Material science as inter-disciplinary subject

Last Updated : 16 July 2014, 15:23 IST

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Can you think of a world without raw materials or processed materials? The roads, the bridges, the optical fibres used in telecommunications and silicon microchips that have made the information revolution possible, your TV set, your golf club.

There is no aspect of modern life that has not been touched by materials moulded by able hands, or machines.

Materials are so important that time down the ages has been marked by raw materials that were used prominently during the ages-namely Stone Age, Iron Age, Bronze Age, etc. So it is befitting that courses dedicated to studying materials gain ground.

Globally, the demand for graduates having studied Material Science is increasing, and keeping pace with the industrial development, the academia in our country is also waking up to the need for newer, industry-oriented courses such as Material Sciences.

Apart from doing an engineering course in Material Science, one can also opt for a B Sc/M Sc in this field.

Subject Description

Material Sciences is an inter-disciplinary subject having its foundations in Physics and Chemistry and then branches out to study mechanical, electrical and other important properties of the naturally available raw materials.

Material engineers are involved right from a material’s extraction to its development, processing, and final testing before it hits the market for public use.

Apart from raw materials, material scientists work with metals, ceramics, plastics, polymers and composite materials in order to create new materials that meet various mechanical, electrical and chemical requirements in developed and developing economies across the world.

Then they also do research as to how the same material can be used in different ways so that the pressure on natural resources is less ended and a more energy-efficient technology is in place. Many materials scientists are also involved in mining and  extraction of substances from natural ores.


For admission to a 3-year Bachelor Degree- B Sc ( PCM) with specialization in Material Sciences, the candidate must have passed the higher secondary school certificate (10+2) examination in the Science Stream, irrespective of Mathematics or Biology. 

The eligibility criterion for pursuing a Master’s Degree is holding a Bachelor's Degree in (B E/ B Tech/ B Sc) or any other equivalent branches of Engineering. The duration of this course is 2 years. For admission into post-graduate courses, students with GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering will get the priority.

Career opportunities

A bachelor’s degree is the minimum educational requirement, and many research jobs in materials science require a master’s or PhD. Graduates from this field can apply for positions in the manufacturing industry, be it in research & development or in management.

One can find job opportunities as a materials consultant, packaging engineer, mining engineer, project engineer, design engineer, quality control officer, operations engineer in the petroleum sector, consumer goods sector, mining, pharmaceuticals, marketing, aerospace, sports and entertainment industry, biomedical sector and biomimetic (applying designs from nature to solve problems in engineering, materials science, medicine, and other fields) among others.

Utmost dedication to the job is expected out of graduates. This is a very interactive field and one must be open to working in close collaboration with employees in every department.

Pay Package

The starting salary of a Material Science Engineer is in the range of around Rs 20,000 per month. Those who find employment in the Aerospace sector and in government agencies are paid more than their counterparts-something in the range of around Rs 25,000 per month.

Those who have done a post-graduate degree course or a PhD in material science are offered a starting salary in the range of Rs 35,000-Rs 45,000.International Companies of course pay more than their Indian counterparts.

Published 16 July 2014, 14:24 IST

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