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Materials in Society Minor

The Materials in Society minor serves to help students understand the reciprocal relationship between society and science specifically with regard to materials. The minor addresses this issue by looking at the intersections of materials science, policy, and social equity.

Why do it?

From alternative energy to quantum computers, the future of technology requires materials innovation and use. The next generation of engaged citizens, businesspeople, innovators, and policymakers will have to consider the impact of technology on communities and cultures to drive society in a responsible direction. This minor will prepare you to guide the future of technological advances from a global and holistic perspective while considering the environment, social equity, and the limitations of material properties.


This 18-hour minor includes 6 hours of required courses, 9 hours of elective courses from three categories, and a 3-hour capstone course.

Pathways diagram of minor

MSE 1014: The Science of Materials in Everyday Life (introductory course)
CHEM 3054: Post Consumer Materials (mid-level course)
CHEM 4054: Capstone in Materials in Society* (capstone)

*Prerequisite: CHEM 3054 and MSE 1014

Students select 9 credit hours of elective courses within three categories: social equity, policy, and materials science. Course topics include morality and justice; science, technology, and the environment; energy and society; global science and technology policy; collaborative policy making and planning; data and the art of policy making and planning; energy and raw materials; geopolitics and sustainable development; chemistry in context; and Earth resources, society, and the environment.

For a complete list of elective courses, consult the Registrar checksheet (follow this link, click on 'checksheets', scroll down to Minors, and find the minor checksheet you're interested in).

Who is it for?

The minor was developed with non-STEM students from all majors in mind. However, it will serve all students according to their interests.

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This minor is hosted by the Department of Chemistry in collaboration with the economical and sustainable materials SGA.

Pathways Concepts

Core Concepts*
1a - Advanced/Applied Discourse
2 - Critical Thinking in the Humanties
3 - Reasoning in the Social Sciences
4 - Reasoning in the Natural Sciences
5a - Advanced Quantitative and Computational Thinking
6d - Critique and Practice in Design
7 - Critical Analysis of Identity and Equity in the U.S.
*Students are guaranteed to meet at least three of the core concepts listed

Integrative Concepts
Ethical Reasoning
Intercultural and Global Awareness