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MatE-495: Special Topics Course in Freshman Materials Research

Course Overview

Early undergraduate experience in research is becoming increasingly important for all engineering students, providing a foundation for future careers in either academia or industry. Research experience enables students to gain hands-on expertise in basic and advanced research techniques prior to their first Co-op, to become involved in leading-edge research, and to develop a portfolio of skills extending beyond the classroom. All of these contribute to a Resumé that distinguishes students with such experience from their peers.

This special topics sequence comprising 2 courses, offered in the Winter and Spring terms, which, together with the MatE-100 2-day course offered in the Fall term, represents a total of 6 credits of materials science and engineering related technical electives in the Freshman Year.

Key components of this course sequence include:

  • Freshman-year participation in current materials-related research programs.
  • Hands-on experience working as a member of an established MSE Dept. research group.
  • Improved preparation of students for their first Co-op.
  • Opportunities to publish and present a technical paper in a Journal or at a Conference.

Learning Objectives

  • Fundamentals of rigorous, safe and professional research laboratory practice.
  • The importance of maintaining good research records.
  • Laboratory safety.
  • The research process – formulation of hypotheses, design of experiments, analysis and reporting of results, presentation of experimental research data and teamwork.

Course Requirements

  • Minimum of 5 hours/week working on defined/agreed research project in the lab.
  • Participation in regular lab. research group meetings, meeting with Faculty Advisor.
  • Maintenance of a laboratory notebook.
  • Writing and submission of a term paper summarizing each term’s research activities. Papers will be graded (letter grade) by the Faculty Advisor.
  • Presentation of a poster summarizing the students’ research experiences and accomplishments at the end of the course sequence.
  • Submission of an abstract, approved by the Faculty Advisor, for a materials-related conference, and if accepted, writing and presentation of the resulting technical paper.

Registration

  • Students should select and submit their top 3 choices of MSE faculty they would like to work with. Follow for details of faculty interest areas and contact information.
  • An MSE faculty member must formally agree to serve as the student’s advisor.
  • Preference will be given to Freshmen declaring Materials Engineering as their major, Freshmen taking a minor in Materials Engineering, and dual majors with Materials Engineering as one of their designated programs.
  • There is no GPA requirement, however, enrollment will require permission from the MSE Department.

Notes: The MSE Dept. will cover the cost of travel, hotel and registration (up to a total of $1,000) for students whose abstracts/papers are accepted for presentation at a materials-related conference.




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Last updated Friday, June 6, 2008