplinary research, national and international collaborations, and teaching and mentorship options. The majority of our graduate students are supported by graduate research associate positions that provide for tuition, stipend and research costs.
The Chair of the Department today is Professor Michael Mills, who began his term on May 6, 2019. Professors George St. Pierre, Robert Wagoner, Robert Snyder, John Morral, Rudy Buchheit, and Peter Anderson have chaired the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, which today comprises 46 faculty, about 350 undergraduates, nearly 225 graduate students, numerous post-doctoral researchers, more than 100,000 square feet of office and laboratory space, and a multi-million dollar annual research budget.
History and Tradition
The department has a long tradition that originated in the formation of the Department of Geology, Mining and Metallurgy in 1873 and the Department of Ceramics in 1894. The latter was the first in the U.S. to confer a technical degree in ceramics.
These two departments evolved and expanded over the decades--modernizing their instruction, their research and their laboratory facilities--to address the growing needs of technology. Professor Mars Fontana was the Chairman of Metallurgical Engineering for 25 years when the department grew from 5 to 13 faculty. Further growth and improvements were realized under Chairmen Paul Shewmon and George St. Pierre. For the Ceramic Engineering Department, Chairmen William Shook and Dennis Readey guided the growth and changes that brought the department into the modern era.
Materials Science and Engineering at Ohio State is born
By the 1980s, it became apparent that the boundary between the traditional materials disciplines of metallurgy and ceramics was unnecessary and that other such curricula in the world had changed their emphasis, names and degrees. In response to this need to encompass the broader spectrum of "materials," the Departments of Metallurgical Engineering and Ceramic Engineering merged in 1988 to form the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. The new department, which offered several B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degree titles, provided students with a greater breadth of study and research.
Welding Engineering Joins the Department of Materials Science and Engineering
A welding engineering undergraduate program was launched as part of the Department of Industrial Engineering in 1938. It became a separate department in 1948 under the guidance of department chair Bob Green. A M.S. degree was established in 1956 and a Ph.D. degree in 1985. In establishing the department, the Ohio State's College of Engineering recognized that engineering for welding requires a unique and broad set of knowledge. In designing and refining welding processes, operations, and welded products, welding engineers apply knowledge and techniques from the diverse engineering disciplines— materials, manufacturing, design and non-destructive evaluation. Based on this interdisciplinary foundation, with an added technical area of polymers, the department achieved national recognition for its materials joining research and education.
The Department of Welding Engineering was re-combined with the Industrial Engineering Department in 1995 during a restructuring aimed at decreasing the number of departments in the College of Engineering. It became one of two degree programs within the renamed Department of Industrial, Welding and Systems Engineering.
In 2010, Ohio State's welding engineering program was transitioned into the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, after being part of the Department of Integrated Systems Engineering. This reconfiguration was based in part on a realization that the research programs of the two departments had evolved in such a way that there was more synergy between the MSE and WE programs and less synergy between the ISE and WE programs than there had been in the past. In addition, welding metallurgy had always been seen as a key component of the WE undergraduate curriculum, partially because of the required MSE course content. Today, the B.S. degree in WE at Ohio State is the only ABET-accredited degree in welding engineering in the U.S. An in-depth article titled, "Meeting the Demand for Welding Engineers"1, was written by WE professors David Phillips, Avi Benatar and Professor Emeritus John Lippold. It was published in the 1994 issue of Welding Journal.
Ohio State's roots go back to 1870, when the Ohio General Assembly established the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College. The first class met in 1873 and consisted of 24 students; today Ohio State is one of the premiere research institutions in the world offering degrees in over 120 majors. osu.edu
1 D. Phillips, A. Benatar, and J.C. Lippold, 2014. Meeting the Demand for Welding Engineers. Welding Journal, 93(10):52-58