A love of science, particularly biology, chemistry, engineering, or any other related field would be a good place to start for someone pursuing a career in materials science. Being able to read and correctly comprehend reports and data from related personnel while effectively being able to communicate information and ideas orally and in writing to scientists, lab personnel, company supervisors, and clients is a necessary trait for a materials scientist.

These scientists must be able to think creatively and unusually while using mathematical formulas and other methods to solve problems. Not every solution is immediately apparent, so creative and unusual thinking is critical if some problems are to be resolved. The application of general rules to certain problems in order to derive needed answers is also of great importance. This kind of scientist must be able to see details in an object or material at close range to determine the right and most effective course of action in conducting an experiment, or to best analyze the results of one. Having the ability to see potential problems before they occur is an essential asset to a materials scientist, as it allows them to maximize experimentation results while minimizing time loss.

A PhD is often required in order to gain a position as a materials science researcher; however, some companies will hire people with a master’s degree with adequate job and research experience. Some companies will hire a person with a bachelor’s degree in materials science or chemical engineering as a laboratory assistant in order to assist those with more education, experience, or both. Electrical, magnetic, and optical materials, polymeric materials, and advanced physical metallurgy, are just some of the courses needed for a materials science degree.

What are Materials Scientists like?


Based on our pool of users, materials scientists tend to be predominately investigative people. Take our career test to see what career interest category best describes you.

Materials Scientists by Strongest Interest Archetype

Based on sample of 141 Sokanu users

Are Materials Scientists happy?


Materials scientists rank among the least happy careers. Overall they rank in the 45th percentile of careers for satisfaction scores.

Materials Scientist Career Satisfaction by Dimension

Percentile among all careers

Education History of Materials Scientists

The most common degree held by materials scientists is Chemistry. 11% of materials scientists had a degree in chemistry before becoming materials scientists. That is over 10 times the average across all careers. Materials Science graduates are the second most common among materials scientists, representing 9% of materials scientists in the Sokanu user base, which is 127.7 times the average.

Materials Scientist Education History

This table shows which degrees people earn before becoming a Materials Scientist, compared to how often those degrees are obtained by people who earn at least one post secondary degree.

Degree % of materials scientists % of population Multiple
Chemistry 10.6% 1.0% 10.2×
Materials Science 8.5% 0.1% 127.7×
Materials Engineering 7.8% 0.1% 89.0×
Physics 7.8% 1.0% 7.8×
Chemical Engineering 4.3% 0.5% 8.4×
Mechanical Engineering 4.3% 1.6% 2.6×
Electrical Engineering 2.8% 0.8% 3.5×
General Engineering 1.4% 0.4% 3.9×

Materials Scientist Education Levels

42% of materials scientists have a doctorate degree. 35% of materials scientists have a bachelor's degree.

No education 0%
High school diploma 0%
Associate's degree 2%
Bachelor's degree 35%
Master's degree 19%
Doctorate degree 42%

How to Become a Materials Scientist

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