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Elective and Technical Emphasis Options

 MSMSE Undergrad Materials Lab, Eric Jankowski's Lab, Allison Corona photo.

Technical Emphasis  Courses

Beginning in catalog year 2016-17, students are required to take 9 credits of electives to complete a technical emphasis.  These courses must be approved by the student’s advisor to ensure that they represent a suitable emphasis area. Complete the Technical Emphasis Area Proposal Form to obtain advisor approval.

Guiding Principles for Choosing Technical Emphasis Courses

  • The list of emphasis areas below is suggestive but not exclusive.  Use this list as a starting point in choosing a technical emphasis.  
  • All 9 credits must be related to one another.  
  • In general, the credits are expected to be upper division credits; an exception will be made for some emphasis areas.  
  • Students may propose an emphasis area that would be approved by the undergraduate coordinator (e.g., for a student studying the computational modeling of polymers, the student might propose MSE 464, MSE 397, and MATH 365).  To do so, send an email to Megan Frary ( with the course names, numbers, and descriptions, along with a paragraph justifying your proposed area of technical emphasis, describing clearly how it relates to or supports the MSE curriculum.

Suggested Areas for Technical Emphasis

Emphasis AreaCourses that Fulfill the Requirement
Computational MaterialsMSE 464, PHYS 325, MATH 365
Biomaterials (minor)MSE 477, ME 356, BIOL 191
Industrial Engineering (minor)SCM 345, SCM 380, ENGR 360, SCM electives
Soft MaterialsCHEM 301/302, PHYS 307, PHYS 436, polymers course
Physics (minor)PHYS 412, PHYS 415, PHYS 432, other upper division PHYS courses
Chemistry (minor)CHEM 211, CHEM 212, CHEM 307/308, CHEM 309
Thermal PropertiesPHYS 432, ME 320, ME 302
Electronic Materials and DevicesPHYS 415, PHYS 412, ECE 320, ECE 420, ECE 440
Materials ScienceAny upper division MSE courses
Graduate School ReadinessCHEM 301/302, PHYS 415, upper division math course
Applied Mathematics (minor)MATH 301, MATH 365, MATH 433, MATH 436, MATH 465
Art MaterialsART 221, ART 225, other related upper division ART
Secondary EducationSTEM-ED 310, STEM-ED 350, STEM-ED 410, STEM-ED 480
Sustainability (minor)GEOS 101, ENVSTD 121, CE 320, ECON 333
Leadership (certificate)LEAD 325, LED 326, LEAD 327, LEAD 480, LEAD 495
Business (minor)Business courses to fulfill the minor
Entrepreneurship (minor)ENTREP 320, ENTREP 420, ENTREP 421, MGMT 301

Note to Students Completing a Minor

Some minors require more classes than are listed here, while others require fewer courses than the Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering would require for the emphasis area.  In some cases, the courses or minors have special requirements about who may enroll.  Check with the academic department offering the minor for more details.

Elective Course Options

Students in catalog years 2015-16 or earlier are required to take varying numbers of engineering, technical, MSE and PHYS electives.  All electives must be approved by the student’s advisor. In general, upper division courses from engineering disciplines (ENGR, ME, MSE, CE, ECE) will fulfill the engineering electives requirement.  In general, upper division courses from other STEM disciplines (math, chemistry, biology, physics, computer science) will fulfill the technical electives requirement.  

The lists below suggest courses that fulfill the various elective requirements and also support and broaden the student’s MSE curriculum.  Students may propose taking courses not listed below to their advisor for approval. 

Materials Science and Engineering

These courses count toward MSE electives, technical electives, or engineering electives
Course NumberCourse Description
MSE 419Interfacial Kinetics and Transport Processes
MSE 428Interfaces and Dislocation Behavior
MSE 464Computational Materials Science
MSE 471Physical Ceramics and Glasses
MSE 477 (BIO 477) (ME 477)Biomaterials
MSE 488Environmental Degradation of Materials


These courses count toward technical electives
Course NumberCourse Description
BIOL 191General Biology I
BIOL 192General Biology II
BIOL 227Human Anatomy and Physiology
BIOL 228Human Anatomy and Physiology
BIOL 301Cell Biology
BIOL 303General Microbiology


These courses count toward technical electives
Course NumberCourse Description
CHEM 211 Analytical Chemistry I
CHEM 212Analytical Chemistry I Laboratory
CHEM 301 Survey of Organic Chemistry
CHEM 302Survey of Organic Chemistry Laboratory
CHEM 307 Organic Chemistry I
CHEM 308Organic Chemistry I Laboratory
CHEM 309Organic Chemistry II
CHEM 310Organic Chemistry II Laboratory
CHEM 321Physical Chemistry I Lecture
CHEM 322 Physical Chemistry II Lecture
CHEM 401 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
CHEM 431 Biochemistry I

Civil Engineering

These courses count toward engineering electives or technical electives
Course NumberCourse Description
CE 316Hydrology
CE 320Principles of Environmental Engineering
CE 321Principles of Environmental Engineering Lab
CE 330Fluid Mechanics
CE 331Fluid Mechanics Lab
CE 340Engineering Properties of Construction Materials
CE 350Engineering Mechanics of Materials
CE 352Structures I
CE 354Structures II
CE 426Aqueous Geochemistry
CE 450Reinforced Concrete Design
CE 452Structural Steel Design
CE 454Timber Design

Computer Science

These courses count toward technical electives
Course NumberCourse Description
CS 101Introduction to Computer Science Principles
CS 111Introduction to Programming
CS 117C++ for Engineers
CS 221Computer Science
CS 230Ethical Issues in Computing
CS 252Introduction to C and Systems Programming for Non Majors
CS 321Data Structures
CS 331Computer Security and Information Assurance
CS 354Programming Languages
CS 361Introduction to the Theory of Computation
CS 401Introduction to Web Development
CS 401Mobile APplication Development
CS 410Databases
CS 421Algorithms
CS 425/ECE 434Introduction to Computer Networks
CS 430Parallel Computing
CS 436Natural Language Processing
CS 450Programming Language Translation
CS 457Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
CS 469Human Computer Interaction

Electrical Engineering

These courses count toward engineering electives or technical electives
Course NumberCourse Description
ECE 212Circuit Analysis and Design
ECE 212L Circuit Analysis and Design Lab
ECE 230 Digital Systems
ECE 230LDigital Systems Lab
ECE 300Electromagnetic Theory
ECE 310Microelectronics Circuits
ECE 310LMicroelectronics Circuits Lab
ECE 320Semiconductor Devices
ECE 320LDevice Characterization Lab
ECE 330Microprocessors
ECE 330LMicroprocessors Lab
ECE 400Applied Electromagnetics
ECE 410Digital Integrated Circuit Design
ECE 420Advanced Device Design and Stimulation
ECE 420LAdvanced Device Characterization Lab
ECE 440Introduction to Integrated Circuit Processing
ECE 440LIntro to Integrated Circuit Processing Lab
ECE 442Photolithography

Engineering Science

These courses count toward engineering electives or technical electives
Course NumberCourse Description
ENGR 320Thermodynamics I
ENGR 330Fluid Mechanics
ENGR 331Fluid Mechanics Lab
ENGR 350 Engr Mechanics of Materials
ENGR 360Engineering Economy
ENGR 385Science Methods Through Engineering

Geosciences and Geophysics

These courses count toward technical electives
Course NumberCourse Description
GEOPH 300Physics of the Earth
GEOPH 305Applied Geophysics
GEOS 313Geomorphology
GEOS 314Structural Geology
GEOS 324Petrography
GEOS 345Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology
GEOS 412Hydrology: Flow in Geologic Systems
GEOS 426Aqueous Geochemistry


These courses count toward technical electives
Course NumberCourse Description
MATH 187Discrete and Foundational Mathematics I
MATH 189Discrete Mathematics
MATH 301Introduction to Linear Algebra
MATH 305Introduction to Abstract Algebra and Number Theory
MATH 365Introduction to Computational Mathematics
MATH 370 Functions and Modeling
MATH 433Ordinary Differential Equations
MATH 436Partial Differential Equation
MATH 462Probability and Statistics II
MATH 464Mathematical Modeling
MATH 471Data Analysis

Mechanical Engineering

These courses count toward engineering electives or technical electives
Course NumberCourse Description
ME 105Mechanical Engineering Graphics
ME 112Introduction to Biomedical Engineering
ME 302 Thermodynamics I
ME 320Heat Transfer
ME 330Fluid Mechanics
ME 331Fluid Mechanics Lab
ME 350Engineering Mechanics of Materials
ME 352Machine Design I
ME 356 Introduction to Solid Biomechanics
ME 370Advanced Engineering Mathematics
ME 402Applied Numerical Methods for Engineers
ME 420 Thermodynamics II
ME 426Renewable Energy Systems
ME 470Finite Element Methods
ME 471 Parallel Scientific Computing
ME 472 Vibrations
ME 477 Biomaterials


These courses count toward PHYS electives or technical electives
Course NumberCourse Description
PHYS 307Introduction to Biophysics
PHYS 311Modern Physics
PHYS 325Scientific Computing
PHYS 330Optics
PHYS 330 IOptics Laboratory
PHYS 341Mechanics
PHYS 381Electromagnetic Theory
PHYS 382Electrodynamics
PHYS 412Intermediate Quantum Mechanics
PHYS 415Solid State Physics
PHYS 432Thermal Physics
PHYS 436Soft Matter Physics

Supply Chain Management

These courses count toward technical electives
Course NumberCourse Description
SCM 345Principles of Operations Management
SCM 366Supply Chain Modeling
SCM 380 Quality Management and Lean Process Improvement
SCM 416Procurement and Supply Chain Integration
SCM 435Project Management