Materials engineering: What it is and its career opportunities

23 Jan 2023

Materials are all around us, from what we eat to what we wear or the screen we touch on our mobile phones. For this reason, materials research affects us every day, in almost every aspect of our lives. In today’s post, we’ll tell you what materials engineering is, the functions of a materials engineer and the career opportunities of the specialisation offered by Elisava’s Undergraduate Degree in Industrial Design Engineering.

What is materials engineering?

Materials engineering understands the relationship between material behaviour, its structure and how it is processed. It understands properties, such as what makes them mechanically strong, flexible, heat resistant and fail. It explores how to obtain these qualities while minimising adverse effects. It analyses their life cycle starting, for example, when resources are extracted from the mine, or when they are grown. Manufacturing focuses on ensuring that materials meet design specifications.

Materials engineers develop, process and test the materials used to create products that have an industrial, social, economic and environmental impact. Materials engineering connects materials science with industrial technologies. It covers materials ranging from metals to ceramics, polymers, composites or biologics.

The engineering materials research and development has led to the development of materials with improved properties, from biomaterials for the health sector to composites or metals for the aerospace sector.

Materials engineering career opportunities

Materials engineering allows you to work in the following sectors:

  • Mobility and transport
  • Energy
  • Sustainability and climate
  • Bioengineering
  • Health and medicine
  • New materials
  • 3D Printing
  • Manufacturing technologies

Materials engineering graduates can opt for these career opportunities:

Private sector

Working as a materials engineer in research centres, technical departments, projects and new products development in any industrial sector, performing:

+ Design, evaluation, selection and development of materials.
+ Design, development and control of manufacturing processes and transformation of materials.
+ Evaluation of materials and components’ safety, durability and structural integrity.
+ Materials and process control technician.
+ Characterisation laboratories.


Create your own business, company or start-up.


Advice, research and selection of advanced materials for innovation and product improvement projects.

Research, development and innovation in new materials

Working in public or private research centres (universities, public research bodies or technology centres), and in R&D departments of public or private companies.

Public and private teaching

Degree in Industrial Design Engineering

Elisava’s Undergraduate Degree in Industrial Design Engineering will allow you to study materials engineering in Barcelona and is one of the specialisations that combine Design and Materials, for you to study this field in depth.

This specialisation allows students to obtain a transdisciplinary profile, capable of integrating into the design process knowledge from different areas, such as materials science and engineering, digital manufacturing and sustainability.

Students acquire new skills to work with nature rather than against it, using its best methods to promote the production not only of materials but also of final products. With this specialisation, research, experimentation, reflection, social and environmental regenerative vision, and the ability to conceptualise through material-driven design methodology, experimentation and scientific speculation (vision of the future) is strengthened.

Innovation based on materials engineering enables more creative design processes to be developed and more sustainable solutions to be found.