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Materials Engineering Major

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Materials Engineering

1,140 Master's Degrees Annually
714 Doctor's Degrees Annually
#101 in Popularity (Master's)
$96,930 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Materials Engineering Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many materials engineering graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Master’s Degree 1,140
Doctor’s Degree 714
Graduate Certificate 9

What Materials Engineering Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, materials engineering majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.

Knowledge Areas for Materials Engineering Majors

According to O*NET survey takers, a major in materials engineering should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

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  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.

Skills for Materials Engineering Majors

A major in materials engineering prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:

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  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Abilities for Materials Engineering Majors

As a materials engineering major, you will find yourself needing the following abilities:

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  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

What Can You Do With a Materials Engineering Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with materials engineering:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Architectural and Engineering Managers 5.5% $140,760
Biofuels/Biodiesel Technology and Product Development Managers 5.5% $140,760
Cost Estimators 10.5% $64,040
Engineering Professors 14.7% $101,720
Materials Engineers 1.9% $92,390

Who Is Getting a Master’s Degree in Materials Engineering?

1,140 Master's Degrees Annually
30% Percent Women
16% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
This major tends to be male dominated. About 70% of recent graduates are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of materials engineering majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Materials Engineering Students with Master's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 79
Black or African American 25
Hispanic or Latino 53
White 364
International Students 572
Other Races/Ethnicities 47

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in Materials Engineering, too. About 50.2% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • China
  • India
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Iran

How Much Do Materials Engineering Majors Make?

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $69,710 to $113,680 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to materials engineering. This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Materials Engineering Major  ( 69710 to 113680 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some careers associated with materials engineering require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

Find out what the typical degree level is for materials engineering careers below.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 0.9%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 2.4%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 3.0%
Bachelor’s Degree 50.4%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 3.6%
Master’s Degree 26.1%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 1.8%
Doctoral Degree 8.4%
Post-Doctoral Training 3.5%

Online Materials Engineering Programs

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 105 schools offered some type of materials engineering program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 4 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 2 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 3 0
Bachelor’s Degree 7 0
Post-Baccalaureate 4 0
Master’s Degree 83 9
Post-Master’s 3 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 76 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Materials Engineering Worth It?

The median salary for a materials engineering grad is $96,930 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 143% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,140,600 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to materials engineering.

Major Number of Grads
Electrical Engineering 12,934
Mechanical Engineering 9,668
Civil Engineering 6,961
Computer Engineering 5,021
Biomedical Engineering 4,057
General Engineering 3,449
Industrial Engineering 3,359
Chemical Engineering 2,897
Systems Engineering 2,639
Aerospace & Aeronautical Engineering 2,163
Other Engineering 1,859
Operations Research 1,273
Environmental Engineering 1,117
Petroleum Engineering 537
Engineering Science 451
Nuclear Engineering 440
Manufacturing Engineering 412
Agricultural Engineering 338
Robotics Engineering 333
Construction Engineering 312
Engineering Physics 282
Architectural Engineering 247
Polymer & Plastics Engineering 205
Geoscience Engineering 176
Engineering Mechanics 168
Ocean Engineering 154
Mining Engineering 142
Textile Engineering 106
Biological Engineering 63
Metallurgical Engineering 51
Marine Engineering 48
Ceramic Engineering 30
Surveying Engineering 21
Electromechanical Engineering 17
Paper Science & Engineering 9
Biochemical Engineering 6
Forest Engineering 0

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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