Carnegie Mellon University

Research Opportunities

The Materials Science and Engineering department has numerous research opportunities available to Carnegie Mellon and non-Carnegie Mellon undergraduate students. Many students carry out research for credit (27-555 or 27-556) or extracurricular research with individual professors; students are encouraged to contact professors directly for such opportunities. Moreover, several larger programs are housed within the department, for which additional information can be found below.

Freshman Research Opportunities

Every year the department makes available research projects for Freshmen. The department is pleased to be able to provide research experiences for Freshmen who are seriously considering Materials Science and Engineering as a major. The faculty are keenly aware that participation in research in the department helps to convince students that majoring in Materials Science and Engineering provides new insights into engineering and wide-ranging career opportunities. The program works in the following way. Every Fall the department puts together a list of 20 to 25 research projects for Freshmen. The research projects are in areas of active research within the department and cover most fields of materials science. Research areas are based on currently active research in the department and include the development of new ultra-high strength steels, electronic materials, magnetic materials, thin films of metals and ceramics, polymers, new materials with medical applications and the creation of new nano-scale microstructures and materials. The list of projects is usually completed by the middle of the Fall Semester.

The list of projects with short descriptions is then sent to all students who are taking the Materials Science Introductory Engineering course, 27-100, Engineering the Materials of the Future, in the Fall and to all Freshmen who attended the Materials Science and Engineering presentation during orientation the week before classes begin in the Fall. Students who are interested in a research project are then asked to select the three projects of greatest interest and send this list of preferred projects to Professor Garrison in the Department of Materials Science. The projects will then be assigned on the basis of student preferences and the order in which the lists of preferences are received. The objective is to have all projects assigned by the end of the Fall semester so that work on the projects can begin towards the end of the Fall semester or at the start of the Spring semester. The expectation is that the students will spend about 6 hours per week on a project, but the work schedules are usually very flexible. Students working on projects will be paid for their time. It is emphasized that the projects are for Freshmen seriously considering Materials Science and Engineering. From a practical standpoint this means that a Freshman has to either take the Materials Science Introductory Engineering course, 27-100, in the Fall or plan to take it in the Spring.

If you have any questions about the program or the process please contact Professor Garrison at

Bioinspired polymer Ultra-compliant
Synthesis and Characterization of Polymeric Biomaterials

The Bettinger Group is largely interested in designing bioinspired polymers for applications in medical devices and beyond. Current efforts focus on catechol-bearing polymer networks for use in biologically-derived materials for energy storage and ultra-compliant electronic devices. Applications of these materials include biodegradable electronic devices, next-generation neural interfaces, and systems for controlled release of therapeutics.

If interested in polymeric biomaterials, please contact Dr. Christopher Bettinger.