Online Computational Materials Science Certificate

Micrograph of a polished surface of ductile cast iron
10 Credits | 100% Online | Compact Curriculum


Earn an Online Certificate in Computational Materials Science from a Top Engineering School.

The fascinating micrograph above, courtesy of Dan Friedberg (MSE), details the formation of graphite nodules in ductile cast iron, a material that is an evolution of traditional cast iron (otherwise known as gray iron). Cast iron has high strength but low bendability due to its internal structure. That is, its graphical flakes create planes that allow the iron to fracture.

Ductile cast iron (invented in 1943 by metallurgical engineer Keith Millis) is comprised of iron with 3.2–3.6% carbon, 2.2–2.8% silicon, and some small percentage of a “nodulizing element" (such as magnesium, cerium, or tellurium). These nodulizing elements shape the graphite molecules into spheres, which slide past each other, making ductile iron more flexible, but less hard. This versatile material is popular in the plumbing (pipes, pipe fittings), manufacturing (machine frames), and automotive industries (engine connecting rods, cylinders, crankshafts, truck axles, and gears, as well as other parts.)

Ductile cast iron is just one material that computational materials scientists analyze, develop, and optimize. They also work with nanostructures, biomaterials, polymers, advanced ceramics, superconductors, metals, and alloys, advanced materials central to products and technologies that we rely on daily, such as solar cells, fuel cells, smart phones, and advanced semiconductor devices. 

  • 79,670
    is the annual median salary of chemists and materials scientists.

What is Computational Materials Science?

To put it briefly, it is the interdisciplinary field that combines materials science, physics, and computer science. The main objective of computational materials science is developing (and perfecting) computational tools and techniques for predicting the Processing-Microstructure-Property relationship. This is the relationship between the processing conditions used to create a material like ductile cast iron (such as heat treatment, alloying, and mechanical processing) and the resultant microstructure of that material. 

In other words, computational materials science is a rigorous and important field of research and engineering.

If you're up for the challenges of this field, Michigan Tech has an online computational materials science certificate that will equip you with versatile skills and competencies. That is, while earning this certificate, you will

  • apply computational thermodynamic and kinetic principles, numerical algorithms, and computer programming to simulate the materials processes needed to develop specific microstructures and properties;
  • analyze Processing-Microstructure-Property relationships;
  • and attack real-world problems while building skills in communication, project development, and literature review.

Discover Materials Science Research at Michigan Tech.


Why Learn About Computational Materials Science at Michigan Tech?

When you earn your online certificate in computational materials science, you'll get a quality education. In fact, Michigan Tech is ranked the #3 best accredited online college in Michigan.

You'll also get a rigorous online classroom experience. That is, students in our program take the same, robust classes as do students in in-person programs. These classes are taught directly by highly regarded faculty, who receive outstanding support from staff.

Online Computational Materials Science Courses

The online materials engineering certificate, comprised of only 10 credits, can easily fit around the demands of your life, your job, and your other responsibilities.

Students in this online program will begin their educational journey with the same required 1-credit course: Special Topics in Graduate Materials Science and Engineering. Thereafter, they will take another 3-credit required course, choosing between either Computational Materials Science or Advanced Computational Materials Science.

Students will complete their certificate with six credits of electives, choosing two courses from this list:

  • Mechanical Behavior of Materials
  • Quantum Field Theory for Photonics and Materials
  • Numerical Methods for PDEs
  • Intro to the Finite Element Method
  • Finite Element Analysis
  • Finite Element Modeling

Learn more about these courses and the program.

Program Website

What Do Computational Materials Engineers Do?

Materials engineers, in general, work in a variety of industries, including aerospace, automotive, biomedical, chemical, electronics, energy, and manufacturing. They may also find careers in such fields as nanotechnology, polymers, and coatings. In short, these engineers find employment in various industries, government agencies, research organizations, and universities.

Close up of a cast iron pan with MTU's husky on it.

Possible Career Paths

  • Aerospace Engineer
  • Biomedical Engineer
  • Computational Materials Scientist
  • Materials Scientist
  • Materials Development Engineer
  • Materials Engineer
  • Metallurgist
  • Metallurgical Engineer
  • Nanomaterials Engineer
  • Polymer Engineer

Get Started on Your Online Computational Materials Science Certificate.

Take the next steps on your educational journey. We are here to help you succeed in your online program.