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The opportunities for a qualified Materials Scientist or Engineer are staggeringly good

Created on: 2012-12-14

Dr. A.K.M. Bazlur Rashid

Professor, Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering
Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology:BUET

Describing MME in short...

Materials Scientists test the mechanical, physical, chemical and electrical properties of materials and explore how these properties depend on the microstructures they engineer and observe using high powered microscopes. Materials Engineers apply this knowledge to select the most appropriate material and manufacturing process for any given application, to predict how a component will perform in service, and to investigate how and why materials fail.

The central concept in Materials and Metallurgical Engineering is that the properties and behaviour of every material is dependent on its internal microstructure, and that microstructure can be controlled by the way in which the material is made and processed.

Throughout the world, the subject is more popularly known as Materials Science and Engineering (MSE).

Differences between MSE and other engineering disciplines...

Profession of civil, mechanical and other engineers involves engineering with materials i.e. the use of materials in their creations, while profession of materials engineers involves engineering of materials i.e. they engineer materials to satisfy the needs of others.

Students should know beforehand...

MSE is a combination of materials science, which deals with atomic bonding and atomic structure, and materials engineering, which deals with application of materials.

So, a fair degree of knowledge on basic chemistry and physics of materials always help students do better in this field. An additional knowledge on mathematics and computer programming would also bring a student to the excising branch of simulation and quantitative analysis of materials science and engineering.

Interesting events and competitions...

Student can participate in variety of events organised by the Department of MME while studying this subject. Some of the events include:

(i) International Conference on Structure, Processing and Properties of Materials (SPPM),
(ii) Seminars and workshops,
(iii) Best Thesis and Best Microstructure competitions,
(iv) 3-week industrial training (after 6th semester final examination),
(v) Industrial visits round the year,
(vi) Student Association of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering (SAMME),
(vii) Alumni and MME Day, and
(viii) Annual sports and picnic/dinner.

Categorizing the subject, mathematical/logical/theoretical and physical hardships...

No, the subject is not too mathematical; it is not completely theoretical like History either. And yes, the subject demands some degree of logic while correlating material structure with its properties.

If you work in an industry, yes, you may require some physical labour and experience extreme environment; unfortunately, most engineers do. But if you are the lucky one who happens to be working as a quality control officer (even in an industry), you may find yourself working in an air-conditioned office with a computer.

Goals that can be reached...

Only sky is the limit. Some of the job descriptions that s/he may consider include:

(i) Selecting and designing right material for a specific problem
(ii) Designing processes and producing materials reliably and economically
(iii) Investigating and designing new materials, and improving traditional materials
(iv) Study structure and composition of materials, and measure and certify properties of all kind
(v) Select, predict and evaluate performance of materials in service
(vi) Analysing failure of material and process

Some of the job titles that may go with MSE engineers include materials engineer, process engineer, research engineer, and quality control engineer. MSE graduates are also involved in teaching or doing research in a university or work as free-lance consultants.

Job sectors and job availability...

The opportunities for a qualified Materials Scientist or Engineer are staggeringly good. Furthermore, in a recent survey on average starting salaries of graduates conducted by the Central Services Unit, UK, Materials and Metallurgical Engineering came in the top three, well ahead of physics, chemistry and all other engineering subjects. Diverse industries such as metals, ceramics, polymer, electronic, optical, chemical, pharmaceutical, aerospace, automotive, manufacturing, energy, environment, information technology etc. require Materials Scientist or Engineer for design, manufacture, management, sales, research and development.

Department of MME at BUET is the only institution in this country that offers university level education in Materials Science and Engineering. The department produces about 40 graduates annually. So we have a serious lack of MME graduates in our country. The job availability is almost 100% as there is no competition in this field.

Average salary for a responsible job...

Industries nowadays offer about Tk. 30,000 - Tk. 35,000 per months to a fresh MME graduate. After 2 years of successful service, the salary has seen to be raised up to Tk. 100,000.

Lucrative companies where students dream of a job...

Besides government organisations, such as PDB, BCIC, GTCL, BSEC, BITAC, BCSIR, Atomic Energy Commission, private organisations such as BSRM, AKG, Beximco Group, Shinepukur Ceramics, Nasir Glass, BOC recruit MME graduates in a regular basis.

MME graduates are also currently working in many foreign organisations and universities. Some of those include Lockheed Martin (NASA), INTEL, IBM, SEAGATE, CSIRO, Australia; California State University, USA; National University of Singapore; City University Dublin, Ireland; University of Malaya and International Islamic University, Malaysia; and City University of Hong Kong.

Higher studies...

Department of MME has the best foreign scholarship rate at BUET. About 80% fresh graduates went abroad (USA, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Belgium, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, China) each year for higher study within the first 6 months of their final result. Within a year another 10 - 15% leaves the country. More than 50% of MME graduates who went abroad for higher studies obtained full scholarship.

The faculties of the department have very strong link with professors of renowned universities and they always play active rule in sending bright MME graduates for higher studies with a handsome scholarship.

Research fields and topics, universities that intake our students...

Topics such as nanotechnology and thin film, biomaterials and biomedical engineering, automotive and aerospace engineering, sensor and other functional materials, electronic packaging materials, reliability of metal casting, high quality steel production, etc. are the few advanced and cutting edge topics in which MSE graduates find their interest to do research.

All advanced countries of the world including the USA, Europe, Japan, Canada, Australia, Singapore, China, Korea have very strong MSE programmes. Interest students can visit to the following famous websites on materials and metallurgical engineering:

Oxford Materials graduates:

IoM3 Careers site:

MSE Careers Resource Center (USA):

Message to new students...

Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering (MME) at BUET is the only institution of its kind in Bangladesh. Being a small department of only 50 student intake per year, the student-teacher relation at the department is one of the best at BUET. The department has 15 laboratories with the most expensive, advanced and new machines and equipment at BUET. All 20 highly qualified, enthusiastic faculties (14 of whom have their PhD from reputed foreign university) of the department are eagerly waiting with open arms to congratulate and welcome the freshers.