Jul 18, 2024  
2017-2018 Catalog 
2017-2018 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Materials Science

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The field of Materials Science addresses the challenges of creating, understanding, and using new materials to meet the technological needs of the 21st century. Materials such as alloys, polymers and composites, and semiconductors play important roles in the modern economy where they are used in a wide range of applications, from clean energy to medicine, and aerospace to microelectronics. Materials Science is an interdisciplinary area of study exploring the broad spectrum of materials from basic atomic and molecular scales through macroscopic engineered products. At Western Washington University Materials Science is represented through a diversified and collaborative program based on an interdisciplinary set of courses, faculty, research projects and facilities drawn from several departments.

The Materials Science minor at Western Washington University complements major degree programs such as chemistry, engineering, geology, and physics by providing an interdisciplinary perspective preparing graduates to work at the boundaries between disciplines. Students electing the minor begin their studies in a four-course sequence teaching fundamental concepts and practical skills in materials preparation and characterization (MSCI 201, 320, 330 and 410). These courses are taught by faculty from several departments and involve a variety of facilities and instrumentation. Topics covered include: chemical, mechanical, electronic, and optical properties; polymers and composites, engineering alloys and ceramics, semiconductors and nanomaterials; and applications of materials in modern contexts such as photovoltaics, fuel cells, microelectronics, and geomaterials.

Culminating the minor is a capstone experience involving six credits of intensive research under the guidance of an AMSEC faculty mentor or an internship with a partner company. The research experience or internship is usually performed in the junior or senior year, although for students who become involved in research earlier, it may in some cases be part of a longer term project. Students should consult with the program advisor for assistance in arranging their experience. The capstone practicum is intended to provide opportunities to apply concepts learned in the classroom and laboratory, preparing professionals ready for graduate study or employment in industry.


JANELLE LEGER (2009) Director and Professor. BS, University of California-Davis; PhD, University of California at Santa Cruz.
JOHN ANTOS (2012) Assistant Professor. BS, Ohio State University; PhD, University of California-Berkeley.
ROBERT BERGER (2013) Assistant Professor. A.B. Chemistry, Princeton University; PhD, Cornell University.
MARION BRODHAGEN (2006) Associate Professor. BS, University of Wisconsin; MS, PhD, Oregon State University.
MARK E. BUSSELL (1990) Professor. BA, Reed College; PhD, University of California-Berkeley.
TANVEER CHAWLA (2013) Assistant Professor. BE, Gulbarga University; MSME, Wayne State University; PhD (mechanical engineering), University of North Dakota.
SUSAN M. DeBARI (1998) Professor. BA, Cornell University; PhD, Stanford University.
STEVEN R. EMORY (2001) Associate Professor. BS, California Lutheran University; PhD, Indiana University.
MILTON FROM (1998) Associate Professor. BSc, University of Manitoba; MSc, PhD, McGill University.
JOHN GILBERTSON (2008) Associate Professor. BA, Augustana College; MS, PhD, University of Oregon.
NICOLE HOEKSTRA (1998) Professor. BSME, MSME, University of Minnesota, Institute of Technology.
BERNARD A. HOUSEN (1997) Professor. BS, University of Washington; MS, PhD, University of Michigan.
BRAD L. JOHNSON (1997) Professor. BS, MS, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs; PhD, University of Colorado-Boulder.
TIM KOWALCZYK (2014) Assistant Professor. BS, University of Southern California; PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
NICOLE M. LARSON (2005) Associate Professor. BSME, Bradley University; MSME, University of Washington.
STEPHEN McDOWALL (2001) Professor. BS, MS, University of Cantebury, New Zealand; PhD, University of Washington.
JOHN MISASI (2015) Assistant Professor. BS, Western Washington University; PhD, University of Southern Mississippi.
SEAN MULCAHY (2015) Assistant Professor. BSc, Virginia Tech; PhD, UC Davis.
AMANDA MURPHY (2010) Associate Professor. BS, BA, Western Washington University; PhD, University of California-Berkeley.
DAVID L. PATRICK (1996) Professor. BS, University of California-Davis; PhD, University of Utah.
MARK PEYRON (2014) Assistant Professor.  BS, University of Idaho; PhD University of Washington.
ARMIN RAHMANI (2016) Assistant Professor. PhD, Boston University.
DAVID RIDER (2010) Associate Professor. BSc, Simon Fraser University; PhD, University of Toronto.
ANDREAS RIEMANN (2006) Associate Professor. BS, MS, University Halle, Germany; PhD, Free University Berlin, Germany.
TAKELE SEDA (2002) Professor. BS, Asmara University (Eritrea); MS, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia; PhD, University of Witwattersand, Johannesburg, South Africa.
PETER SHERWOOD (2012) Distinguished Visiting Professor of Materials Science and Chemistry. PhD, Cambridge University. Affiliate Professor of Chemistry, University of Washington. Emeritus Dean and Emeritus Regents Professor of Physics, Oklahoma State University. Emeritus University Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, Kansas State University.
SERGEY SMIRNOV (2008) Associate Professor. BS, MS, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology; PhD, State University of New York at Stony Brook.
PETE STELLING (2011) Associate Professor, BA, Western State College of Colorado; PhD, University of Alaska Fairbanks.
JAMES R. VYVYAN (1997) Professor. BS, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire; PhD, University of Minnesota.

Research Associates

BRIAN RUSK (2011) BS, James Madison University; PhD, University of Oregon.
MICHAEL KRAFT (2017) BS, SUNY Buffalo; PhD, Arizona State University.

Other Departmental Information

Facilities and Resources

The Materials Science minor at Western Washington University is administered by the Advanced Materials Science and Engineering Center (AMSEC), a collaborative, interdisciplinary program within the College of Science and Engineering. In addition to its educational programs, AMSEC provides leadership in academic research and scholarship while maintaining strong relationships with regional companies. The Center includes faculty and students from across the College involved in researching a wide range of advanced materials, such as polymers and composites, geological and magnetic materials, organic and inorganic synthesis, materials for clean energy, theory and modeling, and nanomaterials. The Center also operates a shared, open access Materials Characterization Laboratory housing state-of-the-art x-ray diffraction, thin film preparation, mass spectrometry, microscopy, and thermal analysis equipment.


    Undergraduate Minor


      Materials Science

      Courses numbered X37; X97; 300, 400 are described in the University Academic Policies  section of this catalog.

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