Academics Blog

Materials Science and Engineering

Name: Dea Lovy

Year: Class of 2010

Hometown: Seattle, WA

Major: Materials Science and Engineering

Minor: Entrepreneurship and Management


During the college search process of my senior year of high school, I did not have any clue as to where I wanted to spend my next four years, let alone what I wanted to be studying.  As I narrowed it down to Hopkins, my initial thought was to remain undecided within the Arts and Sciences school.  However, my parents decided that if I wanted to remain undecided- I would best do so within Engineering.  Why not? I enjoyed a challenge, and I wasn’t too shabby in the math and sciences department…

Fast forward about a year and a half into my Hopkins life, and I still was unsure as to what engineering discipline would best fit.  Among several factors that contributed to my ultimate decision was size.  Coming from a high school graduating class of 15, I knew I would work best in an environment that enabled me to develop close interactions with both peer students as well as faculty.  In addition, coming from a family of all doctors, I knew that I wanted to remain somewhat connected to the health industry even if I was too queasy to go through medical school.  Lastly, I wanted to remain connected to the other types of engineering there were.

The Materials Science and Engineering department was a great fit.  There are about 70 students in the undergraduate major, with about 15 graduating students every year.  With over 12 faculty in the department, I knew that help would be available to me whenever I needed it.  The MSE (not to be confused with Milton S. Eisenhower…) department also offered two concentrations, biomaterials and nanotechnology, both of which have increasing value in todays’ world.  Biomaterials- the study of materials and their interactions with the human body- was definitely something I was interested in.  Best of all, the courses required for a major in the MSE department would allow me to explore several aspects of engineering in general.  I was able to take Statics and Dynamics, with mostly CivE and MechE majors, as well as Biomaterials with mostly BMEs.  I could have it all, without have to feel tied down in one place.

In case I’ve lost you with my timeline of decision-making, let me go back to explain a little bit about exactly what Materials Science and Engineering is.  Put simply, according to the departmental website, “Materials scientists seek to understand the connections between the structure of materials and their properties, how particular properties can be achieved by suitable processing, and the applications of materials to modern technologies”.  What I really love is that CIMG3706 behind every type of engineering, there is a need for materials scientists.

Outside the classroom, there are opportunities to pursue an interest in materials science.  The small size of the department makes it easy to get involved in a materials lab of your choice- which could eventually become a part of your senior design project.  In addition, there is a student-run Hopkins chapter of the Materials Research Society (MRS) that gets together for discussions, as well as event planning (think field trips, etc).  The department also hosts almost weekly seminars and events that undergraduates are more than welcome to attend.

As for my coming years following graduation, I am not quite sure.  What I do know is that looking back thus far, I am glad to say that I chose the MSE department.


Click here to access more information about the Materials Science and Engineering Undergraduate Program of Study.

To further your exploration of this academic program and ask any question you may have of current students, be sure to visit the Hopkins Forums’ Academics: The Insider Perspective and the MSE question thread.