Jul 23, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 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, energy science, engineering, geology, and physics by providing an interdisciplinary perspective preparing graduates to work at the boundaries between disciplines. Students who select the minor complete courses that teach the fundamental concepts and practical skills in materials preparation and characterization. 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.

The minor culminates with a capstone experience that involves 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 project or experience approval prior to its start. The capstone practicum is intended to provide opportunities to apply concepts learned in the classroom and laboratory that prepare professionals ready for graduate study or employment in industry.


AMANDA MURPHY (2010) Director and Professor. BS, BA, Western Washington University; PhD, University of California-Berkeley.
YING BAO (2017) Associate Professor. BE, Zhejiang Chinese Medical University; PhD, University of South Dakota.
ROBERT BERGER (2013) Associate Professor. A.B. Chemistry, Princeton University; PhD, Cornell University.
ASMAA BOUJIBAR (2021) Assistant Professor. BS Université de Rennes 1, France; MS, PhD, Université Clermont Auvergne, France. 
MARK E. BUSSELL (1990) Professor. BA, Reed College; PhD, University of California-Berkeley.
SUSAN M. DEBARI (1998) Professor. BA, Cornell University; PhD, Stanford University.
STEVEN R. EMORY (2001) Professor. BS, California Lutheran University; PhD, Indiana University.
MICHAEL ENRIGHT (2021) Assistant Professor. BS, Ripon College; PhD, University of Washington.
MILTON FROM (1998) Associate Professor. BSc, University of Manitoba; MSc, PhD, McGill University.
NICK GALATI (2018) Assistant Professor. BS, Millersville University of Pennsylvania; PhD, University of Colorado-Boulder.
JOHN GILBERTSON (2008) Professor. BA, Augustana College; MS, PhD, University of Oregon.
DEBORAH GLOSSER (2021) Assistant Professor. BA, The Ohio State University; MS, University of Pittsburgh; PhD, Oregon State University.
NIPUN GOEL (2021) Assistant Professor. B.Tech, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, India; MS, PhD, Lehigh University.
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) Associate Professor. BS, University of Southern California; PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
MICHAEL LARSEN (2018) Assistant Professor. BA, Colorado College; PhD, University of Washington.
NICOLE M. LARSON (2005) Professor. BSME, Bradley University; MSME, University of Washington.
JANELLE LEGER (2009) Professor. BS, University of California-Davis; PhD, University of California at Santa Cruz.
STEPHEN MCDOWALL (2001) Professor. BS, MS, University of Cantebury, New Zealand; PhD, University of Washington.
G MCGREW (2015) Senior Instructor. BA, University of Southern California; PhD, University of Pennsylvania.
JOHN MISASI (2015) Associate Professor. BS, Western Washington University; PhD, University of Southern Mississippi.
MANUEL D. MONTAÑO (2018) Associate Professor. BS (chemistry), Colorado School of Mines; PhD (applied chemistry), Colorado School of Mines.
SEAN MULCAHY (2015) Associate Professor. BSc, Virginia Tech; PhD, UC Davis.
DAVID L. PATRICK (1996) Professor. BS, University of California-Davis; PhD, University of Utah.
MARK PEYRON (2014) Associate Professor. BS, University of Idaho; PhD, University of Washington.
ARMIN RAHMANI (2016) Associate Professor. PhD, Boston University.
MELISSA RICE (2014) Associate Professor. BA, Wellesley College, PhD, Cornell University.
DAVID RIDER (2010) Professor. BSc, Simon Fraser University; PhD, University of Toronto.
ANDREAS RIEMANN (2006) 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) Affiliate Professor of Chemistry and Physics. 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.
RUTH M. SOFIELD (2003) Professor. BA, West Virginia University; MS, McNeese State University; PhD (environmental science and engineering), Colorado School of Mines.
JAMES R. VYVYAN (1997) Professor. BS, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire; PhD, University of Minnesota.
KRISTINA WALOWSKI (2021) Assistant Professor. BS, University of California; PhD, University of Oregon.

Research Associates

MAI SAS (2019) BA, BS, University of Nevada; MS, Western Washington University; ABD, University of Auckland.

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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